Yeah, that happened. Again. Via NPR:
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.The short answer is no. But the Catholic bishops who've coordinated dozens of lawsuits to try to block or overturn the Health and Human Services mandate that insurance cover birth control have claimed that emergency contraception, like Plan B, is actually an abortion. Actually, it isn't, but it's not like this is the first time they've been wrong.
Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?
But it turns out, at least when it comes to Plan B, there is now fairly definitive research that shows the only way it works is by preventing ovulation, and therefore, fertilization.It's not just abortion opponents in the medical community who are starting to accept, you know, reality. On Thursday, Germany's Catholic bishops announced "that hospitals run by the church could provide women who had been raped with versions of the morning-after pill that prevent fertilization." Even they realize that a pill that prevents pregnancy is not an abortion, so it's acceptable to administer it to rape victims. Why they don't realize it should be acceptable to administer to any woman who doesn't want to become pregnant is another matter for another day, but considering that the Catholic Church tends to be slow on the uptake—by, like, centuries—we'll consider this a good first step in the right direction.
"We've learned a lot about how these drugs work," says Diana Blithe, a biochemist and contraceptive researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "I think it's time to revise our speculations about how things might work in view of data that show how things do work."
For example, says Blithe, a study published just last year led the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics to declare that Plan B does not inhibit implantation. And some abortion opponents in the medical community are beginning to accept that conclusion.
Don't expect the bishops here in 'Merica to be as reasonable as their German counterparts, though. They've got a holy war to wage, after all, and they're not likely to back down any time soon until every man, woman and child understands that basic health care for women—including contraception—makes them very, very sad. Science be damned.