2 Competing Views On ECs

Emergency Contraceptives are all the rage. You hear reports about the ongoing FDA controversy on both nightly news and in news print. The question is whether to make these available over-the-counter or not. Let me just say that I find the term 'Emergency Contraceptive' to be a misnomer. Where's the emergency? Is someone bleeding or dieing? Is pregnancy an emergency? It's not an illness or disease. Or is it?

Of greater concern to me, however, is how within the LC-MS we have two competing views from two different authorities as to how ECs work and whether, therefore, they are to be avoided.

Where do these two views come from? They come from 'Lutherans For Life' and from the 'Concordia Bioethics Institute'.

If I were to go to 'Lutherans for Life' on the issue I would find that Dr. James Lamb writes the following in an LFL informational pamphlet entitled 'Emergency Contraception':

...It is true that EC - which is really a high dose of the "birth control" pill - does work by stopping ovulation, slowing sperm travel, and, if ovulation and fertilization have occurred, by preventing implantation of the embryo...


...We could talk about the side effects, the risks, and the dangers of young girls being able to obtain the use of these drugs. But only one word is necessary - LIFE... All life - regardless of circumstances or condition or stage along life's continuum - is a gift from God, a gift to be protected and nourished.

Going on this information I would conclude that the use of ECs among Christians would be immoral because of the potential to end a life that is already begun. I would also perk up to the statement that ECs are a "high does of the 'birth control' pill," and I would ask my self whether or not this tells me something about the nature of 'The Pill'.

But then again, maybe I didn't look to LFL for guidance on the issue. Maybe I looked to the Concordia Bioethics Institute. On their website I could find the following from their director:

[ECs are] basically a high does of the same hormones found in the Pill taken within 3 days after intercourse and again 12 hours later... Taking high levels of hormones can cause serious side effects which should be monitored by a doctor. Use of this drug may seem to legitimize sexual activity outside of marriage. Also, the morning-after pill does not protect from AIDS or other sexually-transmitted diseases. And there is the concern that unsupervised use of ECs could cause abortions. Package inserts say one way that EC works is by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting into the lining of the uterus—which would be an abortion; although, to my knowledge, there has been no scientific evidence to prove that point...

Do you see the stark difference between these two responses to ECs? Dr. Lamb and LFL don't even see the need to discuss the numerous possible side effects of ECs (medical and cultural side effects). And why not? Because the first thing that is blaringly obvious is that one way ECs (super doses of the chemicals found in 'The Pill') work is by causing loss of life - micro-abortions.

The director of the Concordia Bioethics Institute, on the other hand, - unwilling to attest any credence to the abortifacient concern as being anything other than a trumped up claim found on a packaging insert - can only talk about all of those secondary things that Dr. Lamb had no need to talk about.

Does the right hand know what the left hand is writing on this matter?


Tina said...

Hmmm. I'm liking that Bioethics institute less and less. They can't even take a definitive stand on THIS issue? But, I gues if they conclude that the anti-implantation effect is real for EC, they might have to conclude it's real for OC's as well.

Related to this issue of EC being essentially the same a OC's, there was an editorial in our paper this summer that stated the case that there should be no opposition to 'the morning after pill', because it worked in the exact same way that the "Pill" did--by stopping ovulation if it was pending, slowing the movement of sperm to impede them reaching an egg, and disallowing implantation. (In fact, you can achieve the same effect by taking several oc's at the same time). So, if it's just like the Pill, where's the argument against it?

I would say she's right. IF we have conceded that the Pill is no moral problem for Christians, do we really have a leg to stand on in opposing EC's?


Pr. David Rufner said...


Thanks for the comment. The two do seem to go hand in hand.

Am I right in seeing that you have started the yahoo group - acting as a resource room for this blog? I found it, and it looked like you had started it, so I've posted a link here on the blog to the group. I hope others take advantage of it. Jon may be willing to put some of his resources on it.


Tina said...

Yes, David. I did start it. I emailed you about it. Did you get that?

I wasn't sure how to set it up. Specifically, the options would be open/public, or private. Another option is to be able to hide your email from the group, or to require it to be on posts. I wasn't sure what the group would be most comfortable with.

For now, it's public, and email addresses are shared. If anyone has a preference, let me know and I'll change it.


Christopher Gillespie said...

Can you post a link so I can subscribe... I have a good quote to share from Dr. Walter Maier...


Pr. David Rufner said...


The link now on the Links list for this blog... at the top... Lutherans & Contraception Resource Room


jconner said...


I will share my resources soon. I'm currently in the middle of Thanksgiving preps at church and my parents, grandmother, and brother are visiting (life a little hectic right now). I'll get to it after Thanksgiving.


Tina said...

Thanks Jon. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.