Problems with the morning-after pill


(via Raegan McDonald-Mosley’s complaint [“The right reversal on contraception,” letters, Feb. 11], that pro-life groups exaggerate the abortive effects of emergency contraception, warrants a response. Praising the Pentagon change to allow the morning-after pill, Dr. McDonald-Mosley argued that the pill prevents ovulation and prevents life before it begins. The problem is, when they administer the pill, doctors don’t know whether conception has occurred. Taken after ovulation and before implantation, life would have begun and the pill would kill it.

Dr. McDonald-Mosley asks that we favor science over propaganda. Gladly. Science recognizes that life begins at conception, with sperm-egg fusion resulting in a one-cell embryo, which immediately functions as a highly structured, protein-producing, coordinated organism to promote growth, health and maturation. From its first moment a one-cell embryo is a whole and complete member of the human species with tremendous potential.

The true debate is not about when life begins but about whether and when young humans should be valued and protected. My Hippocratic oath commands me to protect human life at all stages. Ideology can color science, and Dr. McDonald-Mosley should refrain from using ideological talking points as scientific certainty.

The writer, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is founder of the Tepeyac Family Center.