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Emergency Contraception (a.k.a. EC & "Morning After" Pill)

Developments during the year 1998

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Developments during 1998:

bullet 1998-SEP-2: Preven: Gynetics Inc of New Jersey announced that it would market its "emergency contraceptive kit" starting 1998-OCT. It had already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration under the name Preven. It costs about $20, and is generally available available in pharmacies and Planned Parenthood clinics. However, Wal-Mart and some independent pharmacies refuse to dispense the kit. Included in the kit are four pills, a pregnancy test and an information booklet.
Responses from pro-life groups was mixed:
bullet The National Right to Life Committee reacted unexpectedly. Rather than condemn the pill as an abortifacient, they said:

"Some chemical compounds may work to either prevent fertilization or kill the developing human being which has begun to grow. National Right to Life advises women faced with these situations to consult one or more physicians. If, in the best medical judgment of the physicians, the drug or drugs will cause an abortion, NRLC strongly opposes the taking of the drug. If the drug(s) will prevent fertilization, the National Right to Life Committee takes no position." 1

Since essentially all physicians regard pregnancy as starting when the fertilized ovum becomes attached to the uterine wall, and since emergency contraception has no effect after pregnancy has begun, then almost any physician that a woman might consult would not regard Preven as inducing an abortion. NRLC later appears to have subsequently retracted their statement. Laura Echevarria, the Communications Director for National Right to Life later implied that, to them, pregnancy begins at fertilization. Under their definition, which contradicts that taken by the FDA, AMA and medical professional generally, there is the very remote possibility that Preven could cause an abortion. 1

bullet Other groups, mostly Roman Catholic, took the stance that a fertilized ovum is a human being even before it becomes attached to the lining of the womb and pregnancy begins. Some comments:
bullet Helen Alvare, a spokesperson for the United States Roman Catholic bishops said that it is a: "terrible thing to do to women to call this a contraceptive".   It sheds "the embryo from her womb...[and] makes the womb a hostile environment [for the embryo]. Neither Preven nor RU-486 is a contraceptive device."
bullet Judy Brown, president of the American Life League, said that "...government agencies will go to any lengths to pander to the sexually irresponsible. This is abortion...It ends a life. It kills a child."
bullet Dr Thomas Hilgers, spokesperson of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction called Preven " early abortion pill...Abortion is abortion is abortion. [American society has] lost the real integrity of the fundamental notion of what the human person is".

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  1. "Comments on the FDA approval of a 'Morning After' pill (Sept-1998)," at:

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Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Reducing abortionEC menu > here

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Copyright 1999 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published on 1999-JAN-13
Latest update: 2007-MAY-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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