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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Punishing the Victim, Promoting Rape

Not long ago, a woman was raped in Denton, just north of Texas. Since her rapist was not kind enough to wear a condom, she feared that she might become pregnant and asked for emergency post-coital contraception. The hospital thought this was a reasonable request and wrote her a prescription which she took to her neighborhood Eckerd Drug Store to be filled. She was then victimized again by the very people that should have been most willing to help her.
Gene Herr, and two fellow pharmacists, refused to fill the prescription. This was not the first time he had done so (read about it here ). Mr. Herr believes that such emergency contraception is the equivalent to giving an abortion. Apparently, he doesn’t care why a woman may be pregnant. She should simply pray about it and live with the consequences.
Don’t think this is just some backwards hillbilly stumbling behind the counter to push pills. Mr. Herr holds a pharmacist license and that stipulates that he has at least a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Pharmacists have refused to fill contraceptive prescriptions (and not just emergency contraception) in Georgia, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin ( click here). Although the problem reaches back as far as the early 1990s, it has been increasingly a concern.
Think this is just a bunch of individuals who came up with the same idea independently? Then you need to hear about Pharmacists for Life International (click here). They are actively promoting the idea that pharmacists should refuse to dispense birth control pills. The hypocrisy is astounding. They say they are “for life” but I find no where on their website where they have actually been trying to dispense medications to third world places where truly life-saving medicines are badly needed. They are not for life – they are simply against contraception.
Let’s be clear. This is not a group that is simply against abortion. An abortion is the removal of a fetus – which by definition must have been implanted in the woman’s uterus and begun to grow. Emergency contraception like the kind the Texas woman was refused only works within the first 72 hours. After 72 hours, a fertilized egg is only about eight cells ( click here for a detailed explanation ). Technically, at this point, the proper term is “embryo”. It has absolutely no ability to survive on its own, it cannot feel pain, and millions of them are washed out of women’s bodies naturally every month during menses because of the timing required for pregnancy to occur.
According to Planned Parenthood, up to 22,000 pregnancies occur every year because rape victims are not even told they can use emergency contraception. Hospitals simply are not required to do so. That is 22,000 girls like your daughter or sister that have been impregnated by someone who raped them. Not wanting to stop that is basically siding with the rapists. It’s saying that a woman deserves to be reminded every single day that they were a rape victim.
Yet right at the top of PFLI’s website is a graphic crowing about how the Governor of Colorado vetoed a bill that would require hospitals to inform a rape victim that she could receive emergency contraception. The bill didn’t require that she be administered it – it simply forced someone in the hospital to say, “You can still make sure you don’t become pregnant if you want.” The PFLI blatantly lies when they say they oppose it because, “the so-called emergency contraception sometimes causes an abortion.” They oppose it because they have taken an extreme religious position and are defending it against all reality.
The pro-rapist PFLI is only a symptom of the way theology has torn loose from its moorings in the anti-abortion fringe. They don’t give a damn about women or about life in general. They oppose any form of birth control by anyone anywhere. It is hypocrisy to pull this kind of crap and still dispense any medicine at all. If they are afraid of thwarting God’s will (besides have a God that is WAY too small), then they should seek a new profession because, technically, every medication thwart’s God’s will – if you define letting things happen as God’s will.
God has given us a way to prevent 22,000 women a year from being forced to bear a child conceived from rape. PFLI and other pro-rapist groups are simply trying to throw up a stumbling block to those who actually want to help women take control of their lives. Rather than looking upward for direction, they are looking backward to the time when women were chattel and their place was barefoot and pregnant. Perhaps they need to be reminded that women are as precious to God as men.

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