Q&A on the Morning-After Pill

QUESTION: I’ve heard conflicting stories about the morning-after pill possibly causing abortions. Can you please clarify?

ANSWER: The morning-after pill, also marketed as Plan B, is similar to typical birth control pills but contains a higher level of synthetic hormones. Despite its name as a “morning-after” form of emergency contraception, the literature indicates it is “effective” even up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse.

The debate continues regarding the morning-after pill’s classification as an abortifacient (meaning it causes an abortion) or a contraceptive (meaning it prevents conception). Evidence suggests it can serve in both capacities. The morning-after pill is designed to suppress ovulation. When that occurs it works as a contraceptive. In some situations, however, the timing is such that the morning-after pill is taken after ovulation so the hormones are unable to prevent the release of an ovum. Evidence shows that the morning-after pill can also alter the uterine lining which might prevent the implantation of an embryo. If an embryo is unable to implant, then the morning-after pill acts as an abortifacient.

In addition to the potential abortifacient nature of the morning-after pill, Christian Life Resources is also concerned that this medication is specifically marketed to single women who want sexual freedom without the “risk” of a pregnancy. We cannot condone a method of birth control that is intended to promote “safe sinning.”

Over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill is also a practice that we believe is unwise. Over-the-counter availability means pre-teen and teenage girls can purchase this form of birth control without a parent’s knowledge or approval, and it communicates a message that a potential pregnancy is not very serious.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this article. I have shared it with a friend and she said she wants to see a study or the evidence that shows it can act as an abortifacient too. Do you have something I can share with her please?

    • Christian Life Resources : August 10, 2023 at 1:53 pm

      The common morning-after-pill uses levonorgestrel as its active agent. The three mechanism of levonorgestrel are 1) prevent ovulation; 2) slow sperm mobility to prevent fertilization; and 3) change the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a developing embryo (in that sense it operates to end the life that was created).

      As for proof, check out these credible sources:

      https://tinyurl.com/2yd2b2cy (Mayo Clinic)

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4313438/ (a February 2015 paper on National Institute of Health website)

      https://tinyurl.com/227mq6te (British Columbia Center for Disease Control)

      While Christian Life Resources is not opposed to birth control per se, but we raise serious concerns when a method promoted to “control birth” includes the potential for ending a life. Abortion advocacy groups have persisted in tying opposition to abortion with opposition to birth control (CLR is not opposed to birth control, but does oppose abortion). For that reason the advocacy groups, like Planned Parenthood, play with terminology in talking about the morning after pill by saying it does not end a pregnancy. From what I have read, I believe they may be correct, but what people miss is that PP feels that life is expendable after fertilization and before implantation in the uterine lining. They then define “pregnancy” to be the point after implantation. So, yes, using their terminology, the morning after pill does not end a pregnancy and therefore, in their world, it is not an abortion. Biologically, however, if fertilization has already occurred and that embryo is developed and prevented from embedding in the uterine lining, that life is ended. PP and groups like that maybe don’t want to call it an abortion, but the result is the same.

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