Is Contraception a form of Abortion
Christian Conservatives with support from the Bush Administration are extending their campaign against abortion and sex education to also try to turn back the clock on contraception. They now support legislation to prevent any institution that receives federal funding from refusing to hire doctors or health workers who refuse to provide abortion, contraceptives and information on birth control to patients.
Congresswoman Dianne Degette wrote a good book on her work to oppose these measres. She is a leading member of the woman's caucus in the House (where she is also Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party). The book is Sex, Science and Stem Cells. In one chapter she discusses the various tactics that House Conservative Christians are using to try to redefine presently accepted contraception as abortion.
An opening wedige is to claim that the use of IUD's and morning after pills are really "abortifactants" because they prevent the implantation of fertilized eggs. But this is just their opening wedge. She also points out in the book that they have tried to get condoms labelled as dangerous because they do not entirely prevent the spread of genital herpes and warts, since these can also be transmitted by more general contact. Because of the focus on efforts to nullify Roe vs Wade, the attack on the use of contraception is frequently overlooked. One instance is the situation for female soldiers who are deployed to combat areas. They do not have easy access to the morning after pill, even in instances where they have been sexually asaulted. Degette tells this story:
In 2007 a group of pro-life Democratic men approached Nancy Pelosi and the pro-choice leadersship on an issue that seemed to suggest a fundamental shift when it was first presented to me. These fellows had always opposed legislation, but they had finally realized that in order to prevent abortions you have to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
... snip [they had found that] ...
In a massive oversight, Plan B--the so-called morning-after pill--was not included in the formulariy kit ourmedics carry into battle.
They wanted to add an ammendment to the upcoming military appropriation bill. Because some Democrats were unwilling to take on the issue, they and the majority of House Republicans refused to support the ammendment and it was dropped.
Hillary Clinton has also weighed in on this issue.
Clinton said she has written a letter with Patty Murray, a Democrat senator from Washington, to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt asking him to reconsider and reject the release of the proposed rules.
She also urged people to sign a petition on her website, against the proposed changes.
"Our first effort is to get the Bush administration to rescind the regulation, not issue in its current form," Clinton said. "If that doesn't succeed, we're going to be looking for legislative steps that we can take to prevent this regulation from ever going into effect."
A copy of a memo that appears to be an Department of Health and Human Services draft provided to Reuters this week carries a broad definition of abortion as any procedures, including prescription drugs, "that result in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation."
Conception occurs when egg and sperm unite in the Fallopian tubes. It takes three to four days before the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. Several birth control methods interfere with this, including the birth control pill and IUDs.
"If enacted, these rules will make birth control out of reach for some women. That's a sure way to guarantee more unintended pregnancies and more abortions," said Anne Davis of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.