Welcome to the contraception games

October 18, 2006 09:00 AM

Commentary by Anita Crane

Alarmed by the increasing number of pro-life Americans, pro-abortion politicians and pundits have made a habit of admitting that abortion is a sad and tragic choice. With feigned expressions of anguish, the next line is always a promise -- or a threat -- to keep fighting for a woman’s “right” to carry out that heartbreaking fatal choice. In addition, they’ve adopted a campaign for “prevention first,” which asserts that if you’re really against abortion, you should support the liberal use of contraceptive drugs to prevent it. This is a stab at shifting the blame for abortion onto pro-lifers. It’s a devious tactic to win elections and pass bills that would provide millions more in tax dollars to businesses like Planned Parenthood for abortifacient chemicals.

Let’s take a look at the prevention first campaign or, as I like to call it, the contraception games. We’ll start with the most obnoxious publicity stunts; then move on to the more subtle and, consequently, more dangerous tactics.

‘Feel my pain’

Recently two editorials were written as attempts to justify the need for over-the-counter sales of the “emergency contraception” pill Plan B.

According to its maker Barr Pharmaceuticals:


Plan B works like a regular birth control pill. It prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary, and may also prevent the fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg). Plan B may also work by preventing it [an embryo] from attaching to the uterus (womb).


At first most proponents called Plan B “emergency contraception,” as if it was developed for rape victims. But it is also more accurately dubbed “the morning-after pill” because some women want to use it after casual consensual relations and feckless men want them to use it too.

In June, someone -- or some political strategy group -- claiming to be a lawyer named “Dana L.,” wrote a seemingly contrived piece entitled “What Happens When There Is No Plan B?” for The Washington Post and opened with this: “The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn’t want.”

Shortly thereafter in August, a duplicate effort entitled “Having Sex? Use Plan B” by David L. Ulin of The Los Angeles Times began with: “Not long ago, in an act of near-adolescent abandon, my wife and I had unprotected sex.”

In both articles the writers portrayed themselves as typical middle class Americans in their forties, who, amid the struggle of hectic lives, engaged in spontaneous “unprotected” sex with their spouses. Both writers claimed that they didn’t want more children than the two they already had allowed into this world.

Note Dana L.’s attempt to justify her abortion. She wrote that she “was penalized for having sex with her husband” and persecuted at every turn because the Bush administration had failed to expedite Plan B to over-the-counter status. Hence, because she couldn’t bear the “mandatory 24-hour waiting period” in her home state of Virginia, one rainy Saturday Mrs. L. desperately left the wanted members of her family for a trip to Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C.:


I shuffled to the front door through a phalanx of umbrellaed protesters, who chanted loudly about Jesus and chided me not to go into that house of abortion... All the while, I was thinking that if religion hadn’t been allowed to seep into American politics the way it has, I wouldn’t even be there... The procedure itself took about five minutes. I finally walked out of the building at 4:30, 6 1/2 hours after I had arrived. It was a decision I am sorry I had to make. It was awful, painful, sickening... And to think that, all these years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, this is what our children have to look forward to as they approach their reproductive years.


In like manner, Ulin revealed some of the ugly truth about Plan B:


Ultimately, my wife paid a price for taking Plan B; she had stomach pains for a few days and difficult menstrual cycles for a couple of months. Neither of us were thrilled at flooding her system with hormones, despite the assurance of researchers that the drug is safe. And yet that also is part of what it means to be an adult, to take responsibility for yourself and act.


We live in a culture that doesn’t want to own up to this, that wants some vaguely parental-style authority -- God, the government, even science -- to tell us what to do.


This “feel my pain” tactic is ridiculous. But the use of abortifacient chemicals allows women and men to avoid feeling guilty since they don’t have to face the more developed and recognizable babies who are killed by surgical abortion.

Furthermore, I thought “pro-choicers” wanted us to stay out of their bedrooms. Nevertheless, while the writers made public what should remain a sacred marital union, both unwittingly revealed that they look upon their spouses and their children -- whether alive or dead -- as objects. Both writers demonstrate that they regret what should be an expression of self-giving love. Thus we can be grateful that despite their best efforts, they at least exposed abortion and emergency contraception as unnatural, painful and harmful to women.

It gets uglier

While the contraception cheerleaders above sardonically separated themselves from God, faithful Christians and just law, in June NARAL president Nancy Keenan used religion in her appeal to so-called moderate voters. NARAL cited a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll showing that 81 percent of respondents, “including 81 percent of Catholics and 75 percent of born-again Christians,” favored “birth control.” This is NARAL’s way of trying to convince Christians that it’s okay to support abortion and contraception, as if the majority rules -- not God.

Polling can be useful when done right, but in reality, only 2,689 responses came from 300 million Americans and anyone can take an online poll several times. This should give Americans pause about all such propaganda -- because in the end the only poll results that count are elections.

In August, NARAL claimed its poll of 1,000 likely voters showed that 77 percent of Americans think politicians should stay out of a woman’s choice to have an abortion. NARAL further claimed that some 650 respondents “were less favorable toward candidates who support allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions” and 666 of them disapprove of the South Dakota Women’s Health and Human Protection Act. But no one in that paltry number has to live in a state with pending pharmacist protections, let alone South Dakota.

On that note, evidently Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) recognized the power of a moral majority. According to The New York Times, last summer she warned the Arkansas Federation of Democratic Women in saying, “We do things that are controversial. We do things that try to inflame their base,” and she advised them to concentrate on perceived mainstream issues.

There’s a lot at stake. After all, the Freedom of Choice Act has been reintroduced to both houses of Congress (S. 2593, H.R. 5151), plus the Unintended Pregnancy Act (S. 2916) has been introduced to the Senate. The former bill would forbid states from outlawing abortion and the latter bill would contribute millions more in tax dollars to provide low-income women with dangerous abortifacient chemicals and stop them from reproducing. But there are also 101 co-sponsors of the Right to Life Act (H.R. 552), which would legally declare personhood, and the right to life, for human beings from conception through  death. Therefore pro-life Americans should remain righteously inflamed by praying, showing people the ugly truth about abortion and contraception, voting 100 percent pro-life -- and getting our allies to do likewise.

Release issued: 18 Oct 06

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