Sunday, June 03, 2007

"Morning-After" (Plan B) Pill: Yes, It's an Abortifacient

Earlier, based on (now-outdated) knowledge, the Catholic Bishops of Wisconsin decided not to oppose SB129. This new finding may well require them to change their position on the Bill.

It's about forcing Wisconsin hospitals to administer "Plan B" (the morning after pill) to victims of rape. Since "Wisconsin hospitals" includes "Wisconsin Catholic hospitals," there is a moral problem here: can the State force a Catholic institution to facilitate an abortion?

Here's the latest study on the drug in question:

The most recent scientific study on Levonorgestrel, the essential component of the “morning-after pill” or “emergency contraceptive,” confirms that the drug does indeed have a third effect on users, which consists in preventing the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the womb of the mother.

The promoters of the drug in Latin America, where most countries have laws against abortion, have argued that the there is no scientific basis for the “third effect,” and that therefore the drug should be legalized. Dr. Horacio Croxatto, professor at the Chilean Institute of Reproductive Medicine, said in 2006 that the morning-after pill “is not abortifacient because it only prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation.”

Nevertheless, the most recent study (2007) by Doctors Mikolajczyk and Stanford of the Department of Medicine in Public Health of the University of Bielefeld (Germany) clearly indicates that the pill’s “real effect” includes mechanisms that prevent implantation.

Published by the magazine Fertility and Sterility, the study used data from multiple clinical studies with advanced mathematical models and concluded that if emergency contraception only inhibited ovulation its true effectiveness would only be in a range of 8-49 percent. If it acted before ovulation and if it inhibited ovulation completely, its true effectiveness would be between 16-90 percent. The rest of the pill’s effectiveness consists in its anti-implantation mechanisms, which cause an abortion.

There are more problems with "Plan B," some of which are mentioned in this post, having to do with a similar proposal in Connecticut. The pill was approved by FDA without the necessary rulemaking; it was found "unsafe" by FDA without medical supervision; and the data submitted to FDA did not establish that it was safe or effective. One would think that Planned Parenthood could be a bit more restrained in pushing for a pill which does not have adequate data supporting its safety.

Or not.

Before this study, it was thought that "Plan B" did not have an abortifacient effect--thus, the Bishops chose not to oppose based on the "Peoria Protocol."

With the new information in hand, the Bishops will re-think their position.


Billiam said...

Shouldn't that be phrased as a question? WILL the Bishop's re-think their position?

Dad29 said...

Billiam, this info is VERY new--literally within the last couple of weeks or less.

Always the optimist, I think the Bishops WILL take this into consideration and revise their position.

By the way, they do not support SB129. They just don't oppose it.

Nitpicky, I know--but there is a difference.