How the Pill Works

(Letter to Seattle Times, August 2000)

Regarding a letter from Emily Causey of Seattle, August 1, "Makes good business sense to cover costs of contraceptives". In her letter she accuses reporter Catherine Tarpley of not getting her facts straight with regard to whether or not the morning-after pill is a abortion-type pill. First of all, Emily Causey agrees that the morning-after pill works the same way as birth-control pills. If this is the case then the morning-after pill may in-fact cause an abortion.

The reason for this is in how the pill functions. Birth-control pills have three mechanisms. One, to inhibit ovulation, two, it thickens the cervical mucus to block the sperm and three, it thins and shrivels the lining of the uterus so that it is less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly-fertilized egg. The first two mechanisms are contraceptive, the third is abortive. So if the first two mechanisms fail the egg would become fertilized thus becoming a human embryo (arguably a human being). The third mechanism of the pill would then attempt to prevent the embryo from implanting and thus aborting the human embryo (the human being). Therefore, not only is the morning-after pill an abortion-type pill but so are common birth-control pills.

I hope this sets the record straight.

--Peter Mactutis

See Discussion: The Embryo and the Human Person (What Percent of Zygotes Do Not Implant?)

Birth Control vs. Natural Family Planning

Abortion and Pro-Choice

Should Health Care Pay for Contraceptives

Judge Forces Bartell's to Include Contraception in Health Plan (June 13, 2001)

Stem Cell Research