In light of the birth control pill's 50th anniversary this year, a group of Evangelical Christians released a documentary addressing the controversial claim that the pill acts as an abortifacient, and that women across North America are largely uninformed on what the drug actually does.
In his documentary titled, “28 Days on the Pill,” Trent Herbert of London, Ontario discussed how he set out with his wife and nurse friend on a journey across the U.S. and Canada “to uncover the truth about the birth control pill.”
The interviews garnered from women, medical professionals and church leaders provide the footage for their recently released film, and include commentary from Baptist seminary leader Dr. Albert Mohler, the Duggar family, author Randy Alcorn and Dr. Walt Larimore, a family physician formerly with Focus on the Family.
“Whether Christian or not, women across the board do not have a real understanding of how the pill actually works,” the group said in a press release on the documentary. “Does it only prevent ovulation? What do the inserts and pharmaceutical guides really say? How is it that women consume something when they know very little about how it actually works?”
Explaining to CNA in an exclusive interview the motivation behind this project, Herbert said that he and his wife several years back read Randy Alcorn's notable work, “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?”
After praying about the issue, “we felt that it was important to get the word out to as many individuals as we could,” Herbert told CNA.
“To our knowledge there hasn't been a full length documentary on it,” Herbert explained, saying that the process of filming and production took them about two and a half years. Despite having no previous experience in film making, the three gathered up their camera equipment and journeyed through multiple states and provinces to seek out interviews.
On the controversial claim that the pill acts as an abortifacient, the group explains in their video the three functions that the birth control pill performs in a woman's body, stating that a startling number of people are uninformed on how it actually works.
“The woman's normal menstrual cycle involves the ovary, cervical mucus and the uterine lining,” the film explains. “In a normal cycle, a woman releases an egg every month due to the natural hormones estrogen and progesterone.”
“For a woman on the pill,” however, “the artificial hormones usually prevent ovulation.”
“Secondly, in a normal cycle, cervical mucus changes to improve sperm migration.” Yet, for a woman on the pill, the group adds, cervical mucus thickens to prevent sperm penetration.
Last, “the natural hormones in a normal cycle cause the lining of the uterus to build up in preparation for a newly conceived child to implant.”
But for woman on the pill, “artificial hormones cause the lining to shrink and do not allow it to mature properly.”
“So if the first two mechanisms of the pill fail, and the woman does ovulate and conceive, implantation of a new child may be hindered, which would be an abortion.”
Dr. Larimore, a family physician who formerly worked with Focus on the Family, says in the film that in his extensive research on the topic, he discovered that the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. requires that the information on how drugs work must be given in handout form to the patient.
However, in his studies and in those of his colleagues, it was found out that “all of the birth control pills, except one, excluded that information.”
Though the companies stated the first two effects of the pill in handouts to women, said Dr. Larimore, no where did they state that the drug shrinks the uterine lining creating a hostile environment for implantation.
“We wrote every one of those companies as part of our study,” he said. “None of them gave us an answer.”
Dr. Larimore claims that since the days of his research the handouts have been changed for the worse, as none of them now contain any information on the three effects of the pill.
Herbert told CNA that one of the main objectives in making the film is to ask the question, “do women really understand how it works and are they being fully informed?”
No matter what one's conclusions may be, said Herbert, the group believes everyone has the right to full information and informed consent.
More information can be found at: www.28daysonthepill.com