Birth Control and Contraception

Although St. Joseph County Right to Life, as an organization, does not take a positive or negative stance on the morality of birth control and contraception across the board, the organization certainly stands against those forms of birth control and contraception that are considered to be abortifacient.

Some forms of birth control and contraception carry with them the potential to cause the abortion of a fertilized human embryo, before and/or after it has implanted in the uterine lining. While there is some debate as to the degree of likelihood, it is important to know that certain forms of birth control and contraception do involve a risk of a post-fertilization abortion:

"The Pill:" This drug contains progestin and ethinyl estradiol, which serve three functions: prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus (making it difficult for sperm to travel), and thins the lining of the endometrium (making it hostile toward the implantation of a human embryo). In some cases, this can cause a very early abortion of an unborn human embryo. 

Plan B (the "Morning After" pill): This drug is described as a form of "emergency contraception," which contains a high dose of the hormone, progestin. Depending on the circumstances, the drug can either prevent ovulation from occurring or prevent an already-fertilized human embryo from implanting in the lining of the uterus.

IUD (intrauterine device): This device comes in two forms in the United States: Mirena and Paragard. Mirena releases a progesterone receptor inhibitor called levonorgestrel. In some cases, this drug prevents ovulation, but more often, it prevents a human embryo from implanting in the lining of the uterus. Paragard releases copper into the uterine cavity, carrying with it a likelihood of also preventing a human embryo from implanting. In addition to their potential abortifacient action, both forms of IUD carry with them a risk of a ectopic or tubal pregnancy, which put both the woman and the unborn child at serious risk.

"The Minipill:" The minipill is very similar to the standard birth control pill, though it only contains progestin. It is taken every day of the month rather than in three-week periods, and can have the same abortifacient effects in some circumstances.

"The Patch" (Ortho Evra): Like "the pill," this drug contains progestin and ethinyl estradiol, though it is absorbed directly through the skin. In addition to its potential to cause a very early abortion, it has been show to cause higher rates of life-threatening blood clots in women, due to the way in which it is absorbed.

Depo-Provera: This drug functions like "the minipill," though it is received in the form of an injection.

Source: Willke, John C., M.D., "Dispelling the Myths," Life Issues Institute, 2010. Click here to read the full article.

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