Repeat after me: Plan B is not abortion

Plan B is not abortion, Plan B is not abortion ...

Published March 8, 2006 1:11PM (EST)

Feministe points us to a well-meaning and useful -- yet somewhat naive -- editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about why it's medically inappropriate to confuse emergency contraception with abortion and, ergo, why certain pharmacists and others who oppose it haven't got a leg to stand on. In the piece, Philip G. Peters Jr., a professor of health law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, cites two recent studies that show pretty clearly that E.C. works by inhibiting ovulation, not -- as previous studies have suggested may also occur -- by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.



Peters calls these studies "remarkably good news." Now that we're so sure that E.C. prevents ovulation -- that is, intervenes before "life" begins -- "neither pharmacists nor lawmakers must choose between reproductive freedom and freedom of conscience, a choice that previously seemed inescapable," he exults. Right! That silence you hear? It's the sound of militant pharmacists and sellout legislators taking it all back. They're not about to budge on this one, sorry. Even if they know better, which many don't. Especially those who oppose abortion and birth control (i.e. those who oppose rain and umbrellas). While professor Peters' optimism is refreshing, it seems that in his world, all laws are based on common sense, all leaders have integrity, and Dolly won the Oscar for best song.

That said, given the extent and effectiveness of E.C. = abortion/Plan B = RU-486 [sic/sic] mind control -- even my supergenius megaliberal former roommate fell for it not too long ago -- we can't afford not to see editorials like this, over and over again. This "news" about ovulation vs. implantation won't change the minds of the hard-liners, but it could help free some reasonable people who are under their spell. (Meanwhile, stay tuned: How long before we hear from the "Life Begins at Ovulation" brigade?)

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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