How Lies About Emergency Contraception Are Perpetuated Through Media and Film

By Usma Hosain

Emergency Contraception is a hot button topic these days. Narratives surrounding reproductive freedom have been skewed to push a conservative agenda and make things like emergency contraception seem like an abortifacient (a drug that induces abortion) even though it is not. These narratives are not aided by misrepresentation by politicians and even TV shows. The way that it is portrayed does not provide accurate information on what EC does and how it works. Many would have you believe that taking EC when you are pregnant will induce an abortion, however, EC cannot affect an established pregnancy. It is meant to be taken after unprotected sex, not as an abortifacient like the drug Mifepristone (medical abortion pill).

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A popular show on Netflix called “Black Mirror” contributed to an already serious issue of misconception. In one of their episodes, a mother is seen crushing up EC and putting it into her daughter’s morning smoothie after discovering she is pregnant. In the show, this causes the daughter to have a miscarriage even though we know that it could not have caused a miscarriage due to the fact that she was already pregnant when she unknowingly ingested the pill. Information on emergency contraception is not very difficult to access and so, people should find it quite easy to get all the facts through a quick google search, but why do that when TV shows can teach you? The answer is that it is convenient. TV shows are inaccurate, not just when discussing EC, but in demonstrating anything. It is very much dramatized and does not give accurate portrayals of a variety of issues. For example, almost all crime shows dramatize the investigation process and how fast they move. Others dramatize the legal process that people go through when they go to trial.

The high profile Kavanaugh hearings did nothing to help misconceptions about Emergency Contraception. On the third day of his hearing, he referred to contraception as ‘abortion inducing drugs.’ In essence, he equated all forms of birth control to abortifacients; a dangerous and reckless statement to make in an already tense environment when it comes to topics about reproductive health. Just in giving that statement, Kavanaugh exposed his pro-life leaning views. This is the very reason why many are fearful of their freedom to choice being taken away, because we have men in positions of power that neither understand how contraception works nor are they concerned with representing it accurately. In addition, Priests for Life came out contesting the ACA’s requirement that all birth control be covered stating that IUDs and other methods of contraception cause abortion instead of what they actually do which is delaying ovulation.

Fact: emergency contraception is actually safer than aspirin. There have been many deaths caused by aspirin overdoses, however, nobody has ever overdosed on EC and died because that simply is not possible. In addition, all EC does is delay ovulation and irritate the uterine lining such that implantation cannot occur to begin with. One of the largest misconceptions that we deal with daily is that EC affects an established pregnancy. In reality, it does not. Once successful implantation has occurred, emergency contraception will be rendered ineffective. To emphasize, the point of EC is to prevent implantation, not affect an established implanted pregnancy. At the bottom of this post, you can find some links to sources that discuss this very concept. Living in such precarious times, it is important that we use all resources available to us to form educated opinions.

Please visit these links if you are interested in learning more about EC and its saftey:

https://bixbycenter.ucsf.edu/sites/bixbycenter.ucsf.edu/files/IsECSafe_2008.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/questions-about-effect-of-over-the-counter-plan-b-for-all-ages/2013/06/29/82fefc78-dda1-11e2-b197-f248b21f94c4_story.html?utm_term=.a907def19ca9

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0029784401014120

https://ec.princeton.edu/questions/ec-review.pdf

Written by

The political leader of the pro-choice movement in Maryland.

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