Support for the Morning-After-Pill
In what appears to be an attempt to court his party’s socially conservative base for a possible Presidential run, New York Governor George Pataki has announced he will veto a bill that would have made the so-called morning-after-bill (known as Plan B) available over-the-counter. His rationale was that the legislation did not restrict access to minors.
As Jeremy points out over at Charging RINO, New York State already allows minors to have abortions without restrictions. But somehow keeping minors away from a drug that would prevent pregnancy is more important than restricting them from obtaining an abortion. That alone makes Pataki’s position untenable.
But let’s pull back and look at the national debate concerning the morning-after-pill. Anyone who reads my writings regularly knows that I prefer to look at the issue of abortion outside the legal/illegal paradigm. Instead I choose to focus on what I think is the core issue: how do we as a society prevent and ultimately stop people from wanting abortions?
There are many ideas out there, but none will work fully without the existence and use of birth control. And that means promoting a sense of responsibility amongst all those not ready for children. Plan B fits right into that culture of responsibility.
First, it’s important to note that Plan B prevents pregnancy by preventing implantation of any fertilized embryos. It does not cause an abortion because there is never a pregnancy involved. But it does raise an ethical issue we need to consider. If an egg has been fertilized and Plan B is used, that embryo will be lost. For an absolutist, such an act is unforgivable. But for those of us who recognize the dangers of absolutist thinking, Plan B is really the last chance of preventing a future abortion. It’s ethical advantages in promoting responsibility and preventing abortion outweigh the ethical issue of preventing the implantation of an embryo.
Additionally, no one would want to use Plan B as a regular means of birth control. It’s harsh on the woman’s body. Furthermore, many who use Plan B are doing so because 1) their usual means of birth control failed (a broken condom for instance) or 2) they immediately realized they made a huge error in judgment. In both cases, the desire to use Plan B is a very responsible reaction to a difficult situation.
Would we as a society prefer that people not take immediate action to rectify a mistake or accident? Is it better for these women to wait and then later have an abortion?
Truly solving the problem of abortion requires promoting responsibility both before and after pregnancy. The morning-after-pill is a very responsible response and should be part of the solution to the abortion problem. Treating it as equally repugnant as abortion itself clouds the debate and actually hinders efforts to reduce abortion.
We should support availability of the morning-after-pill