New revelations concerning some old research assumptions is bringing to light that ‘morning-after’ pills may not actually cause abortions at all. Previous labeling procedures have required that these types of contraceptives advertise that they “may” cause the abortion of a fertilized egg. Scientists are saying, however, that they actually prevent the fertilization of the egg via methods such as delaying ovulation or preventing sperm from getting where they need to go. Though research is still ongoing, and the possibility of the pills working in all the above-mentioned ways still exists, if the prevention of fertilization theory can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it could have many important results.
It seems that scientists should have known from the beginning what these pills were capable of. The FDA approved their use, so the idea of incomplete research seems almost ludicrous or incompetent. Still, the pills were allowed to market and, in truth, the only reason they were labeled as abortive is because of the possibility that they may work this way in the face of the partial research. Even the scientists who study the pills are saying they still don’t know all the ins-and-outs of their functioning.
Already this new scientific proclamation is having affects on the abortion debate, especially in light of the upcoming election and the laws being passed which prevent public funding of anything related to abortion. Some anti-abortionists are going so far as to say that scientists are lying. More commonly, however, they are stating that if the pills provide even the possibility of aborting a fertilized egg that they should remain unpaid for by the state. The distinction of fertilized versus unfertilized is vital with the new “personhood” laws that are springing up and defining life as starting with the fertilized egg.
So far, scientists and FDA alike are both taking their time in changing the labeling requirements and “official” designation of how the pills work. Evidence is building, however, so as long as no anomalies are discovered, there will likely be a change in the near future. If it turns out that the pills indeed work how scientists believe they do, this could alleviate many of the problems in the anti-abortion debate, creating options for women who are being increasingly set-upon by anti-abortion lawmakers.