“Absolutely no hormones, and we don’t have to worry about pregnancy for another 10 years!” I came in late to a conversation in which a fellow theology master’s student was extolling the benefits of her newly-placed copper IUD. Alarm bells rang in my head. Don’t IUDs prevent implantation? I thought to myself. In the next breath she laid that concern to rest, reassuring us all that her doctor had been clear: IUDs are not abortifacient. 

I didn’t question her at the time, assuming I had somehow been mistaken. After all, she was an intelligent, passionately prolife woman pursuing a master’s degree. Surely she had done her homework. 

This story came back to me as I was researching my upcoming book, Reclaiming Motherhood from a Culture Gone MadChapter Four provides an in-depth look at the devastating effects of contraceptives on women’s health, societal status, and marriages. In reviewing the research, I was disturbed anew. Not only was I right about IUD’s “preventing” pregnancy through early automatic abortion, this is an integral mechanism of all hormonal contraceptives as well. 

Barrier methods such as diaphragms, condoms, and even spermicides work solely to prevent conception. When they fail, conception occurs and, because they have not actively worked to undermine the uterine environment, there is no artificially-created barrier to implantation that causes early miscarriage. 

The same cannot be said for the various iterations of “the pill,” “the patch,” “the ring,” the monthly injection Depo Provera, or IUDs hormonal and nonhormonal. For example, Paragard is a hormone-free IUD made from copper which is toxic to sperm and eggs. It also prevents implantation, as disclosed on their website.

Rather than preventing conception, virtually every form of hormonal contraception “prevents pregnancy” by creating conditions within a woman’s body that cause early miscarriage. Can we call this abortion? After all, the pill or shot was taken prior to conception, and the conceived life ends without the mother’s awareness. Pregnancy cannot even be detected until after implantation.

Sadly, the answer is yes. Intentionally or not, these medications function not only by preventing conception, but by ensuring that conceived life cannot continue. It is a “fail-safe,” a kind of pre-abortion ensuring that if conception happens, the mother doesn’t even know about it. 

Full story at Faith and Bioethics.