College of Arts and Sciences
Primary Subject Area
Health Sciences, Pharmacology; Health Sciences, Nursing
abortion, abortifacient, zygote, hormonal, birth control, pill, mini-pill
Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Medicine and Health Sciences
Recently, there has been a growing controversy, especially among evangelicals, over whether the birth control pill might have an abortifacient mechanism that sometimes causes early chemical abortions. An understanding of this controversy necessitates a clear definition of abortion, abortifacient, pregnancy, implantation, and especially personhood. If a zygote (fertilized egg) is not a person, then it has no fundamental rights and there is essentially no debate concerning the possible link between birth control pills and abortion. There is strong indirect evidence of post-fertilization, or abortive, effects of hormonal birth control. If zygotes are people, and birth control pills do kill them, health professionals and the public, especially Christians, need to be informed about the situation.