Fun with Anti-Science

by Tedra Osell on December 6, 2011

Okay, this is too easy to pass up.

The WaPo reports that Teva Pharmaceuticals has applied to the FDA to sell Plan B over the counter. W00t! No more worrying about when the pharmacy closed or whether or not the pharmacist is gonna pull some conscience-clause bullshit on you, shy teenagers with broken condoms or forgotten birth control pills can sneak it into a shopping basket disguised with a magazine just like they do their tampons, things will be just a little easier from here on out.

BUT NO NOT SO FAST, MISSY.

“When anybody can buy an emergency contraceptive like this over the counter, you open the door for all sorts of abuse, and especially so when it comes to child abuse and child exploitation,” said Janice Crouse of Concerned Women of America.

Yes! If children who are being raped  or forced into prostitution prevent themselves from getting pregnant, then they are destroying valuable evidence, and that would be wrong. Or at least I assume that’s the reasoning here; surely Ms. Crouse doesn’t think that potential child rapists hold themselves back only for fear of not being able to force-feed their victims Plan B after raping them. Does she?

She’s also concerned that over-the-counter Plan B will make it harder for parents to be, um, “involved” with their children. Poor choice of words there, but let’s ignore it.

“When you are talking about selling something like this over the counter, you are opening up a can of worms when it comes to parental involvement in their children’s lives.”

Again, this is a TOTALLY VALID objection. It’s vitally important that parents have the power to force their underage children to bear them grandchildren, or at least to make them have to get an abortion rather than preventing the pregnancy in the first place.

Ah, but wait.

“It’s not a drug that prevents life — it’s a drug that destroys life,” said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group. “If we define life as beginning at fertilization or conception, then this drug can be an abortifacient.”

This is my favorite part of the whole article. Let’s redefine “life” so that we can classify things as abortifacients! I’ll start:

If we define life as beginning at the moment a man first sets eyes on a woman, then not putting out for every dude on the street is an abortifacient.

If we define it as beginning the moment the ring is on her finger, then every business trip is an abortifacient.

If we define it as beginning with ovulation, then menstruation is an abortifacient! MENSTRUAL PADS MUST BE PRESCRIPTION ONLY.

Your turn!

{ 87 comments }

1

Barry Freed 12.06.11 at 11:40 pm

Nothing to add but FIRST!

Apologies, that was also too easy to pass up.

2

William Cooper 12.06.11 at 11:40 pm

Well, I’m a gay man, so I don’t know much about all these things, but I guess the CWA should welcome me with open arms since I have about less than 0% chance of causing a life to come into being. Where are the party invites?

3

dsquared 12.06.11 at 11:41 pm

If we define life as beginning at forty …?

4

Barry Freed 12.06.11 at 11:42 pm

Also you should have to go before a judge before being allowed to use tampons.

5

Uncle Kvetch 12.06.11 at 11:43 pm

And we’re off and running! Let me add to general chorus of welcoming huzzahs.

6

Josh K-sky 12.06.11 at 11:46 pm

If we define life as the thing of which ninety percent is just showing up, then truancy is mostly, but not entirely, an abortifacient.

7

Tom Cochrane, One-Hit Wonder 12.06.11 at 11:50 pm

If we define life as a highway, then USDOT teardown grants are an abortifacient. (Additionally, I want to ride it all night long; anything getting in my way will be considered an abortifacient.)

8

Josh K-sky 12.06.11 at 11:59 pm

If, merrily, we define life as but a dream, then non-REM sleep is an abortifacient.

9

Dragon-King Wangchuck 12.07.11 at 12:04 am

Apologies, that was also too easy to pass up.

Well, no 0ne’s going to accuse you of being abortifacient.

10

Dragon-King Wangchuck 12.07.11 at 12:06 am

Common decency says that you shouldn’t hit on strangers on “Teh Interpr0ns” but I don’t want to be abortifacient. Fortunately, a judge has already given me this restraining order.

11

Russell L. Carter 12.07.11 at 12:50 am

Wow! Just like olden-times. It feels very good to hear this voice again.

Billmon?

12

bh 12.07.11 at 12:54 am

Ah, the Concern Trolls of America.

If we define life as Life Cereal, then milk is an arbortofacient. And Mikey’s an accessory.

13

mcd 12.07.11 at 12:54 am

Based on personal experience, I can now state that life begins at 50.

14

phosphorious 12.07.11 at 1:09 am

Life begins with your first worry free sexual encounter. So anti-contraceptive scolds are an arbortofacient.

15

J— 12.07.11 at 1:33 am

“If we define life as beginning at fertilization or conception, then this drug can be an abortifacient.”

And they do define it this way, as do many of the FRC’s allies, rendering all contraceptives that prevent implantation abortifacients.

16

Substance McGravitas 12.07.11 at 1:37 am

17

Poicephalus 12.07.11 at 1:38 am

What phosphorius said.

Plus, there now is Joy in Mudville…

18

SamChevre 12.07.11 at 1:39 am

Similarly, if we define “some places get warmer and some get cooler” as “global warming”, everything is evidence of global warming.

19

kdog 12.07.11 at 1:46 am

If we define life as a tale told by an idiot, then significance is an abortifacient.

20

Watson Ladd 12.07.11 at 1:48 am

And not one of those worried people mentions the dangerous nature of Tylenol. Far more women are killed each day by OTC Tylenol then will be killed by Plan B in the next decade. But saving existing lives doesn’t let you take on woman’s control of their bodies and participation in the economy.

21

forrest walters 12.07.11 at 1:53 am

Some abortions use a salt solution to slowly poison the baby, which takes up to 24 hours to die, meanwhile eroding the skin. Torture in the womb.

Why can’t we oppose all torture, whether of animals (there is immense cruelty in the food industries), prisoners in the War on Terror, or babies imprisoned in the womb, unable to scream?

22

P O'Neill 12.07.11 at 2:17 am

In entirely unrelated news, Concerned Men of Saudi Arabia don’t want women behind the wheel lest that white dress lose its meaning.

23

John Quiggin 12.07.11 at 2:27 am

@SamChevre Sure, the title of the post was “Fun with anti-science”, but I think some irony was intended. We know libertarians are anti-science, so even if it’s fun for you to prove it yet again, it’s not fun for us.

24

Salient 12.07.11 at 2:29 am

For purpose of bewildered amusement or awildered bemusement, worth noting that this same Janice Crouse seems to have written about half the feature-length articles on the CWA website, notably including one entitled Pedophilia — Normal or Cause for Outrage?

She reports, you decide. It contains this, uh, observation:

Due to our human sensitivities and American values of fairness and equality, our nation has been duped into accepting the unacceptable, all because the lies have been packaged for us so nicely.

…?

…took me like ten minutes to realize OHHH she’s talking about TEH GAY MENACE. Ironically, consider which subpopulation is pretty much categorically guaranteed to not need/want/seek Plan B in the course of their normal sexual lives…

25

nick s 12.07.11 at 2:31 am

If we define life as a box of chocolates, violet creams are murder.

26

joel hanes 12.07.11 at 3:15 am

If we define life as “a nice knock-down argument” then Ms. Crouse’s screed is an abortifacient.

Impenetrability! That’s what I say.

27

DocAmazing 12.07.11 at 3:15 am

I suppose my personality has been an abortifacient…

28

Watson Ladd 12.07.11 at 3:25 am

forrest, that sure as hell isn’t what Plan B is for. But thanks for playing the false equivalency game.

29

Dragon-King Wangchuck 12.07.11 at 3:26 am

Or we could define Life as the Jew of Abortifascism.

30

Ranjit Suresh 12.07.11 at 3:51 am

I’m also concerned with the anti-science implications of the dramatic decline in new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and antibiotics approved annually by the FDA since the 1990′s.

31

Matt McIrvin 12.07.11 at 4:12 am

If we define conception as not when the sperm goes into the egg but when the sperm goes into the woman.

32

Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 4:21 am

“babies imprisoned in the womb.”

Women = a jail house. Yes, that’s a fabulous analogy. ::bzzt you fail::

33

TruculentandUnreliable 12.07.11 at 4:22 am

Yaaay! Just popping by to say how glad I am to see you here.

And I’m pretty sure these pajama pants I’m wearing are an abortifacient.

34

Nabakov 12.07.11 at 5:08 am

With notably rare exceptions, life is for living.

35

Alan 12.07.11 at 5:23 am

Can’t count the hours I spent writing carefully argued missives to the FDA when they requested input on Plan B. Clearly just anti-choice politics were involved on the part of W’s administration to subvert data, science, and logic. And here I thought that I’d finally been on a winning side for once. Silly me.

If we define the life of the mind as philosophy, then current Republicans are abortifacient.

36

GeoX 12.07.11 at 5:39 am

I’ve heard that it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life. I think that’s relevant.

37

js. 12.07.11 at 6:55 am

Isn’t the most awesome consequence this:

If life begins at birth, then all of life is an abortifacient! (Moments of unprotected sex duly excepted.)

38

js. 12.07.11 at 6:59 am

ps. (@37), “birth” is whatever you want it to be.

39

Walt 12.07.11 at 8:03 am

If we define life as a box of chocolates, then I can completely ignore that nick s already made this joke.

40

Passing by 12.07.11 at 9:27 am

if life is a bowl of cherries, then losing yours is abortifacient?

41

Chris Williams 12.07.11 at 10:22 am

If, following Jethro Tull, we define life as a long song, then we really need to declare the Undertones an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

42

Mrs Tilton 12.07.11 at 11:31 am

If life’s not fair, hydrogen peroxide is an abortifacient.

43

chris y 12.07.11 at 12:02 pm

Life begins at Oxford Circus (when the busy day is done). Bond Street tube station should therefore be regarded as an abortifacient.

44

JohnR 12.07.11 at 2:29 pm

Are we really talking about “Life” as some sort of criterion here? Is she really that stupid? Surely not – every time she washes her hands she’s commtting first-degree murder. Man, people have really gotten amazingly stupid since I was a kid. I think it’s no coincidence that the Republicans rose to social and political prominence as the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons were first eviscerated and then removed entirely from the air.

45

Josh Jasper 12.07.11 at 2:38 pm

“As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.”

Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, Bush appointee to the FDA in 2006 on Plan B.

Nothing says reasoned discourse like the threat of progestin popping teen sex cults.

46

sg 12.07.11 at 2:49 pm

Whenever I read “concerned women of America” I imagine a group of middle-aged librarian-type women frowning. Am I alone in this? Is it strange? Should I be scared?

47

NomadUK 12.07.11 at 3:02 pm

Whenever I read “concerned women of America” I imagine a group of middle-aged librarian-type women frowning

Based on my encounters with librarians, I should think the proportion of the membership of Concerned Women of America made up of librarians is pretty small; they’re usually smarter than that.

48

J— 12.07.11 at 3:11 pm

If life is In the Fast Lane, then Moving Over to the Slow Lane is an abortifacient.

49

Uncle Kvetch 12.07.11 at 3:42 pm

Let’s redefine “life” so that we can classify things as abortifacients!

Well, in all fairness…

50

real ffeJ annaH 12.07.11 at 3:46 pm

46, 47: Indeed librarians are far and away the most left-leaning profession in America. CWA is probably mostly Michele Bachman types (i.e. obnoxious PTA moms who attend nutty, low-rent churches every Sunday).

51

Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 4:14 pm

“Whenever I read “concerned women of America” I imagine a group of middle-aged librarian-type women frowning. Am I alone in this? Is it strange? Should I be scared?”

You’re not alone; I do the same thing. And yes, you should be scared, because it’s kind of a sexist stereotype. Though I admit it’s hard to get past the “prude” associations nested in the juxtaposition of “concerned women” and the nod to patriotism in “of America.”

52

Katya 12.07.11 at 4:39 pm

“rendering all contraceptives that prevent implantation abortifacients”

Which, by the way, does not include the pill or Plan B, neither of which has been shown to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, despite what anti-contraceptive advocates say.

53

bh 12.07.11 at 6:26 pm

You sure sure are a believer in your own wonderfulness, though, “an adult.” I guess there’s some consistency, at least, in that duh-obvious scolding comes from someone with an equally pedantic and self-contgratulatory screen name.

Isn’t there somewhere else you could be providing such ‘insights’ as, I don’t know, why do we call it a World Series, when there are only teams from the US? Or why do we call it taking a dump, when you’re not really taking it anywhere?

I’ve read more insightful things on the back of shampoo bottles.

54

Steve LaBonne 12.07.11 at 6:38 pm

Unfortunately, Sebelius has sided with Concern Troll Women of America against her own FDA experts. Score another one for the “liberal” Obama Administration.

55

bh 12.07.11 at 6:49 pm

Gosh Steve, why do we Self-Loathing Liberals (TM J. Chait) continue to deny the self-evident awesomeness of the Obama administration?

56

JM 12.07.11 at 6:50 pm

Since life is a terminal STD you catch from your parents, this post is abortifabulous.

And ‘an adult’ is the Mew of Felinofascism.

57

ben w 12.07.11 at 7:01 pm

58

Steve LaBonne 12.07.11 at 7:06 pm

Sorry about that- thanks, ben w.

59

Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 7:09 pm

In related news, apparently the British Pregnancy Advisory Service is giving away Plan B for free as an awesome holiday present to British women.

60

Matt McIrvin 12.07.11 at 7:12 pm

Has it been resolved that Plan B never acts against implantation?

There’s no evidence that it does, and some evidence that it doesn’t. It’s impossible to prove that it never does. But that’s true of all sorts of drugs, which we don’t ban as abortifacients. (The active ingredient in Plan B is just a hormone found in ordinary birth-control pills in a different dose. Many of the people who are convinced that Plan B is an abortifacient also believe this about the Pill.)

61

Matt McIrvin 12.07.11 at 7:13 pm

(I should have said “don’t consider abortifacients”, because abortifacients are not banned.)

62

Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 7:13 pm

“An adult” also just doesn’t understand science. I mean, shit, I’m a humanities person, but yes, it is, in fact, anti-science to (1) redefine when conception begins; (2) claim that Plan B prevents implantation *in the complete absence of evidence*; (3) believe, apparently, that science is about proving that X “never” happens, as if such proof were possible.

63

mrearl 12.07.11 at 7:15 pm

This limitation may not be constitutional. See, Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S. 678 (1977), cracking a prohibition on distribution of contraceptives to minors.

64

Steve LaBonne 12.07.11 at 7:15 pm

I am an actual biologist with a Ph.D and all (though no longer a practicing researcher), and I heartily second what Tedra just said. But then ‘an adult” is always full of… adult-ness.

65

LizardBreath 12.07.11 at 7:21 pm

(In a minor note: the claim that Plan B might prevent implantation does predate the period where anti-abortion activists were upset about it. As far as I can tell it started as advertising puffery rather than an abortion-related claim (“Prevents pregnancy in not one, not two, but three ways!”). But Tedra’s dead right about the science as far as I know.)

66

J— 12.07.11 at 7:24 pm

Best to err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting the lives of womb babies. Ban breastfeeding by sexually active women.

67

Matt McIrvin 12.07.11 at 7:27 pm

I suspect that, today, at least some of the basis for the claim is deliberate confusion between Plan B and RU-486.

68

dsquared 12.07.11 at 7:36 pm

Has it not been mentioned yet that Plan B is produced by the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Ltd? I must say I find this opposition to its sale somewhat suspicious. It seems that Plan B is being singled out as somehow worse than all the other contraceptive methods.

69

Steve LaBonne 12.07.11 at 7:40 pm

dsquared is the man. Let’s get the neocons and the Christers to fight with each other! (I want the popcorn concession.)

70

LizardBreath 12.07.11 at 7:56 pm

“May” is very different from “has been shown to”. Seriously, if you look at the underlying research, there’s nothing demonstrating that effect — my understanding is that the drug company claimed it was possible, and it’s not really disprovable. The exaggerated claim, which had nothing to do with the anti-abortion movement, opened the door to the current anti-abortion hostility to Plan B, but the fact that the initial claim wasn’t their fault doesn’t mean there’s any basis for it in the research.

71

Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 8:06 pm

D2, you lazy bastard, I totally mentioned Teva in the post itself.

Re. the Obama administration caving, while it pisses me off enormously, at least that’s clearly politics rather than some bullshit science claim. And sadly I’m not really all that surprised. As a country we still freak the fuck out over teenagers having teh sex. I seem to remember being on the wrong side of an argument with D2 once over whether or not we, as parents, would let our children’s teenage romantic partners sleep over when the time came….

72

dsquared 12.07.11 at 8:17 pm

I totally mentioned Teva in the post itself

but crucially not the “Ltd” which (rather than “Inc”) is the badge of a firm with its roots in British company law (in this case, Mandate Palestine)

I seem to remember being on the wrong side of an argument with D2 once over whether or not we, as parents, would let our children’s teenage romantic partners sleep over when the time came….

I think the word “respective” needs to be in that sentence somewhere!

73

Henri Vieuxtemps 12.07.11 at 9:04 pm

…babies imprisoned in the womb…

Live free or die, baby!

74

rea 12.07.11 at 9:20 pm

the Obama administration caving, while it pisses me off enormously, at least that’s clearly politics rather than some bullshit science claim

Except it’s bad politics–nobody so opposed to over-the-counter sales of Plan B that this might influence their vote is ever going to vote for Obama anyway.

75

Leslie 12.07.11 at 9:25 pm

If life is beautiful, then everything ugly is an abortifacient; if life is pain, analgesics are abortifacients; if life’s a bitch, then you not blogging was an abortifacient.

76

Barry Freed 12.07.11 at 9:33 pm

Just reading the name “Chuck Norris” is an abortifacient.

77

todd. 12.07.11 at 10:35 pm

I think “babies imprisoned in the womb” is the premise of the next movie by that “Human Centipede” guy.

78

dangermouse 12.07.11 at 10:42 pm

imprisoned in the womb

This is some genius-level misogyny.

79

dangermouse 12.07.11 at 10:51 pm

Whenever I read “concerned women of America” I imagine a group of middle-aged librarian-type women frowning. Am I alone in this? Is it strange? Should I be scared?

I mostly imagine a group of moderately compensated Ann Coulters with a massive file of form letters.

80

Keith Kisser 12.08.11 at 3:54 am

Dangermouse@82:

Yeah that’s what I see, too. But then I’m married to a middle aged librarian and they are way hotter and less uptight than the CWOA.

81

Tedra Osell 12.08.11 at 4:16 am

“nobody so opposed to over-the-counter sales of Plan B that this might influence their vote is ever going to vote for Obama anyway.”

Agreed, but a lot of middle-of-the-road swing voters and people who feel icky about abortion and/or the idea of teenage girls buying birth control on their own are going to get the impression that that Obama guy really isn’t the radical in this argument.

82

Meredith 12.08.11 at 6:50 am

“If we define it as beginning with ovulation, then menstruation is an abortifacient! MENSTRUAL PADS MUST BE PRESCRIPTION ONLY.”

Love this. My grandmother (b. 1890′s — and who, btw, talked freely about her two (illegal) abortions in the 1920′a for pregnancies incurred (hah!) by her husband, my own very dear grandfather) sometimes talked about the pre-menstrual-pad days of her rural youth. Pain in the ass, periods were. Truly limiting, utterly limiting. (For those who don’t know, women had to use “rags” and hesitated to venture far on “heavy days” for very practical reasons.) I thought immediately of (my-by-then-dead) grandmother when there was a terrible menstrual-pad shortage in I think it was “Yugoslavia” (but maybe “Czechoslovakia”) as the Cold War became “over.” Women there were going nuts — their lives unexpectedly turned upside down by the shortage of menstrual pads! (Forget the added conveniences of the tampon.) How little we women appreciate the industrial revolution!

83

John P 12.08.11 at 8:28 pm

Three out of four fertilized ova, which then become blastocysts whilst sailing down the Fallopian tubicles, fail to implant and are simply washed out of the woman’s body. This is a biological fact. So, by conservative “logic” women’s bodies are natural abortifacients. Or maybe the blastocyst itself is at fault for failing to grab ahold of the uterine lining. Does this make the Concerned Women’s heads explode?

I have yet to hear a pro-lifer discuss this inconvenient truth about human reproduction.

84

mds 12.08.11 at 9:09 pm

So, by conservative “logic” women’s bodies are natural abortifacients.

It’s often useful to carry this a step further, given whom we’re dealing with. Even women’s bodies were presumably designed by God. Therefore, by social conservative “logic” God is the biggest abortionist in the business. Maybe they go after Planned Parenthood because they don’t like the implied competition.

85

BobbyV 12.09.11 at 12:57 am

If we define life as having access to the Internet, then every broadband connection is an abortifacient.

86

Salient 12.09.11 at 1:59 am

If we define life as having access to the Internet

Might be safer to define life as ‘what happens while not having access to the Internet.’

Therefore, by social conservative “logic” God is the biggest abortionist in the business.

Nope, it’s a consequence of apple-eating. The lines that get trotted out almost reflexively are from Exodus 23:

My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.

A sampling from a couple evangelical help-with-grief guides:

Miscarriages are usually caused by abnormal chromosome patterns in the fetus. When these abnormalities are detected, the growth is halted, and miscarriage is the result. … After thousands of years of sin, death and personal destruction, it should not surprise us that genetic disorders would eventually become commonplace.

Miscarriage most often occurs due to a sickness, disease or complication in the mother or baby, not because of the will of God. … It was as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve that sickness and disease entered the world and can now manifest in our lives. However, God’s nature and character has not changed, even though we live in a fallen world. … And I believe that He will never cause us to miscarry or bear sick children.

Sources and full quotes w/o ellipses findable by copy-pasting sentences into google; they don’t need my linkage. See also Empty Arms, a standard evangelical-recommended book.

87

Barry Freed 12.10.11 at 3:07 pm

Miscarriage most often occurs due to a sickness, disease or complication in the mother or baby, not because of the will of God.

You mean to say that something happens that is not the will of God? That’s blasphemy man! Never mind science, it’s hopeless if these fundies can’t even get their own theology straight.

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