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In this week's edition of America magazine, (page 5), there is a curious little article entitled "N.Y. Bishops Accept Revised Bill on Emergency Contraception."

This article maintains that Catholic hospitals are allowed to prescribe "the morning after pill" to victims of rape as long as they are "not contraindicated, the woman is not pregnant, and it is within an appropriate amount of time from the attack."

This article maintains that this is consistent with church teaching.

Now, emergency contraception works by preventing implantation of an already fertilized embryo.

While recognizing the need for sensitivity and compassion toward the victim, is this really consistent with church teaching? I didn't know this.

Does anyone have any more information, insight, or illumination?

John

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Believe it or not I read something about this the other day - will now see if I can find the article.

Anhelyna

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No. It is the fertilization which counts. Th implantation is essential to the pregancy, but once the fertilization has taken place there is in that one cell the complete genetic code for a unique human being and according to the Church already has the right to life as a human being.

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Fr Deacon John - I've been going crazy looking for the article - I can visualise it - but can I remember where I saw it ????

The best I can come up with , and I'm sure you are aware of it, is the Bishops Conference document

http://www.nccbuscc.org/bishops/directives.htm

The relevant section is Part 3 - professional and patient relationship - directive 36.

The article I did read [ well skim wink ] went into it much deeper - a discussion of the actions of the hormones used for emergency contraception and whether they were actually permissible under such circumstances.

I'll keep on looking 'cos I know I've seen it and I'm getting cross with myself.

Anhelyna

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oops - that double post bug again

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AMDG
Dear friends

This is not consistent with Church teaching at all.

This is worse than the Arian crisis.

The announcement itself may be in error--I wouldn't be surpised.

LatinTrad

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The French were ahead of us as usual:

- - - - - - -

Vatican Condemns French Ministers� Emergency Contraception Plan

A November editorial in L�Osservatore Romano, the Vatican�s official newspaper, condemned the decision by French health and education ministers to provide emergency contraception in schools. Calling the decision perverse and hypocritical, Father Gino Concetti wrote, �No one can erase the perverse intention against the life of a human being.� Editorials in the newspaper are often considered to be semi-official pronouncements on behalf of the pope.

The French government�s move follows a decision earlier in 1999 to provide emergency contraception over-the-counter in pharmacies. Emergency contraception is also distributed free of charge with other contraception at family planning centers. Both moves are part of a �comprehensive sex education campaign,� according to Education Minister S�gol�ne Royal. The actions have created a backlash against the government, both from the church and conservative family groups. In a survey, 66 percent of those polled approved of the decision to allow school nurses to distribute emergency contraception. The support rose to 83 percent among 15- to 24-year-olds.

Religion News Service, �Vatican newspaper attacks French �morning after� pill for schoolgirls,� November 30, 1999

Debra S. Ollivier, �Sex education with a contraceptive chaser,� Salon, December 6, 1999

Le Monde, �La loi sur la contraception devra �tre modifi�e pour la pilule du lendemain,� December 29, 1999.

- - - - - - -

We have this statement from the following:

http://www.nyscatholicconference.org/news/2003/nr030619.htm

"Catholic teaching prohibiting the use of artificial contraception does not and has never applied to women who are raped. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops state: �A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.�

- - - - - - -

The key is:

PREVENTION of ovulation, sperm capacitation, or feritilization, NOT the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.

There is a difference between the folks at French schools passing them out and administering them "after appropriate testing." One wonders if any form of "appropriate testing" would be done in the school rather than simply passing them out by 'family planning' groups.

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Quote
Originally posted by Petrus:



Now, emergency contraception works by preventing implantation of an already fertilized embryo.

While recognizing the need for sensitivity and compassion toward the victim, is this really consistent with church teaching? I didn't know this.

Does anyone have any more information, insight, or illumination?

John
John,

The USCCB website provides a "fact sheet" on EC. It states that the woman who is a victim of rape may receive EC treatment, as long as pregnancy/conception has not occurred. The fact sheet continues to state that EC would prevent/slow ovulation and/or incapacitate the sperm. If conception has occurred than the EC treatment is not permissible in Catholic hospitals.

As a physician are you saying that EC is effective only after conception, and does not prevent/slow ovulation or incapacitate sperm?

Here's the link to the fact sheet:

Fact Sheet: Emergency Contraception and Treatment of Victims of Sexual Assault [usccb.org]


John

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Bisanto,

I hope Petrus comes back because I was confused, too.

It is my understanding that the so-called morning after pills often do the equivalent of a chemical abortion.

Are the bishops saying that if you are sure conception hasn't occurred, they are okay? Can you ever be SURE?

I dunno....I'm not a doctor, that's for sure!

Anne

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Quote
Originally posted by Annie_SFO:


Are the bishops saying that if you are sure conception hasn't occurred, they are okay? Can you ever be SURE?


Anne
Anne,

that is how I understand the directive. Apparently, there is a method whereby the hospital can determine if ovulation has occurred. The EC treatment would slow or inhibit ovulation. In other instances EC treatment would alter cervical mucus to incapacitate sperm. However, Dr Petrus seems to indicate that EC treatment is only effective to inhibit embryo implantation. Perhaps, I am reading him incorrectly.

John (not Petrus) Montalvo

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Hi John, Anhelyna, Joe, Annie, and Arvid.

I didn't mean to post and run. Things are very hectic for me right now.

Anyway, I am a physician. I teach biomedical ethics, and more importantly, in a former life my wife was a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Expert. (Yes, it's true, my wife used to run around getting other women pregnant!)

There is no way to determine precisely when fertilization takes place. Think about it. You are drawing blood from the mother. Until the embryo implants, there is no relationship (OK no physiologic relationship) between embryo and mother. The earliest a pregancy can be detected is at about a week. In order for the "emergency pill" to be effective, it must be taken within 48 hours. Even if given immediately before ovulation, it would not prevent ovulation from occurring. I don't think it would prevent fertilization (but I'll have to ask my wife. She answers all my sex questions shocked ). It works primarily by preventing implantation.

I promise to read the links you have entered. I just haven't had time yet; analysis to follow.

John

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John;

I just read the fact sheet you provided and I can honestly say that the bishops are full of ...uhh... misconceptions. The serum test for progesterone may (repeat may) indicate whether or not a woman ovulated, but it does not indicate when. The urine test they are alluding to is a pregnancy test which typically becomes positive about two days after a serum pregnancy test. As I stated above this still takes about a week and the pill has to be taken within 48 hours of the rape.

Furthermore, it states that the woman must be clearly informed that this is not an abortifacient, that it will not work work simply by preventing implantation. That is impossible.

But the thing I find most fascinating is that the bishops allow it at all.

Are we seeing a "crack" developing in Humanae Vitae?

John

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Originally posted by Petrus:
But the thing I find most fascinating is that the bishops allow it at all.

Are we seeing a "crack" developing in Humanae Vitae?

The bishops are also experts in economics.

Joe

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The USCCB published "Life Insight," a publication of the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities (Vol. 9, No. 7 September 1998). Their straight-talk on when life begins seem to be ignored in their "Fact Sheet: Emergency Contraception and Treatment of Victims of Sexual Assault."

See:
http://www.nccbuscc.org/prolife/publicat/lifeinsight/sept98.htm

See also their fact sheet on "What is an embryo?":

http://www.nccbuscc.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/fact298.htm

The first link points out that, "The The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists redefined conception in 1965." Pregnancy (or life) seems to begin only at implantation, not fertilization. But the ealier USCCB document states that fertilization (beginning of human life) can occur 15 to 30 minutes after intercourse and at least 6 days before implantation.

How in H-ll can one determine if fertilization occured 15 to 30 minutes after intercourse, in this case, a rape incident? What test is sure-fire that will determine that a 'Morning After' pill can be taken within 48 hours per the guidelines?

I'm beginning to see your point.

Our eparchy belongs to the USCCB. http://www.usccb.org/dioceses.htm Why don't you discuss these physiological/ethical issues with your bishop?

Joe

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Quote
Originally posted by Petrus:
John;

I just read the fact sheet you provided and I can honestly say that the bishops are full of ...uhh... misconceptions. The serum test for progesterone may (repeat may) indicate whether or not a woman ovulated, but it does not indicate when. The urine test they are alluding to is a pregnancy test which typically becomes positive about two days after a serum pregnancy test. As I stated above this still takes about a week and the pill has to be taken within 48 hours of the rape.

Furthermore, it states that the woman must be clearly informed that this is not an abortifacient, that it will not work work simply by preventing implantation. That is impossible.

But the thing I find most fascinating is that the bishops allow it at all.

Are we seeing a "crack" developing in Humanae Vitae?

John
Hmm - it strikes me that two Deacons with the same name posting in the same thread is going to cause terrible confusion biggrin

OK - I used to teach NFP [ yup in a previous existence biggrin ]

Now my memories are the same - you cannot tell exactly when fertislisation occurs.

Professor Brown in Melbourne did produce an Ovulation monitor which when used with various solutions would give what I understood then, was pretty accurate urine Hormonal levels indicating that ovulation was approaching - or had occurred. It wasn't the easiest kit to use - but it did seem accurate - but had to be used by competent practioners/users of the Billings method. It's biggest drawback was expense and the necessary training.It could not give an instant answer as to Ovulation because several readings were required to allow a record to be plotted. Our Group in Scotland did use it over a period of about 6 months - but in practice it was not easy to use in the 'domestic ' situation.

Yes a few women can pinpoint ovulation - but I don't think this is very common.

So far I don't think anyone is able to say exactly when fertilisation/the start of life happens.

I do wish I could trace that article I had seen - none of the links that have been posted were it frown

I am also of the thought that the cracks are appearing - but I have to say that I do not know what the teaching about EC is on this side of the Pond - and frankly I don't know at this time where I would find it - but I'll have a good shot at it.

You have certainly raised a very interesting knotty problem.

Anhelyna

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