Chilean Court Reverses Its Decision and Allows ‘Morning After Pill’
UK Pregnancy & Abortion Rates Continue to Increase Despite Increasing Emergency Contraception Use
Plan B Manufacturer Describes In EC Information It "May Inhibit Implantation"
Abortion Advocates Admits Morning After Pill Won't Produce Big Results
Blood Clot Warning on Birth Control Patch
Chilean Court Reverses Its Decision and Allows ‘Morning After Pill’ (MAP/EC). Courts allow emergency contraception even for minors above age 14 without parental knowledge or consent. After a turbulent legal struggle, the Health Ministry of Chile has succeeded in its efforts to have the ‘morning after pill’ made available to minors without parental knowledge or consent.
The ‘morning after pill’ can now be dispensed in public health clinics for free to any woman or minor over the age of 14. In 2005, a Chilean court voted to allow the drug to be distributed at public health clinics, including to minors above 14 years of age – a measure the government implemented on September 2 of this year. Shortly after that, the Santiago Appeals Court suspended the permission until a lawsuit on the matter filed against the Health Ministry was heard and resolved. Now, permission has once again been granted due to, what some consider, a more liberal mindset in the present rotation of judges sitting on the Court.
The newest court ruling, that the ‘morning after pill’ would be temporarily allowed, was decided on the grounds that the Santiago Appeals Court would determine the drug’s constitutionality as a possible abortifacient in the coming weeks. Those in favor of the drug argue that it does not cause abortions and so does not violate the constitutional ban on abortion.
The fight for and against this drug has sparked deep division throughout the entire nation. Prime Minister Michelle Bachelet has consistently been supportive of the distribution of the pill. The government has argued that distributing the pill in public clinics would facilitate proper health care coverage to women of the lower classes who might not be able to afford the cost of emergency contraceptives.
Mayor Pablo Zalaquet of the Santiago municipality, La Florida has been one of the leading forces against the pill. He argues, “This is a slap in the face to parents and families in Chile and unfortunately the ones who will pay will be the poor and the country's youngest children."
Both sides of the argument will work to prepare their case for the upcoming hearing in the next few weeks of the lawsuit against the Health Ministry.
Pro-life forces in Chile will argue that, not only is ‘the morning after pill’ abortifacient but allowing 14 year old girls to obtain the pill without parental consent robs parents of their most fundamental rights in regard to caring for and educating their children.
An attempt by the Chilean Health Ministry to supply emergency contraception to minors without their parents’ knowledge was temporarily blocked by a Chilean court. The appellate court suspended the measure until a lawsuit filed against Health Minister Maria Soledad Barria by a coalition of lawyers and mayors has been resolved [Reuters, 14Sept]. The federal government order to provide the ‘morning after pill’ to young girls, on demand and without the knowledge or consent of their parents, was scheduled to be implemented this month. Several mayors refused to participate in the policy, demanding that parents must be notified before emergency contraception could be distributed to minors. Abortion is illegal in Chile at any point in pregnancy, including cases of rape or incest. After an extensive court battle, the Chilean Supreme Court permitted the sale of emergency contraception in 2005, the first abortifacient to be legally established in the country. [Chile, 15Sept06 LifeSiteNews.com, Schultz] Several mayors oppose the move and have taken the issue to the Constitutional Tribunal for reconsideration to protect, according to one mayor, “one of the fundamental rights of our Constitution: the right to teach our own children (how to behave) until they are mature enough to make important decisions.” After decades of sex education campaigns, the STD rates are increasing among young Chileans. Half of all HIV/AIDS cases, for instance, are diagnosed in those under 24 years old. [“Chile’s Mayors Refuse Morning After Pill Push,” LifeSite.net, 09-06-06, http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/sep/06090606.html; Abst Clrnghse, 13Sept06] Related:
Chilean Supreme Court Orders Sale of Abortifacient Morning-After Pill
Chile’s Mayors Refuse Morning After Pill Push
Chile Court Suspends Gov’t Plan to Distribute Free Morning-After Pill
[ Jalsevac, 26Sept06 LifeSiteNews.com, Santiago]
An attempt by the Chilean Health Ministry to supply emergency contraception to minors without their parents’ knowledge was temporarily blocked by a Chilean court. The appellate court suspended the measure until a lawsuit filed against Health Minister Maria Soledad Barria by a coalition of lawyers and mayors has been resolved [Reuters, 14Sept].
The federal government order to provide the ‘morning after pill’ to young girls, on demand and without the knowledge or consent of their parents, was scheduled to be implemented this month. Several mayors refused to participate in the policy, demanding that parents must be notified before emergency contraception could be distributed to minors. Abortion is illegal in Chile at any point in pregnancy, including cases of rape or incest. After an extensive court battle, the Chilean Supreme Court permitted the sale of emergency contraception in 2005, the first abortifacient to be legally established in the country. [Chile, 15Sept06 LifeSiteNews.com, Schultz]
Several mayors oppose the move and have taken the issue to the Constitutional Tribunal for reconsideration to protect, according to one mayor, “one of the fundamental rights of our Constitution: the right to teach our own children (how to behave) until they are mature enough to make important decisions.” After decades of sex education campaigns, the STD rates are increasing among young Chileans. Half of all HIV/AIDS cases, for instance, are diagnosed in those under 24 years old. [“Chile’s Mayors Refuse Morning After Pill Push,” LifeSite.net, 09-06-06, http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/sep/06090606.html; Abst Clrnghse, 13Sept06]
N RATES CONTINUE TO CLIMB DESPITE INCREASING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION USE. Anna Glasier [dir, Lothian primary care NHS trust, Edinburgh] said several studies, including one she directed, have shown that easy access to emergency contraception has failed to have an impact. In fact pregnancy and abortion rates continue to rise in the UK, which has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Europe.
“Despite the clear increase in the use of emergency contraception, abortion rates have not fallen in the UK. They have risen from 11 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1984 (136,388 abortions) to 17.8 per 1,000 in 2004 (185,400 abortions),” Glasier wrote in the British Medical Journal. Sweden’s rates show the same pattern of climbing rates.
Emergency contraception in fact increases the number of unrecorded abortions taking place, Mary Ellen Douglas [Campaign Life Coalition]. The Morning After Pill acts as an abortifacient if a woman has already conceived by the time she takes it.
“The fact is, if the pill is taken once the egg has been fertilized, it will prevent the baby from attaching to the side of the womb and the child will be aborted,” Douglas said. In addition to increasing abortion rates, the pill is dangerous to women’s health, Douglas pointed out.
The hormone dosage women receive in a round of emergency contraception is double that of regular contraceptive medication. “Obviously MAP doesn’t work. If women are promiscuous they are taking the pill several times a month and endangering their health–and it doesn’t decrease abortion rates–they should stop distributing them,” Douglas said.
Teenage pregnancy rates in Britain reached 41.5 per 1,000 girls age 15-17 in 2004 [Guardian]. Of those pregnancies, 46 percent ended in abortion. Britain has seen a recent push to make MAP accessible to girls as young as 12 in over the counter sales, as well as a government decision to reduce sales tax on the drug. Related:
Early Abortion Drug Available Over the Counter
MAP to be Given to British Girls as Young as 12
[Guardian Unlimited; Schultz, UK, 15Sept06 LifeSiteNews.com]
PLAN B MANUFACTURER ADMITS MORNING AFTER PILL CAN CAUSE DEATH OF AN EMBRYO. Recent publicity concerning Plan B has been seriously misleading. The Plan B morning-after pill has been referred to as "contraception," even though it may act after fertilization to cause the death of a human embryo. This is an important mistake because, whatever one's judgment on abortion may be, I think we all agree that no woman should be misled into doing what she would consider to be taking a life without realizing that she is doing so.
There has been a shameful disinformation campaign on Plan B for years, and the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to demand candor. Perhaps the simplest way to discern the truth is to look very carefully at the manufacturer's own "information" for consumers, found on its website at http://www.go2planb.com/section/about/index.html:
"How does Plan B work (mechanism of action)?
Plan B is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization (by altering tubal transport of sperm and/or ova). In addition, it may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium. Plan B is not effective if a woman is pregnant. Plan B is a contraceptive and cannot terminate an established pregnancy.
"Will Plan B harm an unborn fetus?
There is no evidence that Plan B would harm a pregnant woman or a developing fetus if the product were accidentally taken during early pregnancy…. Plan B is not an abortifacient. It is an emergency contraceptive and should not be confused with RU486 or any other abortifacient."
Note that the manufacturer claims that Plan B is "contraceptive", "not effective if a woman is pregnant", will not "harm an unborn fetus," and "is not an abortifacient." Sure sounds like it doesn't destroy an unborn human life, and that's the message swallowed and spread by the media.
However, note also that the drug maker admits that Plan B "may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium [i.e. the lining of the womb]." In other words, Plan B may cause a newly-conceived embryo to die (and be expelled) because it cannot implant itself in the lining of the womb. For this reason, some South American courts have found the Plan B drug to violate an unborn child's constitutionally-guaranteed right to life.
In light of the manufacturer's own admission, its other statements above may at first seem to be flat-out lies. But careful analysis reveals them to be deeply misleading rather than flatly false. Although many people (e.g. the legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin) use the word "fetus" to refer to an unborn child at any stage of development, in medicine a developing human life is usually called an "embryo" rather than a "fetus" prior to implantation in the mother's womb. The statement that Plan B does not "harm an unborn fetus" is true if we use this technical medical definition of "fetus," even though it may be misleading for those of us who don't distinguish fetuses from embryos.
But if Plan B may work post-fertilization, may cause the death of a newly-conceived human embryo, how can the drug maker say that the pill is only a "contraceptive," is "not effective if a woman is pregnant," and "is not an abortifacient"? The short answer is that the manufacturer appears to rely on recent (and perhaps politically motivated) redefinitions of conception, pregnancy, and abortion: According to the new definitions, "conception" and "pregnancy" begin at implantation rather than at fertilization, and "abortion" means the termination of a post-implantation "pregnancy." The drug makers can claim, rightly, that their statements are true under these new definitions.
One large problem is that the lay readers of the drug information packet are not told up front that these special new definitions are being used. Thus this &
quot;information" is quite unfair and misleading to average men and women who may remember from high school biology that fertilization and conception meant the same thing and that fertilization marked the beginning of pregnancy.
Moreover, the drug maker's insistence that Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy is a red herring to begin with. Nobody has any qualms about terminating pregnancies per se. After all, that's what birth itself does! What pro-life women and men don't want to do is to have an "abortion" in the ordinary sense of terminating LIFE. When the drug maker tells them not to worry because they are not terminating a pregnancy, they may conclude incorrectly that Plan B cannot cause the death of their unborn child. When they find out too late that they were misled and may have taken the lives of their own children, they may be devastated. And the drug maker, the media, and the FDA will be responsible.
In making this potentially lethal pill more easily available, the FDA should at least have required the drug maker to come clean, to say prominently on its label something like "WARNING: THIS DRUG MAY CAUSE THE DEATH OF AN EMBRYO." Its users would then be able to exercise informed consent about whether to take a chance on destroying a developing human life.
Special to LifeSiteNews.com by Prof. Richard Stith, PhD [Richard Stith J.D.(Yale), Ph.D.(Yale) is a Professor of Law at Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana]
[Ed. Isn't this an interesting twist—wait until the Plan B gets approved and then agree with those who opposed its approval! What interesting admissions…….]
ABORTION ADVOCATES ADMIT MORNING AFTER PILL WON'T PRODUCE BIG RESULTS; they admit that FDA approval of over the counter sales of the morning after pill won't reduce the number of unintended pregnancies
or abortions. However, their admission comes long after pro-life advocates said the Plan B pills wouldn't have the overwhelming effect pro-abortion groups claimed.
Before the FDA approval of selling the drugs to women over the age of 18, Planned Parenthood maintained the drug would prevent up to 1.5 million unplanned pregnancies and 800,000 abortions a year.
On Friday, the group backpedaled on those claims.
"It will not reach that potential," Jackie Payne, the abortion businesses' director of government relations, told the Associated Press.
Payne, however, claimed that the FDA's limits preventing the drug from being sold to girls under the age of 18 without a prescription would reduce the number of pregnancies and abortions it claims the pills would prevent.
James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, agreed with the revised estimate of what impact FDA approval will have and said it would be much lower than anticipated.
"That doesn't mean zero, but it will be hard to measure because it will be so small," he told AP. "If you look at the number of acts of unprotected intercourse on one hand, and the use of Plan B on the other, it's like a cork on the ocean."
A January 2005 study conducted by a Planned Parenthood medical director in San Francisco found that when women were give morning after pills to take home for future use, pregnancy rates were unaffected and women didn't use the pills in as high a percentage as expected by increasing access.
"It really doesn't work if it's left in the drawer," Trussell said.
Others say the use of the morning after pill will be lower than abortion advocates expected because Barr Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Plan B, will sell the drug at anywhere from $20 to $40 per pack, which could be too expensive for low income women and couples. [Ertelt, 27Aug06, LifeNews.com, DC]
BLOOD-CLOT WARNING ON BIRTH-CONTROL PATCH. Women were warned that their risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs may be higher if they use the birth-control patch instead of the pill.
The Food and Drug Administration said it updated the label on the Ortho Evra birth-control patch to reflect the results of one study that found women using the patch faced twice the risk of clots than did women on the pill.
[Ed. Other studies have shown a 3 times greater risk of clots.]
The patch is made by Ortho Women's Health and Urology of Raritan, N.J., which is owned by Johnson & Johnson.
[AP, 21Sept06, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/us/21brfs-009.html]