Where’s that in the Bible?

It makes me laugh when people accuse me of proselytizing on the job just because I tell patients how certain medications can work. I thought it was my job as a pharmacist to know the different mechanisms of action of drugs but apparently I am getting this information from Psalms or St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Here is an example:

A third way is by changing the womb lining, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the lining of the womb (implantation). A fertilized egg (embryo/unborn baby) needs to attach to the womb to receive blood and nutrients and continue to grow. If an embryo/unborn baby does not attach, it cannot survive.

Man, that must be straight out of the Epistle of James! Actually, this is from the patient counselling leaflet of a popular contraceptive, Alesse.

Imagine a woman, who believes that life begins at conception, taking the pill for contraceptive purposes for years and never knowing about the potential abortifacient properties of the pill. Imagine yourself as a health care provider and having that same woman come back to you and saying, “Why didn’t you tell me if you knew?” Yes, the vast majority of women do not care. However, the vast majority of patients do not care if their antibiotic can sometimes cause diarrhea but I still tell them.

Women are being lied when they think that a pill is only contraceptive in nature. Sure, a group of “experts” magically changed the time when a woman becomes pregnant but it does not negate the fact that some women truly care if they are ending a life 7 days after conception. They deserve to know full well what is happening when they take the pill. It is not about proselytizing, it is about informed consent.

Documentary about the pill now available

I’m thinking of making Fridays “Pharm Fridays” where I want to discuss the abortifacient properties of contraceptives you can easily access at your local pharmacy. Here is a documentary about the pill to get things going:

The Birth Control Pill Documentary from T Herbert on Vimeo.

Here is a 7-minute shortened video:

Also check out the website “28 Days on the Pill”.

Thoughts from a prolife (former) athiest

Steve Kellmeyer writes in a guest post on The Dawn Patrol:

I wanted to be a scientist, be someone important, discover something new, be an adult. But, as number four in a family of eight children, my mother had taught me something very important very early on: babies were wonderful. Throughout my studies into genetics, biology, chemistry, I never knew if there was a God in heaven, but I knew there was a baby in the womb.

Atheists are not renowned for their logical consistency, and as a pro-life atheist, I certainly missed some points early on. At first, I was fine with fornication and contraception, but opposed to abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality. I argued the points with others constantly.

An atheist history professor whom I greatly admired, and who had been trained by Jesuits as a teen, pointed out the inconsistency in my position. If a child exists from conception, then what difference should rape, incest or abnormality make?

He thought he had me.

He did.

Three days later, after long thought, I told him that I agreed with him. I couldn’t hold both positions at the same time. “So,” I concluded, “abortion for rape, incest or fetal abnormality is also unacceptable, and I now oppose that as well.” He wasn’t pleased.

I don’t intend to comment on the religious content, but that’s a pretty honest take on the logical inconsistency of exceptions to elective abortion.

As I argued the abortion position, I became aware of many other logical inconsistencies as well.

For instance, I began to realize that the assertion, “I can have sex without wanting a child” was logically absurd. It’s like saying, “I can eat ice cream all day without wanting to get fat.” Sure, you can. But what does your “want” have to do with it? The biological reality was going to hit you either way.

I thought it was a good analogy, but I quickly discovered a flaw. Having sex was different from eating cupcakes all day. Every time I ate a cupcake, I added calories to my body. Every time. But it is not the case that every act of sex creates a child. The analogy wasn’t perfect.

I gnawed on that for awhile.

And I began to see… something

Something I didn’t expect.

Kellmeyer started by explaining how he’d turned away from faith as a child, and finishes by explaining how that ‘something he didn’t expect’ led him back. You can read the whole post to get that story.

But the “I can have sex without wanting a child” is important too. It taps into our recent discussions about contraception. Whatever your views, to truly understand that abortion is wrong changes the way you look at sex. A view of sex without consequences doesn’t work, because (news flash) babies are often a consequence of sex. The desire for sex without babies sets up a demand for abortion as a “solution.”

What do Pro-Lifers think about contraception?

As a club, Students for Life doesn’t take a stance on contraception. Opponents often (smugly) question why pro-lifers wouldn’t add their unconditional support to contraceptives in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies, but the issue is really more complicated than that (even ignoring contraceptives that act as abortifacients).

As Janet Smith explains:

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the [1992] Supreme Court decision that confirmed Roe v. Wade, stated, “in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception… for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”

The Supreme Court decision has made completely unnecessary any efforts to “expose” what is really behind the attachment of the modern age to abortion. As the Supreme Court candidly states, we need abortion so that we can continue our contraceptive lifestyles. [emphasis (and link) mine]

The smug assumption that more contraception means less abortion is really a sloppy simplification of the relationship between contraception and abortion. When our society attempts to separate sex from pregnancy, and we organize our sexual relationships based on that assumption, a pregnancy is a failure — one that we aren’t willing to accept — and people often turn to abortion as the “solution.”

But, if people are going to be having sex without an openness to pregnancy anyways, shouldn’t we promote contraception to reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancies? We offer clean needles to drug addicts, even though we don’t want to promote drug use…

This past weekend, Jill Stanek asked her readers the following questions:

Do you agree or disagree that the contraceptive issue is tied to the abortion issue?

Why or why not?

Do you think pro-lifers should accentuate or ignore contraception in our discussion of the sanctity of life?

Check out the conversation in the comments.

Personally, I think Students for Life is right not to take a stance on the issue, so long as we don’t shy away from talking about it. I’m hesitant to bundle ideas, and the relationship between contraception and abortion is complex. Though, we shouldn’t be afraid to address the issue. But there’s room for debate and disagreement.

What do you think?