So we’ve blogged about this myth before but since I carried out a small focus group last week and found that the majority of the young people (and their teacher!) believed that ‘the morning after pill is a form of early abortion’ I thought it was important to readdress.
Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), also known as the “morning-after pill”, can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to help prevent pregnancy. The key word here is “prevent”- EHC does not cause an abortion. Medically, pregnancy begins when a fertilised egg implants in the lining of a woman’s uterus (womb). EHC works by keeping your ovaries from releasing eggs, keeping the sperm and egg from meeting, or keeping the fertilised egg from implanting, depending on when you take it. If you are already pregnant, taking EHC does not harm the pregnancy. People who believe that conception begins when the sperm and egg meet, though this is not medically considered to be the case, sometimes oppose EHC on those grounds. Medically speaking, however, EHC does not cause an abortion.
Scarleteen gives some more info on the myths around Emergency Contraception here.