Birth Control: Is the Pill an Abortifacient?

Brian Clowes
and by Marisa Cantu
September 14, 2023
Reproduced with Permission
Human Life International

What exactly is "abortifacient" birth control, and is "the Pill" an abortifacient?

Contraceptives are methods of birth control that place a physical barrier between sperm and egg, such as condoms and diaphragms. By contrast, abortifacients are hormonal-based methods of birth control that often cause early abortions. In 2019, an estimated 27% of women were using such methods in the United States alone. The principal method of abortifacient birth control is "the Pill," which first became widely used in the late 1960s and helped fuel the Sexual Revolution.

Let's review what birth control does.

Is the Pill an Abortifacient?

"Contraceptive" means a method of birth control that prevents pregnancy by placing a physical barrier between them. However, all birth control pills and the other hormonal methods of birth control on the market today function as abortifacients part of the time. The Pill often ends early pregnancies by preventing implantation of an already fertilized egg, or very early human being.

Over the past half-century, three general classes of birth control drugs have been manufactured in the United States and other countries - the high-dose pill, the combination pill and the progestin-only "minipill."

The old high-dosage drugs were rarely abortifacient in their modes of action. They mostly worked by thickening cervical mucus and inhibiting ovulation. Sometimes, however, breakthrough ovulation occurred, and so the older drugs were occasionally abortifacient in their actions.

Eventually the older "high-dose" drugs gave way to the new "low-dose" drugs. Ortho/Johnson & Johnson, G.D. Searle/Monsanto, and Syntex, the three largest manufacturers of abortifacient birth controls in the United States, voluntarily withdrew their "high-dose" products from the U.S. market in 1988 on the advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These were among the last commercially-available pills in the United States containing more than 50 micrograms of estrogen.1

Each of the newer low-dose pills has between 50 and 3,000 micrograms of a variety of compounds containing progestin and between 10 and 50 micrograms of artificial estrogen in the form of ethinyl estradiol or mestranol. This is a tremendous drop in estrogenic potency compared to the high-dose drugs.2

The newer low-dosage combination and progestin-only pills have three modes of action:3

Indeed, even the Guttmacher Institute (the former research arm of Planned Parenthood) admitted that contraceptives can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Conveniently, they claim that pregnancy only occurs once implantation begins, instead of when a unique DNA code and living creature is created at fertilization. But this doesn't make sense. Why would pregnancy only begin once the newly created child arrives in a specific place (e.g., in the uterus versus the ovary), rather than when the child is actually created?

Birth Control Today

There are now more than 200 brands and varieties of progestin/estrogen pills on the market. All of them - from Alesse to Zovia - sometimes prevent implantation of the developing human being. The low-dose pill works in essentially the same manner as the old high-dose pill. However, a much higher percentage of ovulation occurs in women who use the low-dose drugs due to their lower estrogen dose. This means that all of the newer oral "contraceptive" drugs act as abortifacients at least part of the time.4

Thus, women who use these drugs frequently conceive. In order to prevent the continuation of pregnancies in these cases, the low-dose drugs also prevent implantation, thereby acting as back-up abortifacients.

Several studies have shown that women on the low-dose pills experience an early "silent abortion" during a wide range of 2% to 65% of their cycles, depending upon the formulation used.5

The mechanisms of action of minipills (progestin-only pills, or POPs) are similar to that of the standard progestin/estrogen combination.6

These progestin-only pills interfere with implantation by affecting the endometrium, thickening the cervical mucus, and suppressing ovulation in some women by reducing the presence of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

The manufacturers of the minipills acknowledge this mode of action. For example, Syntex Laboratories announced that its progestin-only drug Norinyl "did not interfere with ovulation....It seems to affect the endometrium so that a fertilized egg cannot be implanted."7

What are the Side Effects?

The Searle Pharmaceutical Corporation developed Enovid, the first birth control pill, in the late 1950s.

Enovid and other high-dose birth controls have generally fallen out of favor in the United States. However, they are still used in some developing countries. They contain from 1000 to 12,000 micrograms of progestin and/or 60 to 120 micrograms of estrogen, a natural female hormone. This high dosage had a variety of side effects, including blurred vision, nausea, weight gain, breast pain, cramping, irregular menstrual bleeding, headaches, and possibly breast cancer.

Beginning in about 1975, drug makers, reacting to extensive publicity about the severe side effects of the high-dosage drugs, steadily decreased the content of estrogen and progestin in their products.

However, the patient information pamphlets continue to feature a long list of very serious side effects. A review of some of the most common brands shows many similar effects.

These include blood clots, venous thromboembolism (VTE), stroke, hyperkalemia (high potassium levels), carcinomas of the breasts and reproductive organs, liver disease, high blood pressure, numbness, chest pain, cerebral thrombosis, and gallbladder disease. They also list a host of less dangerous side effects, to include headaches and nausea, weight gain, back pain, skin pigmentation changes, bleeding irregularities, depression and breast tenderness, most of which have an incidence of between 8% and 33%.8

Pharmeceutical Companies Abuse Poor Women

"Progressives" frequently virtue signal by bragging about their "responsible and non-exploitative" methods of consumption. But they have no problem at all with the horrible way that poor women in other nations have been treated by the big pharmaceutical corporations when testing their birth control products.

In keeping with its defensive anti-lawsuit strategy, Searle tested its Enovid birth control on poor Puerto Rican women before concluding in 1961 that it was safe for women in North America and Europe to use.9

Experimentation on foreign women has been a typical tactic of the leading pharmaceutical corporations. They have often tested abortifacient chemicals and devices on poor women in developing countries to make any mistakes or serious health problems easier to cover up. Women in these nations had little recourse when their health was destroyed or damaged by this kind of testing, because the investments of large pharmaceutical companies bring huge amounts of money to their homelands. Thus, any protest against the testing programs can easily be suppressed by corrupt local or national governments. We do not know if such testing on poor women in developing nations is still being conducted. But the plans laid out in the now declassified Kissinger Report describe secretive ways to continue such operations while trying to conceal them.

Why don't we know whether such heinous practices are currently happening? This may be due to worldwide condemnation of such practices in the past, causing a greater degree of secrecy, or simply a move to all-animal testing.

One of the most dangerous population suppression organizations on earth, the Population Council, produced the insertable abortifacient Norplant. The Population Council was funded in this effort by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and tested Norplant on poor women in several Asian nations. Doctors testing the drug refused to remove it from Bangladeshi women who were suffering horribly from its disastrous side effects. Korean women were not informed that Norplant was experimental and were not told of any side effects. Many women were bribed to use the drug and instructed not to report side effects so that the test program results would be skewed to show lower rates of health problems. When women became too sick to avoid seeking medical attention, proper care was withheld from them.10

Taking the Pill and Ectopic Pregnancies

What happens if you take birth control but become pregnant? Some studies have shown that, while it decreases the chances of pregnancy (thereby also ectopic pregnancy) overall, when pregnancy does occur, there are higher rates of ectopic pregnancies as opposed to normal.

The American College for Obstetrics and Gynecology reports the prevalence of ectopic pregnancies based on method. The results were from a survey of 9,256 women. For those using no contraceptive or condom, about 1.37% of pregnancies surveyed were ectopic. For users of levonorgestrel intra-uterine devices (IUDs), the incidence rose to 7.84%. Cooper IUDs had lower rates, at 4.17%. Implant users and depot medroxyprogesterone acetate users were reported as having 0 ectopic pregnancies in the survey. Finally, users of oral contraceptives, a contraceptive patch, or vaginal ring reported 0.28%.

Other sources report varying numbers. The Australian government's Better Health Channel says the prevalence of ectopic pregnancy is about 5% in women using copper IUDs or minipills, 10% in women using implants, and up to 50% for users of hormone-releasing IUDs.

While it's important to acknowledge that not every pregnancy that occurs despite contraception will be ectopic, it is worthwhile to consider the effects the pill has on a woman's body. Thus, if you are pregnant, it is essential to get an ultrasound to locate where the child implanted.

If You Take Birth Control While Pregnant, Will It Kill the Baby? If you're pregnant while taking birth control, what are the effects? Studies on this topic are inconclusive. Some studies show that taking birth control after implantation carries no risk to the pregnancy, and others say it may carry a risk of birth defects. The reason there is so little data on this topic is due to the unethical nature of having pregnant women take birth control to study whether it contributes to birth defects or a miscarriage. That being said, if you are taking birth control, it is better to stop taking it when you are pregnant.

Another form of birth control is the aforementioned IUD. As with any form of birth control, IUDs are not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. Pregnancies with IUDs carry an increased risk of late miscarriage, premature birth, and bleeding, among a few other risks.

What Now?

What is one to do if one wants to get off birth control, but is afraid? Don't be. You can stop taking birth control fairly easily and quickly. If you are using the patch, pills, or the ring, you are able to stop completely at any time. If you're using a hormonal implant or IUD, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor to have these removed. Trying to remove them yourself can result in serious harm or complications. If you're using shots like Depo-Provera, simply do not receive the next shot.11

Women coming off birth control sometimes experience cramping, irregular periods, or acne, among other effects. Fertility will return in most cases. That's a good sign of health.


Although it is routinely referred to as the "oral contraceptive pill" or OCP, the Pill is not conception control, or contraception. Though that may have been the original intention, developments in medicine have led to the creation of drugs and other devices that also act as abortifacients in cases where conception is not prevented. Some of these have truly Orwellian names such as the IUCD, the "Intrauterine Contraceptive Device," and the UTS, or "Uterine Therapeutic System."12

In other words, oral "contraceptives" are not true contraceptives.

Women don't need contraceptives, they need compassion, assistance, and respect. Birth control simply carries far too many risks. You can click here to learn about some of the risks of birth control.