By George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling
The NY Times, on June 5, 2012, reported that so-called “morning-after pills” work by preventing women’s eggs from being fertilized, and not by preventing fertilized eggs from being implanted in the womb. The latest scientific findings show that “the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.”
In short, morning-after pills do not operate on fertilized eggs at all. Why should this matter? Because many conservative Republicans, as well as the official Catholic Church, believe the metaphor that Fertilized Eggs Are People, and that preventing such egg-people from being implanted in the womb constitutes “abortion,” and hence, in their view, baby-killing. The Times article correctly reports that “it turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work.”
That’s the truth. Does the truth matter?