The Corner

Rand Paul on Plan B

From CNN:

“If life starts at conception, should medicine that prevents conception like Plan B be legal?,” a woman asked him during a question-and-answer session here.

Paul at first gave a terse answer: “I am not opposed to birth control,” he said.

After a pause, Paul elaborated. “That’s basically what Plan B is,” he said. “Plan B is taking two birth control pills in the morning and two in the evening, and I am not opposed to that.”

Here’s what Donna Harrison had to say about Plan B on NRO a few months ago:

Plan B is a large dose of an artificial progesterone-like compound called a progestin. When Plan B is taken two to four days before a woman is due to release an egg, it will delay the egg release. So if a woman is exposed to sperm two to four days before she is due to release an egg, and she takes Plan B, that will likely delay the egg release long enough that the sperm will die beforehand.

But if she takes Plan B one day before egg release, the ovary will still release an egg, and the egg will have the same chance of fertilization as if she had not taken Plan B. However, she will likely not get pregnant. Why? It turns out that Plan B taken one day before egg release interferes with the woman’s ability to produce her own progesterone. And without enough of her own progesterone, the lining of the uterus will not produce the optimal changes necessary to allow the embryo to implant.

If the woman takes Plan B one or more days after egg release, then the drug will probably do nothing.

So Plan B really works only if taken during a certain five out of 30 days of each monthly cycle. On one of those days, it is likely that Plan B will allow an embryo to form, but will result in changes to the lining of the uterus that make implantation difficult.

It would be inaccurate, then, to say that Plan B always acts as an abortifacient. But it can sometimes cause embryos to die.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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