Here’s a really interesting and informative read on IUDs, with a history of the research done on them and how exactly they work.

This is timely, as the article points out, because of the Hobby Lobby case that came up before the Supreme Court last month and is awaiting a ruling. While the issue in that court case is not strictly about IUDs, they are part of the context for the greater issue: if IUDs are an abortifacient, and a corporation’s owners have a religious objection to abortion, is that corporation still required to follow the mandate to provide coverage for them under its health plan?

Anti-abortion activists emphasize that IUDs prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. Abortion rights activists emphasize that they prevent eggs from being fertilized in the first place.  Who is right? Well, it seems that IUDs do both of those things, but primarily they prevent eggs from being fertilized — a point not understood by the  general public. The early research on IUDs, done on rats, actually confused the issue. While in many cases medical research done on rats applies directly to humans, this is not one of those cases since female rats’ reproductive system differs in significant ways from human women’s.

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