Right On Life

Christian, Pro-Life, Conservative

Implications of Personhood from Conception 1 of 3: Miscarriages and “The Pill”

Do Birth Control Pills Cause Abortions

Is the Pill an Abortifacient?

Some pundits have been questioning the effect of proposed personhood amendments on birth control—specifically “the Pill”. The reason they ask that is because the Pill has a dirty little secret. Oral contraceptives do not work like we think they do. This secret is starting to get publicity.

Sometimes, they try to muddy the waters by asking about miscarriages. If the baby is a legally protected person from the moment of conception”, they ask, then what do we do about miscarriages? Abortion advocates raise the specter of a homicide investigation for every miscarriage. This is absurd. The reality is that after a personhood amendment, things will proceed much the way they did prior to Roe v. Wade. We will treat unintended miscarriages the same way we do about the death of anyone else: recognize the fact and console the grieving. And if there is civil or criminal liability (such as an assault that leads to a miscarriage–which is still civilly actionable today), law enforcement will be expected to pursue a case subject to practical limitations such as whether the case can be proven.

What if the “miscarriage” was the result of taking an abortion pill or “the morning-after pill”? Same thing. In this case, intentionally taking an abortifacient would involve liability. And marketing or prescribing drugs that intentionally kill people … well, that would involve liability, too. A chemical abortion is an abortion. There is confusion on this topic largely because abortion advocates and drug makers have subtly shifted the definition of pregnancy (more on this later).

What about “The Pill”, though. Wouldn’t a personhood law essentially outlaw oral contraceptives? (Actually the question also applies to other hormonal birth control methods such as the patch, the ring, injection, implant, etc.; in this respect they are all one.) To answer that, let us first consider how birth control pills work.

The modern birth control pill (and the other hormonal contraceptives such as the patch, the ring, injection, and implant) have three modes of action. The first is the prevention of ovulation. The pill manipulates a woman’s hormones with the effect of reducing the likelihood of ovulation: no egg, no possibility of conception. The second is barrier. The hormones in the pill cause increased barrier function in the cervix and in the fallopian tubes: if the gametes do not meet, conception cannot occur. The third function is the ugly problem. Should conception occur the pill hinders implantation: if the conceived person cannot attach to the uterine wall, he dies.

The “Mini Pill” (containing only one of the two hormones in ordinary birth control pills) is even worse. Prevention of ovulation is reduced to a third-tier effect. WebMD says:

“Mini pills work by thickening the cervical mucus so the sperm cannot reach the egg. The hormone in the pills also changes the lining of the uterus, so that implantation of a fertilized egg is much less likely to occur. In some cases, mini pills stop ovulation (the release of an egg).”

How many pro-life couples use hormonal birth control without realizing that they are, on average, 4-10% likely to have at least one successful conception in a year? A few of these “break-throughs” will result in a known pregnancy; but most will result in an induced miscarriage, a chemical abortion. Do physicians explain this to their pro-life patients?

It is said that “The medical definition of a viable pregnancy has always been the point at which a fertilized egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus”. But pro-life couples, unwittingly taking abortifacient “birth control” pills, would not be asking about “viable pregnancies”, they would be interested in conception—the beginning of the life of a child. They know that pregnancy begins with conception and the conception is fertilization. They should be told that hormonal birth control has for its second or third line of defense against birth, the destruction of the new life by intentionally denying it the ability to attach to the life-sustaining uterine wall.

In the next entries in this series, we will look more closely at the Pill, Pregancy, and Personhood.

Related articles

22nd November 2011 10:13 AM - Posted by | Abortion, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Implications of Personhood from Conception: Miscarriages and “The Pill” (rightonlife.org) […]

    Pingback by Petition for Personhood Amendment in Iowa « Right On Life | 23rd November 2011 3:57 AM | Reply

  2. […] Implications of Personhood from Conception: Miscarriages and “The Pill” (rightonlife.org) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    Pingback by Implications of Personhood from Conception: “The Pill” and Hormonal Birth Control « Right On Life | 23rd November 2011 5:23 AM | Reply

  3. […] Implications of Personhood from Conception: Miscarriages and “The Pill” (rightonlife.org) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    Pingback by Implications of Personhood from Conception: Will a Personhood Amendment Outlaw “The Pill”? « Right On Life | 24th November 2011 3:03 AM | Reply

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