Submitted by Judith Siers-Poisson on
William Saletan wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. In it, he commends HHS's proposal to allow pharmacists and other health workers to refuse to "facilitate any abortifacient chemical or activity." Saletan writes, "I commend the language of the draft, which would define abortion as 'any of the various procedures -- including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action -- that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.'" But he suggests that the proposal doesn't go far enough. Why not add breastfeeding, which "like oral contraception ... alters a woman's hormonal balance, thereby suppressing ovulation, fertilization, and, theoretically, implantation." He adds, "As research uncovers additional causes of miscarriage or preimplantation embryo loss, I look forward to further legislation against caffeine consumption, exercise, and other abortifacient activities among premenopausal women."