"Plan B" splitting hairs?


#1

In a friendly conversation I was having today regarding the abortion in health care bill, the conversation took many turns, including all the “what-if’s” about rape, incest, etc…
we came to a cross-road at this question:

What exactly does the Church teach about taking (or giving) the “Plan B” pill if it’s given to a woman on the same day in which she is raped?

I understand that particular pill to be given to prevent conception AND implantation. My feeling was that it would be the same (morally speaking) to taking the bc pill, considering it’s really just made of higher doses of levonorgestrel, which is found in most bc pills.

My friend’s perspective was that if the Plan B pill is taken as part of the emergency care given to a rape victim it would be okay b/c conception hasn’t actually taken place.

That’s where I felt stumped, b/c I see her point.

Her position was that it would have to be on the same day b/c the odds of conception happening thereafter would be greater, (considering we have at least 24hrs of fertile egg & up to about 5 days of living sperm) in which case, she did feel it would be morally wrong to take it, even after enduring the trauma of the sexual assault. Her bottom line was that if conception has happened, it’s wrong, but it’s not wrong to prevent it from happening due to this particular trauma.

I feel like we’re splitting hairs. I’m just looking for a clearer answer or link for more information on what the Church teaches about taking the Plan B (or similar drug) in a rape situation.
Peace…


#2

"The Church" does not have a teaching on this that is definitive. The Vatican has not issueed any directive. The US Catholic bishops have issued guidance but it is not a teaching of the universal magesterium:

usccb.org/prolife/issues/abortion/ecfact.shtml


#3

I think this would depend on many things. Personally, I think we need to to know the exact mechanism of how Plan B works in order to distinguish if it is going to kill or not.


#4

I don’t know exactly how Plan B works, but I do know that taking three birth control pills at once is said to have the same effect as taking Plan B… which would support that theory that it is just birth control on steroids.

I don’t think that it is ever morally permissible to use birth control or Plan B for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. And that’s really all Plan B is for. It serves no other purpose whatsoever.

While I understand where the person may be coming from, I don’t understand the logic behind it being okay to prevent a life so long as it’s early enough in the process. Who knows how many people take Plan B and wouldn’t have gotten pregnant if they hadn’t taken it. But some people walking around on this planet right now were conceived from rape and are part of God’s plan.


#5

I agree I was trying to lead the OP down the logic path of morality…:thumbsup:


#6

If you read here:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_contraception

you will clearly from a secular source that depending on a phase of a woman's cycle Plan B simply stops a zygote from implanting meaning that the drug is keeping a very young baby from it's food source and starving it to death. If we wouldn't do it to a human being why would you do it to the unborn?


#7

Yeah it's pretty dicey on the abortifacient aspect of Plan B. Now I wouldn't think the Church would have any problem in a rape/incest victim a hormonal treatment to prevent ovulation and conception. In fact, I think such a discussion has already been brought up here before. So if there was a way to determine if the woman has already ovulated or won't be ovulating for a few days, I'd say there's no problem. A woman should be able to take steps to ensure she doesn't get pregnant by a rapist.

On the other hand, if conception has already occurred, you cannot take the life of an innocent child to spare burden on the mother.

So I thikn there's more to it than "splitting hairs." It's a very real and very legitimate concern. My hope is that there is a treatment available that will not have abortifacient properties and will simply suppress ovulation to prevent conception and this tricky subject can be bypassed entirely.


#8

I may be confused, but why would you think that medicine preventing conception is okay by the Church’s standards? There is such a thing as non-abortifacient birth control but as far as I know the Church does not allow it. Why would a one-dose equivalent be any different?


#9

Here’s the fact…Catholic emergency room never offer this treatment. AT least none of the ones, I have worked at.


#10

I think the current thinking is if the women hasn’t ovulated and the pills can prevent or delay ovulation, then the drugs would be licit–because you are defending yourself from an unjust aggressor. If ovulation has occurred, then the drugs may not be morally used because it could result in the death of a baby. That’s how I understand it, in a nutshell.

and to the above poster, I don’t think that’s true
msnbc.msn.com/id/21018908
<>

unless something has changed in the last few years…


#11

"3. How does Plan B work?

Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work."

from FDA.gov website

This part seems to be a problem… Plan B seems to work the same way that non-abortifacient birth control works. It tries to prevent/delay ovulation, but if that doesn’t work, it prevents implantation.


#12

thank you Magdalena - once it goes from delaying ovulation in a rape victim to preventing implantation it goes from being Plan B to being and abortaficient and therefore not licit. It could be as to the above poster that the above group did not have the necessary understanding of the medical knowledge behind what they were approving or they were approving something very different. Often the way something is packaged and marketed is not how it works 100% of the time but only MOST of the time. Would you give your child something that won’t kill them MOST of the time?


#13

yes, all the time. I feed them spinach from a can for example and there is no way I can be 100% sure that it doesn’t contain botulism. If you say that we can’t give Plan B unless you can be 100% sure it will not cause an abortion you’re talking about a degree of certainty that is impossible to have in this world. As long as you can be morally certain Plan B doesn’t have any post-implantation effect then it can be given to rape victims.


#14

I don’t think the church has said such… so you may want to be careful in stating such things matter-of-factly. The fact of the matter is, preventing implantation is not to be taken lightly. The union of sperm and egg has already occurred at the point of implantation and thus a life will be lost by preventing implantation.


#15

You’re right about that, which is why I said I was hopeful there are treatments out there that ONLY suppress ovulation and do NOT prevent implantation as a “backup” the way Plan B does. I’m pretty sure such hormonal treatments do exist, but I’m not a doctor so I’m not positive.

Obviously for a couple engaging in fully consensual sex, contraception is wrong. But as Jennifer J pointed out, in the case of rape/incest the woman is simply defending herself from an unjust aggressor and she has the right to do that. Again though she does not have the moral right to end the life, no matter how small that life is, of an unborn child regardless of the circumstances of his conception.


#16

[quote="The_Bucket, post:15, topic:183741"]

Obviously for a couple engaging in fully consensual sex, contraception is wrong. But as Jennifer J pointed out, in the case of rape/incest the woman is simply defending herself from an unjust aggressor and she has the right to do that. Again though she does not have the moral right to end the life, no matter how small that life is, of an unborn child regardless of the circumstances of his conception.

[/quote]

Trying to prevent a pregnancy is not "defending...from an unjust aggressor"... unless you consider a baby an unjust aggressor. Self-defense would be defending oneself during the actual rape/assault. Anything you do after the fact is not self-defense against the aggressor.


#17

thank you all so much for the dialogue and links. You can see now why I was stumped. You all have hit on many of the same things I thought.
If you could take Plan B in the same 24 hrs as the attack, and that would prevent conception, then I would think that’s okay to do. I DO agree that once conception has taken place, then it’s a no-go.
It’s an incredibly emotional scenerio full of “what-if’s”, and we all know we could sit around and “what-if” oursevles into madness over a lot of things. I know you shouldn’t make laws based on exceptions. I would guess that conceptions resulting from rapes are not statistically significant considering the earth’s population…of course I’m not stastician…just my guess. Either way, it’s a horrible thing to even have to think about. Thanks for the insights.
Peace…


#18

[quote="The_Bucket, post:15, topic:183741"]
You're right about that, which is why I said I was hopeful there are treatments out there that ONLY suppress ovulation and do NOT prevent implantation as a "backup" the way Plan B does. I'm pretty sure such hormonal treatments do exist, but I'm not a doctor so I'm not positive.

Obviously for a couple engaging in fully consensual sex, contraception is wrong. But as Jennifer J pointed out, in the case of rape/incest the woman is simply defending herself from an unjust aggressor and she has the right to do that. Again though she does not have the moral right to end the life, no matter how small that life is, of an unborn child regardless of the circumstances of his conception.

[/quote]

If there really is some sort of test to see if ovulation had occured or is occuring, that would probably be our answer. I don't think preventing conception (in this particular scenerio) would be wrong. :shrug: Good insight there, thanks... more to think about....
I know for me personally (sorry if this is tmi) I feel my ovulations just about every month...Granted I don't know exactly when the egg is released, but I feel that sharp cramp for a day or two b/f I see mucus. Never fails. And for some reason, I don't feel it as much on my left side as I do my right. But that's another topic for another thread...sorry...my point was that if a woman suspected there had already been ovulation, then I would think it would be morally wrong to take the Plan B afterwards (in this case).


#19

Plan B causes severe cramping and horribly bloody discharge, full of clots.

When only a very small number of rape victims get pregnant, why would we put EVERY rape victim through that pain and trauma?

Furthermore, the whole concept is off because it suggests that children of rapists are inherently evil and must be denied life. Saying it’s okay to give a woman Plan B so she doesn’t have to carry her rapist’s child is also saying that she ought to be allowed to abort her rapist’s child if she doesn’t get Plan B.


#20

oh no…no…that’s not what I’m saying at all and I didn’t get that from anyone else. The issue for me personally is to prevent conception…just conception. IF there was a way to do that, then the question remains unanswered. If there isn’t, then the question is answered and that answer is no and I fully agree with that.
I didn’t realize this pill had that particular side effect…so it induces a “period” like experience? I’ve never heard that before. :frowning:


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