What About Those Who Say There Is No Abortive Affect to BCPs?
Question from a reader:
I have recently brought the subject of abortifacient birth control to the elders of my church; they are totally unaware of this and have asked me to pull together information for them. All my research has been the same across the board, denying the effect, except for this one prolife Christian ministry, Baptists for Life. What do you guys say?
Answer from Cathy Ramey, EPM Volunteer:
You requested information on the “Pill” and its abortifacient affect. You also attached a response you had gotten from Michael Shoun of Baptists for Life.
As to documentation that the Pill has an abortifacient affect, you will find this information listed in the annual Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) for each product. The PDR can be difficult to read for those lacking a medical background, so Randy Alcorn researched the PDR, contacted manufacturers of the Pill, and read literature including metanalysis of the available research that provides information on the Pill. He contacted physicians who refuse to prescribe the Pill based upon their own research on these hormonal products. And he spoke with pharmacists who refuse to fill a Pill prescription because their training informs them that one means by which the Pill works is through prevention of implantation; they cannot participate in abortion for reasons of conscience.
Randy Alcorn also read medical textbook literature such as the much used “Contraceptive Technology” by Robert Hatcher that is used as a training text for medical students. All sources agreed that one method for “preventing pregnancy” associated with the Pill is its ability to “prevent implantation” should pregnancy occur. (You may be interested to know that some animal studies involving hormonal contraceptives demonstrate that ovulation occurs much more frequently with hormonals than previously considered.)
Not only do scientists affirm an abortive affect to hormonal products like the Pill, but groups like Planned Parenthood fight vigorously against having any restrictive language in the law that might hinder abortion. Their own testimony before Congress has been that if we define fertilization as the moment of conception/life, and make it illegal to kill a child who has been conceived, we make it illegal to sell products like the Pill. Why? Because the Pill not only can prevent ovulation, but when it does occur (a surprising number of times), it acts as an abortive product by creating a deciduous endometrium.
I heartily encourage that church leaders and individuals invest in a copy of Alcorn’s book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. He has done his research and has citations for all of the information printed. Because of that a reader may choose to go directly to the resources and read original research, testimony (court or congressional), or contact one of the many groups and professionals who have made significant sacrifices because they have refused to participate in abortion even tangentially.
Secularist groups and scientists have no problem with the fact that the Pill can cause abortion at a very early stage. So why is it so hard for Christian organizations and many Christian professionals to admit a relationship between the Pill and abortion?
I believe it comes down to a form of denial that is based upon protecting oneself from considering that as a Christian one may have been part of abortion promotion by means of a prescription. Such denial may also be based upon an unwillingness to make what can be perceived to be a very large sacrifice in practice. Consider that a typical OB/GYN may write hundreds of prescriptions for birth control pills, patches, or implants each month . . . . Thousands in a year. Income is derived each time a woman seeks out such a service. Now imagine many of those women seeking out another doctor as the Christian OB/GYN informs potential patients that there are many means of “birth control” that she/he cannot prescribe as a matter of conscience.
Most physicians dealing with women would make some sacrifice if they eliminated prescribing hormonals for birth control. Now imagine that since 100% of your patients are women, what your sacrifice might be. Those with a vested interest in seeing hormonal products like the Pill as safe can respond vigorously in denial and read into the literature what they will. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the FDA required information in the PDR, based upon actual product research, and powerful secondary research that clearly demonstrates the abortive affect are simply written into the literature as a legal matter, not based in fact.
Denials that the Pill can act abortively may be strong, sound sincere, and be based upon a sincere desire to be a good Christian and physician. Still such vested denial must be set aside in light of the evidence that at least some of the time these products “prevent pregnancy” by an abortive means.
For more information on this subject, see Randy Alcorn’s book Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?