Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Save the morula!

Someone left a copy of the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) newsletter on the subway today (probably hoping that a curious person like myself would pick it up--I do the same thing with animal rights magazines.)

The lead story? "Ontario easing access to abortifacents", referring to the emergency contraception pill (ECP), a.k.a. the "morning after pill".

Now, obviously, this newsletter is intended to preach to the converted, for they don't really explain what is wrong with the ECP. Their objection is that because the ECP, which is taken within a few days of possible conception, prevents a fertilized egg from implanting, which they consider a form of abortion.

I am not without sympathy to some "pro-life" claims--certainly, in my experience, my son showed signs that he was a sentient being with his own lively temperament by the second trimester. But the ECP does not abort a baby--it keeps a ball of undifferentiated cells (the morula) from implanting!

Of course, the CLC does not mention that the morula is not even remotely a baby, has no nervous system, no "beating heart" to be stopped by abortion. Probably they are counting on the ignorance of their readers, or maybe they are ignorant themselves (consider the riduculous image at the left, purported to be an 8 week old embryo, at the Nuremberg Files anti-abortion site, and compare to an actual image of an 8 week old embryo. At this stage, the embryo is only 15-20 mm long!)

So why is the CLC wasting its energy worrying about this--a treatment which would prevent abortions of more developed embryos who do have the beginnings of nervous systems and beating hearts?

I don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions.

On page 2 of the newsletter, they have an article titled "Provinces extend same sex 'rights'". What does this have to do with abortion? You would think that anti-abortion people, if they had a stand on homosexual relationships at all, would encourage them--how many exclusively homosexual people get abortions?

But no. (Surprise.) CLC says,

The unique position that marriage has traditionally held in society has been slowly eroded and this is the most aggressive attack on our most vital institution; when the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman is broken, any sexual coupling (or, as some have argued, why stop at marrying just two people) becomes worthy of recognition and rights in the eyes of the law.

So this is what it really comes down to. The CLC is concerned not so much about the "rights" of the morula which will not implant if the woman takes the ECP, but rather wants to enforce its view that sex is only legitimate if the participants are married and willing to have a(nother) child.

The CLC has a couple of "Action Items" which I would like to counteract with Action Items of my own:

  1. Ontario residents should contact Health Minister Tony Clement (clement@titan.tcn.net 80 Grosvenor Street, Hepburn Block, 10th Floor, M7A 2C4. Fax: 416-326-1571) in support of the Ontario Women's Health Council study on the use of the ECP when provided at pharmacies without a prescription. The study currently involves 40 pharmacies in Toronto, and is funded by the Ontario Health Ministry.
  2. Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents should right to their MLAs to support the recently introduced same sex rights bills (which the CLC refers to as "expansion of special privileges for homosexuals").

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