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Daaaaaamnnn…

Years ago, at an atheist meeting, a Christian showed up, as was wont to happen every few months or so. I decided that I would take one for the team and fully engage him so that others could have the more nuanced conversations that drew most people to the meetings. Lucky for me (but not for him), his prepared topic of conversation for the time he had chosen to break bread with us baby-eaters was abortion.

He led not with a question, but with an assumption that we atheists tended to support reproductive rights. He wasn’t wrong (though of course there are some over-represented exceptions among atheists). I decided to ask him a question: “How many abortions have you prevented?”

It’s an excellent piece, well worth your time. I can only add two things.

First, handing out twenty-plus Plan B doses is not the same as preventing twenty-plus abortions. Few people realize the full scale of the bloodbath that occurs within a uterus; nothing happens 14% of the time when you squirt good sperm next to a fertile egg, according to one source, and of all properly-timed pregnancies a whopping 65% spontaneously abort or fail to fertilize before the 8-11 week line. Crunch the numbers, and there’s roughly a 93% chance Heina prevented 3 to 10 abortions by handing out 20 Plan B’s, or about a 52% chance they prevented 6-8 abortions. It’s still a very respectable tally, but a pedant’s gotta pedant.

(Assuming things even got to that point, of course: eggs are fertile for two days after ovulation, and sperm are usually dead within five days, so the fertile period is roughly one week out of the typical four week cycle.)

Second, I can hear a few harrumphs arguing that Plan B is the same as abortion. Not so; emergency contraception seems to work by delaying or stopping ovulation, preventing the egg from fertilizing in the first place.

As medical authorities such as the National Institutes of Health, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the US FDA define pregnancy as beginning with implantation, [emergency contraceptive pills] do not interrupt an established pregnancy, they are not abortifacients.

So it’s still fair to say Heina has prevented more abortions than most “pro-lifers.”

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