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Is UA Women's Health Clinic offering pills illegally?

By Rachel Alexander
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 6, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Rachel Alexander

The UA's decision to offer the morning after pill to students may violate the state's prohibition on using public funds for abortions.

According to A.R.S. 35-196.02, "no public funds nor federal funds passing through the State Treasury or the treasury of any political subdivision of this state may be expended for payment to any person or entity for the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman having the abortion."

The Women's Health Clinic offers the morning after pill to students for $10, regardless of whether the student has health insurance or not. A representative of the clinic reassured me that this price was well below the market cost for this pill, because the university subsidizes the cost.

Pro-choicers argue that the morning after pill is a form of contraception, not abortion. However, regardless of whether you examine the logic or the definitions, the morning after pill clearly falls into the abortificant category.

The morning after pill consists of hormones that stop pregnancy depending on the stage of a woman's menstrual cycle. It may either prevent the ovary from releasing eggs, keep sperm from penetrating the cervix, keep a fertilized egg from entering the uterus or keep a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterine lining.

There is practically unanimous consent in society that an egg or a sperm is not a human life. Preventing them from joining is contraception.

Once the sperm and egg have joined, they form a fetus with a unique DNA code that will remain unchanged throughout the life of the fetus, and throughout later life after birth. When the morning after pill prevents a fertilized egg from entering the uterus and implanting itself in the uterine lining, an early abortion occurs.

Pro-choicers define pregnancy as beginning when the fertilized egg attaches itself it to the uterine wall. However, the definition of abortion does not say, "when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall."

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines abortion as, "The act of giving premature birth; particularly, the expulsion of the human fetus prematurely, or before it is capable of sustaining life; miscarriage."

Similarly, the legal definition of abortion, provided by Black's Law Dictionary, defines abortion as, "The spontaneous or artificially induced expulsion of an embryo or fetus. As used in legal context, this usually refers to induced abortions."

Again, nowhere does this definition state that the fetus must have attached to the uterine wall first in order for an abortion to take place.

The Arizona statutes also define abortion as occurring after fertilization, not after implantation: "1. 'Abortion' means the use of any means to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination with those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the fetus. 2. Fetus means any individual human organism from FERTILIZATION until birth," according to A.R.S. 36-2152 (H).

The U.S. Supreme Court has given support to this interpretation. In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989), (overruled on unrelated grounds), the court upheld the constitutionality of a Missouri statute prohibiting public funding of abortions.

The dissent complained that this decision prevented public funds for the morning after pill also; evidently the choice interpreted abortion to include the morning after pill.

The Women's Health Clinic may also be violating A.R.S. 15-1630, which prohibits abortions from being performed at educational facilities. "No abortion shall be performed at any [educational] facility under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents unless such abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman having the abortion." [Picture]

It is unfortunate that a higher institution of learning is encouraging one night stands through the subsidization of an easy way to love 'em and leave 'em (the fetus too), all conveniently within 24 hours.

I will never understand how feminists, who claim to be so tough on men, can support an abortion pill that allows men zero responsibility for sleazy one night stands.

This pill just makes it that much easier for guys to sleaze a woman one night and forget about her by the next morning, when she goes in for her morning after pill. Or the woman can do the same thing to the guy. Why would anyone want to fund and promote this type of behavior?

I also never will understand how there is so little consideration in this debate for the fetus. If you could interview every aborted fetus, how many of them would say, "No, I don't want life, I choose to be aborted."

Probably less than .01 percent, if that.

There is something wrong with our society when a woman who drinks excessively while pregnant (causing fetal alcohol syndrome) can have her child taken away, yet it is perfectly legal to obtain an abortion from a government-approved abortion mill. I thought it was all just "tissue" and doesn't a woman have a "right" to do anything she wants to her own body?

Rachel Alexander is a third-year law student. Her column, Common Sense, appears on alternate Tuesdays and she can be reached via e-mail at