In the News 2009
Wausau Daily Herald

Clinics Back ‘Morning-After Pill’


A Wausau reproductive health care clinic and a pro-contraception Catholic organization have joined to offer an advertising campaign touting the “morning after” pill.

Television and radio ads are being aired in the Wausau area for Plan B, a drug taken after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. The ads were purchased by Family Planning Health Services of Wausau and Young Catholics for Choice of Washington, D.C., and are meant to raise awareness of emergency contraception, said Lon Newman, executive director of Family Planning Health Services.

Leaders of Family Planning Health Services and Young Catholics for Choice announced the media campaign in a series of four press conferences held across the state, the last in Rib Mountain on Thursday.

Women of child-bearing age “need to have all the information so they can make good decisions,” Newman said.

Plan B is a controversial drug. Many believe it is tantamount to
abortion because it prevents an already-fertilized egg from being implanted in a women’s uterus. Newman points to recent studies that say the drug works by preventing an egg from being fertilized, thus preventing pregnancy and abortions.

Newman encourages sexually active women to keep Plan B in their medicine cabinets in case their normal contraceptive fails or they are sexually abused.

Family Planning Health Services already has been the target of protesters, who say that taking the pill is the same as abortion.

“Ultimately it comes down to when you feel life begins,” said Dr. Jeanette le Noir, 50, of Wausau, a family physician at Marshfield Clinic Weston Center, a pro-life Catholic.

Le Noir, who believes that human life begins when an egg is fertilized, doesn’t prescribe Plan B for ethical reasons. She said calling Plan B a method of contraception is deceptive and could cause a woman who opposes abortion “to do something that is abhorrent to them.”

That’s a misplaced notion, Newman said, and it’s part of the reason he has pushed for the commercials.

Marissa Valeri, 32, and Jessica Nieblas, 23, of Washington, D.C., represented Young Catholics for Choice at the press conferences. They argue that it is possible to be a faithful Catholic and practice contraception and use Plan B.

“Some people would like to tramp down the nuances of our faith. But there is room for a variety of opinions,” Valeri said. “The Catholic faith is wonderfully and beautifully nuanced.”

Le Noir, who studied theology for several years before becoming a medical doctor, might agree with that. But she strongly disagrees with the conclusions of Young Catholics for Choice.

“A Catholic conscience is not a personal opinion, and an informed conscience has to be that — informed by the teaching of the Church,” le Noir said.

Catholics for Choice