Does "the pill" really cause abortions?

I recently came across this video about how “the pill” is an abortifacient. Is it scientifically accurate?

which pill?

Yes, it is. One of the way the pill works is to make the uterus inhospitable to a fertilized egg. If the fertilized egg cannot implant and dies or passes during menses, then an abortion has happened.

The science seems to be accurate enough

It is possible, yes. The pill works by several mechanisms, one of which prevents a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterine wall.

That is a very clear, concise and precise video.

The question is not whether it happens or not but rather whether to consider it a “miscarriage” or an abortion. There is also some question as to how often it actually occurs. Some people would call the abortive nature of the pill a “side effect”. In my opinion you can only claim the abortive nature of the pill is a side affect assuming a person is not taking it at all in order to prevent pregnancy but rather for another health reason. If a person is taking the pill to prevent pregnancy I don’t see how it can be called a side effect when it succeeds in achieving this end and fulfilling the original purpose of taking the pill.

It also depends upon when you define pregnancy as beginning. Is a woman pregnant upon fertilization or upon implantation?

The Church teaches that a new life is formed upon fertilization. The medical community, writ large, says that pregnancy happens at the moment of implantation. Abortion is a term that means the early termination of a pregnancy. Naturally, if a woman is not yet pregnant, it is not possible for her to abort that pregnancy.

That is the reason why you hear the controversy.

So whether or not it is an abortion, yes, hormonal contraceptives (the “pill”, the IUD, or other techniques) can result in the loss of a blastocyst (the stages of development proceed from zygote to morula to blastocyst to embryo to fetus). Whether or not this is considered a pregnancy prior to the blastocyst attaching to the uterine wall (about 5 days after fertilization) is, in my opinion, a matter of semantics.

I say that because if one takes actions to prevent the zygote, morula, or blastocyst from attaching to the uterine wall, you’ve still intentionally taken another life. Whether or not that should be called an abortion is a word game designed to salve peoples’ consciences.

How often does a fertilized egg fail to implant under normal circumstances? Doesn’t NFP take advantage of certain times of the month when implantation is more difficult/less likely? Wouldn’t NFP therefore also be considered to cause abortions?

No. NFP deals with when an egg is likely to be present during intercourse. Whether or not that egg is fertilized and/or implants is not part of process. We are only interested in the presence or likelyhood that an egg and sperm will around.

Sometimes natural failure to implant does happen. That would be a miscarriage, because it occurs naturally. It’s impossible to say how often something like that happens, because obviously the conception cannot be detected.

Yes, the birth control pill does cause abortions. I highly recommend these two links:

Also, even Planned Parenthood’s site on its section on birth control admits that birth control pills could cause a fertilized egg not to implant.

The medical community in general and the pro-abortion faction in particular is entirely two faced about this issue.

Generally, they admit the theoretical possibility and proceed to downplay it to the point of suggesting it doesn’t really happen.

But recently Mississippi considered a human personhood amendment to define conception as the moment that a person comes to be for legal purposes and the pro-aborts came out in droves to claim that this amendment would effectively ban all hormonal contraception.

They want to have it both ways. :rolleyes:


This reminds me of a discussion I had in college about whether the Morning After Pill was an abortifacient or not. The professor I was speaking to, who I’m pretty sure was pro-choice, said that it wasn’t, “don’t confuse it with RU-486”. When I recalled that I’d heard that while the MAP mostly works to prevent ovulation, but can also work by decreasing the chances of implantation, he said “well in that case the regular Pill would be an abortion pill too!” He seemed to think this was game, set, match, for from his perspective. Surely, he must have thought, this girl doesn’t find anything wrong with the Pill?

But it actually backfired, since to me, it was actually the first time I’d heard about this possibility. So I did some research and found that yes, the “regular” Pill can do this, that it does actually disclose this on the package insert. Although the primary mechanism is still to suppress ovulation, and there is really no data available on how often the anti-implantation effect comes into play. Some people here seem to think that this is the primary effect of the Pill, and that’s not quite accurate either, at least for combined (estrogen-progestin) forms of contraception.

However, when it comes to progestin-only forms of hormonal contraception such as the “mini-pill” and Depo-Provera, these have a much higher rate of “breakthrough ovulation” and likely rely on the decreased implantation effect more. Same would go for the hormone-secreting IUD. And I think the copper IUD works primarily by killing sperm, but the mere fact that there’s a foreign body in the uterus would likely make for a less than hospitable environment.

Of course, the factual information doesn’t by itself address the question of whether it’s licit to use hormonal contraceptives for other reasons while being sexually active. I have read many topics about this in CAF, and I’m honestly still confused as to what official Church teaching actually is. I’ve seen fairly orthodox posters state that it is licit, but many others have stated that it’s not.

My wife and I are NFP teachers and yes, the hormonal birth control pill does cause abortions of a fertilized egg by making the implantation of the fertilized egg impossible in the uterus, thus causing the death of a fertilized egg (human being).

How often does this happen? Well, the main way the pill works is to prevent ovulation, meaning the woman does not even release an egg because her body is tricked into thinking it is already pregnant due to the increased level of hormones.

However, the literature says anywhere from 1-4% of cycles, an egg may be released accidentally. So, you start taking the numbers of women who take the pill around the world and even though 1 or 2% sounds statistically small, the numbers of chemical abortions start to pile up when you factor in that tens of millions of women are on the pill and are having sexual relations throughout this time…

Regarding what is licit, please read the following:


I just found out about abortions and contraceptives today… My wife has been using contraceptives (IUD’s) for nearly 10 years… About 5 years ago, I heard a rumor that IUD’s caused abortion and when I looked it up initially I read an article saying that it absolutely does not cause abortion. I feel betrayed… I’m pretty sure my wife had a miscarriage once while on the Mirena IUD. It worries me to think of how many abortions might have happened that we didn’t even know about. I told her Sex is not happening until that thing comes out. I am also worried about my soul and how God can forgive me now after what I’ve done. I feel like such a fool.

Miscarriages are pretty common.

This was not a natural miscarriage…

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