The Morning-After Pill Is Not An ‘Abortive’ Pill- And Here’s Why It Matters

Morning After PillLast October, Mississippi voted down a controversial new anti-abortion measure that caught the whole country’s attention. Though “Personhood Bills” had been introduced to state legislatures before, this was one of the first attempts where the legislation had a very real chance of becoming law. With a conservative state and a pro-life measure, really how could it lose?

Well, opponents of the bill made sure that everyone knew just what the effects of Personhood would be. By stating that life begins at conception, the law wouldn’t just get rid of abortion. It would also restrict in vitro fertilization and most forms of hormonal birth control. When it came to losing The Pill, Mississippians said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Plenty of people thought that Personhood would disappear at that point. It had lost in one of the most conservative, pro-life states in the country. Where was there to go after there? Apparently, Colorado, Nevada, Arkansas, and Ohio. And considering the fact that the Republican Presidential candidate has endorsed Personhood, I guess that’s just the beginning.

In fact, as we’ve seen in this Republican primary, it’s not just the idea of banning all abortion that is gaining political momentum. Birth control itself has become a hotly debated topic. The Personhood amendments would severely limit the options for couples who are looking to prevent pregnancy. For a detailed explanation of how each type of contraception would be effected, you can click here.

But there’s new information that could be changing the labels on the Morning-After Pill and altering the conversation surrounding these Personhood amendments.

To explain why they want to limit birth control options for women, Personhood supporters have begun calling hormonal birth control abortifacients. Basically, they say that things like The Pill are chemical abortions, because as a fail safe, they thin the lining of the uterine wall so that a fertilized egg would not be able to implant. This supposed logic is also applied to the Morning-After Pill. In fact, that idea is so prevalent that Mitt Romney recently referred to Plan B as an “abortive.”

Well, new research shows that Personhood supporters are incorrect. Studies has proven that emergency contraception doesn’t prevent a fertilized egg from implanting, it prevents ovulation. The egg never comes down to be fertilized. Simply put by The New York Times, “It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work.”

So where will t he debate go from here? Well, it’s hard to say. If conservatives embrace the new information and say that Personhood won’t effect a woman’s ability to choose her own contraception, the still-dramatic legislation could gain even more mainstream support. If they ignore the science and continue to attack The Pill and other hormonal birth control, liberals will be able to show that the legislation is a lot more about controlling women’s choices than preventing the loss of fertilized eggs.

No matter what the politicians choose to do with the information, the fact is that emergency contraception is not a chemical abortion, which it has been called by many. Maybe now we’ll stop standing in the way of women who want to use it to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies.

(Photo: Knitting Clio)

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