60 Second Summary: The Pill: Contraceptive or Abortifacient?

Articles you need to know about, summarized in 60 seconds (or less).

The Article: The Pill: Contraceptive or Abortifacient?

The Source: The Atlantic

The Author: Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English and chair of the English and modern languages department at Liberty University

The Gist: It’s time to distinguish clearly—in terminology, thinking, and public policy—between contraception and abortion.

The Excerpt:

In addition to the linguistic clarity about contraception, clearer scientific understanding of how the pill works is needed. Many years ago, as a teenager, I decided to go “on the Pill,” as they say. I remember clearly my physician’s explanation of how the birth control pill worked: first, it was supposed to prevent ovulation; second, in case ovulation did occur, the pill’s backup mechanism was designed to prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg; finally, the backup to the backup was to render the uterine wall inhospitable to any accidental zygote that may have formed if the first two steps failed. At the time, I shrugged off the last part almost as easily as the first two, having not yet arrived at the strong pro-life convictions I hold today.

But now I—along with about half of the nation—am pro-life, and the distinction between contraception and abortion is the difference between life and death. The labeling of birth control pills, in their various forms, for years has included information similar to that given to me by my doctor, information that has caused strongly pro-life people, as I am, to consider the birth control pill—and the morning after pill, which operates on the same principles—to be, potentially, an abortifacient and, therefore, to be rejected within a pro-life philosophy. My own relationship with the birth control pill is a picture with more strokes of gray than black and white. I didn’t go off it immediately after adopting my anti-abortion view but did in time with increased knowledge and conviction about its potentially abortifacient elements. Many conversations with like-minded friends reveal similar inner conflicts and downright confusion.

The Bottom Line: Many pro-life evangelicals who oppose the use of abortifacients such as RU-486 (Mifepristone) are comfortable with oral contraceptives, i.e., the Pill (a combination of estradiol and progetin). But what if the Pill is a potential abortifacient?

Currently, there is not enough scientific evidence to sufficiently resolve that question, which leaves the bioethical implications murky. Should Christians err on the side of caution and oppose the Pill since it may destroy life? Should we apply the principle of double effect and claim that since the intent is not to terminate a pregnancy use of the Pill is morally licit?

As Prior says, it is crucial for women to have as much knowledge as possible about how medication works and affects their body’s functioning: “It’s a medical issue. It’s a moral issue. It’s a political issue. It’s a women’s issue. It’s a human issue.” It’s also a Gospel issue, with eternal significance. It’s time we evangelicals start considering such questions with due gravity.

  • Derek

    One real (scientific) question that must be asked is this: does the use of every oral contraceptive result in a statistically significant decrease in embryonic implantation rates?

    As it is, without the use of oral contraceptives, roughly over 2/3 of fertilized eggs (which we believe are human beings in the image of God) do not implant. They die. We should grieve that fact.

    However, if we cannot show that the use of every oral contraceptive actually has an abortifacient affect, we cannot and should not bind the consciences of others based on guessing.

    If, however, one’s conscience is troubled, we have explicit Biblical command about how to treat the situation (Romans 14).

    • Michael

      One real question to ask: does the use of every gunshot to the torso cause death? If we can not show that the use of every gunshot to the torso causes death, we should not bind the conscience of those wishing to shoot others in the chest.

      • Brian Watson

        Nicely done, sir!

        • Justin

          Agreed with Kyle. Michael constructs a decidedly question-begging analogy. Gunshot wounds to the torso are in fact deadly — but Michael knows that, and that is why he chose that example.

          The whole point of Derek’s comment is that we do not actually have hard statistical data on the abortifacient effect of the pill. But given what we do know regarding the biology of implantation, as well as what we know about the primary and secondary effects of the pill, it is at best highly improbable that the pill actually has an abortifacient effect.

          And given that unlikelihood, it seems to me that a discussion of the principle of double effect, mentioned at the end of the post, would be appropriate.

          • Michael

            They are not always, 100% of the time, deadly. The point is about statistical “chance”, not the intent of the gunshot.

            There seems to be this illogical idea among some Christians that if you can’t prove the pill causes abortions with 100% certainty according to the peer-reviewed, double blind scientific experiments, no one should worry.

            • Jesse

              Michael, shooting someone is inherently a terrible act, done with harmful intent, and always, always causes severe injury at least. Your analogy is completely invalid.

      • Kyle

        Is that a fair analogy? Shooting someone in the chest is only done to harm another person. Taking the pill is not done to harm another person.

  • Debtor Paul

    I am glad this is being shared. EVERY hormonal contraceptive (that I know of) lists inhibition of implantation as a mechanism of action. Why are they not listed as abortifacients? The American College of OBGYN’s and others in the medical community have — conveniently — re-defined the beginning of pregnancy as successful implantation. No study could show how often this mechanism is the cause of the loss of pregnancy because, apparently, serial ultrasounds pose ethical concerns themselves. No one is claiming that their “success” is due to this mechanism every time — it is not. However, it seems clear to almost everyone that this mechanism does play a role sometimes (as intended by the drug companies). There are in fact studies that show that a decrease in the lining of the uterus (which hormonal “contraceptives” undeniably cause) results in far fewer implantations. This isn’t guessing.

    We should keep in mind that these pills aren’t medicine when used for contraception, for pregnancy isn’t a disease. Instead of correcting a dysfunction in the body (as medicines are meant to do) they make a woman’s body dysfunction.

    There are safer methods of family planning.

    • EV

      Thanks for this. I used to take “the pill” (all sorts), and the information is clearly listed in the packaging booklet. Who reads the small print, though? Every brand I tried said something similar (the 3 methods of action, as listed in the article: “first, it was supposed to prevent ovulation; …. prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg; ….render the uterine wall inhospitable.”

      So, with that knowledge, I personally could not continue to take it for pregnancy prevention.

  • Derek
  • Debtor Paul
  • James Gordon

    Where does something like “Plan B” (LNG-EC) fit into this?

  • Michael

    1. Many doctors say it causes abortions.
    2. The drug makers themselves label it as so.
    3. The Physicians Desk Reference says They do.

    So there is not enough “evidence” for Christians to resolve the question? Funny, there’s enough evidence for the above non-Christians to solve it!

    • Brenda

      AMEN. That traditional birth control is an abortifacient has been common knowledge for at least 20 years- probably longer. Where have ya’ll been?

    • Justin

      “Many”? That is a highly ambiguous term at best. Did you see the AAPLOG paper referenced in the comments below?

      • Debtor Paul

        Has anyone seen papers written contradictory to such papers?

  • Neophytos

    If there is the possibility that it causes an early-stage abortion, regardless of how small the risk, then why take this drug? Has anyone actually read the prescribing sheet for this pill? It reads like a Russian novel, and features a horrific list of potential side-effects including heart problems, blood clots, vision problems, etc.

    Maybe it’s time for evangelical Christians to stop supporting spurious means of eliminating children, and actually start acting more pro-life – in action and not just in word…

  • jon

    Let’s be real at the same time. Not everyone is called to have 8 kids like a lot of Roman Catholics would lead you to believe. Some are not even called to be married, such as Paul. And some women aren’t capable of having kids.

    • Michael

      Not everyone is called to have 8 kids, therefore it’s okay if a few are killed in utero by the birth control pill?

      “Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?”

      • Ed

        The point is not everyone is called to have 8 kids so we cannot dismiss all contraceptives (abortifacients notwithstanding) like this is a black and white issue. It’s not fair to demean someone for holding such an opinion

        • Michael

          Who’s dismissing all contraceptives? The issue at hand is whether the birth control pill causes abortions. If it even causes one, it’s out of the question for Christians.

          • Jonathan Garner

            That was not my point Michael. My point was not for contraceptives/abortion. My point was to not go too far the other way

            • Dave

              But why make it? I see no such argument here.

  • mel

    What does “being called to have eight” kids mean? Does that mean that God calls some people to use chemicals/artificial hormones to block the body from doing what He made it to do?

    Is this just another area of our life that we try to maintain control over much in the way that Sarah took it into her hands to change Abraham’s reproductive future?

    Either God is the author of life or He isn’t. Either He cares about all the details of our lives or He doesn’t.

    Why are there so many more infertile couples in this country?

    • Jonathan Garner

      No, that means you use a condom.

    • Scott

      Mel, I wholly agree with your statement, “Either God is the author of life or He isn’t. Either He cares about all the details of our lives or He doesn’t.”
      I have often explained to friends (25-35 year olds)that Prov. 3:5-6 does not contain an exemption concerning the number, timing, and spacing of children, but that “in all your ways acknowledge Him” means “in all your ways.”
      It puzzles me that some can firmly hold to a belief in a sovereign God who is working His will in the world, yet use or are in favor of believers using birth control, the operative word being “control.” I wasn’t aware that it was up to me in the first place.

      • Chris

        Ah, and I bet you don’t use medication for headaches, go to the doctor when sick, or advise women to give birth in hospitals either.

        • Al

          And I bet you don’t have insurance either…

        • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

          Chris, this is a logic fail. God does not ask his children to call our headaches blessings. But he does ask us to call children blessings, and welcome them into our families. And stop seeing them as pain.

          • Justin

            Karen, this is a “logic fail” as well. You cannot call a “blessing” that which has no being. You have argued in a circle.

            Scott’s argument is in regard to the sovereignty of God over the personal details of our lives, but he tangles God’s right to command with the doctrine of concurrence. Chris and Al *might* be guilty of employing slippery slopes, but I think they are trying to point out Scott’s equivocation.

            • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

              Well then since Jeremiah 29:11 is only plans for a blessing, and not the blessing realized, I will give this to you, Justin. But I think you are splitting a few hairs. None of my real meaning has changed.

              So I will amend. Insert, “God calls us to name the potential children he has planned for us a blessing– a real kind of prosperity. And to stop seeing them as a harm.”

          • Chris

            Karen, in response to your first comment, that is all the more reason to not go to the hospital when a woman is about to give birth, which was my 3rd example. If God is sovereign and our children are blessings, why should we use modern medicine and the expertise that is at our disposal? Do we lack the faith in God to trust that he’ll bring us safely through natural births at home?

            Our entire lives are structured around technologies that enhance the “natural blessings” that God has given us on this earth and give us control of the created order. To slander those who use birth control and attempt to paint them as those who try to go against “God’s sovereignty,” as Scott has done in the post I was initially reacting against, seems like an historically and theologically ignorant claim that cannot hold water.

            • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler


              Thank you for so thoughtfully and charitably engaging on these issues.

              I agree with the views you have expressed here and further on regarding God’s sovereignty –indeed I agree heartily that he is stronger than any pill. Our first child was conceived while using NPF and a barrier method — clearly that dear one was destined to be, and what a blessing, she was born on the first anniversary of my father -in -laws death. She was such a comfort to a grieving widow. God’s timing is perfect.

              So I am not Quiverful, agree there may be legitimate uses for birth control. But I still think the best stewardship response to promised multiplication is Isaiah 54:2.

    • Brenda

      I believe there are a lot of infertile women because they have consumed contraceptives. They mess with a woman’s body in way’s that often times cannot be reversed when the use is discontinued. So in effect, it is a case of God leaving us to our own devices and choices and us dealing with the consequences.

      • Justin

        @Karen… Hardly splitting hairs. A circular argument is a bad argument, and you should not rely on bad logic to try and persuade others of the rightness of your position.

        In Jer 29:1-28, the Lord tells the exiled Israelites through His prophet what He intends to do. The Lord calls them to live a certain way during their time of exile because they *know* the blessing to come because God has told them. For your use of this passage to be appropriate to the question of birth control, it would need to be the case that people who use BC *know* the blessing to come because God has told them, but they nevertheless reject that blessing. And that frankly is not true. It is at best a hasty generalization, and at worst an ad hominem argument. I would ask you to be more charitable.

        I think you commit the same kind of equivocation that Scott does in regard to what God “planned.” I would refer you to the Desiring God article mentioned elsewhere in these comments for a discussion of concurrence (in regard to God’s secret will) and stewardship (in regard to His revealed will).

        There is also a kind of false dichotomy in much of the reasoning I see on this topic. There are reasons for using birth control other than rejecting the blessing of children.

        As a pastor who has done a lot of couples counseling, I have never once advocated an abortifacient. But I have also been appalled at the utterly selfish and anti-gospel reasons friends and parishoners have given me for not wanting kids. There are, nevertheless, good reasons related to stewardship and medical health for the use of birth control.

        • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler


          Well we certainly are entering a stormy water here, and I do not want to presume to judge thought or intent of anyone’s heart. And I know the little barque of my logical reasoning is hardly up to the high waves here. Dear me, the winds of concurrance, and God’s right to command are battering about my little head. But I will attempt to navigate, albeit gingerly.

          I have been very troubled by that Desiring God article.

          “Likewise, then, it is right for a couple to seek to have the number of children that they believe they can reasonably nurture in light of the other callings they may also have on their lives.”

          Can you explain how Martin Luther and Calvin might have gone about this? Isn’t this a rather modern preoccupation? Weren’t the ancient saints content to let the lines fall where they may, and believe it would lead to pleasant places? Though it did not look that way in the beginning of the journey? That it looked like crop failure and post-partum depression and war and pestilence were brooding on the horizon? Nevertheless they persevered in their belief that this baby on the way was a blessing, and named it so.

          Could it be that the ancients agreed with God that his thoughts were his thoughts and his ways were his ways?

          And haircuts are in the same category as # of children –how?

          I want to say more but I must drive my son to music lessons. Thank you for engaging with me, I have long been puzzled by that article.

          • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

            Justin, this is the other part of what I wanted to say.

            This kind of ‘stewardship’ argument for planning children is akin to you as a pastor saying, “Well, I do not think I am administratively or emotionally capable of leading a flock over 100 persons, and nor can our building seat more than that number so I will put a sign outside “Building Full– No More Members Wanted.” But God commands us to lengthen our cords and strengthen the tent posts in response to a promised blessing of multiplication, not to bar the doors.

            Yes, it is an absurd comparison, isn’t it? That analogy may be bad, but it is not as ridiculous a comparison as that of letting one’s hair run wild if God’s doesn’t act as a barber.

  • Eric R


    “Why are there so many more infertile couples in this country?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, but if you’re trying to imply that couples have some done something morally questionable and this is their punishment, you need to be very careful in the things you say about people you don’t know.

    If you’re asking an honest question, I can answer as someone who – with my wife – has gone through this struggle (my wife has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and has a someone who counsels with couples struggling with infertility I can tell you there are a number of potential causes. PCOS is commonly found in women who are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Diabetes is a disease of the endocrine system, and is directly related to the reproductive system. Diabetes is found in my wife’s family pretty heavily. Though she is slim and not diabetic, the congenital predisposition to diabetes affected her ability to ovulate properly. One of the drugs (Metformin) she used in the treatment process were originally developed to help diabetes patients more efficiently process insulin.

    To answer your question more directly, I suspect that part of the problem in this country is related to diet and processed foods, but I’m no scientist.

    • Mel

      I asked a question. I judged no one and am absolutely in no position to judge on this subject. It might be more “Christian” to assume the best about someone first.

      It does seem to me that we live in a fallen world and as we rush to control things that we are not meant to control there are repercussions to societies that would probably fall under natural consequences to sin. That would be a group thing without regard to what individuals do in their life.
      How about the reports we saw in the news about cities that had larger than normal drugs/hormones in the drinking water because people flushed their expired prescriptions? Like San Francisco, where there is a larger population of people seeking sex reassignment.

      That said, I don’t even know if there are more infertile couples today than there were say 100 years ago. It was a question. Volunteering at church I come in contact with young people who talk about the plans that they have. Are we supposed to plan our lives out like that? Is that biblical?

      I do know lots of people that consider themselves to have fertility problems within a couple of years of trying. Note that I said trying because most of them used birth control until they decided it was time. I only know one or two couples that tried to have children right away only to run into difficulties.
      I also know couples that have difficulty getting pregnant, seek treatment and then are surprised by a second pregnancy that wasn’t planned. Most of those people immediately put the brakes on to keep it from happening again.

      I do not believe that medication or doctors are evil. Clearly there are people whose lives are a living hell unless they have certain medications to regulate what has gone wrong. We have babies that are being born having cancer already. It’s a sad fallen world with a lot of pain.

      I do have a problem with someone saying that not everyone is “called” to have eight children. It is a slippery slope. The exception for the abortion laws always includes the health of the mother which includes “mental health”. If mentally a woman cannot handle a child or another child then she should be allowed to have an abortion. How are we different then, as believers?

      I will add the disclaimer that it is much easier for me to ask these questions since I am past it having consequences on my life directly but I want to lead my children correctly in this area.

  • Dean P

    Eric: It’s funny that you mention PCOS because most endocrinologists recommend that women who are have it must take birth control in addition to metaformin to help regulate the hormonal imbalance that they have, so that they might be able to actually get pregnant in the future. Also PCOS is not only linked to diet but to genetics especially for women of Mediterranean descent.

    • Eric R


      You’re right. The ethics of this get a little complicated for some of us because the drugs that folks are concerned about for potentially ending life are also used to make pregnancy more likely in some cases.

      • Justin

        I am glad that the issue of PCOS has been raised, along with the use of the pill actually to *help* women regulate their cycle so they can get pregnant.

        It might also be helpful to mention conditions such as endometriosis, which has no cure, for which the primary non-surgical treatment is the pill.

  • Liz

    I am pleased to hear Protestants addressing this issue, and being encouraged to seek truth. But the statement that “[c]urrently, there is not enough scientific evidence to sufficiently resolve that question, which leaves the bioethical implications murky” is just plain false.

    Scientific evidence, the FDA, pill-manufacturers themselves, OBGYN’s, MDs, RNs, and even the courts, have and are accepting what we know as truth (what we have known as truth for years) that the Pill can be an abortifacient. We know that life begins at conception – when sperm meets egg – prior to implantation, and prior to “pregnancy”. If you accept that as true, you must accept the medical/biological/scientific fact that the pill has the potential to abort a zygote (or as I like to call it, a human child).

  • F Lankus

    there is no question that the pill is an abortifacient, at least some of the time.

    why are you kidding yourselves?

  • Brenda

    I think it’s only right to bring Margaret Sanger into the discussion when speaking of “if” and “where” the pill belongs in the life of a Christian. If you’re not familiar with her I would highly recommend you find out her role in contraception, her motives, philosophy etc.

    It seems that mankind, for the most part has gotten along quite nicely without “family planning” before the pill came on the scene. I find it interesting that in the pre-pill era some couples had no children, some had two, some had 12… Why? Do we really have to ask that as Christians? Do we believe in the author of life or not?

    But nowadays we know better than God how many children He has planned for us. We plan them, space them, kill them and if we’re infertile, we make them. Rebellious, rebellious mankind.

    • Jonathan Garner

      Brenda, the purpose of marriage is not to have children. The purpose of marriage is to show the nature of God in the trinity. It goes both ways if your going to make that argument. Spouses at some point shouldn’t have had babies yet they went ahead and had them. God didn’t call them to have kids. He called them to go die in Africa in his name

      • Brenda

        That wasn’t my point Jonathan. My point is that God is sovereign and it is foolish and prideful any time man tries to take matters- especially matters of life and death into his own hands- believing he or she knows better. And I see we differ on theologies somewhat because I don’t believe that God allows accidents when it comes to life and death. If someone were meant to die in Africa, die in Africa they would. And by the same token- if they were meant to have a child- then have a child they would. But from previous experience on topics like this I know that you have as much chance of convincing me of your point as I do to convince you of mine, so I’ll just let it go at that ;)

  • Debtor Paul

    I’m surprised by the stream of comments on this issue. Perhaps I shouldn’t be.

    In the interest of full disclosure: I’m an RN (not that that gives me more credibility here). I’m a Baptist. My wife and I chose not to use hormonal contraceptives (HC’s) because of their potential abortifacient mechanisms of action. Here, I think, are the main issues involved.

    1. As far as I can tell, there is no doubt that HC’s do have the potential to cause early abortions. I believe all of the significant, relevant, credible data points in this direction. In fact, this is one of the drug’s intended mechanisms of action.

    2. The conversation among Christians concerning family planning (and the extreme hesitance to accept the mechanisms of HC’s) does reflect a deterioration in our Christian culture’s view of family and children.

    I am not opposed to planning. My wife and I have used barrier methods and Natural Family Planning for that purpose. I think one would be hard pressed to find biblical support for dogmatically opposing all planning (I suppose that some of the same types of support could be given to opposing a choice to remain single — which Paul happens to partially address in 1 Cor 7). We should admit, though, that we have a cultural problem in our Christianity in relation to our view of family and children. It should not be taken lightly. Pregnancy, and the normal functioning of the woman’s body, is not a disease that needs medicated! There are legitimate medical uses of these drugs, but it is not this. Surely the fear of more children can AT TIMES be reflective of a lack of faith. Christians should be on the front line in recognition of the abortifacient potential of HC’s. I suppose we are not, only because of the discomfort such change in position would cause — as so many well-meaning, ill-informed Christians have used them; and so many Christian doctors have prescribed them without giving informed consent (that one of the universally stated mechanisms of action would lead to early abortions). Sad day, but may the discussion continue in sobriety.

  • Megan Smith

    As a Christian wife who values life, loves children and fights to protect the unborn, I use hormone contraceptive pills. I don’t believe these are contradictory for scientific and biblical reasons.

    I have studied the reproductive system (being a Sonographer) and have researched this topic. I discovered that the last point of the pills functions – that the pill keeps a fertilized egg from implanting – actually has not been proven. Hormone contraceptive pills are not called abortifacients because they havent been scientifically proven to be (and the scientific definition of an abortion is the termination of a fertilized egg). This theory was based on the fact that the hormone pills thicken cervical mucus which decreases sperm mobility through the uterus. This thickened cervical mucus could cause fertilized eggs, which also need to move through the uterus, to become less mobile.

    HOWEVER, and this is a huge and important point, if you are on the pill and for some reason you ovulate, the hormones produced by the corpus luteum left behind in your ovary from ovulation changes your cervical mucus to allow for the movement of the fertilized ovum! This reverses the effect of the pill. Without this factor, I see no reason why hormone contraceptives should be seen as abortive, no more abortive than using natural family planning.

    Another factor is that if you are using the pill correctly, ovulation will not occur, or are at least extremely rare. Ovulations and therefore possible pregnancies only occur when the pill is irresponsibly taken, ie taken irregularly.

    And for those who think that the fact that using pills is “controlling” your family size and is wrong because it is not being left up to God, but then go on to say that you use natural family planning and/or the barrier method – can you not see the hypocrisy here? Natural family planning is no different in the ‘controlling’ factor than medical family planning! You are still in effect taking it into your own hands. Some would say that natural is somehow allowing God to change your plans – but does a hormone pill tie the hands of God?!
    For more on this issue, I suggest this post, I found it quite helpful. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/does-the-bible-permit-birth-control

    • F Lankus

      You know you are wrong, your conscience is telling you that. In natural family planning, you are ABSTAINING during fertile periods. Big difference from your ONANISM. Shame.

      • Chris

        Actually, she shared what she knows. It would be good of you to interact with what she wrote, instead of presuming to know her heart.

    • Tony

      Appreciate your counterpoints Megan. Do you have any citations? This has been an issue debated for a while among Christians in the medical world. Randy Alcorn, working with a physician, has cataloged it well, and brings out some strong evidence for the abortive effects of the pill. http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Feb/17/short-condensation-does-birth-control-pill-cause-a/

  • Dean P

    Thank you Megan for the data and the clarification. This place was starting to get all Akend up.

    • Michael

      What data?

  • Megan Smith

    I am sorry – I didn’t want to include too many references in my comment as I think comments are supposed to be short and concise and mine was already quite wordy. I am familiar with Randy Alcorn’s position and have the highest respect for his work and ministry. My research, beliefs and conscience have simply led me to a different position. In case it wasn’t clear in my previous comment, it is not my intention to disrespect or try to convince those who have different opinions – we are all Christians serving one Christ, under him we will be judged. (Romans 14:1-4).

    As for references, I found this article written by pro-life Christian medical professionals to be enlightening and thorough. It is quite long, but if you have an interest in these issues or are making a decision about your own family, its a worthwhile read.

    This quote somewhat summarizes the biological aspect of my other comment and the link for the article is below. “This is the highly debated issue. Those who write in support of COCs admit that the endometrium is thinner during non-ovulatory cycles (as is typical with Pill users). For the purposes of argument, they may even grant that a thinner endometrium may be less hospitable for implantation (though this is not completely clear). However, if ovulation takes place, a completely different hormonal milieu exists. As summarized earlier, ovulation leaves behind the corpus luteum, a rich source of estrogen and progesterone. After the six days required for the embryo to travel down the uterine tube into the uterus, these hormones have transformed the endometrium, which has now become receptive for implantation.” (pg 192 of http://www.cedarville.edu/personal/sullivan/bio4710/papers/ocp.pdf )

    Another important point: I do NOT believe morning after pills of any kind are ethically moral as they are made for one purpose – to destroy a fertalized ovum. This is not the case with contraceptive pills as I have explained, these two types of pills work in very different ways. This is also explained in both the articles linked in this comment.

    Additionally, may people argue that because it is not proven, Christian’s should err on the side of caution and simply not use birth controls due to lack of research about potential abortions. However, this argument could be used to support never drinking coffee or taking aspirin (what if you don’t know you’re pregnant! These may cause early pregnancy miscarriages). There are many things that could cause death to a child after birth, should we rule those out as well?! (think trampolines, bathtubs, any food that isn’t pureed). At the end of the day, when there are controversial issues such as this one, we need to be prayerful and submit to God’s word, however he has appealed these issues to our consciences.

    I pray that those of us commenting here would not dispute over our differences about contraceptives, but unite over our love of Christ to continue to fight for the rights of both the born and the unborn.

    • Debtor Paul

      Thank you for the input. I am not going to reply thoroughly here (as it has been a while since I researched this). I just want to bring up a couple of points.

      First, there have been refutations written by people like Dr. Walter Larimore, Randy Alcorn, and others to most (all?) of the counterpoints that you and those you reference offer. Simple Google searches will turn them up. This, of course, doesn’t mean they are right, but does mean that there are objections from other researchers that should be looked into.

      Second, even if there is some recovery of endometrial thickness and receptivity if breakthrough ovulation occurs, it does not follow that it is AS RECEPTIVE as it would be normally. If I remember right, fertility research indicates that even slight decreases in thickness and other factors significantly impact receptivity. It is hard to believe that full receptivity is recovered, when it sometimes takes months for a full menstrual flow to be recovered after HC’s have been discontinued (one could try to fill this gap with the already mentioned suspected ovulation receptivity recovery, but high suspicion remains). Also, other researchers seem to think that the level of receptivity recovery suggested by your authors is speculative at best (again, this doesn’t indicate who is right).

      Third, it seems strange that one would be able to admit (as at least one of the articles you share does) that much higher doses do undoubtedly sometimes act as an abortifacient, but that lower doses (apparently) never act in this way. I could think of some explanations to this, but all that come to mind seem weak and would require significant evidence to justify.

      Finally, even if it could be proven that HC’s never cause abortions, the possibly distorted view of the woman’s body that remains isn’t at all addressed. Does use of HC’s not, in some measure, indicate that we believe that the normal functioning of the woman’s body is dysfunctional (for our tastes) and needs to be “fixed”? That seems troubling to me. Granted, it could be argued that proponents of NFP and barrier methods of family planning suffer from the same deficiency. However, the issues seem to be in different categories — as HC’s actually force the woman’s body to dysfunction, not in order to correct a more serious dysfunction, but to avoid the possibility (disease?) of pregnancy (all while bringing numerous possibly serious side-effects).

      At any rate, thanks for the discussion.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    Why isn’t there a link to the original article? Many of the comments are directly addressed by the actual article.

    Also I would rather pay attention to what the scientists say than what Randy Alcorn says. I respect Alcorn, but he isn’t a scientist or doctor. The American Association of ProLife OB/GYN had a position paper almost 15 years ago where they says clearly that the pill does not cause abortions. I have talked to a number of doctors and pharmacist that I know. Not a single one of them (all pro-life and Christian) thinks that the pill causes abortions.


    • Michael

      Everyone loves to plug the aaplog article as saying “clearly that the pill does not cause abortions.” However, appendix 3 is often overlooked.

      “Thus, the question of whether OCPs produce a “hostile endometrium” with breakthrough ovulations and in such instances are functionally chemical abortifacients remains an unanswered question…”

      The FDA, PDR, and the pill makers all admit that a secondary mechanism is prevention of implantation. But a few doctors aren’t quite sure, so therefore we should go ahead and take the pill without worry? So the pill makers and regulators, who usually are less concerned about “side effects”, think it’s worth noting?

      If tylenol was shown to cause birth defects in 1 out of 1000 in-utero children, would you give it your wife during pregnancy? If the pill even causes one abortion, why risk it? Because there isn’t enough “scientific data”?

    • Debtor Paul

      Randy Alcorn isn’t the only Christian that claims that they are potentially abortifacient. He has done a tremendous amout of research and isn’t discredited merely because he isn’t a doctor. There are other Christian doctors (Larimore and many others) and scientists that believe that the doctors and pharmacists cited above are wrong. Scientists and doctors, Christian or otherwise, can be wrong due to bias, etc. (As some Christian doctors MUST be wrong on this issue) I am sure that Christian doctors and pharmacists that believe they are abortifacients have responded to the article referenced above, as they have to others. Perhaps it would be beneficial to review the oppinions of non-Christian doctors and scientists on the matter — who don’t really care whether or not it is abortifacient. I would be interested to know their oppinions, seeing that the non-Christian pharmaceutical companies still list this as a mechanism of action with (according to some Christian doctors) no evidence. At this point, whether they are truly abortifacient or not (which we perhaps cannot conclusively prove through ethical means), many Christians are left having to say, “I am totally against abortion at any stage. Every manufacurer, for whatever reason, says (in effect) that their pill could cause early abortions. I, for whatever reason and contrary to the labeling, do not believe them. So, I choose to take the pill.”

      I hope that they do not cause abortions. I am still confused, though, as to why Christians feel so compelled to fight on behalf of HC’s, despite clear labeling, and despite the sad reflection they are on our Christian culture.

      Again, thanks for the conversation.

      • Michael

        The Physician’s Desk Reference is not a Christian book by any standard, but it says the following:

        Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the endometrium which reduce the likelihood of implantation.

        The FDA-required research information on the birth control pills Ortho-Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen also state that they cause “changes in…the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).”

    • Joe Carter

      ***Why isn’t there a link to the original article? Many of the comments are directly addressed by the actual article.***

      My mistake. I didn’t realize I had forgotten to link to the article. That’s now fixed.

      • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

        Thanks. It is helpful to go to the source.

  • george canady

    seems to me if you dont have thread and needle, you cant knit.

  • Anne-Marie

    The desire for birth control is based primarily upon two lies:

    1. That we can have sex as often as we want without consequences (many Christian seem to believe that being married exempts them from exercising sexual self-control.)
    2. That children are a burden

    God tells us to have self-control and that life is a gift.

  • Karen White

    And again, TGC proves that feminism is the Great Evil of our time. Not male pornography use in the church. Not adultery via pornography. Not worldwide oppression of women. Not harsh patriarchy in marriage disguised as “complementarianism.” No, it’s feminism, so we must now attack birth control. We must not promote adoption, which would bind people’s consciences. We must not imply that adoption is something Christians are responsible to do regularly to help combat abortion. No!! And we should meanwhile celebrate our freedom to drink alcohol, which is proven to cause all sorts of heartache (not to mention abortions).

    No, we must go after the Pill. Evil Pill. Never once proven to cause abortions.

    I see where you are going with this. Bind women’s consciences by telling them it’s only ok to use the Pill if it can be “proven” to NOT cause abortions, while you know that proving negatives is impossible. So you put all kinds of guilt on these women. Shame on you!

    Feminism is hardly the greatest evil of our time. Please get the men in your churches (and church leadership!) to stop using pornography and stop abusing their wives, and then let’s talk about whether Christians should use birth control. No harm in this discussion. But let’s prioritize.

    I am a Christian physician, and I am disgusted by this.

    • F Lankus

      What kind of a Christian?

    • Akash

      It is interesting to know that you seem to think that feminism is the greatest evil of all time-as you said the “Gospel Coalition proved it”!

      so your basically saying women should never be criticized or reprimanded for immoral behavior cause all men are never going to stop using pornography or abusing their wives until Jesus comes and if this is the condition to only then start looking at errors that women may make-you are doing a disservice to women cause then they will never ever get the attention from the church!!!!!!!!

    • Joe Carter

      Dr. White,

      A few comments:

      1. Do you really equate feminism with a particular type of contraceptive?

      2. TGC has run numerous articles condemning men’s use of pornography. Are you seriously not aware of that fact?

      3. You say the Pill has “Never once proven to cause abortions.” I find it hard to believe a physician is unaware of how the Pill can be used—and prescribed by doctor’s—as an emergency abortifacient. (The topic under discussion is whether it acts as an abortifacient when that is not the intention.)

      4. Yes, you can prove a negative. Not in all cases, of course, but the idea that you can’t “prove a negative” is philosophical folklore. Indeed, you yourself claim to be able to do that yourself since you claim that the Pill has never caused an abortion. (Unless you are making that claim without evidence.)

    • Chris

      In addition to what Joe said, I wouldn’t presume to think that TGC is just targeting women in this article. Every man whose wife has taken the pill is by union with her as well as his leadership included in her moral culpability if taking the pill causes abortions.

      I say this as an engaged man who is trying to discern, with my fiancee, whether it is biblical and morally sound to take the pill. So I would caution against the line of thought that sees all of this as an attack on women only.

  • internet

    Abortifacients isn’t the only issue:

    “Birth Control, as popularly understood today and involving the use of contraceptives, is one of the most repugnant of modern aberrations, representing a 20th century renewal of pagan bankruptcy.”
    —Dr. Walter A. Maier, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, c. 1930.

    What’s the leading cause of mega-21st Century pagan bankruptcy? Ubiquitous use of 20th Century birth control including the Pill and all of its offspring: contraception, abortifacients and sterilization. Not one single evangelical Protestant congregation still has a written prohibition against the Pill. For some reason, no modern preacher even has the guts.

    Woe to the pastor who stands before God and admits he neglected to stem this pagan tsunami by publicly denouncing contraception in all its forms. After all, he had the Bible but refused to read and heed.

    Discussing abortifacients in isolation is merely tiptoeing around the broader bedeviling issue.

  • william brown

    Karen Prior’s seems confused over what should be, by now, an obvious and clear verdict. Not even considering the potential killing of a baby by these drugs, there is another massive dimension to the use of contraceptives that either she is unaware of, or for some reason this summary does not mention. These are the unintended consequences of what contraceptives provide: “free sex” without apparent consequences. The cultural devastation of that apparent freedom/license and its impact on the human heart and soul, especially on youth culture, has been widely documented.
    Protestants got on the wrong side of the debate over contraceptives, and have helped usher in the brave new dystopia that we live in today.

    –Wm. Brown MD
    Forest, VA

  • Dan Strong

    I would just like to remind all those commenting on birth control that the issues are a bit more complex than what is being presented. For example, my wife and I have 5 children and we are working to adopt 2 more. We love children. However, we do use contraception. We don’t use the pill. The fact that it is possibly abortive and that there are plenty of studies suggesting the hormones are detrimental to my wife’s long term health are good enough for us to feel that it is morally wrong to use it. However, my wife is prone to pre-term pregnancy. We almost lost one child to pre-term birth, and who is now severally disabled. I know of some couples where pregnancy will likely result in the death of the mother and child due to health issues with the mother. Exceptions don’t make the rule, but these sorts of things aren’t all that rare. So please just remember that “free sex,” hatred of children, and doubt in the sovereignty of God are not the only reasons to use a form of birth control.

    • Debtor Paul

      Good comment. I agree, the issue of planning is more complex than some would like to make it. My wife and I are moving with our two children to a hostile nation to do “work.” This will happen within the next 2 months. We have had 3 children (first was still born). All of them were “planned” using NFP (most typically we were planning TO HAVE children, not to avoid them). We believe it is now wise for us to plan to avoid having more children at this time, due to the conditions we are going to encounter. If God surprises us with more, we will joyfully accept the blessing. We feel peace about this decision. We also don’t see any biblical condemnation for our attitudes or actions regarding this (while some here would perhaps argue otherwise, we see Paul’s recommendation for singleness under certain circumstances in 1 Cor 7 to give some allowance for our decision and its rationale. It is sometimes wise to refrain from doing what is normally intended by God in the order of creation.). While under more “normal” circumstances we would desire a much larger family, we are not under “normal” circumstances. I see the reasons you mentioned to be legitimate uses of planning for limitation as well. God doesn’t not condemn all planning. He does condemn presumptuous planning (James 4:13-15). With all of that said, I am sure most here would admit that the attitudes for limitation planning are more typically akin to those listed in your last sentence. We should admit some exceptions to the rule with grace, while dealing head-on with the deep hedonistic and faithlessness issues even among Christians in our culture.

      I personally believe that the hormonal contraceptive issue is much more clear cut than the faith v. planning issue.

      Good discussion.

  • Pastor JJ

    I can’t help but notice that this article is written by a guy, who I assume is not on the pill. Likewise most of these comments are from guys. It may be a bit presumptuous to speak into such a complex issue with heavy opinions when our own male bodies are not at stake. We can do better.

    • Debtor Paul

      I’m not sure it is necessarily presumptuous. Certainly, there ought to be some caution. But I am reasonably sure that you would not say it is presumptuous to condemn abortion under almost all (if not all) conditions — which happens to be the primary concern of many (not all) here.

      I am a guy, but I am a married guy who, together with my wife, has struggled through decisions related to hormonal contraceptives early in our marriage (even before our marriage, when we were discussing the issue).

    • Liz

      I’m with Debtor Paul. It’s not presumptuous, and it’s silly to suggest as much. That’s like saying that virgins shouldn’t have a say in whether premarital sex is wrong or not, or that faithful spouses can’t speak to the rightness or wrongness of adultery because it doesn’t affect them like it affects current cheaters. We need godly men, just as much as we need godly women to speak truth in love about this issue.

    • Akash

      yes lets remove men from these discussions and form having any opinions(the baby was made by them too you know!) and then sit and mourn about the large number of absentee fathers!

      Some people just do not get it

      • Jonathan Garner

        I agree with Liz. Pastor JJ, you just committed the logical fallacy of special pleading. And Liz gave an example to show why it’s a fallacy.

        • william brown

          One more point for Pastor JJ: Assuming any logic whatsoever to your statement, why in the world is it wrong for men to speak up when approximately half of the babies killed are boys?

          • Akash Charles

            I get your point-I listened to a John Macarthur sermon on abortion and apparently 75% of aborted fetuses are female!!-so much for abortion helping woman!

            Men need to stand up
            In Sweden last year a group of women- Society for Cutting up Men posted a video of killing a man-they got away with it(cause Sweden is a feminist utopia and is irreligious)(google it)

            We men need to stand up against liars who push their oppressive laws in the name of equality

            • Pam

              S.C.U.M is a play! It was written almost 50 years ago! What you read about was a performance of a play (also, it’s a play about gender hate, and pretty much just reverses a lot of what women have faced from men and makes men the victims – there’s a serious, albeit extreme, point being made)
              Don’t believe every strange thing you google, and definitely don’t let your prejudices against places that aren’t the USA dupe you into believing something so demonstrably false.

            • Akash

              umm I did not just google it- I do not google things out of random!

              also a play about harming men is not exactly morally sound-thank you for confirming what I always new about egalitarians(they aren’t really equal!)

              and in case u did not know-multiple groups can have similar acronyms
              google it!!!-you shall learn something

    • william brown

      This is just very poor logic.

  • Adrienne

    I’ve known many women who were on the pill and had a baby anyways. I’ve also known of some women who became sterile due to the pill. There are many issues within this issue, and first hand accounts may be best to form a nice picture.

  • Chris

    I have been consistently confused by the way in which many of those who comment seem to think that using the pill expresses a doubt in the sovereignty of God. Here’s my main line of thought:

    In our lives, we make many decisions. We do many things. These actions do not necessarily express doubt in God’s sovereignty. I have a very high view of His sovereignty, and believe that what He desires to come to pass will come to pass. He often uses human agents to accomplish His will; He does not exclusively use acts of divine intervention (miracles) to accomplish His desires in the world.

    Our age is an age in which we have control over many things. We have a long lifetime expectancy, due to modern medicine and the good quality of the food we eat and the good shelter we now live in. None of these things are bad, however they have not always been a normal or natural part of human existence in ages past.

    But nowadays, when we have a headache, we take Tylenol. When a woman is in labor, most go to the hospital. We can visit far away countries with relative ease and quick travel, and we can communicate over the internet with those who are thousands of miles away.

    What I fail to understand is why taking the pill and the beginning of life is different from these other, more normal instances. If God is sovereign, what good does it do to say that those who take the pill are doubting or trying to thwart God’s plan for their lives? Some who comment have said that some people are not given children by God, whereas others are given many; could the pill be God’s way of not giving a family children? Could he use this modern medicine to accomplish his will? If so, why is this practice often decried as a strong advance against God’s sovereignty?

    On the contrary, it seems to me that those who accuse others of attempting to overrule God’s sovereignty in this realm are those who doubt God’s sovereignty. If my wife takes the pill and we see it as God’s way of inhibiting us from having children right now, yet my wife becomes pregnant, how do we interpret it? Only that God desired for us to have a child, and he has blessed us with one. If he is sovereign, why would the pill thwart him? Among those who accuse pill-users, is the real cause for panic that they think the pill is stronger than God?

    Just wanted to put some of my thoughts on this out there. Forgive me if I’ve been unclear. Furthermore, my comment assumes that the pill is not abortive; this is not what I’m currently considering, though perhaps that is the main reason why some consider others going against God’s sovereignty; yet I think this still misunderstands His sovereignty. The main point is I think people are very confused when it comes to God’s sovereignty and His use of agents in the world to accomplish his will.

  • Jeffrey Bickford

    That the abortive effect of the pill is debated means that the probability of abortion taking place MIGHT be real. If there is merely a theoretical chance that the pill could abort a human life, why would we risk it? How could anything justify taking that risk?

    We really need science to clarify this so that we can make a more informed decision? Do we really think that we’re justified in the case that science has made the water murky?

    • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

      And global warming might not be real either. But when 98% of climate scientists agree that it is real (whether they agree on the cause of the warming), then scientific consensus is worth paying attention to.

      The reality is that scientist now pretty much universally agree that the pill is not an abortificient. Yes there were some older studies that suggested it might. But no recent studies do. And the FDA does not regulate the language about cause and effect of the drug. The reality is that many (maybe most) of the drugs that we use we don’t completely understand why they work only that they do work.

      In this case the abotificent nature of the pill was hypothesized, but as it has been studied it has been found to not be. For all of the discussion about the controversy, it is a controversy without any real science on the side of it being an abortificient.

      Even Plan B pill (morning after) are now agreed to not be abortificiants. And the most recent of these drugs to be approve, Ella, does not include such language.

      • Akash Charles

        Majority of scientists also believe God did not create the world!!

        • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

          Actually according to two different studies most scientists are beliers of some sort. A Rice University study said that about 2/3 of scientists overall claim religious faith. A University of Chicago study said about 75% of doctors believe in God. That does not mean they are active Christians or or even Christians (they may be Jewish or Muslim, etc.)

          But dismissing research because you mistrust science is not helpful in deciding how to evaluate a scientific question.


          • Akash Charles

            yes you are right
            but at the same time we should be cautious about scientific studies-cause majority of scientists have agendas and will twist things around to prove it!

            • Pam

              No, we don’t. I’m a scientist, have known literally dozens of scientists, and we don’t have agendas and twist things to ‘prove’ our agendas. You’re speaking out of ignorance and undue suspicion.

            • Akash

              Ummm Scientists do have agendas for everything the do

              also you assume scientists are angelic beings

            • Debtor Paul

              Pam, I agree that Akash’s statement is perhaps a little extreme. It would be difficult, however, to argue that scientists are somehow exempt from the human rule — sinners have agendas which sometimes result in true results, but sometimes/often not. A simple recognition that scientists have sometimes viciously opposing interpretations of certain findings on certain scientific issues demonstrates that they are not exempt. I do believe (perhaps wishfully) that most scientists do their best to remove bias from their work, but that is in the end an impossible thing for any of us to do perfectly. And if there is any issue that should be expected to activate one’s bias — even a scientist’s — it would surely be this one in our culture. There are doctors and scientists on polar opposite ends of this issue. Bias/agendas are playing a part in every case. It doesn’t make one wrong or right. It is just a fallen human fact.

  • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

    Because this is such a political hot potato, Adam Shields,I would suggest these studies are being spun.

    But if your conscience does not condemn you, you are free to swallow the pill.

    • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

      Karen that may be. But the changes in the studies have come starting about 12 years ago and from sources that I think are trustworthy. The American Association of Pro-life OB/GYN seems like a group that would not be politically motivated to spin research. I also have several friends that I have asked. One is a pharmacist that has looked into it. One is a PhD Bio-chemist and one is a family doctor. All three have looked into it pretty closely from their own perspectives and all three agree that the science says that the pill is not an abortifacient.

      What further confirms in my mind is that all of the studies that say that it is are older studies. There may be newer studies that I am unaware of, but if there are, I haven’t seen them.

      Science is not perfect, but I tend to trust the people that actually do the research for a living not politically motivated writers, even if I agree with the politics that are being advocated.

      • Debtor Paul

        I would be interested to see exactly what studies have confirmed that HC’s aren’t abortifacient.

        Anyone, including scientists, can have their interpretations bent by biases. I imagine that the same studies are given different weight and different interpretations by different doctors and scientists, depending on whether they already believed (or wanted to believe) HC’s were abortifacient. Even the American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYN’s have reasons to spin research. Everyone does. I do. You do.

        Nevertheless, I would like to see the research in order to make my own decision.

        • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

          Debtor Paul, there are not enough direct links to research in this article, but it has a good summary, both pro and con of where the science seems to be.


          • Debtor Paul

            Interesting article. There are several problems with this article in relation to the current discussion. First, as you stated, there are not enough (any?) direct links to research in the article. Second, I question the statement “Altering the endometrium has not been proven to interfere with implantation.” This seems like a strangs statement. I seem to remember studies related to infertility and in vitro fertilization that indicated otherwise. Third, and most importantly, this article is almost exlusively related to Plan B and other similar items. That is a much different discussion than the continuous use HC’s.

            I am enjoying the discussion, but nobody is referencing studies that would lead us to believe that all of the labeling is totally wrong about the third mechanism of action.

            • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

              My understanding is that the drugs of plan B types of drugs are simply higher dosages of the drugs that are in most regular birth control pills. So that is why I think it relates. If higher dosages that are in Plan B are not abortifacients then it would be odd so assume that the lower doses in regular birth control pills would be abortifacients. I agree as does I think everyone, that RU 486-style drugs are abortifacients.

              I did a little google searching today and frankly I am not finding much. What I am finding is either mentioned without links, or behind paywalls of journals. And Randy Alcorn’s work is so wide spread that it takes pages of searching to get to anything else.

              It seems to me from what I have read today that there just hasn’t been enough research.

              But my concern with arguments like Jeffery’s below is that unintended pregnancies do increase abortions. But free (or very low cost) contraception reduced abortions. So I am concerned that people stop recommending (or using) the pill and other forms of birth control and then there is a resulting increase in abortion.

              This was a study published last fall that seems to be the basic idea behind the mandate.

              I understand that there are some that will be against the pill even if there is a microscopic chance of it being an abortifacient. But that is now where I am at right now. My concern is that we find ways to reduce surgical abortions because there is not a question about whether an abortion is happening or not.

              But I would be strongly for increased research to bring about additional scientific clarity.

            • Debtor Paul

              I agree, much more research is needed. The reason that I said that research relating specifically to the “emergency” post intercourse use of the drugs is in a bit of a different category is that (as the article suggested) Plan B MAY not have time to impact the endometrium for that to be a realistic mechanism of action. That COULD BE very different for continual long-term use (as it seems decreased menstrual flow and other evidence would suggest — barring the much hypothesized endometrial recovery after unexpected conception).

              In the midst of all of this pill discussion, I would like to assert again that even if the pill turns out to have no abortifacient potential, there is still the deeper (perhaps more important) cultural issue that should be addressed even among Christians.

              Thanks for the discussion. This has all been helpful for my own thinking.

            • william brown

              I want to reply to this……
              “But my concern with arguments like Jeffery’s below is that unintended pregnancies do increase abortions. But free (or very low cost) contraception reduced abortions. So I am concerned that people stop recommending (or using) the pill and other forms of birth control and then there is a resulting increase in abortion.”

              Goodness Adam, the so-called “unintended pregnancies” problem is behavioral and that must be the focus of our concern. Instead of just assuming that the kids will have sex and then having this big debate over whether or not we are killing the resultant child with contraceptives, we should be looking at why it is that men and women cannot seem to keep their clothes on, and why they seem to have minimal or no self-control.

              Why is natural family planning anathema to Evangelical Protestants? I think the weak-willed shallow lack of discipline and character pandemic to our culture must be the focus. It’s the nature of this conversation that is really bugging me.

              –Wm. Brown MD
              Forest, Virgnia

            • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

              Wm. Brown,

              I am all for properly instructing Christians on the purpose meaning and proper use of sex. I am also all for the proper use of NFP. But I am not talking about Christians exclusively here. The vast majority of people in the US are not practicing Christians. Only about 3% of the US actively uses NFP. NFP only works in a committed monogamous relationship.

              And as much as I wish people were only engaging in sex in committed monogamous relationship, that is not the case. Very few abortions result from sex within committed monogamous relationships, most abortions are the result of people having sex outside of marriage. So to insist that NFP is a good response to abortion is to answer a completely different question.

              Do you want to promote NFP or do you want to reduce abortion? Because the two are not going to accomplish the same thing.

  • Jeffrey Bickford


    I see your point about scientific consensus, but I would say the substance of the scientific consensus matters a lot. Wouldn’t you agree? Theoretically killing a human embryo and theoretically causing our climate to change are entirely two different things. In fact the latter might be completely out of my control whereas the former is completely in my control. I wouldn’t look at the latter as a moral issue, per se. We know how the story of the earth ends already. My conscience can bear my ignorance in that because I know the truth from God’s word on the matter. I don’t use it as an excuse to dirty the planet up any more than I need to, but it doesn’t compel me to go any further than that. With the pill, you state “that scientist now pretty much universally agree that the pill is not an abortificient”. See, my conscience can’t bear that. In that statement there is still a chance that we might kill a human embryo.

    Therein lays the difference between our two arguments. You want your conscience to rest in the 98% consensus that you are morally cleared in using the pill. I’m arguing that the scientific consensus should be meaningless when the moral outcome of our decision could be so severely compromised. You state “Science is not perfect, but I tend to trust the people that actually do the research for a living not politically motivated writers”. I argue that the fear of God transcends any trust I might have in the scientific community. God is not holding them accountable for the decisions that I make.

  • Nell

    I would caution folks in using drug inserts and the PDR as “proof” that a certain drug causes an abortion. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a well known drug company. When doing drug studies, companies must report any adverse event that occurs during a trial or even afterward with followup studies and reports from physicians, etc.

    So, if a person gets pneumonia while taking a certain drug, it must be listed as a possible complication. Yet everyone suspects that the pneumonia would have occurred without taking the drug as well.

    It is well know that there are a fair number of nonimplantations that occur spontaneously. The cause and effect between the Pill (of which there are many formulations) and implantation difficulties have not been proven with any degree of certainty.

    Also, to protect a company from a lawsuit, a company will list everything, including the possibility of a serious reaction and/or death from taking a medication, even if death has never occurred

    I think it is unwise to use nonscientists, no matter how much they have “researched,” whatever that means, in reporting opinions on what the pill causes. Please refer to directed studies which are double blind, randomized and peer reviewed if you want your opinion to go beyond a sub-select group of people who “feel” that the pill causes an abortion.

    Yes, I am a Christian although there seem to be some here that question one’s salvation at the drop of a pill.

    • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

      “I think it is unwise to use nonscientists, no matter how much they have “researched,” whatever that means, in reporting opinions on what the pill causes.”

      Maybe we should use drug company shills to report results, the way GlaxoSmithKline did in promoting Paxil as safe for children and adolescents, and suffered a three billion dollar penalty as a result? That was chump change for them. Quick, we need this drug approved, so have some Key Opinion Leaders sign off on these ghost-written reports — and the result, as Ben Goldacre writes, is “Bad Pharma- How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients” http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Pharma-Companies-Mislead-Patients/dp/0865478007.

      And in case anyone wants to read an eye opening, detailed account of how Study 329 managed to deceive well meaning practitioners and treat young person’s developing brains to toxic and unnecessary treatments, there is a well written expose written by an outraged retired psychiatrist — an index of all his articles is here: http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2012/08/continuing-dissection-of-infamous-study.html

      And Big Pharma is the reason, Nell, so many of us distrust any study of any drug, no matter who reports it. Studies are usually funded by the very ones who most benefit.

      • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

        I forgot the most galling issue of all, the one that undermines trust more than anything — the gatekeepers at the Journal for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry refused to print a retraction of the infamous study. http://1boringoldman.com/index.php/2013/01/10/a-higher-power/

        So there are no consequences whatever for the shills. They can continue on, speaking at conferences and scribbling prescriptions with their money-grubby hands.

        • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

          For some reason the comment before this one is still in moderation, so what I said there makes no sense. Joe? Are you there? Big silence.

          Maybe he found the links dodgy. I dunno. Or did he think I was calling Nell a shill for drug companies? No, I was referring to Key Opinion Leaders, those who chair the committees and deliver the keynotes and sign their name to reports.

          And it all references Big Pharma’s incestuous relationship to medicine, which Dr. Ben Goldacre details in “Bad Pharma”,and that is exemplified in the 3 billion dollar settlement levied against GlaxoKlineSmith because of the notorious Study 329, these penalties were for ghostwriting research when they were promoting Paxil to treat children struggling with depression. And the so-called “Bi-Polar Child.”

          This retired psychiatrist writes a fascinating history, following the trail of deliberate coverup of adverse events, and distorted data that proved efficacy of Paxil in his series beginning here. http://1boringoldman.com/index.php/2012/08/19/26298/

          Read the comments — “Anonymous” spills the beans. And still, the JAACP protects the authors of 329 from consequences.

          And Nell, this disturbing story is why many of us deeply distrust these studies. Continuous spin control. The rallying cry for data transparency in research continues to be, “remember Study 329.”

  • Debtor Paul

    Good caution, though I am not sure about the extremety of ease in your description of complications being included.

    You say: “The cause and effect between the Pill (of which there are many formulations) and implantation difficulties have not been proven with any degree of certainty.” How would such a thing be proven?

    I agree that caution should be used with nonscientists. However, caution should be used with scientists. There aren’t any uninterpreted facts (though we can sometimes get reasonably close). Everyone has agendas, both scientists and non-scientists. I’m sure we could agree that there could be scenerios in which a certain non-scientist’s opinion on a scientific matter was more accurate than a scientist’s.

    Could you refer to any “directed studies which are double blind, randomized and peer reviewed” that have a bearing on this discussion?

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