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The Right To Choose

The New York Times has ‘uncovered’ some misleading rhetoric regarding Plan B (aka ‘the morning after pill’.)  Many of those interested in banning the contraceptive have hitched their wagon to the notion that this pill sloths away attached cells from the uterine wall.  This is in fact not the case, and never has been.  Plan B prevents the attachment (by means that are very natural/biological but may be too ‘eeeeew’ inducing to discuss here.)

Without getting too technical or “no, she did Not just say that” let’s review what we’re discussing here.  What the banners were using as their justification for preventing access to contraceptives was that Plan B was in fact an abortifacient.  Their position is that as soon as two cells meet (an egg and a sperm) a human exists.  Sentimental rhetoric aside, there is a name for the meeting of these two cells; it’s called a zygote.  A zygote is not a fetus or embryo.  Zygotes slough off and disappear on a regular basis.  It’s nature.  Many regular monthly cycles include these invisible cells.  A zygote probably has as much of a chance as organically becoming a human as any unmet egg and sperm.  That covers the biologically, now for the chemistry.

The last thing I would ever do is provide ammunition to anyone looking to limit the human rights of others, but you know what?  You know what does slough off cells?  The I.U.D. and birth control pills do.  Both of these devices include hormones that change the lining of the uterine wall.  The presence of anything in the uterus (like an I.U.D.) prevents any attachment to the wall.  A zygote’s got nowhere to go.

It’s astounding to consider that people (and mostly they seem, to me anyway, to be men) are so concerned about sperm when it’s inside of someone else.  How could it be, if they are truly concerned about what happens to their contribution, that we still have absolutely nothing resembling reliable male birth control?  The only means we have is not traditionally embraced by men and is probably as old as the I.U.D.  Listen up men, you’ve had the corner on the medical field for centuries, whatya been doing?  Where’s your walkathon or ribbons to raise awareness for male birth control.  Where is the wait-list for reversible vasectomies?  Where is the partaking in relations only for fertilization?

I won’t hold my breath.  It’s always much more interesting to point to others as the problem.  It might even serve social purposes to belittle an entire gender, assuming they a) don’t know how their bodies work and b) can’t make informed decisions about their own reproductive life.  For whatever reason, these attacks on a woman’s body and rights have been going on forever.  And let us be perfectly clear, any limitations to contraception are an attack on women not an attempt to “save the zygote.”  There are facilities all across this globe that are creating and/or processing these microscopic conjoined cells through very expensive and sophisticated means.  They do not all become implanted, and those that do, do not all adhere and grow.  Yes, this brave new world of medically induced fertility is worth more than a cursory review from an ethics perspective.  We should be looking long and hard at the benefits and costs to our society and to the individual of these developments.  But what isn’t complicated is that every person should have control over what is done to his/her own body.  Forcing anyone to carry a pregnancy is barbaric.  Pound whatever religious text as you try to do it, hold up whatever placards you find most repugnant, but in the end, anyone daring to tell a woman to carry a pregnancy is nothing less than a barbarian.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Cultural Critique

 

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