A recent letter from South Coastal Today delved into the deceptive definitions of hormonal birth control and when pregnancy begins and how they relate to the morality of hormonal birth control methods in response to a column by Dr. Christian Pope.
Pregnancy was once medically defined as beginning when sperm and egg united (when fertilization occurred and the new human begin came into existence). Later, the definition of pregnancy was changed to the definition Planned Parenthood now has on its website: “Pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus.” This change occurred in 1965, just a few years after the FDA approved oral contraceptives and the same year as Griswold vs. Connecticut, which made the pill available to all married women in America.
In no way was this change a coincidence. Planned Parenthood realized that many people would oppose the use of the pill if they realized it could cause an early abortion, so they turned to semantics instead of facts to push for hormonal contraception. At a Populations Council conference in 1964, a Planned Parenthood researcher stated that the fact the pill can act as an abortifacient shouldn’t “disturb those people for whom this is a question of major importance.”
According to the American Pregnancy Association, hormonal contraceptives (the pill, the patch, vaginal rings, Depo-Provera, etc.) can work in one of three ways:
1) Suppress ovulation—an egg is not released from the ovary, so the sperm cannot fertilize the egg, and conception does not occur.
2) Thicken cervical mucous—the mucous acts as a barrier between the egg and the sperm, so the sperm cannot fertilize the egg, and conception does not occur.
3) Render the uterus uninhabitable— According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, “Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.” This shows that conception can still occur when a woman is on hormonal contraceptives. When a woman is on hormonal contraceptives, the uterus lining is changed to prevent a newly-conceived human being from implanting in case conception does occur, and therefore, he or she can be killed and lost during the woman’s menstrual cycle.
However we decide to conveniently define and redefine when pregnancy begins, and despite this this fact will always remain: biologically and scientifically speaking, a new human being is created at the moment of conception, even before he or she implants in the womb. This fact is irrefutable.
Ergo, hormonal birth control methods have the potential to end the life of a newly-conceived human being who has not yet implanted in his or her mother’s womb, regardless of how the beginning of pregnancy is defined.