If you spend much time in pro-life circles you are likely to encounter statements that birth control pills cause abortions. These people are not talking about a woman waking up after a night of drunken stupidity and downing her roommate’s month worth of pills. They are asserting that hormonal contraceptives, as regularly prescribed and taken, have an abortifacient capacity.
The argument goes like this:
The pill works in three ways: it prevents ovulation, it thickens cervical fluid, and it thins the lining of the uterus which prevents implantation.
So, what happens if a woman take the pill, and it fails to prevent ovulation and thicken the cervical fluid? Conception may occur and since the embryo cannot implant, it dies.
Those who oppose abortion and accept this argument are understandably horrified. Couples often feel tremendous guilt for “unknowingly aborting their children” and women who genuinely need hormonal treatments for gynecological problems suffer greatly rather than turning to the pill since it is clearly evil.
I alternate between sadness and anger each time I see this happen because something is missing. Sure, if you test the thickness of the endometrium of a woman on hormonal contraceptives you will find that it is thin. But no one has ever told me how exactly this is different from the thinness of the uterine lining of every healthy woman each and every cycle prior to ovulation.
I have not been able to find any evidence that the uterine lining fails to thicken when breakthrough ovulation occurs. Women get pregnant while on the pill precisely because the uterine lining does not remain thin and “hostile to implantation” once ovulation has occurred. The hormones are all tied together, and I cannot find evidence that the pill is somehow able to change the way that ovulation works when it occurs, and the natural results of ovulation.
I am well aware that I may be missing something, but I have never seen this point addressed in all of the if-you’re-on-the-pill-you’re-killing-your-babies materials that I have read and watched. And I believe that this point is well worth addressing before filling people with guilt, shame, and fear. There are many wonderful reasons to avoid contraception, and we do not need to resort to fear tactics in trying to convince others to be open to life.
If you know that I am wrong, please comment with a common-sense English explanation, and link to a reliable jargon-filled scientific source.
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