BigPharm Lies About "Pregnancy" and "Abortions" to Sell Morning-After Pills; Scientific References

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright April 20, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

I. Introduction

Two recent articles demonstrate graphically how BigPharm lies to its consumers about the accurate scientific facts involved in the morning-after pill in order to sell its product.

In the first short article below ["Paladin Labs hails approval of sale of morning-after pill without prescription", April 20, 2005,], Canadian BigPharm brags about how rich it is getting by selling its morning-after pills. But its success rate is accomplished quite illegitimately by purposefully falsifying objective scientific facts (and thereby misleading their consumers) in order to sell their product - regardless of how often BigPharm is informed of its inaccurate "science". Must be that a whole lot of people own stock in BigPharm -- or depend on it for their powerful political contributions. Otherwise how can BigPharm continue to get away with it?

In the second article below ["Conservative Christians and the morning after pill", April 20, 2005,], BigPharm easily deceives politically correct women by telling them that it is only a " religious belief" that a real live human being is present before implantation. Rather, they claim, there is no human being present before implantation - and thus the morning-after pills could not possibly be abortifacient.

Hence the BigPharm tactic: (1) Blur the real distinction between women who get pregnant naturally and women who get pregnant by IVF (or other artificial reproductive methods). That is, claim that all pregnancies begin at implantation, rather than just those that result artificially from IVF. (2) Deny that "what" is there before implantation is a new genetically unique already existing living human being (embryo), but rather claim that it is just a "pre-embryo" or a "ball of cells".

The result? Women who get pregnant naturally think that they are not pregnant until implantation, and thus assume that these morning-after pills cannot possibly be abortifacient since there is no embryo there yet. Thus BigPharm turns women's rights to know the real facts about what these chemicals that they are putting into their bodies do to them, and to their newly conceived children, into a tragic joke. Women are thereby precluded from giving truly legally valid informed consent, and their innocent living human embryos - their own children - are sometimes killed, even if they would have chosen to keep them had they known the objective scientific truth.

The following objective scientific facts - all in concert with the international nomenclature committee - refute these Big Lies from BigPharm. They are taken directly from the following human embryology textbooks. None of these authors are "religious" or 'prolife":

Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001); [Note: O'Rahilly is one of the originators of The Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryological Development, and has sat on the international Nomina Embryologica Committee for decades -- DNI]. Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, (2nd ed., 1999). William Larsen, Human Embryology (2nd ed.) (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997). Keith Moore and T. V. N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th or 7th ed.t only) (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1998, 2003).

II. BigPharm lie: "Pregnancy always begins at implantation."

Canadian BigPharm claims in the first article ["Paladin Labs hails approval of sale of morning-after pill without prescription", April 20, 2005,] that the morning-after pill "prevents pregnancy". But "pregnancy" is purposefully mis-defined by them as always beginning at implantation (5-7 days after fertilization). This is not true or scientifically accurate.

In concert with the international nomenclature on human embryology (Terminologia Embryologica), it is an objective scientific fact known for over a hundred years (Wilhem His, 1883) that normal pregnancy begins at fertilization in the woman's fallopian tube (not the uterus):

(Moore and Persaud) The usual site of fertilization is the ampulla of the uterine tube [fallopian tube], its longest and widest part. If the oocyte is not fertilized here, it slowly passes along the tube to the uterus, where it degenerates and is resorbed. Although fertilization may occur in other parts of the tube, it does not occur in the uterus. (p. 34) ... (Carlson) Next, the gametes must be released from the gonads and make their way to the upper part of the uterine tube, where fertilization normally takes place. ... Finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus ....". (p. 2) ... In the female, sperm transport begins in the upper vagina and ends in the ampulla of the uterine tube [fallopian tube] where the spermatozoa make contact with the ovulated egg. (p. 27). ... (Larsen) Fertilization takes place in the oviduct [fallopian tube, not the uterus]... resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. (p. 1) ... (O'Rahilly and Muller) Fertilization takes place normally in the ampulla (lateral end) of the uterine tube. (p. 31). [See full bibliographical references above.]

Of course, if one is referring to abnormal pregnancy such as that induced during in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is true that the woman doesn't become "pregnant" until the embryo is physically transferred by the technician from the IVF petri dish to the womb. But this does not negate the scientific fact that women not undergoing IVF are pregnant long before implantation. And it is these women who will be buying these morning-after pills -- hardly those who are infertile who are dying to become pregnant through IVF!

III. BigPharm Lie: "Before Implantation There Is No Embryo, and Therefore the Pills Are Not Abortifacient"

In the second article below ["Conservative Christians and the morning after pill", April 20, 2005,] we see a typical example of how BigPharm has blinded politically correct women to the objective scientific facts by relegating these facts to "faith", "religion", or "belief systems":

"Conservative Christian beliefs against birth control are spilling over into the business of pharmacies with many of them refusing to sell women a new 'morning after' pill."

The purpose is to convince the politically correct buyer that there is no real live human being (embryo) existing before implantation -- that it is just a "pre-embryo" (McCormick/Grobstein) or a "ball of cells" (Weissman/West). If there is no real living human embryo there they claim, then it is impossible for these pills to cause abortions. To think otherwise is just a "belief" -- and in a democratic multicultural pluralistic society, no one's or group's "beliefs" should be allowed to be forced on the rest of society.

But there is absolutely nothing "conservative" or "Christian" about the objective scientific fact that the morning-after pill can be abortifacient, and it precisely for this scientific reason that many pharmacists -- regardless of their "beliefs" or "opinions" -- know perfectly well that these pills can kill new already existing innocent human beings (embryos) and thus refuse to sell them. Women also have a right to know that if breakthrough ovulation has occurred and if fertilization has taken place these morning-after pills can indeed be abortifacient:

(Moore and Persaud, 6th ed.) The administration of relatively large doses of estrogens ("morning-after pills") for several days, beginning shortly after unprotected sexual intercourse, usually does not prevent fertilization but often prevents implantation of the blastocyst. ... Normally, the endometrium progresses to the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle as the zygote forms, undergoes cleavage, and enters the uterus. The large amount of estrogen disturbs the normal balance between estrogen and progesterone that is necessary for preparation of the endometrium for implantation of the blastocyst. ... [T]his treatment is contraindicated for routine contraceptive use. ... "morning after pills" ... prevent implantation, not fertilization. Consequently, they should not be called contraceptive pills. Conception occurs but the blastocyst does not implant. It would be more appropriate to call them "contraimplantation pills". Because the term "abortion" refers to a premature stoppage of a pregnancy, the term "abortion" could be applied to such an early termination of pregnancy." (p. 532)

IV. BigPharm Lie: "It is just a 'pre-embryo'"

Furthermore, scientifically there is no such thing as a "pre-embryo". This fake "scientific" term propagated for decades by Jesuit Richard McCormick, frog embryologist Clifford Grobstein, and the British Warnock Committee (and now BigPharm) has been formally rejected by the international nomenclature committee for years:

(O'Rahilly and Muller) The term 'pre-embryo' is not used here for the following reasons: (1) it is ill-defined because it is said to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or to include neurulation; (2) it is inaccurate because purely embryonic cells can already be distinguished after a few days, as can also the embryonic (not pre-embryonic!) disc; (3) it is unjustified because the accepted meaning of the word embryo includes all of the first 8 weeks; (4) it is equivocal because it may convey the erroneous idea that a new human organism is formed at only some considerable time after fertilization; and (5) it was introduced in 1986 'largely for public policy reasons' (Biggers). ... Just as postnatal age begins at birth, prenatal age begins at fertilization. (p. 88)

Therefore BigPharm deceives perspective female buyers by fooling them with the claim that there is just a "pre-embryo" there, and so their product could not be abortifacient.

V. BigPharm Lie: "It is just a 'ball of cells'"

Nor is the immediate product of fertilization just a "ball of cells" (Weissman and West) - another purposeful deceit by BigPharm - especially in the human cloning debates. As has been known for over a hundred years, in normal sexual reproduction fertilization in the fallopian tube results in the immediate production of a new living genetically unique human being, a single-cell embryo, an individual organism:

(Moore and Persaud) Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male. (p. 2); ... but the embryo begins to develop as soon as the oocyte is fertilized. (p. 2); ... Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). (p. 2); ... Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. (p. 18)

(Carlson) "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm ... [T]he gametes must be released from the gonads and make their way to the upper part of the uterine tube, where fertilization normally takes place. ... Fertilization age: dates the age of the embryo from the time of fertilization. (p. 23) ... The sex of the future embryo is determined by the chromosomal complement of the spermatozoon. ... Through the mingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes, the zygote is a genetically unique product of chromosomal reassortment, which is important for the viability of any species. (p. 32)

(Larsen) In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. ... Fertilization takes place... resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point. (p. 1); ... "These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development. (p. 17).

(O'Rahilly and Muller) Although life is a continuous process, fertilization ... is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte. This remains true even though the embryonic genome is not actually activated until 2-8 cells are present at about 2-3 days. ... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte ... The zygote is ... a unicellular embryo and is a highly specialized cell. ... [I]t is now accepted that the word embryo, as currently used in human embryology, means 'an unborn human in the first 8 weeks' from fertilization. (p. 87)

Even according to the literature inserts of these morning-after pills, sometimes they can fail to prevent pregnancy:

[e.g., Levonorgestrel] is believed to act to prevent ovulation, fertilization and implantation." ... After a single act of unprotected intercourse the treatment fails in about 2% of women who use it within 72 hours after intercourse. [This failure rate is] based on one-time use. If [Levonorgestrel] ... is used on more than one occasion the cumulative failure rate will be higher.

Thus drug manufacturers of morning-after pills admit that pregnancies can still occur even with one-time use, and with more frequency when used more that once.

Put 2 + 2 together: It has been demonstrated above that fertilization is the beginning of the existence of a new whole living human being. The fact that these pregnancies have taken place indicates that "break-through" ovulation and fertilization have occurred -- and can occur -- and that these morning-after pills have failed contraceptively.

And the manufacturers of these morning-after pills also admit that these pills can also prevent this newly formed living human embryo/being from implanting in the woman's uterus (which normally takes place about 5-7 days post-fertilization). Quite obviously, as explicitly documented in the scientific references quoted above, if "break-through" ovulation and fertilization have taken place, then to prevent this new living human being from implanting would be abortifacient. Indeed, quoting Moore and Persaud, "It would be more appropriate to call them 'contraimplantation pills'. Because the term 'abortion' refers to a premature stoppage of a pregnancy, the term 'abortion' could be applied to such an early termination of pregnancy."

VI. Conclusion

For far too long now BigPharm has been allowed to get away with massive and even lethal doses of false science in order to peddle their wares, and this needs to stop. As stated elsewhere many times, if these "scientists" are willing to lie about these morning-after pills, what other products of theirs are they just as willing to lie about? There has been no accountability, no professional responsibility, and no liability. It is an industry "gone wild", and if those in responsible positions fail to act swiftly BigPharm will eventually take them down with them as well.

The objective scientific facts cannot be ignored or corrupted for too much longer before the hard cold truth comes out. In the meantime all of these people are directly complicit in the permanent physical and psychological harm done to millions of women who continue to be legally precluded from giving legally valid informed consent in order to protect themselves and their own children.
April 20 2005
Canadian Press

Paladin Labs hails approval of sale of morning-after pill without prescription

MONTREAL (CP) - Drug distributor Paladin Labs Inc. is hailing Health Canada's approval of the sale of the Plan B morning-after birth control pill without a prescription.

"This is a landmark day for Canadian women, who now have immediate access to Plan B, a safe and effective morning-after pill that has been used by millions of women in more than 100 countries around the world to prevent unintended pregnancy," CEO Jonathan Ross Goodman said Wednesday in a release.

The decision by Health Canada, which takes immediate effect, was announced earlier in the day. Paladin distributes Plan B.

Health Canada's decision was supported by leading Canadian medical authorities, including the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. On the Toronto stock market, Montreal-based Paladin Labs shares (TSX:PLB) last traded at $4.25. [India]

Conservative Christians and the morning after pill

NEW YORK: Conservative Christian beliefs against birth control are spilling over into the business of pharmacies with many of them refusing to sell women a new "morning after" pill.

Employees at drugstores in many US states now refuse to sell the contraceptive pill because dispensing it conflicts with their Christian beliefs.

It is a measure of how serious the issue is that Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has had to order pharmacies in his state to honour prescriptions for the pill, disregarding their personal views.

Late night comedian Bill Maher, a pungent critic of the Christian right, joked the other night that merely because they wore white gowns pharmacists could not pretend to be doctors and refuse to sell the pill.

The pharmacists that refuse to sell the pill have couched their action as a business decision that the state cannot meddle in, but many states argue that medical decisions cannot be dictated by religious beliefs.

Illinois state Senator Frank Watson, whose family owns a drugstore in Greenville, said the governor's order infringed on a business decision as well as the pharmacists' "right of conscience".

It is instructive that while Watson is a Republican, Blagojevich is a Democrat. Most Republicans are pro-life and oppose abortion and most Democrats are pro-choice and believe the decision should be left to the woman who is pregnant.

The November 2004 re-election of President George W. Bush was credited to a significant extent to conservative Christians coming out in large numbers in his favour. The constituency has strongly supported Bush's own pro-life view.

It was the same constituency that pressured the Bush administration to enact legislation at the height of the Terry Schiavo case.

The Florida woman, who died recently after being in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, became the focal point of right-to-die versus right-to-live movements. Bush, like most conservative Christians, supported the right to live.

In at least 23 states a debate is going on over the moral, ethical and religious dimensions of selling emergency contraceptive pills.

Legislators from both sides of the divide have argued passionately for and against it. The intensity of the debate is similar to high emotions that the question of abortion inspires in the US.

Some state legislators are writing laws that would explicitly allow pharmacists the right to refuse contraceptive pills. In some states, legislators are pushing for laws that allow an easier access to the pill, especially to rape victims. They also want certain pharmacies to sell the pill without a prescription.

Women's reproductive rights activists have been pushing the Food and Drug Administration to approve the sale of the pill over the counter, that is, without any prescription.

Many states allow pharmacies not to stock the pill if they want to out of religious belief.

Like abortion and the right-to-live movement, conservatives want this to become a national issue. Given the political climate of the country, chances are that it would acquire some traction.

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