On the same day that Massachusetts recommends all sex education classes in the state include accurate information on contraception and STI prevention, a writer at conservative site Townhall.com has written a scarily inaccurate article entitled Hobby Lobby: Should Employers be Forced to Provide Abortifacients?
Perhaps with access to quality sex education, writer Rachel Alexander would know that none of the products covered by the ACA are abortifacients.
Alexander’s very first sentence is untrue, “The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in the Hobby Lobby case, to decide whether a business that provides health-care insurance to its employees can be forced to include abortifacients in its coverage.” In reality, no form of abortion is covered by the ACA. Only contraceptives are covered.
Not only are Rachel Alexander (and Hobby Lobby) ignorant of or lying about what the term abortifacient means, but they’re also ignorant of or lying about how the contraceptives covered by the ACA work. For Alexander, Hobby Lobby, and anyone else who missed out on comprehensive sex education, an abortifacient causes an abortion. An abortion is the ending of a pregnancy. There are two generally accepted definitions of pregnancy. Some believe pregnancy happens as soon as an egg is fertilized. Some believe pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to uterine lining.
Here’s where things get misleading. Some people are fighting contraceptive usage by claiming that some forms of contraception prevent pregnancy by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in uterine lining. This is false. No form of contraception works that way. All forms of contraception work primarily by preventing ovulation and fertilization. It’s true that in theory, every form of birth control can fail to prevent fertilization and can interfere with implantation. But no form primarily works this way. In fact, no scientific evidence indicates that prevention of implantation actually results from the use of any of any form of contraception covered by the ACA.
How does the implant work? The “primary mechanism of action” is inhibiting ovulation. How do hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs work? They both keep sperm from reaching eggs. The claim that any form of contraceptive works primarily by keeping fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus does not stand up to any scientific scrutiny whatsoever. It is patently false.
Not only is Alexander misleading readers when it comes to the facts of the case, but she actually encourages women seeking abortions to look to the black market. “In today’s Internet society, any woman can purchase dirt-cheap abortifacients online without a prescription.” Sure, illegally. But there’s always a coat hanger lying around, right?
She also does understand what abortifacient are made out of. Pregnant women “can also take an increased dosage of contraceptives to act as an abortifacient, since that is all abortifacients are.” Well, no. Most are actually steroids.
Besides the fact that no one who is so incredibly, breathtakingly ignorant on contraception should be writing falsehoods about it for a major publication, the truth is that no one in America should be that so incredibly, breathtakingly ignorant on contraception. Learning how to prevent a pregnancy, even if you choose not to do it, is kind of a big deal.
Certainly, there are downsides to mandating sex education. Parental desire to shape their content and timing of their children’s introduction to sexual health is understandable, and should be protected. However, one only has to look at Townhall.com to see the great need for better and more information on how pregnancy and contraception actually work.
This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.