Friday, April 07, 2006

The Science of Plan B

PZ Myers has a very informative post on how Plan B works and shows why any claims that it is an abortion are simply wrong. Once again, the religious right operates on misinformation, lies,
and intimidation to control women's bodies.

You have just figured out what is called Plan B contraception. It is a form of birth control that tells the woman's ovaries to hold off on releasing any eggs for a short while. It's called emergency contraception, because it is used by a woman who has, for whatever reason (rape, a broken condom, misplaced enthusiasm, second thoughts, anything) had unwanted sperm in her reproductive tract, and she wants to make sure that this isn't the moment her ovaries happen to pop a follicle.

Plan B is not an abortion.

Plan B doesn't help if one is already pregnant, and it doesn't affect any implanted zygotes. Pregnant women produce progesterone naturally.

Plan B gives women the ability to control, to a limited extent, when they will expel a gamete. In purely reproductive terms, it's a bit like a male's ability to control when he will ejaculate, or expel his gametes. That's it. No fertilized zygotes are involved, so that level of the birth control debate isn't even relevant. It's simple, responsible, and safe. You'd have to be insane to object to Plan B.

So why are Republicans holding it up?

This is an issue on which we can completely ignore any assertion that life begins at fertilization (which I personally find absurd), because it's irrelevant: fertilization doesn't take place. No zygote, no fetus, no embryo, no babies. The claim that this argument is about the life of a baby is null and void, and the opposition to Plan B makes it glaringly, brilliantly clear that this isn't about the sanctity of life at all: it's all about controlling a woman's ovaries. She will not be allowed to tamper with the timing of ovulation.

The ugly intent of the right wing fundies is unmasked right here, with no phony piety to hide their goals. They want the power to regulate a woman's physiology against her will.

What contraceptive method do you use? If it's not abstinence, you ought to realize that these kooks will be after you, next.

Please direct any woman you know to Pharyngula's blog. It is absolutely imperative that women start to educate other women again about their bodies. And, we need to fight the wingnut strategy of keeping women uneducated so that they do not know basic facts about how their body works.

Hat Tip: Amanda at Pandagon.