Friday, April 07, 2006

Being honest about emergency contraception concerns

In a lame attempt to assert that those big, mean Republicans have the "ugly intent" to "regulate a woman's physiology against her will," PZ Myers explains how emergency contraception is supposed to work. In his rush to point fingers at those women-controlling bigots in Congress, he fails take the concerns of individuals who have questions about emergency contraception with any level of seriousness. Surprised? Yeah, me neither.

PZ discusses how the primary purpose of taking EC is too prevent ovulation. What PZ never attempts to do is talk about what might happen if a woman takes EC after she has ovulated. This, of course, shows that either PZ is either woefully ignorant about the stance of people who have questions/concerns about EC or he is being intentionally deceptive. Though it does make it easier for him to create strawmen, knock ‘em down and then make bold assertions about those opposed to EC.

Although, emergency contraception is also frequently referred to as the "morning-after-pill," Planned Parenthood notes that certain emergency contraceptive regimens have a five-day window of effectiveness even though the effectiveness decreases over time. When the FDA approved Plan B (probably the most popular form of EC) back in 1999, the the text on the carton of Plan B notes that the first tablet should be taken "as soon as possible within 72 hours of unprotected sex."

So the big questions PZ never addresses are: What does EC do if a couple has sex, the woman ovulates in the next day or so and then takes EC after she has ovulated yet within the 72-hour-after-sex-range? Would EC prevent a human embryo from implanting in a woman's uterus if EC is taken after ovulation?

One might ask: But Jivin, isn't it so much easier (and apparently more entertaining) to ignore the relevant and important questions and then proceed to paint your opponents as women-controlling "kooks?"

Yes, yes, it is. When a large number of a writer's audience and the writer himself think that prolifers are nuts who tap their fingers together like Monty Burns and cackle as they try to figure out which new plot they'll use to control women, then yes, it's much easier to not take their concerns honestly because taking the concerns of prolifers honestly might not go over with the your view and audience's view of prolifers.

Hopefully, PZ is aware that there are some serious scientists who have actually tried to figure out if emergency contraception prevents an embryo from implanting. Too bad he couldn't share that research with his readers.

PZ also fails to mention that the current controversy over EC doesn't have to do with whether it is should be legal or not. No one is "holding it up." It's already legal. The controversy is rather about whether EC should be sold over-the-counter instead of only by prescription. If Republicans are trying to "regulate a woman's physiology against her will" because they don't want a contraceptive drug sold over-the-counter then is anyone who is opposed to selling regular hormonal birth control pills over-the-counter also trying to "regulate a woman's physiology against her will?"

PZ writes, "Plan B doesn't help if one is already pregnant, and it doesn't affect any implanted zygotes."

How sad is it that a biology professor is using the term zygote to describe an entity that has implanted in a woman's uterus? PZ should be well aware that it would be impossible for a human zygote (one-celled entity) to implant in a woman's uterus.

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