Plan A: Scrap Plan B

Judie Brown
August 11, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

I'm irritated. Totally.

My job is to tell the truth; but I'm continually thwarted by those in the medical community and the government who make false claims that utterly disregard the dignity of the human person.

Here's just the latest example. Pharmaceutical interests are pressing the Food and Drug Administration to permit the provision of certain morning-after pill concoctions over the counter, and the entire effort is based on perhaps the biggest lie ever told in the past 40 years.

This is tied into the long-running marriage of convenience between the federal government and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, so there's nothing new there. But one of the reasons why this union is so very wicked is that Planned Parenthood's agenda is based on the age-old maxim that if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it.

Take for example the definition of pregnancy. Years ago, doctors understood that when a human egg and a human sperm joined, a new individual was formed. So their logical conclusion was that this was the beginning of pregnancy. However, in the late fifties came the "discovery" that women could one day take a birth control pill to avoid the possibility of conceiving a child. As the research on this pill moved forward, medical professionals like Alan Guttmacher, M.D., and others aligned with him in the Planned Parenthood physician network posed a new question: Since we cannot know that a pregnancy is actually in existence until the embryo has implanted, why not state that pregnancy does not begin until that point?

Of course, the proposal was erroneous. However, someone of Guttmacher's stature, when supported by the Planned Parenthood machinery, could and did work to make this false conjecture a statement of "fact" with which he knew only a few would choose to argue. First the organized medical professionals agreed on the phony definition of pregnancy, and then the federal government followed suit. Pregnancy had been redefined. A bortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy and now the pill could no longer be viewed as an abortifacient since it operates before pregnancy (the newspeak version) begins.

We can fast forward now to the current set of problems. In the intervening years we have been treated to a panoply of new words to describe children such as unwanted, unplanned, unable to survive until birth and affected with tragic conditions that are incompatible with life. In each of these cases a certain amount of subjectivism comes into play; but when the goal is eliminating preborn children sooner rather than later, there is no end to the word games employed to achieve the end result.

In the case of Plan B, there are a host of additional half-truths that accompany the tried and true language of deceit. FDA representatives say if Plan B becomes available over the counter, the user will have to produce a driver's license to prove that she is at least 18 years of age. If she does not provide such proof, she will not be able to purchase the $50 set of pills. Of course nobody is suggesting that the teen who desperately wants those pills in her hip pocket would give fifty bucks to an older friend to get the pills for her.

When it does happen - and it will - new problems could face that desperate young lady. There have been no clinical trials addressing the long-term consequences of using these pills - for woman of any age, let alone teenagers. This grave concern came up over and over again during hearings that were held several years ago; but the FDA snored through those hearings, and apparently some people at the agency are still fast asleep.

Planned Parenthood has joined the FDA in assuring the public that no woman is going to rely on this concoction (comprised of mega doses of the birth control pill) as a primary means of birth control, so there are really no worries. Of course such statements are mere speculation. When the bottom line is the profit line, I don't expect Planned Parenthood to spend a whole lot of time tracking these women to make sure they don't fall into a rut of relying routinely on such "emergency" measures.

Finally, a word about the Bush administration. It's no secret that I am not an avid Bush fan, but his response to this deadly drug seems to reflect one of the basic principles contained in the political success handbook - it's better to be a winner than to be principled. When poll results, surveys and focus groups become the deciding factor upon which someone chooses when to speak out and when to remain silent, tragedy is sure to follow. The silence of the Bush administration regarding Plan B and its greased road to success proves the point.

It may not be prudent for a president of the United States to point out all the reasons why this drug is dangerous and should be completely withdrawn from the market, but the bottom line for us pro-lifers is much more basic. If indeed the president of the United States actually believed that a human being exists from his beginning (at fertilization) and should not be put in harm's way for any reason, then Plan B never would have made it to the druggist's shelf. In fact, neither would the birth control pill.

But politics does not work that way. Babies die, women suffer from various kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer or other maladies, and business goes on as usual. Perhaps that is why America has chosen to remain in a comatose state when the entire subject of birth control comes up for debate. Perhaps that is also why we are living in an age where the death of a single solitary human being, no larger than the head of a pin, is simply dismissed as part of the advances reproductive technology is making and will continue to make.

If Plan A went into force, and Plan B went out the window, how many people do you suppose would be happier and healthier ten years from now?

Judie Brown is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest Catholic pro-life educational grassroots organization. She is a recognized expert on the sanctity of human life, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the author of three books.