The other day at the Pharmacy, a couple came asking that I give them something the woman can use as she just took in. I saw the husband carrying her last baby which should be somewhere around 6/5 months. It got me thinking. I asked myself a question, “What will make a couple come together to a Pharmacy asking for an abortifacient.”
I mean, there are several contraceptives that one can use instead of allowing the situation get out of hand.
Emergency Contraception (EC) Pill otherwise known as morning after pill is a form of contraceptive taken after unprotected and unplanned sexual intercourse where the woman fears she will take in. It is also used in rape cases to prevent the young girl from getting pregnant. The most popular of them in this part of the world is Postinor 2.
Statistics have shown that there has been an increase in the rate at which women take morning after pill over the years. There has been arguments on whether emergency contraception pill should be regarded as a contraceptive (preventing fertilization) or an abortifacient (resulting in the termination of an already formed embryo/zygote) and hence the moral justification for using it.
Let’s explore together…
Morning after pill works through one or a combination of these three different mechanisms viz:
- It delays ovulation: morning after pills can alter the menstrual cycle so that ovulation is delayed.
- It inhibits ovulation, which means that the egg will not be released from the ovary.
- It irritates the lining of the uterus (endometrium) preventing implantation: implantation is the attachment of a fertilized egg (zygote) to the walls of the uterus (womb). This usually takes place between 5-7days after fertilization.
Science teaches that life starts at fertilization, contrary to what a lot of people think. Now, the question is, if life starts at fertilization, and a morning after pill is used after fertilization has taken place, is it still a contraceptive or an abortifacient? A more proper word to use is definitely an abortifacient.
We would have been clear to use the term contraceptive if we are sure fertilization has not occurred yet. But most of the time, the morning after pill traverses the first two mechanism of action and works by inhibiting implantation.
Since we are not sure of which of the three means the drug will act, it is morally safer to avoid them completely.
St. Thomas Aquinas in trying to describe this said “if you’re out hunting and you see something moving in the bush and you don’t know if it’s the deer or your fellow hunter, then you don’t shoot.”
If you care about doing the right thing morally, then discuss with your doctor and decide on the best form of contraception for you so that you’ll not be caught in the web of trying to justify your having to take an emergency contraceptive pill.