Thursday, October 18, 2007

Overstating your case . . . not inherently evil?

I have spoken to many people over the past few weeks about the Bishop's statement capitulating on Plan B and have a couple of theories. We all keep hoping that "the Bishop's must know something that we don't." Something so super-secret that they can't even tell it to their flock, I guess. Based on what we do know, here is what I am thinking (and I don't like what I am thinking) . . .

Charitable Interpretation A
The most charitable interpretation I can think of is that the Bishops chose to protect jobs and access to health care instead of "falling on their sword" over Catholic teaching on abortion and protecting nascent life. After all, the legislature dreamed up a scenario whereby - a recently raped victim, at a catholic hospital, is ovulating, and wants Plan B, but can't get it - has never happened, and it is unlikely to happen in the future. Anyway, if you read Bishop Lori's post on his blog about the subject, he basically states that their decision is about protecting the hospitals, i.e. money.

Charitable Interpretation B
But another reason the Bishops capitulated, that seems to be forming from various sources, is that the Bishops simply overstated their initial objection to Plan B. That the Bishops, the manufacturer of Plan B, and the Federal Drug Administration all overstated Plan B's ability to "thicken the walls of the uterus to prevent implantation" of a fertilized egg. That it all has been much ado about nothing. I can kind of believe it because if you think the FDA has 100% knowledge about all the drugs they approve, you would be naive. I can tell you that many times the side-effects or additional effects of a drug are overstated or exaggerated to protect against potential lawsuits and other reasons. I can envision a scenario where "thickening of the uterine wall" was added because it enhanced the drug's perceived effectiveness and/or because that could happen in theory. So you have a "perfect storm" of Bishops, a manufacturer, and licensee drawing lines in the sand over a side effect that probably never really happens, effectively anyway. After some serious digging, the bishops discovered that the manufacturer's claims were overstated and as a result, their opposition to Plan B was overstated.

If this charitable interpretation is true, however, the Bishops should still err on the side of life and not distribute Plan B, because there must have been some chance of creating a chemical abortion, even if the science isn't crystal clear. Additionally, if it was all a big misunderstanding, surely the bishops could have stated as much in their statement. Eating a little crow, instead of trying to create the impression they weren't breaking ANY laws - God's or the State.

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