Birth control under threat

Birth control pills, emergency contraception and intrauterine devices could be classified as abortion if a draft regulation proposed by the Bush Administration and circulating within the Department and Health and Human Services takes effect.

More than 98 percent of women have used birth control at some point in their lives. The draft regulation says these widely used methods of contraception could be considered as forms of abortion because they can prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The Wall Street Journal reports that most medical groups agree “pregnancy isn’t established until several days after conception, when the fertilized egg has grown to a cluster of several dozen cells and burrowed into the uterine wall.”

The proposed rule claims to protect the rights of anti-abortion doctors and nurses. As abortion is legal, the regulation would have little immediate effect on women taking these birth control methods, but some people fear that it could undercut state laws that promote easy access to birth control, and prompt insurance companies to drop coverage for prescription birth control, a notion Tom McClusky of the conservative Family Research Council called “fantastic” in the Wall Street Journal.

The draft regulation could still be revised or rejected. The Bush Administration doesn’t need congressional approval to put it into effect, but it also could be easily reversed by the next president.

As of Aug. 12, the world’s population: 6,716,350,368.