Monday 12 December 2011

Myth Busting Monday – The morning after pill is a ‘DIY abortion’

Every Monday EFC busts myths and take names, cutting through the misinformation, disinformation, and straight up nonsense to bring you the facts.

In yesterday's Daily Mail, Peter Hitchens frothed;

'There is no better symbol of the squalid New Britain than the choice of Christmas to make the ‘morning-after pill’ easier to get. Now this do-it-yourself abortion for people who are not just feckless but incompetent too is to be given out by post, in advance (surely it should be renamed the ‘night-before’ pill, in that case?). Under-age girls will easily be able to get it. Like all such measures, it will be followed by more under-age sex and more abortions. And nobody will make the connection.'

We are getting sick and tired of national newspapers (and in this case, well known journalists!) touting the myth that taking emergency hormonal contraception (aka the morning after pill) is an abortion. We’ve posted about this myth in the past but it just doesn’t seem to go away. In fact, the Telegraph are guilty of posting similar just last week.

For some, there is a belief that pregnancy begins at fertilisation, when the sperm meets the egg. So yes, those people may well consider the taking of contraception which can act to prevent implantation of the fertilised egg as ending a pregnancy, akin to an abortion. However, what is rarely made clear in such missives against accessible contraception is that this is a belief. Legally and medically, pregnancy begins following implantation of the fertilised egg meaning that abortion and contraception are different things.

From the British Medical Association’s ‘Abortion Time Limits’ paper:

What is abortion?
The term 'abortion' is used throughout this paper to refer to the induced termination of an established pregnancy (i.e. after implantation). It does not include the use of emergency hormonal contraception which the High Court has confirmed is not an abortifacient. All current methods of emergency contraception work prior to implantation and therefore are not abortifacients.’


  1. Sorry you are totally wrong on this one.

    Do read this and realise how you are completely wrong:
    Randy Alcorn: Does the birth control pill cause abortions:

    best regards,

    Best way to have an informed choice on abortion is to google abortion and click images.

  2. Thanks Robert, but since here we are talking about medical information we'll stick with the information put forward by medical professionals and organisations.

  3. Hi, This is a great article from a doctor. You can translate it at

    With best regards,

    also - i have written this:

    Of course, life begins at conception... this is a medically established fact which is beyond dispute. So your myth busting needs some myth busting. But don't even think about myth busting my myth busting of your myth busting (you can try!)

    Merry Christmas!

  4. You are entitled to your belief that life begins at conception, although legally contraception is not considered abortion and we think it's important to point this out. We believe it's up to the individual to make choices about what contraception (if any) they feel comfortable using.

    Anybody looking for up to date and reliable information on contraception should check out the fpa website:

  5. Could you find me a single reputable Human Embryology textbook that DOESN'T say that "life begins at conception" - a belief (a fact) you appear to dismiss.
    When you've done that perhaps you could look reassess your scientific literacy. Thanks.