Blog of Rights

Walking Dead Is Dead Wrong on Emergency Contraception. Stick to Zombies.

By Danielle Aronson, ACLU at 11:04am

The Walking Dead is a show on AMC that follows a group of Georgia residents trying to survive a post-zombie apocalypse. As a zombie show, The Walking Dead deals with a few less-than-realistic storylines. But what got many of the show’s fans in a tizzy the other night, tweeting and blogging about the episode’s ‘highly inaccurate’ story line? It wasn’t an argument over zombie kill tactics, or love-triangles, or if zombies like chicken (they do) — many fans were angry that the show’s female lead, Lori, took morning-after-pills so she could ‘give herself an abortion.’

WHAT?!

Lori taking the morning-after-pill, commonly known as emergency contraception, to end her pregnancy by inducing abortion would be just as effective as cutting a zombie’s finger off to kill it.

There is considerable confusion about the difference between medication abortion and emergency contraception, and it was distressing to see this misunderstanding further spread by a show like The Walking Dead. Aren’t they supposed to have fact checkers to catch this kind of thing? Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy and is especially useful in cases of unanticipated sexual activity, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault.

The Walking Dead, is not doing its fans or themselves any favors by promoting false information. Lori is several weeks pregnant and the morning-after-pill can't induce a miscarriage. What it can do is prevent pregnancy if taken within 5 days of unprotected sex; although the sooner it is taken the more likely it is to work.

Yes, this is a television show, and it isn’t real, but the misinformation about the morning-after-pill is very real. As the ACLU continues to fight to improve access to contraception for women and couples, we are also fighting to give people accurate information about contraception — not information influenced by politics, religion, or belief (or zombies).

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