"Morning-After" Pill Is Abortive, Cardinal Says

Decries Attempts to Use Ambiguous Terms

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The governments of Spain, Portugal and Chile, three traditionally Catholic countries, recently announced the decision to distribute the "morning-after" pill through their national health systems.



In statements to the Spanish weekly newspaper Catolicos del Siglo XXI ("21st Century Catholics"), Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family, responded to those who accuse the Church of undertaking a crusade against this decision, confusing the "morning-after" pill with the RU-486 "abortion pill."

Some media reports in these countries claim the "morning-after" pill is a simple contraceptive and does not have an abortive character.

"It is very grave that an attempt is being made to confuse public opinion with ambiguous terms," the Colombian cardinal warned. "The process of human life does not begin with the embryo´s adherence to the maternal womb, but before, at the very moment of conception. Hence, to talk about ´impeding implantation in the uterus´ is nothing but a euphemism in an attempt to disguise abortion."

"The RU-486 brutally interrupts the embryo´s development in the maternal uterus, or rather, if it is not yet implanted, it impedes it doing from doing so," he stressed. "This means it will be aborted."

Moreover, he continued, "the ´morning-after´ pill presents an added ethical problem. Scientific studies point out that the high anti-gestation efficacy of this substance is due to the fact that it impedes the implantation of the fertilized ovum. Although the scientific certainty of this effect is not so obvious and striking as in the RU-486, its sole consideration imposes, ethically, its nonuse because of the danger for the life of the new human being yet to be implanted in the uterus."

"The ethical disorder of using the ´morning-after´ pill is not just in contraception, but in its abortive character," the cardinal added.