My Column in today’s Headline Bistro.
The FDA’s recent approval of Ella (Ulipristal acetate) as an emergency contraceptive is an action so fraught with lies and incomplete research, that it beggars the imagination. It is a tissue of lies built upon a foundation of lies. Let’s begin with the foundational lies and work our way up.
Ella is marketed as an emergency contraceptive because it can inhibit ovulation for up to five days. It also acts to prevent the implantation of the embryo and destroys the maternal component of the placenta (more on that later). So how is this not considered an abortifacient by the FDA?
The answer lies in the redefinition of both pregnancy and conception.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has for over 25 years accepted a redefinition of both pregnancy and conception as starting at implantation of the embryo, rather than at the fertilization of the egg by sperm. That’s earth-shattering in its effect. The activist attorneys who lobby ACOG saw these drugs coming and worked to get the new definitions put in place well in advance.
The definitions are also tied to the in vitro fertilization industry. Fertilization used to take place solely within the woman’s fallopian tubes, so that conception and pregnancy were respectively both an event and a condition that were simultaneous. When fertilization occurs in a Petri dish, the mother has neither conceived, nor is she pregnant. It was absurd to discard these traditional definitions for those whose pregnancies begin in the natural manner, but then logic is neither the aim, nor the concern of the pro-abortion lobby. Apparently neither is ethics or truthfulness.
Ella, as will now be seen, works as an abortifacient – even under the revised and tortured definitions of conception and pregnancy. In order to understand how it works, we must consider for a moment the processes with which it interferes.
During a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen stimulates the lining of the uterus to grow and prepare for the implantation of the embryo. At mid-cycle the follicle of cells surrounding the egg in the ovary will rupture and release the egg into the fallopian tube. That follicle of cells becomes a structure called the corpus luteum, which produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone travels to the uterine lining, binds to it and maintains the structural integrity of the uterine lining throughout the pregnancy, if one happens to occur.
If no baby is conceived, the corpus luteum dies at about 28 days. No corpus luteum, no progesterone. With no progesterone, the uterine lining (endometrium) breaks down and a new cycle begins. If, however, the woman does conceive, the corpus luteum will live for approximately 10 weeks (the first trimester), after which time it will die and the baby will take over its own housekeeping.
Ella acts in three ways to kill an embryonic human being.
First, Ella blocks the progesterone receptors on the surface of endometrial cells in the uterine lining. This is analogous to jamming a piece of metal into the lock on one’s front door. It prevents the key from being inserted and unlocking the door. By blocking the “keyhole” for progesterone (the key), progesterone cannot initiate the complex of events necessary for sustained development and maintenance of the uterine lining. This mimics the onset of a menstrual period with the breakdown of the endometrial lining of the uterus, leaving nowhere for the embryo to implant.
That’s considered “contraceptive” by ACOG and FDA because conception is now defined as implantation. However, the next two steps are abortifacient mechanisms under anybody’s definition.
The second way that Ella works to kill an embryonic human is that it inhibits the ability of the cells of the corpus luteum to produce progesterone, thus mimicking the death of the corpus luteum. Without the progesterone made by the corpus luteum in the first ten weeks of pregnancy, the placenta dies and the baby is starved of oxygen and nutrients. Hence, Ella is effective far beyond the five-day window being touted by FDA.
The third mechanism of action for Ella is that it blocks the progesterone receptors in the endometrial stromal tissue, directly killing the mother’s portion of the placenta. These last two mechanisms are the exact manner in which RU-486 works.
Thus we see that Ella simultaneously blocks the production of progesterone and blocks it from binding to its receptors in the uterine lining, producing a miscarriage. This can happen at any time in the pregnancy. It also acts to destroy the endometrium before the embryo reaches it for implantation.
If this level of outright lying and obfuscation is profoundly disturbing, the safety standards that were deliberately ignored and the clinical trials never performed on the road to approval are nothing less than scandalous. In Part II, the story of how Ella was shepherded past the safety standards in product development, clinical trials and FDA approval.