08 November 2011


The reason Mississippi's "personhood" initiative is getting attention is its implication for contraception. If personhood begins at fertilization, the initiative would de facto illegalize hormonal contraceptives. It is abortion advocates, not crazy anti-contraceptive people, making the noise. Abortion supporters are completely comfortable with hormonal contraceptives' failsafe mechanism of creating a uterine environment unfavorable for the implantation of a fertilized ovum.
Diane Derzis, who runs Mississippi's only abortion clinic, said most people don't understand how far-reaching the amendment could be. "By this very definition of this bill, a fertilized egg is a person, so that does away with the IUD and most forms of birth control," she said.

Pro-contraception Christians are the only people who have ever balked at accepting the potential for all forms of hormonal contraception to function as an abortifacient.

Disclaimer: Mea maxima culpa.


kinfare said...

Thank you for this. For all the millions of women who use these forms of contraception, it is distressing how few know - and even most doctors don't seem to realize - just what is happening within their own wombs. This conversation ought to be happening. There really is no good way to prevent a pregnancy except to be a chaste, unmarried female.

Untamed Shrew said...

A conversation with my former OB, at my pp check-up some children ago:

"Can I write you something, maybe for a mini-pill?"

"That would be worse than the pill, ethically, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the pill should operate by preventing ovulation; hence no union of egg and sperm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the mini-pill isn't strong enough to do that. It only makes the uterine lining too thin for implantation."

"Yeah, in a nutshell."

"So, the mini-pill ONLY operates as an abortifacient, not as a contraceptive preventing fertilization?"

"Well, technically it's an abortifacienct, if you want to--"

"Right. No sale. Explain to me why, when I'm not yet pregnant, life supposedly begins with implantation, but if I am already pregnant, you begin with my last menstrual period."


Gauntlets said...

I think it was the "right to a baby" IVF dearies who really killed the bill. There's so much sympathy in the world, and there you go. At any rate, the word is out.

Reb. Mary said...

"But while the Carpenters consider themselves pro-life, they say their personal situation can't bring them to support this amendment. They've decided to move up their next In vitro fertilization procedure."

Too bad situations are always so personal. Otherwise maybe we could all be a little more honest and consistent.

My mind is still sadly blown by the lengthy go-round I had with an LCMS bioethicist who insisted that it would be unfair to women even to make public issue of the fact that hormonal BC "might be" abortificient, because after all so many women are arranging their lives around the Pill. That's almost verbatim.

(Mea maxima culpa too. Sigh.)

Reb. Mary said...

p.s. In case the second paragraph above sounded harsh: when I say "we all," please refer down to the "mea maxima culpa" bit. :P

Elizabeth said...

"religious teachings often play little role in women's day-to-day birth control choices" - I found this interesting and sad all at once. Of course religious teachings play little role in women's birth control choices. Other than the Catholic church (which the article pointed out has very little influence even though it has a stance), what other Christian church body/denomination says ANYTHING to their married couples about any kind of birth control whatsoever?

The Mama said...

None that I can think of, Elizabeth. It seems like there are a lot of issues people just don't want to talk about.

Mark B said...

Wow, especially when the comments are included, this just hits so many of the deep questions of this time.
1) The church moves in generational time. So much of this is new-ish that the church is just coming to grips with the heart of what birth-control really is. RC teaching (Humanae Vitae) was probably a deeply intuitive Spirit guided guess.
2) It would be nice to have a "science-approved" pill=abortion as then the church wouldn't have to think, thinking being hard, and that the thinking here was done a long time ago. But all that might do given the evidence of this vote is cement the right.
3) Given how weak the American church is, is this something we would trumpet? I don't ask that in a bury it sort of way, but in a picking battles way. Is this more or less deserving of rigorous teaching than say: yes actually being married is important, no shacking up is not a good thing, yes you need to teach your kids the catechism the earlier the better, yes, you need to support your congregation financially even if you have kids.

Some days one ends up sounding like the writer of Hebrews needing to teach the milk of faith over and over. The meat just brings stares of incomprehension.

Pr. H. R. said...


"Thou shalt not murder" is pretty milkish.