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Plan B destroys embryo in some cases

Letter to the Editor | Friday, November 3, 2006

It seems reasonable to assume that on its Web site Barr Pharmaceuticals would provide accurate information about its FDA approved product, Plan B (www.go2planb.com). On this website a brief description of how the drug operates shows that Dan Hicks is wrong in his Letter to the Editor to claim that Plan B works “only by preventing ovulation” (“Women, students deserve apology,” Nov. 2).

The website indicates that there are three ways that Plan B prevents pregnancy, where pregnancy is defined as the successful implantation of an embryo in a woman’s uterus: “It prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary, and may also prevent the fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg). Plan B may also work by preventing it from attaching to the uterus (womb).” The unexpressed antecedent of “it” in the last sentence is: “the embryo that results from a fertilized egg.”

Being a fertilized human egg or a human embryo are different stages in the life of a human organism. Although it seems that Plan B usually works by interfering with ovulation or preventing fertilization, this is not always the case. Taking Plan B causes the destruction of a human embryo in those cases where it prevents its implantation. This should trouble anyone who holds that a human organism is identical to a human person. Professor Emeritus Charles Rice, then, was correct in his report of how Plan B operates.

Andrew Rosato

graduate student

medieval studies