Which Birth Controls are Abortifacients?

29 Jul, 2019


Last week we shared why we don’t offer free birth control to our patients. In addition to our general standard of sexuality and our desire to be consistent with all patients (you can read about our standards here), Your Options Medical strongly believes in the sanctity of life and chooses to only participate in services that protect human life.

Many of our patients are surprised to find out that a variety of birth control options are “abortifacients.” According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an abortifacient is “an agent (such as a drug) that induces abortion,” and an abortion is “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in or closely followed by the death of an embryo or fetus.”

As science supports that life begins at fertilization, any birth control or emergency contraception administered to end the life of an implanted zygote or to prevent implantation is the intentional termination of a human life.

While not all birth control methods are abortifacients, it’s important to be aware of the range of contraception options and the possibilities of their inducing abortion.

Emergency Contraception or “Morning After Pills”

Emergency contraception options, including Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One Dose or My Way, work to expel sperm from inside the woman’s body to prevent fertilization.

However, if the egg has been fertilized, it will thin the lining of the uterus in order to prevent the baby from implanting in the uterus (which would abort the conceived baby).

For more information about Plan B and other morning after pills, the Lozier Institute provides a helpful article.

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes IUDs as “a small T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus by a healthcare provider. It sits inside the uterus, and the cervix keeps it in place. Once it is in, you cannot feel it. There are two types of IUDs: the non-hormonal–copper T IUD and the hormonal–levonorgestrel IUD.”

While the purpose of the IUD is to prevent fertilization, some complications have been associated with the IUD. Though not typically an abortifacient, inserting this type of foreign object into your body should be done with caution.

Birth Control Pills

While the main purpose of birth control pills are to keep the sperm from fertilizing the egg, if the pill fails, it can act as an abortifacient. Since the pill thins the lining of the uterus, the fertilized egg (aka the baby) will be expelled from the woman’s body despite its fertilization.

It’s important to be aware of the possibility of abortion when taking a birth control pill.

Miscarriage ≠ Abortion

As we’re analyzing whether some forms of contraception may be abortive, it’s important to remember that miscarriage is NOT the same thing as abortion.

According to Massachusetts state law, abortion is defined as, “the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child or the intentional explusion or removal of an unborn child from the womb other than for the principal purpose of producing a live birth or removing a dead fetus.”

An unprompted and spontaneous miscarriage is neither “known destruction” or intentional, and it’s important to distinguish the difference.

For more information on birth control and contraception, please feel free to contact us.