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Abortion and the Next-Day Pill

Yesterday one of the most contentious issues in FDA's 100-year history was resolved. Not my opinion--New York Times' words.

The FDA approved over-the-counter sales of the morning-after contraceptive pill to women 18 years or older. And to men.

Abortion rights advocates are celebrating and abortion opponents are seething.

And that is too bad. I started out as a physician and if you practice medicine you have to be, to a certain extent, a realist. You may say a prayer before surgery but you don't expect the organs to miraculously heal themselves. At least you wouldn' t bet your own life on it.

Nor would many abortion opponents.

But they do believe that pushing their religious beliefs on others, stopping abortions would somehow make this a better world. The fact that before legalized abortion, the world was filled with back alleys and women dying after metal cloth hanger procedures is something they simply care very little about.

And this is where I am a realist, I think. Abortions will always take place, so we better make them as humane as possible.

I don’t like abortions. I wouldn’t want my wife to have one. I wouldn’t really want to perform them. But I am grateful that some doctors do give women this last resort option.

We need to keep abortion legal. And even more important, we need to make options, such as the next-day pill, readily available to minimize the number of abortions.

Because, after all, abortions are a terrible thing. If you haven’t been part of one you simply don’t understand.

As a medical student I was part of many. And I can assure you that there were not one happy, giddy, woman waiting for her abortion. It is not something a woman does lightly.

And it is not something casual for the doctor.

After he has sucked out the fetus, which goes into a big glass bottle, he has to make sure he really completes the job. So the content is poured through a mesh. At least when I was part of this. And then the doctor has to look for pieces of the baby.

I’ll never forget when I saw a perfect little hand, about ¼ of an inch long. That’s when I realized what abortion is all about.

The small feet in the picture belong to a 10-week fetus.

And that’s the reason I think abortion opponents are so misguided when they try to stop access to the morning-after pill.

Because after all, this pill will lead to fewer abortions.

And we can all agree that this would be a good outcome.


Anonymous Rosethejet said...

Tuff topic. It is, in my humble opinion, only up to the women to decide on an abortion.

BUT the morning after pill is a great idea and one that should have been done years ago. I agree the fewer abortions the better, but with the non stop assualt by the religious right (or as I like to refer to them, THE CHRISTIAN TALIBAN) trying to make everyone fit into their idea of what morality and laws should be.

Republicans are the worst. For an outfit that is always CLAIMING to be for personal freedom and state's rights, they sure go out of their way to make sure these things are never achieved.

The medical pot discussion is one. The feds claimed and got away with it, that they had the right over states to regulate pot claiming it fell under the interstate commerce laws, EVEN if the seeds, the plant, and the sale stay completely within the state.

Same thing with assisted suicide. BUT they start claiming state's rights when it comes to religion, and abortion. Something that is a serious intrusion into personal rights. There is a nutjob outfit that wants the state of North Caroline (or South, not sure)to be completely taken over by The Christian Taliban and run the state according to the Buybull.

I get into this rant because it is the NeoClowns and religous nutjobs who worked tirelessly to keep this morning after pill from being more easily accessible thus bringing abortion numbers down.

These are the only people I know who not only take aim for their own feet but then reload.

Blogger Erik said...


I am extremely surprised, given the current administration and their pull on every form of federal government, that this occurred.

The morning-after pill takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of the abortion-opponents, who had to base their argument on "abortion is murder" in order to make the argument seem less grounded in morality (and in any poly-sci class, you'll learn the government isn't supposed to legislate morality). This pill, if taken as suggested, is a contraceptive - putting any argument firmly in the playground of morality.

Still, I'd be further surprised if it doesn't come up as a talking point in the upcoming election...

Blogger MsMelody said...

Merrill Goozner ( just addressed this issue (from an FDA viewpoint). My comment on his site is equally appropriate here--showing the "reality" of political correctness.

How is killing an "hours-old" embryo with a "morning-after" pill any less murderous than killing a soon-to-be-discarded embryo by means of stem-cell harvesting? Isn't the moral dilemma identical? And if so, how can one (the morning-after pill) be "approved" while the other (embryonic stem-cell harvesting) is forbidden? Circumventing research that might actually CURE diseases by citing moral and ethical concerns is disingenuous at best. To then permit a "morning after" pill to enter the marketplace shows only that pharmaceutical industry profitability is the driving force behind (almost) all FDA edicts. And we are to believe that this agency is looking out for us?!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And that’s the reason I think abortion opponents are so misguided when they try to stop access to the morning-after pill."

Mostly they're either gullible or brainwashed. Either way, critical thinking isn't their forte.

Christianists. This is what home-skooling and vouchers hath wrought.


PS: this is an interesting one to keep around.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Mmmm. Not sure about that Melody. The company will not make a lot of money on this pill. This was a political/religious decision, and things probably got so embarrassing for the FDA, which is supposed to be a scientific organization, and not some Ayatollah Conservative Christian Coaltion. I believe in separation of church and state, but we have more mix up than any European country that DON't have this separation. Ironic, isn't it.

Blogger MsMelody said...


I guess what I was trying to point out was that the FDA has made a mockery of "scientific integrity." I don't think government should mix with religion (if I did, I would consider emigrating to Iran), and when they do, all we citizens get is a bunch of hypocricy mixed with soundbites.

And for what it's worth . . . I believe all the pro-lifers who would prevent a woman from terminating a pregnancy should be willing to step forward and obligate themselves to care for the child, once delivered, for the ensuing 18 years.

As you pointed out, MOST women who choose to terminate a pregnancy do so after much soul searching. Neither the government NOR religion should be able to force a decision unless it (they) are willing to shoulder the obligation such action produces.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. your articles are very informative, frightening and yet it is true.
God will save the souls of the aborted children and rasise them up in Heaven.

God creates man but Satan use his dark agent, tares and wolf in sheep clothing (man) to kills them.

Blogger Moogirl said...

I am both and neither pro choice and pro life. I believe the whole issue is like trying to close the barn door after the cows are already loose.

You will never stop abortion unless and until you stop unwanted pregnancies. Perhaps if society taught it’s boys that “gettin’ some” doesn’t make you a man, and if they taught our young women that sex doesn’t equal love...ok, I know I’m dreamin’.

But seriously, if the pro-lifers were really as concerned about innocent life as they claim, then maybe they should try to attack the problem before it even becomes an issue, like ways to stop glamorizing sex. But I’m sure they wouldn’t be willing to give up their R rated movies, videos etc.

The answer is not to make abortion illegal but to make it unnecessary. And I just don’t know if that’s possible anymore.


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