Plan B fails, and paves the way for a new abortion drug

Last year I blogged about how the abortifacient Plan B is available to children as a result of a new FDA policy.  Well, it looks like Plan B is just not enough.  

The newest abortifacient approved by the FDA is “ella.”  This drug is falsely being promoted as a contraceptive, when in reality it is simply another drug that will abort a baby within 120 hours of a contraception failure or “unprotected” sex.  

A couple of ironic points arise from this story:  

1)    If contraception was such a sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy, then why do we need a contraceptive for the contraception?  Sounds like the problem is less what people are using to prevent pregnancy and more poor life choices?  If nothing else, it sounds like a difficult way to live—apart from the fact that contraception is unnatural and degrades even the conjugal act.  

2)    The concept of protecting yourself from the consequences of sex, whether to prevent STDs or pregnancy, has always confused me.  The sexual liberationists tout sex as liberation from the bindings of religious convention.  But what is liberating about constantly worrying that you have not protected yourself from STDs or a baby?  It seems like contraception is more troublesome than abstinence.

The consequences from your actions should play a part in guiding your decisions, but what the sexual liberationists propose is that the consequences of your actions can be negated by contraception.  So what’s the answer?  Ignore consequence—they have it all figured out!  

By the time America figured out what casual sex was doing to our culture, the rate of STDs spreading was alarming, babies were either being aborted or brought up in dysfunctional homes, and our grip on right and wrong with regard to sex was loosening.

The sexual revolution had little to offer in preventing STDs or unwanted pregnancies, but the lustful behaviors continued anyway.  As technology developed, Plan B, ella, and other forms of abortion became all the more necessary, because we relied solely on consequences to guide our decisions.  Principle is seemingly unnecessary when there is a sure-fire plan to prevent “bad” things like babies.  But when contraceptives categorically fail, principle should be recognized for succeeding in withstanding the test of time.  I only know of one baby born apart from a sperm and egg union, and I tend the think He is an exception.

This is the issue at hand: our society is becoming purely consequentialist.  While consequences should play a part in our decisions, we should be rooted in principle and our faith; not in consequence.


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Ben, we were also told by the "medical community" for so long that the fetus was unable to feel pain, but we now know that very early on a baby can feel pain. We were also told that for the first few months there was nothing uniquely human about the fetus, and now we know that unique DNA is found before most women even know they're pregnant.

We were also told that abortion would never be used as contraception, and I think it's fair to say that abortion is THE contraception of choice amongst aggressive liberals.

The same people are now telling us, including those our liberal federal government (FDA), that this does not abort the fetus, but instead prevents implantation. I would be skeptical about what research you read, because we've been wrong MANY times before when the consequences were sugar-coated, but I can't think of one instance in which people were sounding the alarm about the detrimental effects of these types of drugs and been found wrong later.

Just keep that in mind...
Ah. That's Plan B versus 'ella', though. I'd be only mildly surprised to find that ella interfered with implantation, given the reasons presented in the article you linked (although the dosage in ella may be too low to have those effects). However, there's no real research saying one way or the other, so it's quite reasonable for pro-lifers to be opposed to ella. (Not reasonable, perhaps, to say that it "is" an abortifacient, versus "may be" one).

On the other hand, there's quite a bit of evidence suggesting that Plan B isn't an abortifacient. Quite a bit of research has been done, and while you can never prove something with absolute certainty - particularly en utero - all signs say that once a woman has ovulated, plan B doesn't do anything (which is why women are supposed to take it ASAP if they need it).

Interestingly, ella and plan B have similar rates of effectiveness. Given that plan B is not an abortifacient, this would imply that ella is not one, either, or less women would have become pregnant. But more research is needed.
not an addendum
Ben, read this article on the Witherspoon Institute website (

It explains the problem with the drug as an abortion "medicine" and how it actually kills the implanted fetus.
an addendum
Out of curiosity, Billy, why do you say that Plan B is an abortifacient? I've read that it only prevents ovulation, not implantation.
All IVF babies are wanted. All babies are wanted re Adoption. But mothers do not want their babies to be adopted. They put babies through the agony of pain in Abortion.
Hmm. I posted a response yesterday, but it seems the Internet ate it. Well, here goes again:

Billy, thanks for another thought-provoking blog post! I figure that you meant your ironic points to be throw-away questions, but as someone who probably has more contact with secular/liberal friends, I figured I'd take a shot at giving them an answer.

1) "Why use Plan B?"
Regular contraception is pretty reliable, but only when it's used properly. Some types, like the pill or ring, require a few weeks to a few months to become effective. Condoms can break, particularly when used past their expiration date. Likewise, a woman may change her mind about wanting to become pregnant, or may be a victim of sexual assault.

2) "Is contraception really worth the trouble?"
Yes - it seems most people agree that the experience of sex is worth the "hassle" of using contraception. And why not? Contraception is safe, reliable, and easy to use. There's not much hassle. A pill only has to be taken once daily, a ring, once monthly, and IUDs work for years in a row. Indeed, few people are "constantly worrying" about pregnancy or STDs - this is really just a bad stereotype put out by a few Christians. (Although, I'm sure there are some emotionally unstable girls, flitting from bed to bed, that satisfy the stereotype. There's always *someone* that fits any stereotype).
In six years of marriage, my wife and I have only had a few "scares" with our birth control - and these were mostly relieved when we found a birth control that worked better for us. What would the alternative be to using contraception? Worry about pregnancy, how to finish graduate school quickly, and how to provide for my wife and upcoming children? No, contraception is definitely the low-anxiety choice.
Two things I really like about Catholicism
The solid stance in defense of human life and the Lord of the Rings.

(But the first a little more than the second. Just a little.)

Good show, Billy.
Not really Paul. They are just born from fish-like sex rather then mammal-like sex.
Very good. I didn't even think of that...I guess I should have said something along the lines of "a sperm/egg union." Great point! I'll make the correction.
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