We know the war against/for vaginas has its bangs (no pun intended), but it seems it's got its whimpers too: because pro-lifers and conservative pundits view contraceptives that prohibit implantation as abortions (because the egg has already been fertilized, it's a microscopic lil' baby, yo), the FDA has omitted a few key lines from their online guide to birth control.
Earlier in the week, the guide read that the morning-after pill would "stop an egg from attaching (implanting to the uterus)." That line is now gone, as is the entire entry regarding the copper and progestin IUDs, replaced with one for a nonspecific IUD that's absent of the previously-written line "changes the lining of the uterus, making it harder for an egg to attach," originally included in the copper IUD guide. Following suit was A.D.A.M., which pens entries for the National Institutes of Health website, and the medical editor-in-chief of the Mayo Clinic says they're "chomping at the bit" to change their description of the contraceptives.
This is all because a scientific debate's recently begun on whether the morning-after pill does, in fact, prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, as previously advertised; instead, they delay ovulation before eggs are fertilized, and some also thicken cervical mucus so the sperm don't swim as easily. None of these newly-discovered properties would fall under the restrictions drawn by pro-lifers. Or at least, not until they re-adjust their restrictions to put some sort of theologically-based kibosh on cervical mucus thickening, ovulation delay, Sex Just For Fun, kittens, frolicking, and joy of any sort.
"I would be relieved if it doesn't have this effect," said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "So far what I see is an unresolved debate and some studies on both sides," he said, adding that because of difficulties in ethically testing the drugs on women, "it's not only unresolved, but it may be unresolvable."
But if the inevitable GOP response happens a crawl, as legislature's wont to do, maaaaybe there's a case for mandatory insurance for birth control? Or, um, a case for institutions where human female people attend not dropping health insurance in lieu of covering birth control? Hahahah. Yeah, I know.
'Science at Issue in Debate on Morning-After Pill' [New York Times]
'FDA Quietly Changes Its Guide to How the Morning-After Pill Works' [The Daily Beast]
Image via isak55/Shutterstock.