It is now clear that Ken Buck would, if he could, ban at least some forms of birth control, including the pill in at least some forms. But Buck still has not completely clarified his position on birth control. [See the update below for news about Buck's modified stance.]
On August 28, I wrote a post titled, "Yes, Buck's Policies Would 'Ban Common Forms of Birth Control.'" In that post, I quote a spokesperson for Buck's campaign, who erroneously stated that "oral contraceptive pills for women... do not result in killing a fertilized egg." The very citation provided by that spokesperson shows that the pill can do precisely that. Therefore, under Amendment 62, which Buck has endorsed, the pill would be banned.
But Buck offered a more refined position to 9News:
Buck believes life "begins at conception," so birth control methods that don't impact that (i.e. condoms, some forms of the pill) are fine with him. Others that would keep a fertilized egg from implanting like hormone-based birth control methods, some other forms of the pill, IUDs, RU-486 and what's known as the morning-after pill, are not supported by him. (Source: E-mail from Buck spokesman Owen Loftus to 9NEWS, Aug. 26)So apparently Buck favors some sort of "pill" that is not "hormone-based" and that would not prevent the implantation of a zygote. At this point Buck needs to list which "forms of the pill... are fine with him."
In the section of the new paper by Diana Hsieh and me devoted to birth control, we evaluate Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Trinessa, Mirena, Plan B, and ella. In each case the birth control can prevent implantation of a zygote, according to statements from the manufacturers or the FDA. We quote others who say any form of the pill can do the same.
So if Buck knows about some sort of birth control pill that acts differently and does not ever prevent the implantation of a zygote, the onus is on him to name it. Otherwise, I'll regard it as the Unicorn Pill, something that sounds good in Buck's imagination but that does not actually exist. Until he can name the pill he has in mind -- and I have the chance to evaluate it -- Buck should state forthrightly and without qualification that he wants to ban the birth control pill.
September 8 Update: In a telephone interview yesterday, Buck spokesman Owen Loftus was unable to name a single brand of pill that never prevents implantation. He initially claimed that the "combination" pill fits, but then I verified that the types of pill that I've already researched are "combination" pills that can prevent implantation. He also offered me two additional citations -- Planned Parenthood and Wikipedia -- each of which states the pill can prevent implantation (though Wikipedia notes the matter is controversial). At any rate, neither of those sources is as reliable as the ones Diana Hsieh and I cite in our paper on the "personhood" movement, in the section, "Bans of Common Birth Control Methods."
September 19 Update: The Denver Post reports that Buck has changed his position, saying he will vote against Amendment 62 and that he does not favor outlawing the birth control pill.
This article originally was published at Free Colorado.