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Contraception: Should It Be Protected By The Conscience Clause?

By: Dakota Sherek Contraception, and whether or not it should actually be covered by the conscience clause, is a major topic of debate. Some even argue about whether or not it is the same as abortion. In truth, contraception and other birth control methods are not abortion, and they help women in numerous ways. The fact that pharmacists are allowed to prevent women from planning their pregnancy is unjust. Earlier this year Obama clarified the original conscience clause, created by Bush, and stated that contraception is not considered abortion. However, it is still covered under the conscience clause. Though contraception has been officially declared as not a form of abortion, some still continue to believe that it is, and refuse to sell the pills based on that belief. Even in 2005, long before Bushs 2008 conscience clause, pharmacists were refusing to prescribe contraception pills and other forms of birth control. In fact, pharmacists began refusing so often that state legislators became involved. Illinois, for example, created a law requiring pharmacists to fill all prescriptions after receiving complaints from multiple women who were refused birth control. One of those women who complained after she was refused her birth control was Megan Kelly, who was quoted on ABC News as saying that "For someone to interfere with that (her purchase of birth control) or make me feel like what my doctor is saying is not right, is wrong. That was my biggest issue; that her morals were better than mine, or her world trumped my world. Other states such as New Jersey and California quickly acquired similar laws. Unfortunately, in 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the law, deciding that pharmacists did have the legal right to refuse. This issue would be more debatable if not for the many medical professionals who do not consider contraception a form of abortion. Most medical associations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the US Department of Health and Human Services, define the beginning of pregnancy as when the egg implants into the lining of the uterus. Contraception and other birth control methods, depending on when they are taken, can stop the fertilization all together or stop the egg from implanting into the uterus. Therefore, in the eyes of most medical

professionals, contraception is not abortion because it stops pregnancy from ever occurring. Other groups argue that pregnancy occurs at conception, which is why some pharmacists are so opposed to prescribing contraception. A major issue with their theory is that they have no scientific evidence. Conception is the uniting of the sperm and egg, but contraception can stop that from happening. Using that logic, there can be no argument that contraception is not abortion, no matter when you believe pregnancy starts. Its true that contraception does not always stop conception from happening, but even if it doesnt stop fertilization, contraception stops the egg from implanting. Until the egg implants it is just full of cells. The placenta, which is what helps provide nourishment to the fetus, does not even begin to form until after the egg implants. It isnt even until the placenta forms that the brain and organs of the fetus begin to form, which is usually a week after the placenta forms. In addition to contraception and birth control not being methods of abortion, as suggested by all the scientific evidence, they provide a valuable health service. If women did not have any forms of birth control they could have 12 to 15 children in their lifetime, according to the Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice. How would families have enough money to take care of 15 children? How long would the worlds resources last if each of the millions of families on this planet kept having 12 to 15? Not only does contraception help lower over-population, but also helps the sanity of rape victims who can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after an attack. Birth control can also help families wait until they are financially ready to have children, so fewer children grow up in impoverished homes. It is one thing to allow doctors to refuse to perform an actual abortion. It is an entirely different issue to allow pharmacists to stop women from preventing unwanted pregnancies. Contraception is not abortion, and there is no just cause to keep women from using it. Obama did not revise the conscience clause enough; he and federal legislatures need to think about how allowing pharmacists to refuse contraception hurts women and could possibly hurt our future world.