Rachel Held Evans has recently written a lengthy blog post expressing her views on the morality of contraception. She basically defends Obamacare’s contraception mandate and complains that evangelicals are mistaken in their views on modern birth control methods and “morning-after” pills.
Andrew Walker and I have published a response over at the First Things website, and we argue that her essay is mistaken on a number of levels. For instance, Evans denies that “morning-after” pills have an abortifacient mechanism. Yet somehow she misses that the FDA label on Plan B’s package says otherwise. But you don’t have to believe me. You can read the label for yourself. Notice the second sentence in bold underneath “Other information”:
Right there as plain as day, it says that Plan B may actually “prevent” a fertilized human egg from attaching to the mother’s womb. In other words, it can cause a spontaneous abortion.
Evans makes another claim that is quite surprising. She says that the birth control pill sometimes prevents human embryos from implanting in the mother’s womb. In her own words:
There’s the very remote chance that fertilization will somehow manage to occur. In this case the zygote will probably fail to implant on the uterine wall.
I was surprised that she held to this potential—albeit rare—mechanism of action for hormonal contraceptives. The question is highly disputed among evangelicals, and usually only those who oppose the pill acknowledge it as a possibility (see my discussion of this issue in chapter 5 of my book). Since Evans supports the use of the pill, it is astonishing that she would say the third mechanism of action ever comes into play. She tries to downplay the inconsistency by pointing out that the pill causes this to happen less often than it would otherwise happen naturally. But that’s a red herring. It’s not okay to kill some humans in utero simply because other humans die naturally in utero with greater frequency than the ones you’re killing. That’s a moral absurdity.
In any case, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. To read more about this and other errors in Evans’ argument, you can read the rest of our essay: “Equivocation and Contraception: A Response to Rachel Held Evans.”