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Idiocy in the News

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, I don't think there's any arguing that the "logic" being used here is a bit of a stretch...

Conscience Clause

For those who believe that human life (and full human rights) begins at conception (aka, fertilization), abortion is murder. And there can be no logical distinction between Plan B and breastfeeding. Both can cause fertilized eggs to “die” by failing to implant. Follow the logic: mothers nursing their babies since the dawn of our species have been unwittingly murdering hundreds of millions of their own children. Breastfeeding should be banned. Indeed, for sexually active women, breastfeeding is manslaughter, if not premeditated murder.

The argument being made is that since the Plan B contraception pill (a version of the morning after pill) keeps an egg from implanting, rather than expelling an implanted egg or embryo. Thus, they are saying that it's no different to take the Plan B pill than it is to nurse a child and to take the chance that a fertilized egg may not implant due to the hormones that occur in a nursing mother.

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  1. Anonymous Damien McKenna | 2:22 PM |  

    Uh.... wtf? My wife is still breastfeeding our 2.5 year old and she just got pregnant, and she didn't get pregnant before that because.... we used condoms. Duh!! Idiots.

  2. Blogger nova147 | 5:58 PM |  

    The logic is faulty. "Both can cause ferilized eggs to 'die' by failing to implant". No, breastfeeding can, Plan B does.

    In addition, let's look at the reason for the action. Breastfeeding is a life-affirming action, aimed at increasing the healthiness and length of life of a child. Plan B is aimed at getting rid of a "problem" that the person taking created with their own actions.

    To suggest that breastfeeding is premeditated murder is ridiculous. Obviously the person penning this article believes it is ridiculous to oppose Plan B (and probably abortion), but why attack breastfeeding? Someone out there will read this and take it to heart, fearing for her unborn children. It's a shame.

  3. Blogger Jennifer | 7:33 PM |  

    That's kind of my issue on it...I understand that for someone that is pro-abortion is going to view life from a different perspective, but there are several faulty issues here...

    1.) Taking Plan B features INTENT to cause an action. Nursing creates no intent for creating that same action.

    2.) Breastfeeding is nature's design. Plan B is man's "solution."

    It also worries me that as you said, some woman may read this and become fearful that nursing will impact a "potential" pregnancy, thus they'll see it as another reason not to nurse.

    On the Lactivist front, that REALLY bothers me.

  4. Blogger Natural Mom | 8:22 AM |  

    Anyone with an agenda that strong has no place in journalism. Sickening.

  5. Blogger Maia | 3:18 PM |  

    Hm - not sure I can imagine that any woman would really think "oh, I might not get pregnant if I breastfeed, my moral duty is to get pregnant, therefore I will not breastfeed." Would anyone really?

    My own personal view is that it is more important to examine the "sanctity of the fertilised egg" arguments rigorously and honestly. If that means drawing a comparison with other forms of contraception and other situations in which fertilised eggs fail to implant, then so be it. The reality is, as the writer does say in his article, that many fertilised eggs fail to implant, irrespective of contraception. (And, even once implanted, this is no guarantee of survival - many spontaneous abortions occur, often before the woman even knows she is pregnant.)

    Also, as the writer says, Plan B does not necessarily cause fertilised eggs to "die" by failing to implant. In fact, it usually PREVENTS fertilisation from happening in the first place.

    I think this is what breastfeeding also does, prevents ovulation - although as Damien can testify, not in all women and not necessarily throughout lactation!

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. Blogger K | 6:43 PM |  

    I am about as pro-choice as they come; I take the Pill and I have also taken Plan B, and I think this person's opinion is wacko.

    Reasonable minds can disagree on when life begins (conception, implantation, etc.); reasonable minds can also disagree on the rights of fertilized eggs and the obligations of pregnant women -- but
    let's not bring breastfeeding into this debate. Just crazy.

    And I have never heard this theory before. I understand that exclusively breastfeeding can prevent ovulation, but I have never heard that it can prevent implantation.

  7. Blogger Jennifer | 8:31 AM |  

    Oh, I don't disagree with you and I can respect the idea of debating when someone believes life begins. I know the answer for myself, but I understand that people have to settle it internally to figure out where they stand on these types of issues.q

    But whether you believe it begins at conception, heartbeat, quickening or birth...I can't see how any sane person would compare the natural act of nursing a child or the natural failure of a fertilized egg to implant with the act of intentionally taking a pill to KEEP an egg from implanting.

    It just doesn't fit within any realm of logic that I can fathom.

  8. Blogger Jennifer | 8:34 AM |  

    Kelly, I do know that it's possible to ovulate while nursing (I apparently managed to pull it off...LOL, as did other women who have posted here) but I also know that nursing can impede menstruation.

    I hadn't gotten my period back yet when I got pregnant with this baby...so in theory, I suppose I could have ovulated and then had a fertilized egg, but not have had a "hospitable uterus" which would have kept the egg from implanting.

    I mean I see the thought-process this guy is going with...but again, there's a huge difference between intentionally trying to keep an egg from implanting and having it happen naturally.

  9. Blogger K | 5:54 PM |  

    Jennifer -- I agree with you entirely that there is a marked difference between shoosing to take Plan B with the hope and intention to prevent a pregnancy and having the same result occur as a byproduct of breastfeeding. And I worry that articles such as this one may discourage folks from BF.

    But as to the difference between plan B and BF (assuming this writer has the science right), is it a difference without a distinction? If intent (or a lack there of) to prevent a pregnancy is what makes taking plan B a culpable choice, then how is that any different than taking BCP, or using other forms of birth control? Seems to me that this is a pretty slippery argument -- just a hair away from all sex must be procreative. And that is a premise I cannot accept.

    But otherwise we are on the same page! ;-)

  10. Blogger Jennifer | 6:13 PM |  

    Kelly, I don't disagree with you at all, especially in that many forms of BCP are not really any different than Plan B.

    Some forms of HBC prevent ovulation, while others prevent implantation. Back when I actually took HBC, I carefully researched my options to see which forms had which results because I didn't want to take any that prevented implantation. I've now reached the point where I don't and won't take any HBC pills, so for me, the point is sort of moot.

    I do think that from the pro-life perspective there is a difference between preventing ovulation and preventing implantationl. I'd imagine you can see where I'm coming from on that.

    Oh, and let's get one thing REALLY straight. I'd never, ever, ever EVER tell you that sex was only for procreation. ;) I promise. :) Sex is for making babies, but it's also for a world of fun. Whatever members of the church decided that it should only be for making babies clearly skipped over Song of Solomon, KWIM? ;)

  11. Anonymous Lisa | 9:08 AM |  

    LAM (Lactational Amennorhea Method)of birth control is only considered an effective method during the first 6 months postpartum when a woman is fully or almost fully breastfeeding (not supplementing/pumping/allowing more than 4-6 hours between feedings). This explains why the mother of a 2.5-year-old who is still breastfeeding is able to get pregnant. LAM prevents ovulation and also causes the uterus to be less hospitable for a fertilized egg, which is what all hormonal BC methods do. It is possible for ovulation to occur before menses resume, in which case the result could be a fertilized egg being unable to implant.
    For more information, technical diagrams, and full explanations of mechanisms and history of LAM, visit this helpful website I found:

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