Conservative Christian companies and colleges object to paying for drugs they believe essentially abort babies. So they've sued the government for insisting that they subsidize, through insurance programs, emergency contraceptives for their employees. But have these Christians institutions gotten it wrong? Do drugs such as Plan B really cause fertilized eggs not to implant?
The questions will surely reignite today as a federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make Plan B (the "morning-after pill") available without a prescription to women of all ages.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, the creators of Plan B (the "morning-after pill") has repeatedly asked the FDA to remove its warning label that the drug "may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium [the inside lining of the uterus]." It increasingly is finding support within the medical research community.
The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, citing new research, declared last March that Plan B does not inhibit implantation but instead blocks fertilization. Germany's Catholic bishops also cited the research in February, which prompted them to drop their opposition to using morning-after pills in Catholic hospitals for victims of rape.
In today's court decision, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman cited the National Institutes of Health's decision to remove from its website any suggestion that Plan B could affect implantation. The idea that the pill had such effects, Korman said, is "scientifically unsupported speculation."
Evangelical bioethicists interviewed by Christianity Today remained critical of Plan B, but not just because of its reputation for blocking implantation.