Monday, March 27, 2006

The abortion debate gets a little more complicated in CC's own mind.

Last night, CC made a confession to her dear CSO.

Somehow in a discussion of the abortion debate, the subject of "Plan B" came up. And I admitted that I'm not really sure why Plan B isn't really early abortion.

TheCSO gave me the scientific explanation, that Plan B keeps the cell from attaching to the wall of the uterus. The cell does not start to divide or grow until it is attached.

"Birth control pills work the same way," he finished.

"What?" I said.

"Yeah, they prevent the implantation."

"So, your sperm and my eggs are still getting together," a chancy assumption this, as there has been some debate among CC's doctors whether she can have children at all. "They just die because they aren't implanted?"

I guess my voice must have wavered a big because theCSO stepped back, the expression of a man who knows he has said the wrong thing plastered to his face.

"You didn't know that?"

I hadn't known that.

We talked about other birth control possibilites as I was so clearly freaked out. He said Norplant and IUDs work the same way. He's allergic to spermacide and few doctors are OK with performing tubal ligations or vasectomies on twentysomethings who haven't had kids.

And for awhile last night, I sat awake thinking about theCSO's and my traits combining into cells that were washed away.

TheCSO was wrong, BTW.

According to Planned Parenthood's website:
Combination pills usually work by preventing a woman's ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). They also thicken the cervical mucus, which keeps sperm from joining with an egg.

Progestin-only pills usually work by thickening the cervical mucus. Less often, they prevent ovulation.

The hormones in combination and progestin-only pills also thin the lining of the uterus. In theory, this could prevent pregnancy by interfering with implantation of a fertilized egg. But there is no scientific evidence that this occurs.

Norplant and IUDs also thicken the cervical mucas, not thin the uterine lining.

But what gets me is last night's sudden discomfort with the situation.



Elizabeth said...

And often (my understanding is usually) when it comes to plan B, it doesn't prevent implantation, but rather prevents ovulation or fertilization. If one understands human life to begin at the moment a sperm and egg meet, then you could understand it as abortion. But since I have a hard time thinking of two cells as a fetus or zygote or embryo then I really think it is safe to think of it as preventing pregnancy, not ending one. Just my humble thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of fertilized eggs do not make it into a pregnancy you know about. It's a chancy system.
I got a tubal ligation when I was 22, single and childless. Yes, it is difficult. But possible. If you want to hear any more about it, let me know. It was a long time ago though. Things are more conservative now....