Friday, February 3, 2006

Slang medical terms and pharmacists' rights

The debate regarding pharmacists' rights to refuse to fill a prescription is heating up, and with that comes lots of confusion over terminology, legal rights, right to life issues and more. This whole mess revolves around dangerous birth control drugs and emergency contraception that many pharmacies have an uneasy conscience about dispensing. What exactly is "emergency contraception?" Though there are many things to discuss on this topic, I am going to discuss the confusing terminology created by slang words for medical terms.

But, before we get to that, let's look at a few of these instances in the news lately.

So much for the props I gave to Target in an earlier post; on Monday, a woman broke the news that she had been fired for refusing to provide a referral for the drug. Irony is that her employer didn't even stock the drug!

This new national controversy was egged on by the governor of Illinois who I mentioned in an earlier post on his new program that requires all pharmacies and all pharmacists to fill birth control and emergency contraception. Three pharmacists from a Walgreen's in Illinois were fired for refusing to fill prescriptions, and now the American Center for Law and Justice (a pro-life legal association) is suing them.

Another major chain, Wal-Mart, is being sued by three women in Massachusetts, likewise for refusing to dispense emergency contraception.

So, now that we understand the buzz about pharmacists' rights, let's look at terminology. Many people think that emergency contraception is synonymous with the abortion pill RU-486. The mainstream media has done a good job confusing all of us, because that is not accurate. Emergency contraception refers to "Plan B," a pill taken literally the morning after sex to "prevent" pregnancy.

The morning after pill and RU-486 are two distinct pill regimens. The one that has been deemed a requirement for all Illinois pharmacies is the morning after pill. This is a super-dose of the birth control pill, and the non-generic name for it is Plan B. It is meant to prevent both ovulation and implantation. It can result in a very early abortion (when a newly conceived human being is prohibited from implanting in the wall of the uterus, this is called the abortifacient effect), but only the pro-life movement recognizes that. The abortion movement insists that it does not prevent implantation of a newly formed human being, and even if it does, that's okay because to them, pregnancy doesn't start until implantation and an unborn child isn't a human person with rights until… well, whenever they decide.

The morning after pill is taken with no regard to actual risk of pregnancy. The manufacturers and the abortion providers insist that all women must always take the pill immedietly after all "unprotected sex," however injecting one's body with these dangerous chemicals is extremely dangerous. The abortion providers never inform women that she can actually only get pregnant a few days out of the month, and therefore taking this after every time she has "unprotected sex" is far from necessary. This is one reason why Natural Family Planning is a much safer bet- even if just for women's health.

RU-486 is actually an abortion pill that can be taken up to about two months into a pregnancy. This is usually not available at a pharmacy, but only at health clinics like the abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. RU-486 is a two-pill regimen; the first pill kills the child, and the second causes him to be expelled from the womb. At least four women have died in the US as a direct result of taking this regimen of pills.

This pill regimen may only be taken in the instance of confirmed pregnancy with the primary purpose of killing the child that actually is there.

As the pro-life movement continues to thrive on our adrenaline rush from the March for Life, Justice Alito's confirmation and other events, the abortion movement is going to try harder and harder to promote and popularize these chemical methods of abortion.

The pro-life movement has been focusing for a long time on using graphic images of aborted babies to prove the point that abortion is wrong. We've succeeded all-right, but only in the area of surgical abortion, where gory, yucky photos can actually be shown.

Now with these dangerous abortion-causing pills on the rise, there is no convincing or brutal picture to argue our point. It is only a proper understanding of personhood and human sexuality that will survive the test of time and really promote the pro-life message- that life begins at the union of sperm and egg. This is why the pro-life movement must be firm in opposing not only abortion, but also, and of equal importance, contraception.

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