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The failure of personhood amendments

February 26, 2012

Once again, a personhood amendment has been defeated because of belief that it would ban oral contraceptives, this time in Virginia.  For more than thirty years pro-lifers have held the pill to cause early abortions, based on observations that it arrests growth of the endometrial lining.  But this growth is a response to ovulation, and when ovulation doesn’t happen the endometrial lining doesn’t grow.  Beginning apparently in the 1990’s some pro-life doctors began to challenge the premise that the Pill causes early abortions, noting that implantation can take place in environments far more hostile than an endometrium thinned by oral contraceptives, such as the Fallopian tube in ectopic pregnancy. Other doctors have challenged this, and it became such a source of divisiveness that the American Association of Pro-Life Ob-Gyns decided to shelve the debate and concentrate on other pro-life matters.  Birth control has been a source of divisiveness in pro-life for far too long, and both camps must share blame for this.  When we say the pill is abortive, it has a hollow ring when we then turn around and say personhood amendments won’t ban it,  while those who favor birth control have sometimes ridiculed those who, for one reason or another, have chosen abstinence.  This hasn’t been true of all pro-lifers, but it’s been true of many.  One consequence of this is that the sanctioned killing of pre-born children has gone on unabated for nearly 40 years.  I’ve commented on it more here and here.

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