6 Resources on Whether or Not Birth Control Pills Cause Abortions

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.

birth control smallerHere are the six most helpful resources I know of for trying to assess whether birth control pills and/or Plan B definitely cause abortions or not.

The most common question I get emailed to me goes something like this:

I’m trying to figure out what contraception is morally acceptable to use and would appreciate any info you could send me on research about how hormonal contraception and Plan B prevent implantation. My understanding is that they thin the uterine lining. I’d specifically be interested in studies establishing a correlation between fertility and thickness controlling for all other factors. Or at least given my current understanding of how the drugs work.

Here’s my short answer:

I don’t know whether or not birth control pills or Plan B act as an abortifacient.

“But Josh, there’s so much research and even a booklet that proves hormonal birth control methods thin the endometrium, causing an inhospitable place for the embryo to implant!”

Yes, I’ve seen that research. I totally understand why you might be so convinced that this is an open and shut case. In fact, that used to be my view, and I passionately debated with people who doubted the evidence I communicated to them. But now I have more doubt because I’ve seen a growing body of research that suggests that the issue is more complicated than that.

I think these pro-life advocates mean well, but that they are overstating their case. Image source: ThePillKills.org

I think these pro-life advocates mean well, but that they are overstating their case.
Image source: ThePillKills.org

I think birth control pills might sometimes act as abortifacients. But I’m not willing to say that I know they do, because that would be overstating the case, considering that both sides have scientific reasons for believing that birth control pills may or may not have a cause and effect relationship with the thickness of the endometrium.

When I’m on a college campus and asked by a pro-choice person whether I think birth control pills should be illegal, I take a cue from my colleague Steve Wagner at Justice For All, and say:

As a matter of public policy, I am not opposed to birth control methods that don’t kill anybody.

Obviously the most important question on the morality of birth control pills is whether or not they actually act as abortifacients. While there is an important theological discussion that can be had on whether or not God wants people to plan their families and whether or not it’s wise to take birth control pills that often have negative side effects like loss of libido, but I’m tabling all of that discussion when talking to pro-choice people.

If you’re interested in exploring this topic a bit from a different perspective, here are the six resources I think you should start with. All of these involve my colleague Dr. Rich Poupard from Life Training Institute. Dr. Poupard is an oral surgeon and has read many studies on this issue, and believe pro-life advocates would be wise to not overstate their case on this subject until more research comes out.

#1: Interview with Dr. Poupard – “How Should Pro-Lifers Talk About Birth Control?”

Click here to watch the video. | Click here to download the MP3.

I asked Dr. Poupard to come on Life Report (produced by Right to Life of Central CA) to answer some questions about how Plan B works.

Includes an explanation of the recent research that Plan B is ineffective for any woman who weighs over 175 pounds and why this research will probably result in even more loss of life.

#2: Follow-Up Discussion with Dr. Poupard on Birth Control Pills and Plan B

Click here to download the MP3.

We didn’t have enough time in the video to get all of my questions answered, so we recorded this bonus audio, which answered a lot of the most common questions from pro-lifers on this topic.

#3: Does a Thin Uterine Lining Support the “Pill as Baby Killer” Theory?

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A Christian named Marie was very upset with Dr. Poupard and I when we released those two resources, and engaged in lengthy comments rebuking us. It was only after she read this article from Dr. Poupard did she do a 180 and publicly apologize.

#4: Be Careful Out There (When Discussing Emergency Contraception)

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It is very easy to read misleading headlines and then overstate what the evidence actually shows. Pro-life advocates ought to be thought of as people who think carefully, and this post is a helpful lesson on that.

#5: What about the FDA Information?

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One of the most common arguments I see pro-life advocates make on this topic is that most of the birth control packages state that the hormones can cause thinning of the uterus lining. Dr. Poupard explains why this isn’t a compelling argument.

#6: Clarifying Confusion about OCPs

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In response to Marie’s public rebuke, Dr. Poupard offers three reasons why the assertion that LNG, the progestin found in Plan B, works as a competitive antagonist for progesterone receptors is not supported in the literature.


The post “6 Resources on Whether or Not Birth Control Pills Cause Abortions” originally appeared at JoshBrahm.comClick here to subscribe via email and get exclusive access to a FREE MP3 of Josh Brahm’s speech, “Nine Faulty Pro-Life Arguments and Tactics.”

Header image courtesy of Bryan Calabro – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution from Wikimedia Commons.

Question: What are your thoughts? If you read or listened to at least one of the resources listed above, did it affect your thinking on this issue at all? Why or why not?


Josh Brahm is the President of Equal Rights Institute, an organization that trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly and argue persuasively.

Josh has worked in the pro-life movement since he was 18. A sought-after speaker, Josh has spoken for more than 23,000 people in six countries and in 22 of the 50 states.

Josh’s primary passion is helping pro-life people to be more persuasive when they communicate with pro-choice people. That means ditching faulty rhetoric and tactics and embracing arguments that hold up under philosophical scrutiny.

He has publicly debated leaders from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Georgians for Choice, and one of the leading abortion facilities in Atlanta.

Josh also wants to bring relational apologetics to the pro-life movement. “Some pro-choice people will not change their mind after one conversation on a college campus. Some of them will only change their mind after dozens of conversations with a person they trust in the context of friendship.”

Josh is formerly the host of a globally-heard podcast turned radio/TV show, Life Report. He now hosts the Equipped for Life Podcast. He’s also written dozens of articles for LifeNews.com and the ERI blog.

He directed the first 40 Days for Life campaign in Fresno, resulting in up to 60 lives saved.

Josh has been happily married to his wife, Hannah, for 15 years. They have three sons, Noah, William, and Eli. They live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Bereit, the National Director of 40 Days for Life, sums up Josh’s expertise this way: “Josh Brahm is one of the brightest, most articulate, and innovative people in the pro-life movement. His cutting-edge work is helping people think more clearly, communicate more effectively, and — most importantly — be better ambassadors for Christ. I wholeheartedly endorse Josh’s work, and I encourage you to join me in following Josh and getting involved in his work today!”

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