Monday, December 16, 2013

Hobby Lobby, Jim Dobson and the Contraception Mandate

I see Jim Dobson is now filing a lawsuit challenging the Contraception Mandate of the Health Care Law. Didn't anyone tell little Jimmy that Hobby Lobby had already done so and that their case was fairly advanced by now?

However, there's a problem here. Saying that this is about the "Contraception Mandate" is misleading.

Both Hobby Lobby and Dobson's lawsuit address one specific type of contraception know as the "Morning After Pill," Plan B or Levonelle. The lawsuits describe this as an "abortion pill."

Let's remember that abortion coverage is not allowed as part of a Health Care Plan so if  Plan B is "abortion," then covering it is illegal.

But is it "abortion?"

Unfortunately, the answer is "maybe."

If a woman is already pregnant, Plan B has no effect so calling it an "abortion pill" is a bit misleading also. It doesn't abort an existing pregnancy, it prevents one from occurring. The question is how?

The problem is no one really understands exactly how Plan B works. There are three ways a drug could prevent or reduce the risk of pregnancy.

(1) It could kill all the sperm. Plan B doesn't do that so depending upon sperm quality, the little trouble makers could live from three to five days.

(2) It could delay or prevent ovulation. A delay of five days or so (see above) would be very effective. Preventing ovulation would be 100% effective, if it hasn't already occurred. Note that simply delaying ovulation until the sperm are kaput isn't "abortion."

(3) It could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. I think a strong argument could be made that this is a form of "abortion."

So what do we know that might help figure this out? First, the later the pill is taken the less effective it is, second, even if taken immediately it's only about 85% effective and third, as stated above, if a women is already pregnant the pill has no effect.

This information doesn't really help. It could still be (2) or (3) or a little of both.

Since one can't say with any certainty, I have to concede that Hobby Lobby and Dobson have a point. Plan B MAY be an abortion pill by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting and therefore should not be part of the contraceptive mandate.

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