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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