Who really wants to debate the morning-after pill?

Science, technology, and life.
April 26 2005 12:27 AM

False Pregnancy

Who really wants to debate the morning-after pill?

(Continued from Page 1)

If pro-choicers and the media draw the public into this fight, pro-lifers will be in deep trouble. The most universally compelling petitioners for abortion rights are rape victims. Even by conservative standards, you can't say they deserve pregnancy as a "consequence for sex"—as a New Hampshire politician did three weeks ago during a fight over the morning-after pill—since they didn't choose sex in the first place. Such politicians look insensitive to crime victims, a deadly problem for a Republican in a general election. Already pro-choicers are working this angle, promoting the pill as post-rape treatment and spotlighting cases in which women turned away by pharmacists claim to be victims of sexual assault.

The other danger for pro-lifers is that the wall they've erected between abortion and contraception will collapse. Morning-after pills can prevent conception or implantation; in any given case, it's practically impossible to know which. If pro-lifers appear to oppose contraception, rather than abortion, they risk antagonizing and alarming most Americans. Five months ago, a CBS/New York Times poll asked, "Should pharmacists who personally oppose birth control for religious reasons be able to refuse to sell birth control pills to women who have a prescription for them, or shouldn't pharmacists be able to refuse to sell birth control pills?" Only 16 percent of respondents said yes. Seventy-eight percent said no.

Advertisement

Already pro-lifers are straying across this line. The president of Pharmacists for Life reportedly doesn't stock any contraceptives in her store. Three weeks ago, in a high-profile appeal to Gov. Blagojevich, a Catholic bishop protested that the Illinois regulation requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for morning-after pills violated the Catholic doctrine "that artificial contraception is morally wrong." Against this view, pro-choicers argue that a woman who requests a morning-after pill is trying, responsibly, to prevent a pregnancy so she won't have to abort it. If pro-lifers start to look like they care more about resisting contraception than avoiding abortions, look out.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Oct. 1 2014 6:41 PM The World’s Politest Protesters The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?