There seems to be some confusion over at the Supreme Court about what can and can't induce abortion. In their ruling in the Hobby Lobby case last week, justices ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence that the contraceptive methods in contention do not in fact cause abortion, as defined by the medical community.
"If the owners comply with the [Health and Human Services] mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the Court's majority opinion. This, the justices determined, constituted a "substantial burden" on Hobby Lobby's religious rights.
At issue are four types of contraceptives: two of them, Ella and Plan B, are classified as "morning-after pills," and two others, Mirena and ParaGard, are classified as intrauterine devices.
"There are medications that prevent pregnancy and there are medications that cause abortions," said Dr. Lin-Fan Wang, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, an organization that aims to bring medical expertise to discussions of public policy. The methods before the Court, she explained, "clearly worked to prevent pregnancy," not terminate it.
Even using religious conservatives' definition of when life begins — the moment an egg is fertilized — three of the four contraceptives can be proven not to lead to abortion, and scientists are almost as certain the fourth doesn't, either. (The New Republic has a useful graphic and explainer on the matter.)