The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday (April 30) that it approved the availability of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription for teenage girls as young as 15. As expected, there are articles repeating talking points that explain how Plan B works.
The new talking points say:
- “While the drug causes changes to the lining of the uterus, it does not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg.”
- “The drug will not work if a woman is already pregnant. Emergency contraception will not cause an abortion.”
Beware, this new claim is not based on any new scientific evidence or proof.
It is only a change in words. At first the FDA and the manufacturers both admitted that Plan B could act to cause chemically-induced abortion. They don’t use that wording, but they admitted that the drug worked in part by thinning the lining of the uterus so that if the drug failed to stop ovulation, and if the egg became fertilized, the embryo would die because it could not implant. That is a chemically-induced abortion.
Because they do not want the controversy about whether the pill causes chemically-induced abortions, they changed the talking points.
The opinion that seems to be the longest held is that the Plan B pills probably reduce the incidence of fertilized eggs that do not implant (2006). Some say there is no proof that implantation is inhibited, but they concede that in theory it could be (still in 2012).
Established forms of emergency contraception, such as the Yuzpe regimen which uses large doses of both estrogen and progestin and the copper-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs) are long known to inhibit implantation.
Less is known about newer forms, such as Plan B (progestogen only) and Ella (ulipristal acetate, a chemical cousin of mifepristone). The Plan B manufacturer also still claims that it shouldn’t affect or terminate an existing pregnancy. The Ella manufacturer claims that it may also work by preventing attachment to the uterus.
But recently researchers changed the conclusion without citing any new testing. They say Plan B and Ella both do not ever interfere with implantation even though Plan B contains 50 times (30 micrograms every day vs. 1,500 micrograms in two doses) the synthetic hormone that the progestogen-only mini-pill contains which is known to thin the lining of the uterus and stop implantation, and Ella uses a chemical that behaves as the known abortifacient mifepristone. One researcher even said that both pills have absolutely no effect after ovulation.
They went full-circle from Plan B prevents implantation to it absolutely does not ever.
- Plan B prevents implantation.
- Plan B probably prevents implantation
- Plan B shouldn’t prevent implantation
- Plan B absolutely does not ever prevent implantation.
What’s the motivation? Are we to believe they really care whether embryos die or not? Or is it that they want the debate to be over?
In March 2012 the International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics (FIGO) released a definitive statement on the mechanism of the Plan B pill. They said that it does not prevent implantation. But where’s the data? What changed? Why are some scientists saying there’s no proof and others claiming they absolutely know how the pill works? Now they will claim ‘scientific consensus’ when clearly there is not.
In addition, the United States Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have all redefined pregnancy as beginning with implantation which allows drug companies to declare that no drug that prevents implantation is abortifacient – circumventing the real question about human life.
Why did they do this if the science is settled and Plan B absolutely does not prevent implantation? What is their real motivation?
Well, if it were a sincere desire to protect teen girls, surely they’d offer them something more than pills and word games. Right?
About the Author
About the Author
: Mother of seven. Joyful convert to Catholicism. Ph.D. in Chemistry. M.A. in Dogmatic Theology. I write from my tiny office in a 100-year-old restored Adirondack mountain lodge that overlooks a small spring-fed lake. More about me here
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