The Morning After Pill

On Wednesday, December 14th, a law went into effect in the state of Massachusetts requiring All private hospitals to offer the morning after pill to rape victims. This seems like a no-brainer. But the controversy is raging.

First, lets define the morning after pill. “Plan B,” as it is also called, is essentially an emergency contraceptive. It needs to be taken within 72 hours of the event (condom tearing, a withdrawal mistake, or, even a rape) and it is more effective the sooner it is taken. It is some of the same hormone that is found in many contraceptives, only in a higher dose. It is meant to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall. It will not work if a woman is already pregnant. So it would seem that the argument against it because of ethical concerns about abortion really misses the point, unless one defines a sperm and and egg that have barely shook hands and met as being a baby.

If the pill is nothing more than contraception after the fact, then there should be no reason for it not to be available over the counter, as it is in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, New Mexico, and Washington. It would be much more convenient for women in other states if they could go to the drugstore say, on a weekend.

That aside, where does anyone come off saying that a rape victim can’t be denied this option? I couldn’t believe it. I was watching MSNBC, specifically “The Ethical Edge” segment. The Priest talking with the host Chris Jansing essentially said that the Catholic Church has no problem with a rape victim taking contraceptives. The problem he had was with the woman ending a pregnancy, which he asserted that the morning after pill did. So if you follow that logic, a woman should always carry contraceptives just in case she is assaulted. She can ask the perp to wear a condom? What kind of a distorted view of ethics is that?

Wal-Mart has refused to allow the pill at all, at least until they find out how much money can be made. Some other retailers leave it to the discretion of their pharmacist. Still others offer it without apology. I suppose a store can refuse to offer anything it wants, although it is a disservice to its shoppers. What about the pharmacist that refuses to dispense a legal drug? What’s next, refusing to give customers condoms? If a medication is approved by the FDA, then a person who asks a Pharmacy for it should be expected to receive it. Just another example of the far right trying to force its “morals” on the rest of us.

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