Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?
by Randy Alcorn
"The Pill" is the popular term for more than forty different commercially available oral contraceptives. In medicine, they are commonly referred to as BCPs (birth control pills) or OCs (oral contraceptives). They are also called "Combination Pills," because they contain a combination of estrogen and progestin.
The Pill is used by about fourteen million American women each year. Across the globe it is used by about sixty million. The question of whether it causes abortions has direct bearing on untold millions of Christians, many of them prolife, who use and recommend it. For those who believe God is the Creator of each person and the giver and taker of human life, this is a question with profound moral implications.
In 1991, while researching the original edition of ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, I heard someone suggest that birth control pills can cause abortions. This was brand new to me; in all my years as a pastor and a prolifer, I had never heard it before. I was immediately skeptical.
My vested interests were strong in that Nanci and I used the Pill in the early years of our marriage, as did many of our prolife friends. Why not? We believed it simply prevented conception. We never suspected it had any potential for abortion. No one told us this was even a possibility. I confess I never read the fine print of the Pill's package insert, nor am I sure I would have understood it even if I had.
In fourteen years as a pastor I did considerable premarital counseling, I always warned couples against the IUD because I'd read it could cause early abortions. I typically recommended young couples use the Pill because of its relative ease and effectiveness.
At the time I was researching ProLife Answers, I found only one person who could point me toward any documentation that connected the Pill and abortion. She told me of just one primary source that supported this belief and I found only one other. Still, these two sources were sufficient to compel me to include this warning in the book:
"Some forms of contraception, specifically the intrauterine device (IUD), Norplant, and certain low-dose oral contraceptives, often do not prevent conception but prevent implantation of an already fertilized ovum. The result is an early abortion, the killing of an already conceived individual. Tragically, many women are not told this by their physicians, and therefore do not make an informed choice about which contraceptive to use."
As it turns out, I made a critical error. At the time, I incorrectly believed that "low-dose" birth control pills were the exception, not the rule. I thought most people who took the Pill were in no danger of having abortions. What I've found in more recent research is that since 1988 virtually all oral contraceptives used in America are low-dose, that is, they contain much lower levels of estrogen than the earlier birth control pills.
Read the entire article. I found it convincing.