A Brief Thought On Birth Control Word Choice

Flicker / brains the head

On the prescription information for birth control pills:

A third way [this hormone medication prevents pregnancy] is by changing the womb lining, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the lining of the womb (implantation). A fertilized egg (embryo/unborn baby) needs to attach to the womb to receive blood and nutrients and continue to grow. If an embryo/unborn baby does not attach, it cannot survive.

So, obviously, this last indication — in addition to 1) preventing ovulation and 2) preventing the egg and sperm from getting friendly — is why anti-choice activists are coming out against birth control. To them, it’s the same as abortion (even though it actually isn’t).

That aside, the term “embryo/unborn baby” seems weird. Embryos aren’t viable, so calling them “unborn babies” doesn’t really make sense, since the word “baby” means a newly born human being–and by necessity, one that’s viable outside of the womb. There’s a squishiness about the phrasing that makes me wonder how it got onto the prescription info.



Filed under Women

2 responses to “A Brief Thought On Birth Control Word Choice

  1. Lisa

    I have a feeling this wording was selected based on someone saying we need “understandable” language on packaging. Which, in this case, means dumbed down to the point of being scientifically wrong. Wow.

  2. Actually, it is more precise to call a fertilzed egg a zygote.

    This is now (February 2012) an issue in the presidential campaign.

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