Biology is hard. And I should know because I much rather liked to pass notes around to my friends in class instead of listening to my high school bio teacher, which obviously didn’t bode well for my final grade that year.
It seems like I wasn’t the only one not listening to the lesson plans because for some reason a surprising number of internet pundits, big box store owners, religious zealots and even members of the Supreme Court have failed to grasp a few scientific facts.
Today’s lesson of the day is no, emergency contraception is not an abortifacient or “a drug or device that causes an abortion,” in layman’s terms.
Emergency Birth control products like the “morning after pill” won’t stop an already fertilized egg. In reality, it can take up to six days for the sperm and egg to meet after having sex. Betcha didn’t know that, which frankly is sad. Emergency contraception pills work by keeping a woman’s ovary from releasing an egg for longer than usual. Pills like Plan B can continue to reduce the risk of pregnancy for up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex. IUDs, another form of emergency contraception, can be placed in the body for up to five days after sex. They also don’t kill fertilized eggs. Emergency contraception is just like your typical pill form of contraception, but it’s sort of like taking many pills at once. That being said, some religious people (and that is their prerogative) don’t believe in any contraception at all (Hey Duggers)! But let’s not mince personal choices with facts here. The distinction between the pill and the morning after pill is they are not really that much different.
This confusion about what the facts about birth control is and isn’t reminds me of the season two Orange is the New Black episode “Whole Other Hole.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch it, it’s hilarious- basically the women are in desperate need of an anatomy lesson. This is why anatomy and sexual health should be mandatory lessons in schools; it’s amazing how little we know about our bodies and the science of what medicine and sex and birth control is all about.