Via Media

Via Media

They love women

posted by awelborn

…and their money. Planned Parenthood made sweetheart deal with RU-486  morning after-pill manufacturer?

(My bad on the original post. Sorry!)

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:03 pm

Stay on focus. Abortion is evil regardless of whether an abortionist makes 1 dollar or 2 dollars or no dollars.
The only thing evil about this deal is that makes abortion easier to obtain. The favorable pricing is only evil if you hate capitalism as practiced by the Republican moneyed elite.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:05 pm

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It will only make it all that much easier to bankrupt them when injured women and the families of those killed by use of this “drug” finally get around to filing their multi-billion dollar products liability lawsuits agaisnt the pharmaceutical companies and distributors of the RU-486.
When I comprehensively researched the issue while working for a national pro-life organization way back in 1991, a fairly short time after it had been introduced in France, I saw then that the lethality of the drug (for the mother) was abnormally high from the very beginning. All the deaths that have happened and will continue to happen are very much foreseeable to even the butchers of Planned Parenthood. I thought then and I think now that the back of PP can be broken if we can get some good plaintiffs attorneys to bring products liability and wrongful death lawsuits against it.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:07 pm

RU-486 is NOT the morning after pill. The morning after pill is basically a more powerful combination of the same drugs as the birth control pill. It works by the same three mechanisms as the birth control poll: suppressing ovulation, or increasing the thickness of cervical mucous to prevent the sperm from reaching the fallopian tube, or preventing implantation. There have been studies arguing that the first of these effects is by far the most common way that Plan B prevents pregnancy. According to the standard medical terminology even preventing implantation is not abortion, because “abortion” means the end of a pregnancy and there is no pregnancy before implantation. I know the Catholic Church doesn’t share that view, but surely the possibility that it prevents ovulation rather than implantation is relevant. And even if preventing implantation of an embryo versus abortion of a fetus is morally identical to Catholics, it is not morally identical to many other people, including some who oppose the legality of abortion, and it is certainly not factually identical. Leaving all the moral arguments aside, the drug is Plan B, not RU-486; they are different drugs that are taking at different times and operate by different biological mechanisms, and this post contains an inadvertant factual error.
Um. That was unnecessarily long winded. But I don’t have time to edit.

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Cranky Lawyer

posted August 26, 2005 at 12:22 pm

Good pick up, Katherine.
But “there is no pregnancy before implantation”?

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:31 pm

(Argh!!! When will I learn to save before sending so that a big comment doesn’t get lost in a sending error?)
Anyway, Katherine is right of course, RU-486 and “Plan B” are not the same. However, PP is involved in the distribution of RU-486 and to that extent, my comments remain valid. I would also counsel the same approach to Plan B, however. We need plaintiffs’ attorneys to bring massive products liability actions against PP and the pharmaceuticals, which have been sued countless times for other “reproductive” drugs — specifically, for the original high-estrogen Pill, the Dalkon Shield IUD, DES, and the contraceptive sponge.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:46 pm

So says the AMA; many say that definition is false and ideologically driven but from everything I’ve read it seems to be the prevailing view of doctors in this country.
I can’t speak to the medical consensus 20 years ago. Frankly it’s a moral and political question rather than a scientific one. I don’t think the question became relevant until there were potential means of preventing implantation–no one would ever have gotten a surgical abortion between fertilization and implantation because it’s impossible; you couldn’t know you were pregnant until it implants & the physical changes start, beginning with the hormone that a pregnancy test looks for–this is why there is so much uncertainty about how many fertilized eggs never implant, with estimates as high as 50%. IUDs definitely seem to have been generally classified as contraception rather than abortion-generators, even though they basically work only by preventing implantation whereas the pill and Plan B work more often through preventing ovulation. I’m not sure why the IUD is not debated this way–it may simply be that it’s not at all common in the U.S. anymore as it’s about the worst form of birth control for women’s health. But at one point it was quite popular overseas–I wonder if the AIDS epidemic has changed this & led to more emphasis on condoms.
Anyway, it’s a semantic, moral and metaphysical question–the dispute about the definition of pregnancy isn’t a dispute about the biological processes, it’s about their moral significance and what names to call them.
The question of how Plan B actually works is a different story. If it does prevent fertilization rather than implantation, it could actually reduce the number of abortions a great deal–though do so by means the Church still considers gravely sinful, so I’m not sure how much it helps.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 12:52 pm

Another difference between RU-486 and Plan B is that I believe RU-486 is far more dangerous for women–Plan B is probably safer than the birth control pill or therapeutic estrogen since you’re fiddling with your hormones for a much shorter period. So a products liability action could be tough to find plaintiffs for and tough to win. Whereas I think there are real concerns about RU-486, and many people think it’s actually more dangerous than a surgical abortion at the same stage of pregnancy.
Caveats: I am not a doctor, I am not a scientist, I am just a news junkie.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 1:22 pm

FWIW, re the medical definition of pregnancy – when Plan B was being discussed on NPR a couple of weeks ago, they interviewed a doctor who claimed that implantation is the medical definition of pregnancy because the hormonal changes that trigger a pregnancy test don’t occur until after implantation. In other words, there’s no way for a doctor to tell that an egg has been fertilized and a unique life created until implantation occurs, so it’s a pragmatic definition. DNA-wise there is no difference between the pre-implantation and implanted embryos.
I’m not a doctor, just an embryo junkie…

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posted August 26, 2005 at 1:44 pm

After release of pituitary luteinizing hormone and an ovum, the egg follicle, as the corpus luteum, signals the uterus that ovulation has occurred by secreting progesterone. Progesterone causes the lining of the uterus to thicken, it relaxes uterine muscles and inhibits uterine secretion of prostaglandins, and it firms the cervix and begins to form a mucous plug.
If conception has occurred, the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine lining after 6-7 days and then releases the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) to signal its presence to the mother and suppressing menstruation by telling the corpus luteum to continue producing progesterone. The corpus luteum will continue to produce progesterone for several weeks, so long as the endometrium continues to receive it, pregnancy will be maintained. After about the seventh week (measured from the first day of the last menstrual period), the embryo-placental unit produces progesterone on its own and the corpus luteum ceases to function.
If conception has not taken place, or if the fertilized ovum has failed to properly implant, the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone and begins to decay. At the 28th day, the uterine lining begins to shed and bleed. Prostaglandin is released by the uterus to stimulate uterine contractions and any contents is expelled.
It is estimated that many, if not most, of all conceptions fail due to genetic defect, age of mother, infections, hormonal deficiency, environmental factors, and substance abuse. Studies have shown that about 20 percent of women who had been chemically determined to be pregnant (presence of HCG found) miscarried without being aware of being pregnant.

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posted August 26, 2005 at 2:11 pm

Not exactly off topic.
Here’s an article from NCReporter about terminology of blastocyte v embryo, etc. It says that official embryology’s term for the fertilized egg even before it implants is “embryo”. No distinction is made even though the blastocyte will not develop further if it doesn’t implant.
Seems a lot of the arguing on early life is a fight over terminology.

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posted August 27, 2005 at 8:57 am

The numbers of embryos that don’t develop are interesting but we have to remember that if this were 200 years ago, we would be reporting very high percentages of infant and early childhood deaths. We can’t allow the numbers to lull us into being more accepting of arguments that cite these numbers and then draw the conclusion that personhood should not be conferred until later on in the process when viability is better assured. Human dignity and personhood ought to start with the moment of creation whether that creation be from artifical or natural means. If a full set of chromosomes are in a cell capable of differentiation and division, “it’s” not a “it”, it is a he or she and a person.

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posted August 27, 2005 at 10:24 am

Non-Catholics tend not to believe that there is not a single instant when a person is created. That’s why opposition to abortion rises as you get further and further into pregnancy.

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posted August 27, 2005 at 11:54 am

If by non-Catholics you mean Christians, the Didache opposes abortion, I believe. That was very early, maybe around 150 A.D. Most Protestants accept the early early writings, no?

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reluctant penitent

posted August 27, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I guess then that the following were/are all crypto-Catholics:
1. George Orwell(
2. Jews for life (
3. The author of this article:
4. Hadley Arkes:
5. Nat Hentoff:
6. The people who run this site
7. The author of this article:
8. The Dalai Lama, who has ‘denounced abortion
as a sin against “non-violence to all sentient beings,” opposed
contraception and criticized proponents of euthanasia – much as the pope
has done.’

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Boniface McInnes

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:24 pm

“Non-Catholics tend not to believe that there is not a single instant when a person is created. ”
Yeah, but when does science say a life is created? Why should the subjective philisophical beliefs of any group about “personhood” matter? Denying the personhood of a victim doesn’t lessen the gravity of the offense, and intentionally denying a human being his or her own life,whether by chattel slavery, the gas chamber, or forceps to the brainstem, is a very grave offense.

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