Friday, November 30, 2012

Eroding Religious Freedom

Randy Alcorn:
During the election season I addressed the issue of religious liberties and the implications the reelection of our President would have. I so much wish I was wrong about this. Here is a Christian businessman who owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian bookstores, and employs thousands of staff. He is being ordered by the administration, and this has been upheld by a district judge, to violate his conscience by paying, via insurance, for his employees’ abortion-causing chemicals and procedures. Please pray for David Green, his company and their employees. And for the far-reaching implications of civil rights and religious liberties.
Read the rest.

There is a tension here.

Real suffering through abortion is something that Christians should care deeply about and should reject being forced to pay for.  Yet, for centuries, Christianity has thrived under governments who provided zero religious liberty.

We grieve and grieve with real tears.  We fight, and should fight as long as we have the right.  Yet we rejoice in confidence that the Kingdom of God will not fail.  Ever.

Books by Randy Alcorn:


Robb said...

While Randy Alcorn is one of the most vocal proponents of the view that hormonal contraception prevents implantation and is therefore an abortifacient, all the experiments that have been done to test this idea have not found any such effect and even contradict that view.

For some background on the controversy over hormonal contraception (including emergency contraception) see this article.

Vitamin Z said...

Thanks for the comment Robb.

The article you link to specifically cites the Plan B drug, but I assume the debate over insurance coverage and abortion drugs goes beyond just the Plan B drug? Am I wrong?

Vitamin Z said...

The last paragraph might be worth considering also.

"Critics said they wondered if scientists and government agencies were debunking an implantation effect because they support abortion rights. Jonathan Imbody, vice president of government relations for the Christian Medical Association, wrote on, that the fact sheets contradict Plan B’s abortion-inducing nature and raise questions about “whether ideological considerations are driving these decisions.”"

Robb said...

There is a lot of misinformation about this topic on all sides obviously.

The drugs in the mandate commonly pointed out to be abortifacients by critics like Randy Alcorn include anything hormonal (pill, patch, ring, injection, emergency contraceptives, hormonal IUD) and the copper IUD.

Of these the only ones that might prevent implantation are one type of emergency contraception called ella (which is a new drug class and hasn't been fully studied), and the copper IUD which probably does prevent implantation if used within 5 days of having sex. That's the only one on the list that I would consider to be a legitimate danger to implantation.

Plan B is another type of emergency contraception that is older and a lot more common than ella and there is lots of evidence that it does not prevent implantation.

The RU-486 abortion pill which can abort a pregnancy up to 7 weeks after implantation is not covered by the contraception mandate.

In order for Mr. Imbody's criticism to be true, many independent clinicians and researchers would have to be deliberately manipulating data on Plan B (without getting caught) in order to push an "agenda". It's unrealistic to most but that sort of conspiracy theory does appeal to some people…

Vitamin Z said...

If human life is at stake I think it is probably best to err on the side of caution.

Consider being on a construction team that is tasked to blow up a building. You riddle it full of explosives and right before you are about to pull the trigger you say "You are sure there ain't anyone in there still?"

Your co-worker looks at you and says, "I'm not sure... There MIGHT be."

Of course you don't pull the trigger.

In the case of "might" it's probably good to err on the side of caution.

I think the same should be the case here.

Robb said...

Obviously science and medicine value human life and in most cases proceed with great caution, but advances in medicine cannot be made without some sort of risk.

What if ibuprofen (Advil) causes abortion? Do we know that it does not? The only way to know that a drug does not harm a person or a pregnancy is to try it—first with cells in a petri dish, then animals, then with a few people, and then with a lot of people. Every stage involves calculated risk. People die or get seriously ill every year in drug trials so that we can learn what are the costs and gains.

The good news is for drugs like Plan B and the combined oral contraceptives, after all those steps of research is pretty clear that there is no risk to implanted embryos. ella still needs more research though.