Introduction: The Abortion-Contraception Connection

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

Birth control is the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement.

                                                                                              Theodore Roosevelt.[1]

Anti-Life Philosophy.

I suggest to you that, for the individual, the role of abortion will be, as it has been, the second line of defense against harmful pregnancy and the unwanted child. These are contraceptive failures. The societal role will require that we see family planning in a true light: No matter how thin you slice it, ladies and gentlemen, family planning is a euphemism. We don't intend or desire to prevent conception for conception's sake; we want to prevent conception because of what follows conception. Family planning is the prevention of births, and as birth is the end of a sequence which begins with the sexual urge, then family planning is anti-conception, anti-nidation, and the termination of the conceptus if implanted. This is the societal role of abortion in the future.

Professor Irvin Cushner of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.[2]


Do you believe that you have the right to choose your method of birth control with advice from your doctor? ... If you answered YES to [this] question, you are pro-choice.

                                                                National Abortion Rights Action League.[3]

The First Step.

Why should a Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia include information on contraception?

Because contraception, by its very definition, seeks to prevent life. Although its morality is rarely ever discussed any more, even among Christians, it remains one of the major life issues of our time perhaps even more preeminent than abortion.

The use of artificial contraception has been called "copulation without population" and "the formula by which one plus one equals zero."

Euthanasia has never been possible without the widespread acceptance of abortion, and abortion has never been possible without a public acceptance of artificial contraception.

Until 1930, every mainline Protestant church opposed both contraception and abortion. After the Anglicans accepted contraception in their Resolution 15, resistance to all kinds of anti-life practices crumpled quickly, to include abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and pornography.

Before any of the churches accepted abortion, they accepted artificial contraception. Today, the only churches that actively oppose abortion are those that have maintained the Christian tradition against birth control.

Therefore, it can be said that the advent of contraception was the very first step down the bioethical 'slippery slope' for this nation and for the world.


Chapters 98 through 104 examine all of the major artificial methods of contraception. In order to gain a clear understanding of this topic, two definitions should be explained and contrasted at this time.

Contraception means the prevention of the union of the sperm and egg, or the prevention of ovulation. In other words, it prevents, by some physical mechanism, the creation of a new individual.

On the other hand, as its name implies, birth control prevents the birth of an already-conceived individual, whether that individual is only hours past conception or only hours before birth.

Therefore, by definition, abortion is the only true birth control, and all birth control is truly abortion!

So the use of condoms and other barrier methods would be classified as conception control, or contraception. The new birth control pills, Depo-Provera, NORPLANT, the abortion pills, and all intra-uterine devices (IUDs) would be classified as abortifacient birth control methods.

Pro-Lifers and Birth Control.

Many pro-life activists will certainly be offended by the classification of artificial contraception as "anti-life," because these people have completely separated contraception from abortion in their minds. As far as they are concerned, abortion and artificial contraception are two entirely separate issues.

Many pro-life activists use artificial contraception. In fact, it is safe to say that many pro-life women use 'birth control' methods that are actually abortifacient in their methods of operation. These men and women may not want to hear that they may be committing one or more 'silent' abortions themselves every year, but it would not be intellectually or ethically honest to obscure or omit the truth in this matter. It is ironic in the extreme that a 'pro-life' woman who uses an IUD or the Pill for a decade will commit ten to twenty 'silent' abortions, while a pro-abortion woman using the same methods may only commit only one or two additional abortions through surgical means.

There can no longer be any doubt that contraception and abortion are intimately connected. Indeed, their users share identical philosophies and purposes.

The Myriad Connections.

The fear of life is the favorite disease of the twentieth century.

                                                                                                William Lyon Phelps.

The Heart of the Matter.

For more than 1,900 years, Christian teaching was monolithic regarding the matter of contraception. There was no question and no dissent on this matter. Up until about 1930, a person who used artificial contraception methods was considered to be disreputable and 'loose.'

All of this changed in a few very short years. In 1930, the Anglican's Lambeth Conference approved of the use of contraceptives for just the "hard cases." This was the gravest possible wound to the teaching authority of the Church; today, the only major Christian church still officially 'holding out' against artificial contraception is the Roman Catholic Church and most of its members ignore its teachings on this subject and use contraception anyway.

Non-Christians Speak.

Curiously, non-Christians tended to speak out most eloquently against artificial contraception before the 'Sexual Revolution' rendered it a dead issue.

Humanist psychologist Sigmund Freud, in a lecture entitled "The Sexual Life of Human Beings," got to the core of the matter when he pointed out that the separation of procreation and sexual activity is the most basic of perversions, and that all sexual perversions are rooted in this philosophy;

The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it. So, as you will see, the breach and turning point in the development of sexual life lies in becoming subordinate to the purpose of reproduction. Everything that happens before this turn of events and equally everything that disregards it and that aims solely at obtaining pleasure is given the uncomplimentary name of "perverse" and as such is proscribed.[4]

And, despite vigorous lobbying by Margaret Sanger, Mahatma Gandhi outlined the inevitable deleterious impacts of artificial contraception;

Artificial methods [of contraception] are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless ... Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. All other restraints defeat the very purpose for which they are intended. If artificial [birth control] methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result. A society that has already become enervated through a variety of causes will still become further enervated by the adoption of artificial [birth control] methods ... As it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and artificial [birth control] methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.[5]

Indistinguishable Natures.

Contraception cannot be separated from abortion. In fact, anyone who debates on the topic of abortion will inevitably be drawn to the topic of artificial contraception over and over again, especially in the post-Roe era of pro-life activism. Therefore, every pro-life activist should understand the many relationships between abortion and artificial contraception.

How does contraception lead to abortion? Quite simply, they are virtually indistinguishable in a psychological, physical, and legal sense, as shown in the following paragraphs.

The Anti-Life Psychology.

Those individuals who use artificial contraception take the critical step of separating sex from procreation. Contraception not abortion was the first step down the slippery slope. When contraception doesn't work, people think of the resulting child as a 'failure,' not an intrinsically precious gift from God. One of the most convincing arguments for abortion is that it is necessary as a backup to contraception.

One of the prime groups agitating for looser and looser abortion regulations is the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), which contends that abortion is a necessary "backstop" to artificial contraception; "Of course contraceptives should be more widely available and promoted; however, in the present state of contraceptive technology, and given the continuing possibility of human error in the use of even the best methods, abortion is needed as a backstop; its use is not preferable to contraception, but once a pregnancy occurs, it is the only means of birth prevention."[6]


Many of the most popular methods of artificial contraception including most of the new birth control Pills and all IUDs are actually abortifacients. In fact, there are probably five 'silent' abortions committed unknowingly by women who use these pills and devices for every single surgical abortion performed in this country.

The pro-abortionists are now in a defensive posture. They are trying to draw a strong connection between artificial contraception and abortion. They are attempting to convince the public that, if abortion is criminalized, artificial contraception will soon follow.

For example, a hysterical tirade by Faye Wattleton, the former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, makes this allegation;

Step by horrifying step, our government is commandeering control of our bodies, our reproduction, our most private choices. Unless we act now, this dangerous trend won't stop at abortion. It won't even stop at eliminating contraception. Compulsory pregnancy, forced caesareans, surveillance and detention of pregnant women these are the chilling, logical outcome of laws that reduce women to instruments of the state.[7]

And Frank Susman, the pro-abortion lawyer who argued the anti-life side in the Supreme Court's 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services case, stated in his opening argument that the 'rights' of abortion and contraception actually merge;

For better or for worse, there no longer exists any bright line between the fundamental right that was established in Griswold [contraception], and the fundamental right to abortion that was established in Roe. These two rights, because of advances in medicine and science, now overlap. They coalesce and merge and they are not distinct.

The quest for the perfect birth control has led to a bald acknowledgement by the pill-pushers that they couldn't care less if their products are abortifacients. In fact, all of the new 'low-dose' birth control pills and abortion pills like RU-486 are designed to cause abortions (see Chapters 31 and 34 of Volume II for further information on these abortifacients).

The Law.

There is no longer any doubt that the so-called 'right to privacy' has inexorably led from contraception to abortion to euthanasia. This principle is applied uniformly by the law. The identical legal underpinnings of contraception and abortion were recognized soon after artificial contraception was legalized by the Supreme Court in its Griswold v. Connecticut decision. W.E. Barnett makes this point perfectly clear in his book Sexual Freedom and the Constitution;

Despite the emphasis in the Griswold opinion upon protecting bedroom activities from the prying eyes of the state, it is possible to discern in the decision a rather different effect. Instead of cloaking in privacy bedroom activities in general, the decision can be read as establishing the right of a married couple to decide if and when they wish to have children, that decision being an integral part of the marital relationship.

This, of course, is precisely the rationale behind Roe v. Wade. It is also the logic now being used to justify euthanasia!

Abortion As Contraception.

More than a third of the abortions in this country are obtained by teenaged girls. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the vast majority of these girls use abortion as contraception. The methods of contraception that aborted teenagers used before their abortions are listed below, along with the percentage of fornicating teenaged girls who use abortion as birth control.


Birth control pill or
   intra-uterine device (IUD)                         4.3%
Barrier methods
   (foam, condom or diaphragm)                   9.6%
Withdrawal or natural
   family planning methods                            7.0%
NO BIRTH CONTROL                           79.1%

Reference: Alan Guttmacher Institute. Teenage Pregnancy: The Problem That Hasn't Gone Away. New York: AGI, 1981.

This means that four out of five teenaged girls who get abortions use the procedure as birth control!

Artificial Contraception = More Abortions.

It would seem to be counterintuitive that a wider use of artificial contraception would lead to a great increase in the number of abortions, since the stated purpose of contraception is to prevent 'unwanted' conceptions that lead to abortion.

However, there are two methods by which a greater general public use of contraceptives will lead to more, not less abortions;

(1) a greater use of contraceptives will lead to greater promiscuity and carelessness, because people will rely on abortion as a handy 'backup;' and

(2) As described in Chapter 99, "The Effectiveness of Contraception," there are more than two million contraceptive failures in this country every year. Abortion statistician Christopher Tietze has said that the lifetime abortion rate in a country with moderately effective contraception programs (such as the United States) will be 1,000 per 1,000 women. This means that the best we can expect in this country is that the average woman will have at least one abortion during her lifetime.[8]

The two men most 'credited' with developing the birth control pill now acknowledge that their invention has led to widespread promiscuity. Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School said that "For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I've changed my mind. I think it probably has."[9]

And Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, the other co-developer of the birth control pill, has acknowledged that "[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity ... I personally feel the pill has rather spoiled young people. It's made them more permissive."[10]

The person most qualified to speak on the relationship of rising contraceptive use and abortion rates is undoubtedly Malcolm Potts, M.D., former medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, who claimed in 1973 that "As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate."[11]

This view is confirmed by Dr. Judith Bury of Canada's Brook Advisory Centre, who says that "There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate."[12]

Canadian sex educator David Robinson goes even further and states that "Today abortion is the most widely used birth control method in the world."[13]

Finally, this country's most often-quoted 'sexologist,' Alfred Kinsey, said nearly four decades ago that

At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraceptives.

I don't think it is entirely carelessness. As I pointed out before, you don't do anything putting on your clothes, or going to bed, or drinking, or eating with absolute regularity. And I think it is just too much to hope that we can ever have any contraceptive practice, outside of temporary sterilization, which is going to prevent this occasional slip that accounts for a high proportion of undesired pregnancies and abortions, especially among those of the upper socioeconomic levels.[14]

Indeed, some Neofeminists see no distinction whatever between artificial contraception and abortion. Kristin Luker, in her revealingly-entitled book Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, says that "We would argue that since abortion has become a primary method of fertility control, it should be offered and subsidized in exactly the same way that other contraceptive services are."[15]

And Irene Figa-Talamanca got to the heart of the matter when she wrote that "Abortion and contraception are not alternatives but complementary."[16]

The Slippery Slope Began With Contraception.

In those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other [contraceptive] methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception-control for motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.

The Anglican Bishop's Resolution 15 of August 15, 1930, The Lambeth Conference.

As a Nation.

Our long slide down the slippery slope began in the 1930s with the introduction and approval of artificial contraception for the omnipresent 'hard cases.'

Any pro-life activist who denies this is simply kidding himself. Look to the world for examples; every one of the 148 countries that have legalized artificial contraception now have abortion to one degree or another. Once the "contraceptive mentality" has taken root, abortion naturally follows as an effective and cheap method of population control. As Malcolm Potts has said, "No society has controlled its fertility without recourse to a significant number of abortions. In fact, abortion is often the starting place in the control of fertility."[11]

There are only a few countries that have not yet been saturated with the West's "contraceptive imperialism." In these countries, there is still respect for life. In these few countries, there is still no abortion (or very few illegal abortions).

Chapter 57 of Volume II, "International Situation," contains information on the status of abortion in most of the countries of the world.

As Individuals.

The progression from artificial contraception to abortion occurs millions of times yearly on the individual level, as well. If a woman goes on 'the pill,' NORPLANT, Depo-Provera, or the IUD, she can only be trying to prevent pregnancy, and so any pregnancy will be viewed as a failure. If the child she is carrying is saddled with the stigma of being a failure before it has even seen the light of day, the only logical manner of dealing with the 'problem' is abortion.

This progression works from parent to child, as well. When children know or suspect that their parents use contraceptives, they will see nothing wrong with fornicating themselves. Parents cannot really argue that their kids should stay away from artificial contraception, because they (the parents) have already separated sex from procreation themselves.

As some pro-life activists observe, "Contracepting parents beget fornicating teenagers."

References: The Abortion-Contraception Connection.

[1] Eugene E. Russell. Webster's New World Dictionary of Quotable Definitions (2nd Edition). New York: Prentice-Hall, 1988. 674 pages.

[2] Professor Irvin Cushner, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, at the Symposium on Implementation of Therapeutic Abortion, International Hotel, Los Angeles, January 22 to 24, 1971. Quoted in the Marriage and Family Newsletter, July 1971, page 3.

[3] Undated pamphlet entitled "Choice," issued by the Colorado affiliate of the National Abortion Rights Action League.

[4] Sigmund Freud. Lecture entitled "The Sexual Life of Human Beings." The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, James Strachey (editor), Volume 16, pages 303 to 319.

[5] Mahatma Gandhi, quoted in Father A.S. Antonisamy. Wisdom for All Times: Mahatma Gandhi and Pope Paul VI on Birth Regulation. Family Life Service Centre, Archbishop's House, Pondicherry 605001 India. June 1978. Quotes are taken from D.G. Tendulkar (Editor). The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volumes 2 and 4. Published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

[6] Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action." Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, no date.

[7] Faye Wattleton. "Reproductive Rights are Fundamental Rights." The Humanist, January/February 1991, page 21.

[8] Christopher Tietze and J. Bongaarts. "Fertility Rates and Abortion Rates, Simulation Family Limitations." Studies in Family Planning, 6:114-122, 1975.

[9] Dr. Robert Kirstner, Harvard Medical School, one of the original developers of the birth control pill. Quoted in "In Brief: Harvard, Mass." ALL About Issues, June 1981, page 5.

[10] Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, one of the inventors of the birth control pill. Quoted by Charles E. Rice. "Nature's Intolerance of Abuse." ALL About Issues, August 1981, page 6.

[11] Malcolm Potts, M.D., Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in 1973. Quoted in Andrew Scholberg, "The Abortionists and Planned Parenthood: Familiar Bedfellows." International Review of Natural Family Planning, Winter 1980, page 298.

[12] Judith Bury, M.D., Brook Advisory Centre. "Sex Education for Bureaucrats." The Scotsman, June 29, 1981. Also quoted in Rudolf Ehmann, M.D., "Consequences of Contraception and Abortifacient Birth Control," Human Life International pamphlet.

[13] David Robertson, et al. Sex Education: A Teacher's Guide. The Canadian Ministry of National Health and Welfare, Volume 4, pages 24 and 25.

[14] Alfred Kinsey, during a presentation at the 1955 conference on induced abortion held by Planned Parenthood. Quoted in Mary Calderone, M.D., Medical Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (editor). Abortion in the United States. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1956. Page 157.

[15] Kristin Luker. Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, 1975. Page 144.

[16] Irene Figa-Talamanca, "Abortion and Mental Health." In Jane E. Hodgson (Editor). Abortion and Sterilization: Medical and Social Aspects. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1981. Pages 181 to 208.

Further Reading: The Abortion-Contraception Connection.

Gary Atkinson, Ph.D., and Father Albert Moraczewski, Ph.D. A Moral Evaluation of Contraception and Sterilization: A Dialogical Study
St. Louis, Missouri: Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center, 1979. 115 pages. Reviewed by Donald DeMarco, Ph.D. in the Summer 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 166 and 167. This short volume presents the central arguments of the controversies over contraception and sterilization.

Carl Djerassi. The Politics of Contraception
New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1980. Illustrated, 274 pages. Reviewed by Andrew Hacker in the Summer 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 179 to 181. This is a fascinating book purely because it gives us insight into the mind of Dr. Carl Djerassi, one of the original inventors of the birth control pill. By reading this book, one can examine the very roots and beginnings of the anti-life, anti-natalist philosophy.

Greenhaven Press. Science and Technology: Opposing Viewpoints
Volume I. Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San Diego, California 92128-9009. 1989, 440 pages. Each section includes several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue: Creationism in the schools, current artificial birth technologies, genetic engineering, organ transplants, animal experimentation, and the Strategic Defense Initiative are just a few of the topics whose main pro- and con arguments are thoroughly covered in this excellent 440-page volume. This topic is covered by a series of books, beginning with a basic set of essays entitled Sources and continuing with an additional and updated annual series of essays. A catalog is available from the above address and can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.

James W. Knight and Joan C. Callahan. Preventing Birth: Contemporary Methods and Related Moral Controversies
University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1989. 350 pages. This book pretty thoroughly covers the history, politics, and types of birth control, some information on human reproductive anatomy and how the birth control methods work, techniques of abortion and types and modes of action of various abortifacients, and a short section on the various issues related to abortion. This is a book that takes the widest possible view of the abortion debate, sweeping in almost every tangential issue, and is recommended for those who would like to pursue the connections between abortion and artificial contraception further.

Charles D. Provan. The Bible and Birth Control
1989, Paperback, 97 pages. Reviewed by Robert L. Sassone on page 46 of the March 1990 ALL About Issues. Order from Zimmer Press, 410 West Main Street, Monongahela, Pennsylvania 15063, or call (412) 258-7775, or order from American Life League, Post Office Box 1350, Stafford, Virginia 22554. The Christian case against birth control, written by a Protestant especially for Protestants.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.