Morning-after pill: truths not told

MAP is being made to sound innocuous and promoted as the solution that will liberate women’s sexuality

Mature adults know that two wrongs do not make a right and what is legal is not always right
Mature adults know that two wrongs do not make a right and what is legal is not always right

The introduction of the morning-after pill (MAP) is being presented to the public as a pill similar to those contraceptive pills already on the market, and anti-campaigners are being told that they are creating ‘a storm in a teacup’.

But in my opinion, this is only simplifying and misrepresenting the real issues in question. 

MAP is being made to sound innocuous and promoted as the solution that will liberate women’s sexuality. However, surely this is a seriously flawed argument: the right to freedom is not absolute and falls second if it hurts or abuses someone else. If this were not so, terrorism and murder would be legal. I am more convinced into thinking that this ‘being liberal’ is becoming trendy and compelling us to behave like narcissistic teenagers, where appearing the coolest is what matters.

Why, I wonder, are we so quick to defend animal rights but easily falter in front of life at conception. Isn’t this a grave example of two weights and two measures? Or is it perhaps just simply a question of living in an age where defending animal rights has become more trendy than defending the embryo which by comparison is seen as passé and conservative? Being invisible does not make it disposable. Shouldn’t we have arrived at an advanced conscious development of civilization where values are not traded for mere superficialities? 

Another argument that is being used by the pro-MAP campaigners is that MAP is being introduced everywhere so why not in Malta? But how can this be a justification? How can this reasoning be seen superior to that of a teenager succumbing to peer pressure and talking himself into it… ‘everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t I?’

I would like to think that the mature wise adult knows better. So rather than promoting further education and responsible adult sexual behaviour among both men and women, parliament is right now contemplating offering quick fix solutions without a care for what is at stake, promoting reckless, irresponsible attitudes and behaviours instead of adult responsible thinking and decision making.

Also, while definitions of the human embryo make it quite clear that “the development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote” (Sadler, 1995) the public is being made to believe by MAP campaigners that MAP prevents pregnancy and that life at conception is less valuable or ‘less human’ than other forms.

Firstly it is important for the public to know that in some countries it is marketed in this way, because pregnancy in these countries is defined as starting with implantation, conveniently ignoring scientific fact that in a zygote contains all that is needed for human life to develop. Secondly, yes, MAP acts in a number of ways, many of which are not abortifacient, i.e. acting before fertilization, for example by suppressing ovulation.

But, somehow what seems to be ignored is also the scientific fact that MAP acts also by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg. As a research quoted by the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists states,“studies have shown that it is not scientifically possible to exclude that the MAP does not preclude implantation of a fertilised ovum in the endometrium” (Trussell et. Al. 2016). 

So why is science being ignored and a wrong deceptive idea being given to the public and for what reason? 

Also, I continue to ask why is MAP being presented as the solution for the women who fall victim to unplanned pregnancies, but very few are speaking about more life-giving and just options for everyone at stake: such as adoption. So many couples who face infertility issues would love to adopt and find it so hard to find children in need of adoption. 

Yes a similar abortifacient contraceptive already exists in the market: the coil. But mature adults know that two wrongs do not make a right and what is legal is not always right. Perhaps the discussion of the MAP should raise similar issues with the coil and the law making it legal should be brought into dispute. Laws that are not constitutional change every day and are made more correct and updated.

Louisa Houlton


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