The Oral Contraceptive as Abortifacient: An Analysis of the Evidence

Dennis M Sullivan

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

Pro-life Christian ethicists and medical practitioners have been united in their opposition to abortion, but have sometimes been divided in their ethical approach to hormonal contraception. Even though many Christians believe that birth control may be a moral option, some claim that the “Pill” acts, at least some of the time, as an abortifacient. If true, Christians who hold that human personhood begins at conception would be morally opposed to the use of combined oral contraceptives. This article examines the scientific evidence for an abortifacient effect of such contraceptive agents, and concludes that such an effect is yet unproven. Some of the ethical arguments are also examined, and the author suggests that further research on early pregnancy factor (EPF) may help to resolve this controversial issue.

Sullivan DM. The Oral Contraceptive as Abortifacient: An Analysis of the Evidence. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. 2006;58(3):189-195. Available from:

Abortion: 2. Fetal status and legal representation

Bernard M Dickens

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

It has long been accepted that, legally, “personhood” begins with live birth and that a fetus therefore has no legal status. . . . generally, the rights of the fetus are not recognized, even though the property interests of an unborn child may appear to be protected. . . .This legal procedure simply postpones the distribution of property until the gestation period is over. Similarly, if a fetus is injured in utero and is subsequently found, when born alive, to be affected by the injury, legal action can be taken. However, this is the right of a human being, not of a fetus. . . . On the other hand, if a child is unborn or its life ends in utero, no legal action can be taken on its behalf. [quoting Dehler v. Ottawa Civic Hospital]. . . . [Discusses unresolved 1979 case in Nova Scotia in which an estranged husband and an anti-abortionist prevented an abortion using an injunction and guardianship application] . . . .It seems that Canadian society must rely on such judicial decisions to develop the law on fetal status, protection and legal representation. Politicians and legislatures are wary of the abortion-related furore these topics trigger.

Dickens BM. Abortion: 2. Fetal status and legal representation. Can Med Assoc J. 1981;124(3):253-254.