I want to applaud the Washington State Pharmacy Board for their decision to make room for pharmacists who have conscientious objections to dispensing so called "emergency contraception" or "Plan B." One of its mechanisms is to weaken the endometrial lining of the uterus, thus making the mother's womb inhospitable to the implantation or nidation (nesting) of the newly conceived child. As the University of California at Santa Barbara website states, "They (emergency contraception pills) also thin out the endometrial lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant." According to the National Institute of Health, “They (ECP”s) may make the uterine lining less hospitable for implantation of a pregnancy.”* To make a comparison from the animal world, it is like tampering with an eagle's nest - for example, by throwing a rock at it. Even a small amount of damage could be fatal to the tiny eaglets. So it is with misnamed "emergency contraception." It can destroy a tiny human life.
While I applaud the Pharmacy Board, I also must register my disappointment with Governor Christine Gregoire's reaction to the Board's decision. During her election campaign, she had met with Archbishop Brunett, expressing to him that as a Catholic she was against abortion. It is hard to understand that she would not have more sympathy with those who have grave moral concerns regarding a pill which would snuff out the life of a newly conceived human. Instead, she employed scare tactics, drawing unfair comparisons with Viagra and medicines for AIDS.** The fact is, that “emergency contraception” is in a category by itself. To require all pharmacists to dispense it would exclude anyone with clear pro-life beliefs from that profession. And more seriously, it would in the long run reduce pharmacists to the level of dispensing machines: Just fill out the doctor's prescription and forget about any human, moral dimension. For my money, I prefer an adult relationship to my pharmacist (and other medical practitioners). And if I don't get the service I desire, I can go somewhere else. Why are Governor Gregoire and others so threatened by a relatively small number of pharmacists who desire to exercise their profession without compromising their core beliefs?
*Or as the Plan B website states:
Plan B works like a regular birth control pill. It prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary, and may also prevent the fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg). Plan B may also work by preventing it from attaching to the uterus (womb). (And exactly what is it? Emphasis added.)
Note that Planned Parenthood is hardly an impartial, objective observer in this debate: Five Planned Parenthood affiliates also made equity investments in Plan B, including Planned Parenthood of Western Washington.
**The Governor is afraid that unless we require all pharmacists to dispense Plan B, that some pharmacists will decide they don't want to fill prescriptions for Viagra, obesity pills, Ritalin, AIDS medicine, etc. It is a bit like saying, "unless we force all doctors to perform abortions, pretty soon they will stop doing appendectomies."
Danny Westneat: Morals come with medicine (Danny's column took guts considering the Times' editorial stance.)
Former Pro-Life Democrats
A Challenge to Our Pro-Choice Friends
Picture from March for Life (January 17, 2002; Olympia)
Abortion and Early Church Teaching
An impassioned Pro-Choice response.
The fate of the aborted child
The overpopulation question.
Gen 1:28 - Have we "filled the earth"”
From Abortionist to Catholic: Bernard Nathanson, M.D..
Abortion and Forgiveness.
The question of conscience.
How this issue relates to Salvation.
Relation of Abortion to Birth Control.
Homily on Birth Control and Abortion.
A Pro-Choice Argument
God's Weak Ones
Does Birth Control solve or cause Poverty”
The Moral Law and the Existence of God.
Holy Week Reflection (Abortion and Immigration)
From Sarah: "Do you honestly believe that making abortion illegal will solve the problem”"
Lifeissues.net (Clear Thinking about Crucial Issues)
He Approached the Victim: "It's much more likely one of your relatives will lose his life by surgical abortion than by heart attack."
Stem Cell Research: Teaching of Bible & Catholic Church
Germaine Greer on Birth Control
Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)
Dr. Leroy Hood - Institute Systems Biology: Cloning & Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Pictures of Institute for Systems Biology
Good Friday Service for Life vs. Dr. Leroy Hood's Support of Cloning & Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Renewal of Vows, Prayers of Faithful and Blessing of Married Couples on World Marriage Day