COLORADO'S PERSONHOOD AMENDMENT WOULD NOT BAN ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
By Dr. Patrick Jonston
August 13, 2008
For the first time in United States history, the issue of personhood will be decided in the public forum by a constitutional amendment. After almost 50 million babies killed since Roe v. Wade, it’s about time! The Personhood Amendment on the ballot in Colorado this November will read “the terms ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.” The amendment states a scientific, indisputable fact that we have known well before Roe v. Wade, that human life begins at fertilization, when a father’s sperm and mother’s egg unite. After that point, the being is a growing, maturing human person. After fertilization, nothing makes us any more alive or any more human than the moment before. If this amendment passes, it will, in effect, force the Colorado legislature and the Colorado justice system to treat the preborn like people and protect them from death by abortion.
The pro-abortion machine is in full swing with their “smoke and mirrors” campaign to obfuscate the real issues at stake. NARAL Colorado’s website scares us with frightening scenarios where unintended pregnancies skyrocket and back-alley abortion centers thrive because contraceptives would be banned under the amendment. In a John Lofton interview with Toni Panetta, Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, the tactic of choice is to deceive, obfuscate, and fear-monger. She refused to deal with the point of contention in this debate. When Mr. Lofton asked her when she thought life began, she refused to answer. When he asked her, “If it were proven that human life begins at fertilization, would you be against aborting that human life?” she said that it was irrelevant and changed the subject. If this amendment passes, Ms. Panetta warned us that contraceptives will be banned and women will suffer.
The hesitance of pro-lifers to address contraception may cripple us in our ability to identify and expose their “smoke and mirrors” arguments to the public. Pro-lifers must realize that something can be sin and yet not criminal. It may be wrong for Christians and Catholics to take oral contraceptives for Scriptural reasons, and with the lingering question that hormonal contraceptives may cause abortions.  Those are the reasons that I refuse to prescribe oral contraceptives in my medical practice. But I am reluctant to condemn those who do because I am not convinced that they cause abortions. I think that this is an issue in which people can in good conscience disagree.
Many sincere pro-lifers have sincere ethical objections to hormonal contraception. There is much scientific literature that claims one of the ways hormonal contraception functions is to thin the inner lining of the uterus to make it “hostile” to the fertilized egg should breakthrough ovulation occur, as it occasionally does. If the prescribed hormonal contraceptive acts part of the time by preventing implantation of the fertilized embryo into the inner lining of the mother’s uterus, it is in this instance acting as an abortion drug, not as a contraceptive.
However, it must be admitted that it is not proven that oral contraceptives cause abortions of embryos that are conceived through breakthrough ovulations. It is an unproven theory. There are strong arguments that oral contraceptives do not cause abortions of embryos conceived in breakthrough ovulations.
First, there is regular, successful implantation of embryos into linings far more “hostile” than the thinned inner lining of the uterus. In ectopic pregnancies, for example, the embryo attaches to the inner surface of the fallopian tubes, which is far less vascular and glandular than the uterus thinned by hormonal contraceptives. The almost total absence of reporting of ectopic pregnancies in patients taking oral contraceptives indicates the rarity of actual conception by such patients (with that rare pregnancy surviving to be born). The theory that the thinned inner lining of the uterus is “hostile” to the entering embryo is unlikely to be a clinical reality.
Second, the thinning of the inner lining of the uterus from oral contraceptives is observed in non-ovulatory cycles; that is, when no ovulation occurs. Is it reasonable to take the findings in a non-ovulatory cycle and apply it to the outcome of conception in an ovulatory cycle? The inner lining of the uterus certainly would be “hostile” to an incoming embryo in its thinned stage, but this thinned stage also exists in women not on oral contraceptives, occurring between menstruation and ovulation. At the moment when every woman ovulates, her uterus would at that moment be “hostile” to an embryo. But once ovulation occurs, the “shell” of the follicle in the ovary that released the egg releases ten to twenty times the levels of hormones produced in a non-ovulatory cycle, and this rise in hormones causes the thinned uterus to become thick with blood vessels and glands that make the uterus receptive to the embryo, which enters the uterus about one week after its conception in the fallopian tube.
The question is, are the hormones released by the shell of this follicle sufficient to overcome the hormonal contraceptives that the woman continues to take every day, not knowing that she has conceived? There is evidence that it can and does. There are certainly a lot of people around today that were conceived when their mother was taking oral contraceptives – I was!
There are several cases of women who had been on repeated Depo-Provera injections and who wished to conceive quickly. On these injections, the inner lining of the uterus can become so thin that menstruation can cease altogether. A drug called Clomid was prescribe to induce ovulation, and the subsequent rise in uterus-nourishing hormones was sufficient to thicken the severely thinned uterus, which became receptive to the incoming guest as it entered the uterus approximately one week after fertilization.
So when Planned Parenthood and NARAL warn us that contraceptives would be banned under this amendment, we need to simply respond, “Prove it.” It cannot be proven. If Colorado law recognizes the personhood of unborn children, an abortion would certainly be considered intentionally killing a person. But it would have to be proven in a Colorado court of law that hormonal contraceptives cause abortions before there could be any conviction against those prescribing or consuming them. The amendment would affect known abortion-causing drugs such as the “progestin-only pill” and the “morning-after pill”, each of which is proven to act to prevent the implantation of the embryo into the uterus.
The pro-abortion forces’ appeal to the public that hormonal contraceptives would be banned under the Colorado Personhood Amendment is an attempt to divide and conquer their pro-life opponents, to obfuscate the real issues in the debate. Let us continue to bring the heart of the matter back to the public. The point of contention is found in the question, when does life begin? Let us not divide over secondary issues on which we may disagree. Rather, let us unite in defense of the innocent children that are being slaughtered in the womb.
Unfortunately, some pro-life groups have been reluctant to support Colorado’s Personhood Amendment for more pious reasons. One influential bioethicist has argued that since the Personhood Amendment does not protect children conceived through cloning, then they stand in opposition to the amendment. But cloning is already illegal in Colorado! There is no holocaust of children conceived through cloning in Colorado. Moreover, the wording of the amendment is not exclusive. It says that a person includes a human conceived through fertilization. In essence, this bioethicist actually agrees with the truth of the statement, yet for the amendment’s failure to protect those who aren’t being threatened, they will oppose it. During the Nazi Holocaust, would they have opposed the following German Amendment, “a person includes a Jew” because it didn’t protect the Irish?
Other pro-life groups have been reluctant to support the amendment because of a disposition towards unqualified submission to the central government. They are convinced that the Supreme Court has the final word on the legality of state abortion prohibitions; therefore they believe that the best way to protect the preborn is to affect the make-up of the Supreme Court so as to guarantee that any state restrictions or ban on abortion would survive the judiciary. They don’t want to protect the preborn in state law unless the Supreme Court grants them permission to do so. Some pro-life groups have gone so far as to oppose principled abortion bans for fear that the Supreme Court would overturn the state law and uphold Roe v. Wade, thereby reinforcing and strengthening Roe v. Wade as court precedent.
The aim of this amendment should not be to challenge Roe v. Wade, but to protect the preborn and treat them justly. Challenging Roe v. Wade is critical and it should be overturned. However, state lawmakers do not need the courts’ permission to do protect the innocent within their jurisdiction and treat them justly under state law. If the courts do not overturn Roe v. Wade when it is challenged, states should simply re-criminalize abortion in adherence to our divine mandate to do justice and protect the innocent, the Supreme Court’s opinion notwithstanding. The obligation to do justice is local, and divine judgment for the unretributed shedding of innocent blood is also local.
The state’s first obligation is to God; whose authority transcends even the Supreme Court. The second obligation of state civil authorities is to the state constitution and to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the government should not deprive another of life or liberty without due process of law. States have no obligation to respect the opinion of judges who defy the law of the land with their unconstitutional and immoral opinions. Judges usurp their God-ordained and Constitutionally-restrained boundaries when they tell states that we must not criminalize the killing of innocent children in the womb, and we have no more obligation to adhere to their unlawful and immoral dictates than we would if they were to order us to murder our friend, steal from our neighbor, or worship an idol.
Should this Amendment pass, Colorado’s leaders should not respect any suspension of it by the judiciary, but should immediately begin to protect the preborn within their lawful jurisdiction through the administration of justice upon their assailants. Woe be unto us if we submit to tyranny in defiance of the laws of nature and nature’s God!
I implore you to visit www.Personhood2008.com now, and give them your generous financial support. We have an opportunity to put a crack in the dam of the American Holocaust in the state of Colorado this November, and we must focus our prayers and our energies at this point.
The American View radio program; John
Lofton interviews Tony Panetta with NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
2. Psalm 127
3. “Do Oral Contraceptives Cause Abortions?” By Dr. Patrick Johnston, D.O.,
4. The “shell” of the follicle in the ovary that released the egg is called the corpeus luteum.
5. Numbers 35:30-34, Genesis 9:6, Deuteronomy 21:1-9, Romans 13:1-5
6. U.S. Constitution, Amendment V and XIV
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