​Birth Control: What are abortifacients? What are your options?

​Birth Control: What are abortifacients? What are your options? Hero Image ​Birth Control: What are abortifacients? What are your options? Hero Image

Let’s get some basic terminology out of the way before we dig into the more complex issues:

  • Fertilization – the fusion of male and female gametes; the beginning of life
  • Implantation – when a fertilized egg, or embryo - one of the earliest developmental stages of a new human being, attaches to the uterine wall; the sustaining of life
  • Abortion – the deliberate termination of a pregnancy
  • Abortifacients – a drug causing abortion

To get us on the same page, if we say we value life, we have to address where life begins - fertilization. Many of us aren’t even aware of the abortive dangers of something many women use every day - birth control. Some birth control options prevent the woman’s body from ovulating (therefore, the egg that makes new life possible is never released) by using hormones that trick the body into thinking it is already pregnant. These options typically thicken the mucus in the cervix to reduce the likelihood of sperm making their way to the ovaries to fertilize the egg. However, other common types of birth control still use the “alteration” or thinning of the uterine wall (i.e. prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg), as a last resort.

Just read the label on the birth control, in almost all cases, it’s there.

And, if the birth control is a progestin only option, implantation obstruction is generally the MAIN way of prevention. That means the egg is allowed to be fertilized creating a new human being, but the uterus is deliberately setup to miscarry. To put it plainly, if you’re sexually active, hormonal birth control methods create the potential for allowing life to begin and then removing it…and you don’t even know it’s happening.

Your doctor didn’t mention that? Mine either. So, what now?

If this information is new to you, I understand that it has the potential to be painful or even maddening. I want to ask you to lean in, pray, learn, and start making choices consistent with science and your faith.

  • Be more informed. Read the birth control label. Ask your doctor, “Will this method potentially allow fertilization and then prevent implantation?” .
  • Know the research is skewed because pharmaceutical companies don’t want their products labeled as abortifacients, and Christians can’t ethically encourage a woman to use these methods in order to conduct research to see if pregnancy didn’t occur because fertilization never took place or implantation was deliberately prevented. So we’re left to be discerning and value life, motherhood, and sex in God’s design.
  • Use condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, or a vaginal sponge. These options prevent fertilization but don’t inhibit implantation. So, if an unexpected pregnancy occurs, it is not aborted automatically.
  • Read up on “Natural Family Planning” – it’s probably not what you think it is.
  • Vasectomy and Tubal Ligation are also options.
  • Realize women don’t have to bear the sole responsibility and the brunt of side effects for birth control options. All male contraceptives are less invasive and typically just as effective as their female counterparts.

Have you made choices you wish you hadn’t? I’m with you. For a long time I had no idea and it grieves me. God’s grace and mercy is wide and deep to heal and restore. Pray to our Father, seek wisdom, share with others you trust. Start today with choices that value life – both seen and unseen.

*Due to the medical nature of this topic, consult your doctor before stopping or changing any medication especially if the birth control is prescribed for issues like endometriosis, etc.

For more information, email thelifeinitiative@watermark.org. To encourage your doctor to affirm their pro-life practices, ask them to visit and join the American Association for ProLife OB/GYNs at AAPLOG.org.