8 Facts about Contraceptives
8 Medical Facts every Pro-life Supporter should consider before using Contraceptive Pills & IUDs
1) According to Webster's Dictionary, "pregnant" is defined to be "containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring within the body." (Merriam-Webster 2012)
- This means that it is not restricted to the time that the embryo is implanted in the uterus.
2) After sperm & egg unite, a fertilized egg begins to grow and divide before it implants in the uterus (WebMD, 2009). This fertilized egg is a new human being.
3) Birth control pills prevent pregnancy in three different ways (ACOG):
- Preventing ovulation
- Thickening the cervical mucus
- Thinning the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of an embryo
4) The American Society of Reproductive Medicine stated that in the "wide variety" of oral contraceptives that are available, the "mechanisms of action" are the same, "inhibition of ovulation, alteration in the cervical mucus, and/or modification of the endometrium, thus preventing implantation" (Rice, 2008).
5) There is a chance that a woman will still ovulate, even if she is on birth control pills (Kahlenborn MD).
6) There is no way of knowing how often a woman will ovulate while on the Pill, and….
- The Pill today contains lower doses of estrogen, resulting in reduced blood clots and less artificial hormones, but also increasing the chances of breakthrough ovulation (Willke MD).
7) IUDs also work by making the uterine lining unsuitable for implantation (WebMD 2012)
8) The World Health Organization classifies oral contraceptives as a Group 1 carcinogen (Nadal 2012).
In Summary: A woman taking birth control pills may still ovulate, and a growing fertilized egg may be discarded because the uterus has been thinned too much to support implantation. Many pro-life advocates, including the Catholic Church and some other Christian churches, view this to be abortive.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2012, June). Frequently Asked Questions FAQ021: Contraception. Retrieved July 9, 2012: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq021.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120710T1456049968. "Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation. These hormones also cause other changes in the body that help prevent pregnancy. The mucus in the cervix thickens, which makes it hard for sperm to enter the uterus. The lining of the uterus thins, making it less likely that a fertilized egg can attach to it."
American Society of Reproductive Medicine. (2008). Hormonal contraception: recent advances and controversies. Published in Fertil Steril 2008;90 S103-13. Retrieved July 10, 2012: http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/News_and_Publications/Practice_Guidelines/Educational_Bulletins/Hormonal_contraception_%20recent%281%29.pdf.
Kahlenborn MD, C. (n.d.). How the Pill and Other Contraceptives Work. Retrieved May 13, 2012, from The Couple to Couple League: http://www.ccli.org/contraception/mdexplains.php.
Merriam-Webster. (2012). pregnant. Retrieved July 10, 2012: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pregnant.
Nadal, Gerald. (2012, February). "World Health Organization Data on Birth Control Pill and Estrogen Replacement Carcinogenicity." Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://gerardnadal.com/2012/02/15/world-health-organization-data-on-birth-control-pill-and-estrogen-replacement-carcinogenicity/. Links to a compilation of relevant WHO data.
WebMD. (2009, December). Pregnancy and Conception. Retrieved May 13, 2012, from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/understanding-conception.
WebMD. (2012, July). Birth Control and the IUD (Intra-uterine Device). Retrieved July 10, 2012, from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/iud-intrauterine-device. "The hormone also changes the lining of the uterus, so implantation of a fertilized egg cannot occur."
Willke MD, H. (n.d.). Contraceptive Pill. Retrieved May 13, 2012, from Life Issues Institue: http://www.lifeissues.org/abortifacients/pill.html