When the craft store chain Hobby Lobby found out it had to supply health insurance plans to its employees that included morning-after and week-after contraception pills, it filed a highly publicized lawsuit against the requirements, stating that the pills were not contraception drugs, but abortion pills.
As it turns out — stop the presses! — the contraception pills claiming to be contraception pills are in fact contraception pills. Specifically, new studies have shown that the morning-after pill Plan B prevents fertilization by preventing ovulation. It does not, contrary to Hobby Lobby and other adamant pro-life organization’s beliefs, abort a fertilized egg.
The pro-life and pro-choice argument that has taken place over these drugs stems primarily from the fact that scientists were not sure how exactly drugs like Plan B prevented pregnancy after unprotected sex, only that it was highly effective.
Susan Wood, a professor of health policy at George Washington University and a former assistant commissioner for women’s health at the FDA, explained that “it wasn’t really clear” if the pill work before or after ovulation.
Yet, recent studies on Plan B have shown that it works by preventing ovulation. It stops an egg from getting released from a woman’s ovary to make fertilization impossible.
These results have led the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics to state that Plan B does not stop implantation, and so does not cause an abortion. It has also helped to change the minds of some pro-life practitioners, such as Gene Rudd, senior vice president of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and practicing OB-GYN in Tenn.
"Up until recently I would not prescribe the Plan B product because we didn't have enough science to say it doesn't have a post-fertilization effect," says Rudd. "Now, I'm becoming — sitting on the fence with that."
Wood has been frustrated by the insistence by pro-lifers to call Plan B an ‘abortion-causing’ drug, especially in light of the recent findings.
"It is not only factually incorrect, it is downright misleading. These products are not abortifacients," she said. "And their only connection to abortion is that they can prevent the need for one."