Analysis

Are birth control and abortion connected? Here are the facts.

birth control

Author and journalist Molly Jong-Fast penned the Vogue article, “The Anti-Birth Control Movement is the New Anti-Abortion Movement,” cutting right to the chase by claiming that “Republicans have started to blur the lines between birth control and abortion in the hopes of making it harder for American women to get both birth control and abortions.” But Jong-Fast’s article fails to acknowledge that it is not “Republicans” who have blurred the lines between abortion and birth control; it is the abortion industry itself.

Fact: Some birth control can function as an abortifacient

Jong-Fast specifically referenced the recent debate in Missouri over whether to limit Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood over its provision of potentially abortifacient drugs — such as Plan B and Ella, which are given as “emergency contraception” — and IUDs. Jong-Fast called Missouri’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood “a tricky play, attacking birth control as a way to attack abortion, and it didn’t work… this time.” Jong-Fast also quoted Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill-Johnson, who lamented, “We’re already hearing members of the U.S. Congress spread the same falsehoods we’ve seen in Missouri, conflating medications that prevent pregnancy — birth control and emergency contraception — with medications that end pregnancy.”

Jong-Fast either doesn’t understand or purposely ignores the fact that IUDsemergency contraception and the birth control pill can function as abortifacients; that is, they can cause early abortions as a secondary mechanism, according to their manufacturers.

Fact: The abortion industry blurred the lines decades ago

Though Jong-Fast insists that pro-lifers are the ones erroneously conflating contraception with abortion, in truth, abortion supporters were the ones to falsely deny the abortifacient nature of some contraceptives by redefining widely understood scientific definitions of conception and fertilization. That deception goes back decades.

And while some opponents of abortion mistakenly insist that birth control prevents abortions and is therefore necessary, this belief is contrary to the truth. The distinction between contraception and abortion regardless doesn’t seem to make much difference in the end to Jong-Fast, who described her ardent support for both in an interview about her motivation for writing the article.

READ: 10 risks of hormonal birth control that every woman should know

Live Action News previously traced the move to redefine when human life begins as a way of hiding the abortifacient potential of IUDs, the birth control pill, and emergency contraceptives.

While the first line action of the birth control pill and emergency contraception is the prevention of ovulation, and the second line is to thicken the cervical mucus so as to be inhospitable to sperm even if ovulation does occur, the third line action is to thin the lining of the uterus, so an already-created embryo is less likely to implant there, killing the new human being. New birth control pills, with lower amounts of estrogen to decrease the risk of blood clots, do not prevent ovulation as well as the higher-estrogen dose in older combination pills, meaning that today’s birth control pill is more likely to cause an early, silent abortion. An IUD works similarly, but because it does not contain estrogen, an IUD only “partially suppresses ovulation,” according to Mayo Clinic.

In Jong-Fast’s world, none of the above forms of contraception could be abortifacient, because although an embryo exists prior to implantation, the definition of pregnancy is the embryo’s successful implantation into the uterine wall. But this understanding relies on a doctored definition of when human life begins.

In the 1960s, abortion advocates moved the goalposts from the common understanding that life begins at the moment sperm fertilizes the egg (fertilization) to create a genetically unique embryo, to instead claim it begins at implantation (now redefined as “conception”) — when the embryo implants into the uterine lining.

Fact: Contraception and abortion are linked

As a previous Planned Parenthood clinic manager noted, contraception and abortion are “two sides of the same coin.” Though Ramona Treviño began working at Planned Parenthood convinced that increased birth control access would decrease the need for abortion, she soon found the opposite to be true.

 

One does not exist without the other… Contraception creates a market for abortion by promoting promiscuity and providing men and women a false sense of security against an unintended pregnancy. The more promiscuous people are (especially young people), the more likely they’ll become pregnant.

The more people use birth control and adopt a contraceptive mentality, the higher the odds that they’ll seek an abortion. Because, let’s face it, if they’re using birth control, a child is not part of the ‘plan.’ Abortion is the backup, so to speak, for contraceptive failure, misuse, or lack of self-control.

As part and parcel of her advocacy for contraception and abortion, Jong-Fast went so far as to claim without evidence that when abortion restrictions are in place, “as we know, people don’t stop getting abortions. They just stop getting safe abortions. And then you have situations where people die, and none of this needs to happen.” Jong-Fast’s words may be chilling to consider, but they are not backed up by facts. Research from the University of California at San Francisco actually suggests that when pregnant women are not located near abortion facilities, fewer choose to have abortions. Furthermore, abortion restrictions, another favorite punching bag of abortion advocates, also tend to lead to fewer abortions.

Jong-Fast and other abortion supporters are in an uproar over legislative efforts to connect birth control and abortion. While some pro-lifers’ willingness to acknowledge this connection may be recent, the connection itself is neither new nor implausible, and is based in scientific fact.

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