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

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.’


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).

Learn more about emergency contraception: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Add a comment (13)
Read the Terms of Use


It's a pleasure when a blogger shares the real facts rather than opinions based on their emotional attachments to issues

Gene in L.A.

Are characters in fiction required to know the truth about such things? Worse, are we letting fiction shows educate our children? Whatever happened to parental oversight? Let the electronic nanny handle it.

Peter Orvetti

Yes, this plot point didn't upset me so much as confuse me.


You guys need to service some tree-huggers, doncha'. Stick to what you do best, rape the Constitution.


It's almost as if this show is taking it's story from a comic or something.

Oh... Oh.


Good catch. Misinformation purported by a tv show is a disservice to the viewing public.


So now television is required to have their shows' characters know the correct answers to everything? Please.


The morning after pill WILL NOT do anything for a woman if she is already pregnant.


The more important question is what do you think about all those guns in the hands of the survivors? Seems being armed helps more than a rape (zombie) whistle.


Not sure the episode was promoting the medical accuracy of the method. Rather as a plot point: with no infrastructure left, the character was desperate enough to give it a shot.


Sign Up for Breaking News