Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

what some experts believe

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 02, 2007

Explaining the Connecticut bishops' decision to allow use of Plan B in Catholic hospitals, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport blogs:

What’s really at issue here is how much testing is appropriate to ensure that Plan B does not induce the chemical abortion of a fertilized ovum.

Answer: a lot. This is not a merely theoretical question; there are human lives on the line-- not to mention the tattered credibility of the Church.

The bishop continues:

There is uncertainty about how Plan B works. Its effect is to prevent fertilization of the ovum.

True, according to the manufacturers. Plan B is advertised as preventing fertilization by inhibiting ovulation. But what if the woman has already ovulated? Already conceived?

Some believe, however, that in rare instances Plan B can render the lining of the uterus inhospitable to the fertilized ovum which must implant in it in order to survive and grow; many other experts dispute this.

Well now to be fair, it's not just "some experts" who "believe" that Plan B can flush the fertilized ovum (that is, human being) out of the uterus; that's the mainstream assumption. The US Food and Drug Administration offers this:

How does Plan B work?
Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).

That's the argument from authority. Now consider the medical facts. If the woman has not yet ovulated, Plan B prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation. But if ovulation has occurred, how does the pill work? It "may" prevent fertilization, or it "may" cause abortion. At best, we don't know.

So how could you be sure that Plan B would not cause an early abortion? By administering an ovulation test. Which is what the Catholic hospitals of Connecticut were doing until this week, because (Bishop Lori tells us) "the bishops thought it best." Now they think otherwise.

The Connecticut bishops considered a legal challenge to the state law, Bishop Lori reveals, but decided that the courts would not by sympathetic. (Oh, well then...) So:

“Reluctant compliance” emerged as the only viable option.

Apart from principled civil disobedience, of course. (And am I the only one who sees irony in the use of the word "viable"?)

In permitting Catholic hospitals to comply with this law, neither our teaching nor our principles have changed.

Last week the bishops said the state law imposed a morally unjustifiable obligation on hospitals. This week they say it doesn't. If you don't perceive a change in teaching, get yourself fitted for a miter.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jan. 08, 2010 2:56 PM ET USA

    Yet another testimony to the USCCB's irrelevance. It's freezing outside and the only hot air generated is from their irrelevant mouths.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 24, 2009 12:06 PM ET USA

    Good thing that I checked in this morning as I was just about to throw my empty milk carton into the regular refuse can. Thanks to this dialogue, I reached over and put it into the recycling bin. Whew! Whatever would be do without prelates like His Excellency, Bishop Skylstad?

  • Posted by: adamah - Dec. 24, 2009 9:55 AM ET USA

    My bet is that the CFOs would do a better job explaining Catholic Christology than Skylstad.