New Report Admits: Emergency Contraception Does Not Reduce Abortion

By Cassidy Bugos

  BALTIMORE, Maryland, January 9, 2007 ( – To date, no published study has been able to yield evidence for a decline of abortion rates with wider use of ‘emergency contraceptives’, although numerous studies and clinical trials have taken place that were “specifically designed to address this issue,” researchers say in a new report.

  The November 2006 report, which appears in this month’s issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, reviews 23 studies to “demonstrate convincingly that greater access [to the pills] increases use” but that “to date, no study has shown that increased access to this method reduces unintended pregnancy or abortion rates.”

  Authors of the report, James Trussell, Dr. Elizabeth Raymond and Chelsea B. Polis, admit that the degree to which pro-abortion groups for years have touted emergency contraception as the guaranteed way to make abortion rare “may have been overly optimistic.” Despite the total lack of evidence in favor of emergency contraception reducing either unintended pregnancy or abortion, the authors go on to express that nevertheless they too remain optimistic, and promise that yet more widespread use of ECPs will eventually yield results.  

  The report ignored recent studies from the UK demonstrating that abortion rates not only have not declined with wider access to EC, but appear to have climbed on an even par with increased use of the pills.

  Natalie Hudson, in an article entitled ‘The Contraception Misconception’ that first appeared in a 2004 edition of Right to Life News Canada, indicated that she is not surprised by the correlation between increased EC use and increased abortion. 

“As acceptance of contraception increases so does acceptance of abortion. Why is this the case? Because at the root of contraception is the notion that a couple can engage in sexual activity and avoid its natural consequences. Couples who unintentionally conceive a child while using contraception are far more likely to resort to abortion than others . . . Taking the possibility of human life out of the sexual act has lead to a false sense of ‘sexual freedom’ and with it a neglect of the responsibility that ought to accompany sex.”

  The Guttmacher Institute has consistently reported that over half of abortions recorded are the result of a ‘failed’ contraceptive method—emergency contraception or otherwise. Trussell and his colleagues advocate emergency contraception for use as a consistent back-up to a woman’s regular contraceptive method of choice. Promoting Plan B or another emergency contraception over reliance on the availability of abortion amounts to promoting one back-up plan over another. But many women will prefer to rely on abortion in the event of conception than to routinely take a drug that is still new to the market and relatively experimental.

  Increased acceptance of the drug could also serve to increase acceptance of abortion by making recourse to abortion less dramatic of an event. The report consistently refers to the rise of unintended pregnancy as a “major health problem” which wider availability of EC drugs will surely reduce, and an analysis of the capability of vaccines to prevent certain diseases is used analogously to describe the capability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. The report seeks to establish emergency contraception as the accepted ‘prevention’ for a medical condition, but says nothing to counter the implication that abortion remains the cure.

  Nor does the report deal fairly with the concerns of those who cite the pills’ abortifacient nature. Instead, the authors engage in some careful semantics to evade the real issue, taking it upon themselves to establish that emergency contraceptives do not, after all, interrupt pregnancy, pregnancy being defined by such medical authorities as the US Food and Drug Administration and the American College of Obstretrics and Gynecology as beginning with implantation.

  The pill works to prevent implantation, hence, the researchers conclude, it may serve to prevent, but not interrupt a pregnancy. The report does not address the issue of whether, by preventing implantation, the pill does not thereby interrupt the normal life span of a human embryo. Fertilization of a female egg by a male sperm in a Petri dish is all that is necessary to create a human embryo, the researchers’ counterparts in embryonic stem cell research could have informed them. It is the protection of this embryonic life, not the protection of an early pregnancy, that critics of EC are concerned about.

  The report is available in PDF format at:

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  UK Abortion Rates Continue to Climb Despite Increasing Emergency Contraception Use

  Advisory Doctor to FDA Confirms Morning-After Pill Acts as Abortifacient

  Plan B Manufacturer Admits Morning After Pill Can Cause Death of an Embryo

  Planned Parenthood’s Guttmacher Institute Getting Desperate   

  The Contraception Misconception

  Scottish Research ‘Discovers’ Morning-After Pill Does Not Reduce Abortion Rate

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