An Indiana pro-life group is upset over a plan by local Planned Parenthoods to offer free emergency contraception in cities with large college populations.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana announced that beginning Feb. 26 it will offer doses of emergency contraception at 10 of its centers within the state. The giveaway will take place in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Lafayette, Madison, Mishawaka, Muncie, Terre Haute and Valparaiso until April 8 or while supplies last, said spokesman Steve Carr.
According to Planned Parenthood, the "Free EC Day" was timed to remind young people of the importance of responsible sexual behavior as spring break nears for many Indiana colleges and universities.
The organization said women should rely on regular birth control pills and only take the emergency contraception in the case where "the condom breaks, you miss your regular dose of birth control or have unprotected sex."
Despite the disclaimer, Indiana Right to Life executive director Mike Fichter told the South Bend Tribune on Friday that he believes the actions by Planned Parenthood are "irresponsible."
He pointed out that the emergency contraception fails to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. There also is little evidence that it has any significant impact on abortion or unintended pregnancy rates, he noted.
"They're giving kids a false sense of security for those who are potentially going to engage in risky sexual behavior," said Fichter.
The emergency contraceptive, also known as Plan B, is not the same as RU486 abortion pill or mifepristone, which ends a pregnancy. Plan B comes in a two-pill package which blocks a fertilized egg from attaching itself to a woman's uterus and leads to it being flushed from the body. It is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
Indiana Right to Life, however, said in a statement Friday that the emergency contraceptive is tantamount to an abortifacient because it "is known to work as an abortifacient if fertilization has already occurred but the human embryo has yet to attach to the uterine wall."
The drug has often been denounced by pro-life groups who believe destroying an embryo is killing human life.
In the release, Fichter also criticized Planned Parenthood for perpetuating a self-serving message.
"This is all about Planned Parenthood gaining free advertising to build its customer base among sexually active teens," Fichter stated. "When Planned Parenthood's message of sex without consequences results in a new life that is not terminated by the EC drug, the next step is the selling of more profitable surgical abortions at one of Planned Parenthood's three abortion clinics in Indiana."
Fichter said his group will be joining with St. Joseph County Right to Life in the coming days to educate the public on the dangers of emergency contraception and prevent the drug from "doing a disservice."