Dead babies who don't count: The Pill's bloody future...
...the proven ‘anti-implantation’ action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. (Pontifical Academy for Life)
(Tim) Today, twenty-two percent of our nation's children are murdered in the womb, and a growing proportion of those murders are what our nation's merchant of death, Planned Parenthood, euphemistically refers to as "medical abortions"--abortions committed by chemical rather than steel weapons. Pro-life leaders have been dreading this change for decades knowing how much more difficult it will be to oppose abortion as it moves toward the earliest weeks and days of pregnancy, and into the privacy of the home.
The change has come quickly...
Already, chemical abortions comprise over twenty percent of current abortions, and the proportion is growing rapidly. In a private e-mail sent to Planned Parenthood Federation of America on July 9, 2007, Danco Laboratories LLC (the pharmaceutical firm distributing one of the chemical abortifacients, Mifeprex) reported: "In the five years following FDA approval (2000-2005), more than 750,000 U.S. women have used Mifeprex."
This means over 150,000 women per year are taking Mifeprex to kill their unborn child. But Mifeprex is only one of the growing list of chemical agents being deployed...
Chemical abortions privatize murder
This is a sea-change in the practice of abortion. Mothers now take direct responsibility for their child's murder and the disposal of his body--there's no medical professional paid to get rid of the gore. The mother swallows the pills and waits for the expulsion of her baby's body. Then she chooses how to dispose of him.
With this murder there's no need to hide the victim's body. Mom may do with him as she pleases. She may choose to bury her child in her back yard. If she wishes, though, there's nothing to stop her from taking him out with the garbage or flushing him down the toilet. She's at home. Alone.
Here's Planned Parenthood's clinical description of the little one's final hours...
At-home administration of the second drug — the prostaglandin — allows a woman to control the timing and location of the cramping and bleeding associated with the medication abortion process. Studies have shown at-home administration to be both safe and effective.
"Safe" for the mother's body, maybe; but what about her conscience or her soul? What about her baby? Would her child understand Planned Parenthood speaking of his murder as "both safe and effective"?
When these chemical weapons were first deployed, both anti-abortionists and pro-abortionists expected that many physicians who'd previously kept away from the abortion business would now enter it. Things haven't turned out that way. Most medical abortions are still being done by those already bloodied by surgical abortions. Thus Planned Parenthood remains the largest trafficker in both surgical and medical abortions, charging about the same for both: $400 to $600 per child.
Shepherds' conspiracy and silence
It's apparent the church has not thought through and prepared for this change. While medical abortions continue to grow in frequency and percentage, there's little discussion of the implications this has for the battle for our nation's conscience or the care of the souls we shepherd.
This came home to me, recently, when the wife of one of our elders handed me an article from our local paper dealing with this massive movement toward chemical abortions. Noting the change would be accomplished through the work of pharmacists, the article's author (himself an evangelical Christian) went looking for local pharmacists who might have a conscience problem with fulfilling prescriptions for these poisons.
Some felt one way and others another, but my attention was riveted by the statements of one pharmacist I knew, personally. A former Indiana University campus staff worker for a national parachurch organization, this pharmacist had been one of my elders back in the late nineties. In the article, he told how his mind had changed about when human life begins. He explained he'd come to have no objection to fulfilling prescriptions for chemical abortions very early in the mother's pregnancy. (For an opposite example of a Christian who hasn't changed his definition of "conception" or "life," and thus refuses to fill prescriptions for these abortifacient drugs, see this testimony in favor of legislation protecting such pharmacists' freedom of conscience.)
This brother had come to believe that life did not begin at conception, but rather sometime during or after the little baby attaches himself to his mother's womb. Thus, as he saw it, filling prescriptions for chemical poisons prescribed to rid the mother's body of her child in the first week or so of the child's life was Scriptural, Christian, moral, good, and right.
Of course, he stated the matter using different words, but the long and short of it was that this brother in Christ has crossed the Rubicon and is now no opponent of the early abortions of human beings made in the Image of God. It's only that he denies they're human beings, and therefore that they bear the Image of God, and therefore that they're abortions, and therefore that he's an accomplice to murder.
Reading the article, I recalled a conversation I'd had with this man years earlier during which I asked him what he was going to do when abortions moved earlier and were committed by drugs he was called on to fulfill prescriptions for in his pharmacy? He'd responded then that, if he had to, he would quit his job.
Yet now, reading this article, I saw he didn't "have to." He'd changed his mind. Grieved, I posted on his public statements supporting the early murder of unborn children. But he was ready with his reasoning, even daring to use Scripture to support these murders.
This is happening in churches around the country. Doctors who are evangelical; pharmacists who are reformed; fathers who are confessional; and mothers married to these men are murdering unborn children. And with no scruples at all; "Everyone's doing it. What's the problem?"
Tragically, they haven't heard warnings from the pulpit of their churches. They haven't read editorials in their denominational magazines or posts on leading evangelical blogs calling them to repentance. They have never known of a mother being called before an elders board for aborting her child. No elder of their congregation has ever been removed from office for fulfilling prescriptions for Methotrexate or Levonorgestrel. (Levonorgestrel's method of action is not limited to the prevention of implantation.)
Think about this: have Leadership, byFaith, or the Journal of Biblical Counseling run any articles providing counsel on the pastoral issues involved in working with fathers and mothers who took poison and then awaited the arrival of their baby's body in the privacy of their own home? Not likely.
Abortion's prevalence in our churches
If we think this isn't going on in our church's homes and marriages, we're foolish.
Around the world, one out of every twenty-eight women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four has an abortion each year. Over the course of twenty-nine years of childbearing age, four out of every ten women are likely to have an abortion. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimated the total first abortion (prevalence) rate among U.S. women of childbearing age at forty-two percent, and that was back in 1992--seventeen years and twenty-five million abortions ago. So a random group of one hundred women between fifteen and forty-four years of age today is likely to include even more than forty-two women who have had at least one abortion.
Think about the mothers of children in your Christian school or home school co-op; the women in your Bible study; the mothers and daughters of your congregation.
"But Christians don't do those things!" you say?
Well then, what is a reasonable estimate of the abortion prevalence in your church? Half the national average? A quarter the national average? Come up with an estimate and then consider the implications for how we preach and teach and counsel.
Meditate prayerfully and with love on those women of our congregations whose hands are stained by their child's blood and we'll read Isaiah 40 with new eyes. We'll train the next generation of shepherds to be on the watch for consciences afflicted by this horror, locked in a terrible prison of secret guilt and shame.
Babies neither Planned Parenthood nor National Right to Life count
But there's more. The wickedness of child slaughter is so deeply entrenched in our nation and congregations that one form of killing is off the charts. Literally.
Doing research on the chemical abortions done earliest in the life of the unborn child, I found that no one's keeping track of these little ones' deaths. Here is a group of children slaughtered each year who never even make it to the relatively public category of "just a statistic." When these little ones die, Planned Parenthood doesn't count them. Planned Parenthood's partner in research, the Guttmacher Institute, doesn't count them.
Not even National Right to Life (NRL) counts them.
Their reasons differ, but the result is the same.
On two occasions, I spoke with a Guttmacher spokeswoman at their New York City office. Also, I spoke with several individuals at National Right to Life, including NRL's Director of Education & Research, Randall K. O'Bannon. Both organizations--one the main proponent of abortion in America and the other abortion's main opponent--acknowledged they do not include the victims of early chemical abortions in their abortion statistics.
When I objected to their dismissal of these little victims, the two organizations' reasons differed. The Guttmacher spokeswoman told me they don't keep track of these abortions because "they're not abortions." She was adamant about this. NRL, though, didn't deny abortions were occurring. Rather, Mr. O'Bannon was firm in stating that it's impossible to count these abortions because "we don't know whether or not an abortion has occurred."
Different reasons, but the end result is the same. These victims don't count.
How can Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute deny these abortions are, in fact, abortions? To understand this denial, we must go back a few years.
Birth control requires the redefinition of murder
Midway through the twentieth century, the western world underwent a sea-change on birth control. Courts reversed laws prohibiting its distribution (see this summary by Margaret Sanger's grandson), churches reversed their historic condemnation of birth control with Anglicans leading the way, and physicians put their shoulders to the project by changing one small definition, hoping thereby to solve some tender souls' conscience issues.
It's this change in definition that's critical to our understanding of what's happening with medical abortions today.
In September of 1965, the American College of Gynecology (now the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) issued a bulletin containing an edict that its members were to reverse their terminology concerning conception and pregnancy. Up to that time, everyone agreed conception (and therefore, pregnancy) occurred the moment the ovum was fertilized. Here's how a 1963 U.S. Government public health pamphlet stated the matter:
All the measures which impair the viability of the zygote at any time between the instant of fertilization and the completion of labor constitute, in the strict sense, procedures for inducing abortion.
Then, by fiat ACOG changed the definitions:
[I]n 1965, American College of Gynecologists, a long-standing supporter of abortion and family planning, issued a medical bulletin that sought to change the accepted definition of “conception” from union of sperm and egg to implantation: "Conception is the implantation of a fertilized ovum [egg]." (from Americans United for Life, the legal arm of the anti-abortion movement)
What was the result of this change in the definitions of "conception" and "pregnancy"?
Protestants swallow the whole bloody mess
The floodgates opened and Americans, unchurched and churched, began to use birth control with no thought to such technicalities as the definition of conception or the beginning of human life. Christians were on the bandwagon, too, and threw out two thousand years of Christian doctrinal commitments to join the throng. Opposition to birth control became just one more example of Roman Catholic legalism--much like going to confession and eating fish on Fridays.
There was a wholesale abandonment of the Church's historic commitment to the bearing of children as an act of Christian faith; to obedience of God's oft-repeated command to "be fruitful and multiply;" to the celebration of the fruitful womb as one of God's principal blessings; to "the propagation of a godly seed" (Malachi 2:15) as the third purpose of marriage declared alike in the historic wedding liturgy and the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Over time, some began to question this revolution, but the results were so unmistakably beneficial to an evangelical culture lost in the pursuit of pleasure and security that reform never got very far. There were occasional books lauding the bearing of children as an integral part of God's plan of sanctification within Christian marriage. And some on the margins of the community sniped at the birth control pill, warning that it was clinically known to function, at times, by causing the fertilized ovum to be obstructed in his efforts to attach himself to the uterine wall.
But it was the work of a moment to dispense with such unreasonable zealots. Christian physicians assured couples that, if the Pill ever prevented implantation, it was extremely rare and they shouldn't bother themselves about it. It was not their intent to prevent implantation, but rather conception; and God knew their hearts.
"Now, off with you. Be carefree. Have fun. Make love. Go to church Sunday morning and send your two children to youth group. But don't forget to take the Pill."
Having sown the wind, we're now reaping the whirlwind. Our consciences seared by decades of drugged recreational sex as well as the assurances of Christian physicians that the Pill doesn't kill anyone, we have been caught flat-footed by this latest growth area in medical abortion.
NRL between a rock and a hard place
It leaves National Right to Life in a rather ticklish position.
On the one hand, those opposed to abortion ought to agree that our defense of unborn children should extend to the protection of babies aborted even at the earliest moments of their lives. Human life is human life, whether the child is two days, two weeks, two months, or two years old.
On the other hand, the Pro-Life faithful--particularly Protestants--have never been zealous to learn the intricacies of the way the Birth Control Pill works, and it's a little late in the game to start the massive educational effort needed if we're to mount a new offensive against medical technologies variously referred to as Plan B, Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs), or morning after pills. How do we explain the mechanism of action of ECPs without also explaining the mechanism of action of the Pill which many of our constituencies' marriage beds and lives were built upon? There will be too many questions, too many tender consciences wounded. Too much of a ruckus.
Now, to be sure, no one at National Right to Life actually said as much to me when they admitted they didn't count the deaths of little ones killed by ECPs. They only spoke of the impossibility of knowing when ECPs actually killed a child. Thus the difficulty of keeping track of their deaths, and NRL's decision not to.
But deaths there most certainly are. And as the use of ECPs quickly rises, the deaths they cause rise, also.
Redefining conception, pregnancy, and abortion
The Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood are consistent in not counting these babies. For them, the matter was resolved long ago with ACOG's redefinition of conception and abortion. Again and again and again (note this site is hosted by Princeton) in their literature, one reads assurances to potential users that ECPs do not cause abortions. But of course, they can say this because all the medical and governmental authorities have conspired to deny that to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum is to cause a child to be aborted. The following is typical of such assurances repeatedly found across the literature:
ECPs do not interrupt an established pregnancy, defined by medical authorities such as the United States Food and Drug Administration/National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as beginning with implantation. Therefore, ECPs are not abortifacient.
Yet immediately following this dogmatic declaration intended to silence the debate, we find this bit of casuistry, taking back with the second hand what was just given with the first:
To make an informed choice, women must know that ECPs—like all regular hormonal contraceptives [sic] such as the birth control pill, the implant Implanon, the vaginal ring NuvaRing, the Evra patch, and the injectable Depo-Provera ...may prevent pregnancy by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, inhibiting fertilization, or inhibiting subsequent implantation of a fertilized egg.
Or this statement, almost identical to the prior one:
The way emergency contraceptive pills work depends on where you are in your monthly cycle when you take them. They may prevent or delay ovulation (release of your egg), affect the movement of egg or sperm (making them less likely to meet), interfere with the fertilization process, or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
When did National Right to Life make a policy decision they wouldn't list these methods of birth control among the tools of death plied in a mother's first trimester of pregnancy?
The silence of National Right to Life
Note, for instance, this National Right to Life page listing each abortion technique for each of the three trimesters. In the first trimester, the methods listed and defined are suction aspiration, dilatation and curettage, RU 486, methotrexate, and dilatation and evacuation. That's it--no mention of Plan B, ECPs, or morning after pills. Yet here's NRL's definition of abortion:
The term 'abortion' actually refers to any premature expulsion of a human fetus, whether naturally spontaneous, as in a miscarriage, or artificially induced, as in a surgical or chemical abortion.
Again, when asked why NRL doesn't include early medical (chemical) abortions in their literature, O'Bannon responded, "We only count abortions we know have occurred," meaning that the precise number of medical abortions early in the first trimester through Plan B, ECPs, and morning after pills is not certain, so no one's counting. A baby may have been murdered; a baby may not have been murdered. We don't know whether or not a child has lost his life, and so we don't include such birth control processes among the methods of abortion employed during the first trimester, nor do we include any estimate of the number of deaths they cause in our abortion statistics.
Thus it may safely be said today that no one in the pro-life community will be aware how many victims early medical abortions cause. After all, they keep up with the research and read the publications of the Guttmacher Institute which defines abortion in such a way that the preventing of implantation never qualifies as the killing of an unborn child. And National Right to Life gets its statistics from the Guttmacher Institute.
Vatican not silenced: ECPs are "Chemically Induced Abortion"
As I researched the growing use of ECPs and related drug regimens, I came across the name of a professor at Princeton University who is the world's leading advocate of ECPs. He is leading the movement to make ECPs available as over-the-counter drugs, cutting out the embarrassment of asking a physician or other health care worker to prescribe the drugs or a pharmacist to fulfill the prescription.
Interestingly, I was not put in touch with this man by National Right to Life, but by the public information officer of the Guttmacher Institute. She told me the expert on ECPs was Princeton Professor James Trussell.
Professor Trussell estimates close to half of the decline in abortions seen in the past few years is due to the growing use of ECP's:
Trussell and colleagues have estimated that for each pregnancy that occurs after use of emergency contraceptive pills, three pregnancies are prevented. In 2000, 1.3 million abortions were performed in the United States. If 17,000 (1.3%) pregnancies that ended in abortion occurred after the use of emergency contraceptive pills, approximately 51,000 pregnancies that would have ended in abortion were prevented. By comparison, only 0.1%, or 1,400, of the 1.4 million abortions in 1994 occurred after use of oral emergency contraceptives, and about 4,000 abortions were prevented by their use. The increase in the use of emergency contraceptive pills may account for a significant part of the recent reduction in abortions nationally: The number of abortions in 2000 was 110,000 fewer than in 1994, and an estimated 47,000 more abortions were prevented by emergency contraception in 2000 than in 1994; thus, emergency contraception could account for 43% of the decrease in abortions.
An article co-authored by Trussell and Frank Davidoff MD (chair of JAMA's Journal Oversight Committee) that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) made every effort to dispel the notion that ECPs--specifically Plan B--prevent implantation. Yet the article admitted the Vatican had declared "the proven ‘anti-implantation’ action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion."
Note that well:
Huffing and puffing about the Vatican "subverting sound science-based public policy," Trussell and Davidoff went on to say:
Driven by the belief by some that interference with implantation is a form of abortion, the politics of doubt about Plan B’s contraceptive mechanism appears to have contributed not only to the delay in its OTC availability but also to the continuing refusal by some emergency services to provide the drug to rape survivors as well as refusal by some pharmacists to make it available to individual patients.
The authors' personal commitments on the matter are clear. Had we any doubt, under a "Disclosure" heading at the bottom of the page, JAMA printed the following:
Drs Davidoff and Trussell were members of the joint FDA advisory committee that voted to approve the OTC (over-the-counter) marketing of Plan B in the United States.
Following a survey of the literature concerning Plan B's mechanism of action, Trussell and Davidoff concluded:
In the absence of absolute proof about Plan B's mechanisms of action, the right to make personal decisions about whether its use is morally acceptable must be respected and for that reason women should continue to be informed, as they are now in the Plan B labeling, that its use may affect postfertilization events. At the same time, however, all women should be informed that the ability of Plan B to interfere with implantation remains speculative, since virtually no evidence supports that mechanism and some evidence contradicts it. Women should also be informed that the best available evidence indicates that Plan B's ability to prevent pregnancy can be fully accounted for by mechanisms that do not involve interference with post-fertilization events.
Note their admission that there is an "absence of absolute proof," and that "women should continue to be informed, as they are now in the Plan B labeling, that its use may" prevent implantation.
The hour of decision
There is no question the armies of birth control are militantly promoting early medical abortion as well as every form of emergency contraceptive pharmaceutical. There also is no question truth in labeling has required all the pharmaceutical companies selling these chemicals, as well as the physicians and health care workers writing prescriptions for them, to admit women taking these medications are risking the life of their unborn child through the prevention of implantation of the child on the mother's uterus.
The Guttmacher Institute has no problem with this. The Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health have no problem with this. The American College of Obstreticians and Gynecologists has no problem with this. Why?
Because all of them agree with the redefinition of conception and pregnancy as the moment when the little baby successfully attaches himself to his mother's uterus.
But what of the people of God? When do we believe that little child's life begins? And what of National Right to Life--when do they believe that little child's life begins?
The number of surgical abortions will continue to decrease, first in the developed world, but quickly following in the developing and undeveloped world. And as surgical abortions decline, medical abortions--both those done by drugs whose mechanism of action is exclusively the sloughing off of the unborn child attached to the uterus and those done by drugs which work both by preventing fertilization and by preventing the implantation of the tiny child--will grow exponentially. We've know this was coming for decades, and now it's come to pass.
The commonplace use of Birth Control Pills by believers is a large obstacle in the path of leading the Church today to confront this sea-change in our growing culture of death. But confront it we must.
After the Flood, God commanded Noah:
Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it. (Genesis 9:5-7)
Sooner or later, believers will face the fact that we have turned our back on these commands--both the command to be fruitful and multiply, to populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it; but also (and at the same time) the command, "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed."
Most of the use of birth control in the Church today violates both commands. Not always. Maybe not even very often. But often enough that pharmaceuticals and the birth control lobby are conscience bound to warn prospective mothers of the possibility that they are murdering their unborn child. They, at least, believe in full disclosure.
It remains to be seen whether pastors, elders, deacons, seminary professors, and Titus 2 women also believe in full disclosure, or whether there are some truths too, too inconvenient to our sterile and lavish lifestyle to allow to be mentioned.