EWTN Catholic Q&A
morning after pill
Question from anon on 10-17-2012:

hi, I have a question about the morning after pill. i have read on your forum that the morning after pill is not acceptable to be used even in the case of rape because it is impossible to know for sure if conception has taken place, even with the use of blood tests. on the forum you said that the vatican even confirms this.

i am a bit confused because i have been reading 'catholisism for dummies' by rev john trigilio and rev kenneth brighenti, and on p 226 that in the event of a rape that it is possiblefor a woman to get treatment as soon as possible th prevent conception. it says " moral theologians and doctors say that it takes several hours to a day for the sperm to reach the egg, so the church permits a female rape victim to be given a contraceptive only if ovulation or conception haven't yet taken place and the drug given isn't an abortifacient- a so called contraceptive that doesn't prevent fertilization and conception but rather removes, destroys, or prevents implantation of the embryo.If she waits too long, usually more than 24 hours, though, conception may take place, and any procedure or treatment to eject the unviable human embryo is an abortion."

i am confused because i thought that catholisism for dummies was a very accurate book. it was advertised on ewtn. can you please help to clarify my confusion. is the morning after pill allowable as explained by catholisim for dummies or not? i would most appreciate your response. thank you and god bless!


Answer by Judie Brown on 10-18-2012:

Dear Anonymous.

I cannot comment on the book Catholicism for Dummies as I have not read it. However, I can comment on the “morning after pill,” which is also known as “emergency contraception” (EC). EC is a drug that is taken after sex to try and prevent “pregnancy.” It is basically a mega-dose of the birth control pill. It shares the same methods of operation as the pill. It can work by: (1) preventing ovulation; (2) preventing fertilization; or (3) preventing implantation. This last method, of course, makes EC an abortifacient. Back in 2003, when EC was being introduced in the United States, American Life League did a statistical analysis of how frequently it would cause an abortion. Our analysis showed, “In cases where Emergency Contraception [sic] has an effect, it acts 57% of the time, not by preventing ovulation, but by preventing implantation [thus killing a human being].” You can read the full analysis at: http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MjQ3MQ/