First, let me me say I whole-heartedly endorse Dr. J’s statement that referral to someone willing to help is the best solution.
The “moment of conception” is something to hash out in the Great Debates forum, so I’ll just say that a great many religions teach that conception occurs the instant the sperm unites with the egg. Yes, it takes a while between that instant of union & implantation, but during that time cell division IS occurring. In fact, implantation is feasible because some cells of the zygote have become different enough from the “fuure baby” cells to grow into the uterine lining and develop into a placenta. Does a zygote=embryo=fetus=baby? I don’t profess to know, but my personal beliefs are such that I would not prescribe a morning-after pill, with possible exceptions for rape.
Birth control pills (BCPs) taken before-the-fact work on several levels:
First, and foremost, they are supposed to prevent ovulation. No egg = no baby, no matter how many sperm get there.
Second, they make the swim inhospitable for sperm, lessening the chances of fertilization should an egg happen to be in the wrong place.
Third, they make the uterine lining less receptive to implantation, so that if ovulation did occur, and a sperm did find the egg, it would not implant, and would pass out of the uterus with the next menses.
Fourth, they cause destabilization of the uterine lining (by suddenly decreasing the progesterone levels). If the developing placenta has not implanted deeply, the whole thing is flushed out with the next menses.
RU-486, or several birth control pills taken shortly after sexual activity, act through the 3rd and 4th mechanism listed above. The difference is intent:
BCPs, when taken a priori, are usually intended to prevent conception. Some people do find the other mechanisms of action unacceptable, and opt for other forms of birth control that do not interfere with pregnancy should conception occur.
Morning-after pills are intended to prevent a pregnancy from progressing to the point of being recognized as such. The very intent is to allow a developing zygote/embryo… to be flushed away without the woman/mother ever having to acknowledge the fact that she destroyed a mass of tissue with the potential to become a human being. Is this less emotionally devastating to woman? Almost certainly. Might it be all the more wrong for its insidiousness/palatability? Again, I can’t pretend to have all the answers.
Abortions are intended to terminate fully established, recognized pregnancies. Few seem to question whether a physician has the right to decide whether (s)he will perform abortions. I hope I have created in your minds the sense that conception, and contraception, do not exist as yes/no black-or-white entities but run a vast spectrum of gray.
Monty2, I am sorry for the distress you & your friend are going through right now. Consider asking your doctor if she can recommend another doctor who is comfortable providing this prescription for your friend. Or, try Planned Parenthood as other posters have suggested. But realize that your doctor is probably not being judgmental towards you and your friend; I expect she is upholding her perceived responsibility to “do no harm” to all involved, including the (possible) baby.
Sue from El Paso