An Obgyn physician addresses the science of contraception.
Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Green is no stranger to controversy. But this time her target is healthcare for Veterans who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
This week the US House of Representatives passed a bill giving veterans access to no-cost contraception through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation passed with bipartisan support 245–181.
This bill intends to give Veterans access to birth control like all other Americans who have enjoyed free access to family planning services since the 2008 Affordable Care Act.
Green spoke on the House floor in opposition to the legislation. The speech is filled with incorrect statements. Green is known for addressing controversial issues with inflammatory language. She has mocked victims of the Parkland shooting and blamed California wildfires on space lasers.
Green even compared wearing a mask to prevent the spread of a respiratory virus during a pandemic to the Holocaust.
Georgia's Representative Green's statements about Plan B and emergency contraception are simply incorrect from a scientific and medical perspective. Here is what she said.
Green states, “contraception stops a woman from becoming pregnant. The Plan B pill kills a baby in the womb once a woman is already pregnant.” This statement is scientifically inaccurate.
Plan B is the brand name of one form of emergency contraception. Emergency birth control prevents pregnancy and is not an abortion medication.
Medical terminations of pregnancy require other medications and are unrelated to Plan B or other forms of emergency contraception. RU486 (Mifepristone) is a medication used to induce abortion. Abortion providers use Mifepristone and another medication called Misoprostol to terminate pregnancies less than 10 weeks along.
Abortion medications terminate a pregnancy. They are not related to forms of emergency contraception.
Plan B and Mifepristone are not the same medication. One has nothing to do with the other.
How does emergency contraception work?
Emergency contraception contains progesterone, a hormone produced naturally by the ovaries. It is often called “the morning after” pill. Common brands, such as Plan B, are available over the counter without a prescription.
Emergency contraception is formulated with a high dose of progesterone. This hormonal blast disrupts, delays, or prevents ovulation. When people take Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, it reduces the risk of pregnancy by 70–80%. If a woman is already pregnant and takes Plan B, then nothing happens.
Emergency contraception is called Plan B and not Plan A for a reason. It reduces the risk of pregnancy and does not cause an abortion.
Here is a chart outlining the hormonal changes that occur during a menstrual cycle. The hormones must follow this particular pattern for the ovary to release an egg successfully.
Plan B emergency contraception sends a shock to the system through a high level of progesterone to disrupt or delay ovulation.
The high dose of progesterone in Plan B also thickens the cervical mucus creating a toxic environment for sperm.
Plan B will not terminate an already established pregnancy. Plan B progesterone does not cause abortion.
Emergency contraception decreases the risk of pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation. If a person is already pregnant and conception has occurred, then Plan B will do nothing. It is too late for emergency contraception.
Taking emergency contraception after one is already pregnant will only add more progesterone to support the developing fetus.
Progesterone can be helpful in certain high-risk pregnancies. Obstetrician gynecologists and infertility doctors often give extra Progesterone to help prevent miscarriages.
Marjorie Taylor Green also stated, “Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is not contraception, it’s providing with taxpayer dollars the ability for women to have an abortion.”
This statement is also scientifically incorrect. Birth control methods do not work by causing abortions. In addition, Federal law bars the use of Medicaid funds for abortions through the Hyde Amendment.
Green got one thing right when she stated, “Words matter and their meanings need to be exactly clear.”
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the physiology of human reproduction and the pharmacology of contraception is well-established science.
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