Saturday, December 9, 2006

Be honest about Plan B (Bucks Cty Courier Times, 9/30/06)

Thumbs up to the Courier Times for its September 2nd support of cable television customers, whose viewing of Catholic network EWTN was made unnecessarily cumbersome by the Comcast monopoly. Thumbs down to the Courier Times for its August 30th publication of thinly veiled, anti-Catholic vindictive by Bonnie Erbe.

Ms. Erbe supports easy availability of Plan B – the emergency so-called contraceptive. Seeming to lack conviction in her position, however, she launches a venomous, personal attack against those who dare to differ: “This is a controversy driven by a minority of zealots who apparently believe that the Spanish Inquisition never should have ended…. Their ideology generally stopped evolving somewhere between the fourth-century theologian Augustine and the Middle Ages. If they choose to live in prehistoric times, no one is trying to stop them.”

Ms. Erbe rightly explains that Plan B “works either by interrupting ovulation, by preventing fertilization of the egg or by barring a fertilized egg from lodging in the uterus.” She readily acknowledges that “the medical community, most Americans and even most religious dogma believe that life begins at conception.” However, she attempts a now-familiar slight of hand, which denies that “conception” and “fertilization” are synonymous.

Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1970) defined “fertilization” as “the process of union of two germ cells whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.” As per Scribner’s New American Pocket Medical Dictionary (1978), both fertilization and conception were defined as “the impregnation of an[the] ovum by a[the] spermatozoon.” As recently as 1996, Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language defined “conception” as “fertilization; inception of pregnancy.”

As per a 1998 statement by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “A major problem in this debate is the manipulation of terms. The FDA, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and abortion advocacy groups long ago endorsed a change in the definitions of ‘conception’ and ‘pregnancy’ to confuse the issue. Instead of equating conception with fertilization,…they equate ‘conception’ and ‘pregnancy’ with the implantation of the embryo in the uterus 6 to 10 days later. Thus a drug or device that destroys the early embryo or disrupts its development is redefined as "contra-ceptive," even though it is abortifacient in nature.” An honest discussion of Plan B would require acknowledgement that “barring a fertilized egg from lodging in the uterus” is abortifacient – not contraceptive.

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