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Birth Control=Abortion?

Lauren Ruhbeck

Under a new proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services, the definition of abortion will be broadened to “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation,” according to the New York Times. This would mean many of the most common forms of birth control, including oral contraceptives, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives, would be labeled as abortion. While it would not be an outright ban of these birth control methods, it would still cause a whole mess of problems for those of us who don’t want to have babies. In order for medical schools, hospitals, clinics, and researchers to receive funding from the DHHS, they would be required to sign written certifications stating that they would not discriminate against people who refuse to provide abortion or the aforementioned forms of birth control because of religious or moral convictions. What this means is, these institutions may be forced to hire people who will not do their jobs. It also means that women will have a more difficult time accessing birth control because those who refuse to provide it will be protected. As blogger Lazy Circles puts it: So, the inner city women's clinic employee who refuses to talk to patients about birth control? Can't touch her. The hospital pharmacist who refuses to fill prescriptions for birth control? She can't be fired or disciplined. The doctor who refuses to give emergency contraception to a rape victim for "religious reasons?" Give that man a promotion. As if this isn’t bad enough, Jill Morrison brings up an even scarier point in a Washington Post story: You could imagine a group of people with less than honorable intentions seeking to get hired at a family planning clinic with the specific objective of obstructing access. Under this regulation, there is little you could do about it. The utter ridiculousness of this proposal blows my mind. It seems to favor the pro-life agenda, but since it would make it more difficult to find effective birth control, wouldn’t it follow that it would cause more unwanted pregnancies, and therefore more real abortions? Or maybe they’re hoping without birth control, more women will choose abstinence? That’s probably it: we’ve all seen how well that whole abstinence-only sex education has been working out.

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