Regulating Abortion

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rob Stein, National Science Reporter for the Washington Post, discusses the possibility that the Bush Administration with change regulations to redefine certain birth-control methods as abortion.


Rob Stein

Comments [33]

darius from brooklyn

What this comes down to is a medical definition of abortion versus the definition of abortion based on an opinion. Contraception has never been considered "abortion" in the medical field but the Admin is willing to declare an opinion and call it science.


Aug. 03 2008 10:26 PM
Pascale Vaillancourt from Hackensack NJ

Michael, the reason I wanted to leave a comment is because it seems a lot of people don't know how the birth control pill is keeping a woman from getting pregnant, that's it that's all. I won't argue about the way you see the female body. But children are 50% their mother's genes and 50% their father's genes, and it makes women and men equaly important when it comes to reproduction. And I don't see what all of this reality has to do with the woman's choice to reproduce. Of course it is her choice! But if and when she decides to have a baby, she will need something from the man, even if she can manage her pregnancy all by herself.

Aug. 02 2008 08:29 AM
raelyn from California

Personally, I find the whole idea of banning birth-control ridiculous. There are *way* too many people on the planet. *Way* too many unwanted children, and it's just going to get worse as time goes on. I seriously doubt it's God's will to kill off the planet by overpopulation. Come on now people. There's a time to follow the Bible, and there's a time to use some common sense.

Aug. 01 2008 07:13 PM
Michael from Manhattan

Pascale, I think you are caught up in a way of looking at sexual reproduction that keeps you from realizing what is going on. it is RE production. Not PROduction. Children are not "unique" they are a willed combination of genes, meshed by the mother into her own physical, living cell into an extension of her own body and life. As males it is difficult to accept this. But it is a fact of nature. Indeed ther are many forms of fellow life on this planet that need no males to reproduce. The sperm, (which is physically minuscule next to the ovum)is merely a packet of genetic information (ironically coming from the sexual physical extension of another female, or as you would call it the male's mother)that is absorbed into the ovum. It is the womans choice to decide if she wants to RE produce. IT is HER body that is the fundamental system involved. We males play a tangential role. It is the way of looking at it that you share with the right wingers Pascale, that allows men to set laws that women's bodies must live by. I say we all let a woman do with her body (and what ever extensions of it she REproduces) as she wills.

Aug. 01 2008 06:06 PM

it does say "certain kinds" I'm assuming this refers to things like 'morning after pills,' and such other things.

Aug. 01 2008 05:10 PM

Hey O...

If "the Pill" was harmful to women's bodies and caused cancer... it wouldn't be prescribed.

I've been on MULTIPLE forms of birth control, part as a study on how birth control can benefit women in more ways than just its primary function. You know why? Because it was the only way to regulate my hormones against having migraines that would otherwise put me in the hospital. It regulates my blood pressure. While yes, there is weight gain associated with SOME birth control, not all birth control functions in the same way, and in some cases, some types of birth control help women LOSE weight.

I find it ironic that this country wants to deem birth control abortion, and yet it's totally alright for men to be prescribed medication for erectile dysfunction.

The last time I checked, yes, we do have Freedom of Speech, but we also have Freedom of Religion. This isn't a Theocracy, this is a Democracy. Keep your laws and religious thought off my body, thanks.

Aug. 01 2008 04:40 PM
Clea Carchia from Edison, NJ

This sneaky attempt by the Christian Right is no more then a pushy, arrogant act designed to limit women's rights and should not be tolerated! I'm tired of having the freedoms and rights we have fought so hard to get and keep be stolen in the guise of national security, family values or some other nonsense. What will they take away next? In a big country like ours lives a great diversity of people holding a wide array of beliefs. We must protect individual freedoms and beliefs, not take them away.

Aug. 01 2008 01:22 PM
Pascale Vaillancourt from Hackensack NJ

The egg is not an individual! It is a cell all right, like the cells that make our skin, our organs and every parts of the body. But the egg alone is not viable and is not more important than the male counterpart, the spermatozoide.

Aug. 01 2008 12:29 PM

O- No one is debating your right you your opinion and freedom of speech, but when people start making regulations and laws that interfere with a persons right to medical care, your crossing the line.

I also think you should take another look at the pill. I understand your feeling that it is "harmful" and promotes (a minimal, might I add) weight gain in women, but like many things in the medical world the obvious benefits outweigh the potential side effects. And thats a personal choice the paitient needs to make, not anyone else.

There are medications out on the market that are MUCH stronger and potentially dangerous to the human body, but at the same time people rely upon them to live and function.

I, for one, am on some of these medications (which I might add is also the reason I'm on the birth control pill, since it would be VERY harmful for myself and the child if I were to get pregnant with these meds in my system). If I was not given access to these medications I would have been in a wheel chair by the age of 3, and unable to function as a normal human being.

There is no good choice/bad choice in medical experience. It's a world of grays and cost/benefit evaluation. Taking away a person's individual choice in this is a dangerous harmful slope to slide down.

Aug. 01 2008 11:58 AM
j from nyc

if there are religious organizations that allow for abortion and birth control, is this also not a first amendment issue? wouldn't a federal ban violate MY religious beliefs in this case? Shintoism and Judaism, for two, allow for a woman to choose, allow the Orthodox will obviously have their opinion; but the life of the mother is the priority.
also, birth control is used for medical purposes other than birth control itself, such as to regulate ovulation for women having trouble with their cycles due to other medical complications. so why should a Non-medical professional be allowed to interfere with a doctor's supervision of their patient's health?

Aug. 01 2008 11:40 AM
Michael from Manhattan

Message to Hans, am I correct in the literature that I have read that the egg is a living cell and has been so existing as a live cell within every woman even before she was brought to term?

Aug. 01 2008 11:29 AM
O from Forest Hills

The point of when life begins is up for debate and has been for a long time.

The pill puts hormones in women's bodies that are not healthy and cause cancer.
It also interferes with the body's ability to regulate weight and causes weight gain in a lot of women. Ask anyone whom is into eating raw food, most have given up the pill and don't put hormones in their body.

Everyone has the right to free speech and the employees that don't want to do something against their morals are entitled to that right. Allow room for your own arguments and let others have their say. That is the point of debate. The CT Supreme Court decision was about a case not allowing any birth control to be handed out, not something that is dangerous to women's health.

We don't all have to agree, that is the beauty of diversity. yes, I am a woman and a liberal but not everyone falls on the left or right on all their views. We are all on a continum and we have different views on different issues.

So, have at it.

Aug. 01 2008 11:27 AM

As a reproductive endocrinologist I must say that the contraceptive pill acts on the hormones that influence the ovary, making sure that NO egg is released. Without egg there be NO fertilization, so also NO abortion.

Aug. 01 2008 11:23 AM
Michael from Manhattan

The egg is alive in biological terms. Study up on embriology to understand this fact of nature. There are cases of ova that start to divide BEFORE They are fertilized. I know it is hard for males to accept this but sperm are not alive. Thgey are just packets of DNA with a motile tail and sensory receptors. Thgey do not comprise all the elements of a cell (Which an egg does)
Yes every egg that is flushed with a woman's period IS an individual and that is EXACTLY why we have to stop seperateing reproduction from the woman. it is HER hegg, HER body and she has the RIGHT to CHOOSE weather she wants to reproduce HERSELF. Women remake themselves with dna from males. every child is a part of their mother remade with added dna from the male the woman has chosen to interact with (in voluntary sex. Realizing this is why women's rights to choose should be enforced.

Aug. 01 2008 11:19 AM
Pascale Vaillancourt from Hackensack NJ

The eggs that we have in stock are not "alive" if they are not fertilized. If it was the case, what should we think of the billions and billions of spermatozoides flushed away since the beginning of humanity? Every egg that is going away with each period is not a little human being that we stop from coming to world !
Life starts with the encounter of the egg and the spermatozoide, so any way of birth control that will prevent it from happening is OK if you don't want to terminate a life, for life is not there yet.

Aug. 01 2008 11:00 AM
Michael from Manhattan

The right does not respond to logic and facts.
They work from emotion and what ever agenda they are indoctrinated to BELIEVE, not understand or know.

Aug. 01 2008 10:56 AM
Pascale Vaillancourt from Hackensack NJ

Now, this is more than I can take ! The birth control pill is also called anti conception pill or anti ovulation pill. That means it stop the ovulation from happening. Do I also have to explain what an ovulation is ? You take the pill, you don't ovulate, you don't ovulate means THERE IS NO EGG TO FERTILIZE! Means that you can't conceive a baby! The birth control way that makes the uterus hostile for the fertilized egg is the STERILET. This one could be called abortion too, but not the pill, NEVER !

Aug. 01 2008 10:46 AM
Terri from Bed Stuy

So much for professional standards. Medical professionals have a fiduciary responsibility to their patients, and if they are unable to meet those responsibilities, they shouldn't take the job.

I take a hard line on this issue, I know, but it's important to question the elevation of a practitioner's sensibilities over that of her duty to care for her patients.

Some might argue that in steering a patient away from birth control and abortion a doctor is fulfilling what she sees as her duty, but such an argument relies upon an outmoded understanding of the patient as a subordinate to the doctor. Current ethical standards recognize the patient as an autonomous being not only able but required to make decisions regarding her own care. This doesn't mean that anything goes---again, professional standards---but if the patient requests a legal, medically-appropriate, procedure or medication, then her physician is not to substitute her own judgment for that of her patient.

*Sigh* This is far more complex than I'm laying out, I know. Can a patient demand a certain procedure over her doctor's objections? Well, no. Can a doctor deny legitimate treatment? Well, no.

I'm trying to get at this from the perspective of the autonomous patient. Could someone with better knowledge of the role of standards and certification of medical professionals comment on the issue of fiduciary care?

Aug. 01 2008 10:46 AM

Good Lord! This is terrifying! I can't believe in this day and age such a regulation is even being seriously considered... It makes me sick to my stomach.

If you have a problem giving women certain kinds of healthcare, then might I suggest you don't enter into said healthcare profession? It would save everyone alot of frustration.

No one should have a say in my healthcare beyond me and my doctors, because obviously, we are the only ones with enough knowledge to decide what it right for any given situation.

Aug. 01 2008 10:45 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

The host keeps calling family planning clinics "birth control clinics"-there are no such thing as clinics that only dispense birth control.

Clinics which provide birth control ALSO always provide a wide range of health care services to women (and often men too) who would not otherwise have access to pre and post natal, STD screening and treating, and family planning services.

This is an important distinction because regulations such as the one discussed, which restrict the ability of family planning clinics to function, only damage access to a range of health care services that ALL people deserve access to. This regulation will creating a chilling effect that will hobble clinics and deter individuals from seeking the services they need and deserve.

Aug. 01 2008 10:42 AM
Michael from Manhattan

Life does not begin at conception. Every egg is alive if it is not alive then it is not viable. Therefor, women have abortions naturally every month that they have their period. A woman is born with all her eggs . The egg before me died and was tossed away in the garbage and the egg that was released in the menstrual period after I was born went to a similar fate. I am here right now only because I happened to roll down the fallopian tubes at the opportune moment Females represent an unbroken chain of life that stretches back through time. So this whole debate about when life begins is somewhat meaningless, if you look at it from the biological point of view.

Aug. 01 2008 10:40 AM
Kourtney from West Village

I agree with #4. If we are to consider everything as "God's will", why have medicine at all? What next? Perhaps it is his will for someone to have high cholesterol and they should not be medicated. Also, if you can't comply with everything in your job description, don't take the job. Pharmacists should not come between patients and their doctor.

Aug. 01 2008 10:37 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

O - no, they are not - we have a right not to be controlled by their religious views, and that's all this is. See also Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965),[1] was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy". [wikipedia]

Aug. 01 2008 10:37 AM
Owen from Rochester

O (#4) - It's not about people's right to disagree. Every American clearly has the right to believe birth control is wrong. The problem is that this sort of measure imposes a small group of people's religious beliefs on the rest of society, and will rob millions of women of control over their bodies.

Aug. 01 2008 10:37 AM
Tasha from Marietta, GA

If I have a 'moral objection' to drinking, WHY WOULD I WORK FOR A BEER COMPANY? This is the same thing and it stinks of circumventing Roe v Wade; something the REPs have been trying to do forever.

Aug. 01 2008 10:37 AM
Brian Lehrer Moderator

Hey Guys,

Just a reminder to be mindful to keep the dialogue on this thread civil.


Aug. 01 2008 10:37 AM
amanda from hoboken

# 1, I'm not sure if you are a woman or not--not that it matters, you are allowed an opinion either way. But if you are, I would assume that you would be a little more familiar with female hormones and the many many issues that are associated with them. I would hope that young women aren't coming to this comment section for advice about female issues (go to a gynecologist!), but your comment is irresponsible nonetheless.

Many women thrive on the hormone and hormone-regulation provided by birth control pills (myself included) and have for a good half-century. Condoms are great too--but birth control pills have many other uses for women.

Aug. 01 2008 10:32 AM
O from Forest Hills


Not everyone has to agree with us. This is America, they are also entitle to free speech and to push their agenda as are we.

Aug. 01 2008 10:31 AM
Amy from Brooklyn, NY

Not sure your guest's definition of how the pill works is accurate.

I believe the pill PREVENTS fertilization. It doesn't terminate life with regular prescribed use.

This is an urgent issue and clear correct definitions are imperative.

Aug. 01 2008 10:30 AM

By "some people" I believe the guest means "a tiny minority of religious zealots who want to control womens' bodies". What's next, defining plastic surgery as "coveting thy neighbor" or life saving surgery as "going against G-d's will"?

Aug. 01 2008 10:28 AM
Jennifer H from Brooklyn



Aug. 01 2008 10:27 AM
Owen from Rochester

Thanks for covering this issue. I hadn't heard anything about it, and it's TERRIFYING.

Can you please explain if Congress can do anything to preemptively prevent this?

Aug. 01 2008 10:26 AM
O from Forest Hills

I've heard this argument before that the pill is considered an abortion because it makes the uterus hostile for a fertilized egg and causes the uterus to "abort" a fertilized egg since it can't attach itself to the walls.

The pill is hormones that aren't good for the body anyways. There are other methods of birth control to use. There are many barrier methods available.

Use a condom.

Aug. 01 2008 10:20 AM

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