WHAT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL?
Birth control can be the subject of much dispute among Christians when it comes to sexual health, marriage and family planning, but it doesn’t need to be. It is our desire at Moral Revolution to inform people about healthy sexual lifestyles and practices in order that they would feel empowered in their choices. We’re committed to bringing the facts so that you can make an informed decision. When it comes to this subject, we’ve tried to answer some of your top questions to bring clarity, wisdom and (Biblical) truth.
WHAT IS BIRTH CONTROL, EXACTLY?
Birth control is simply the practice used by men and women to prevent unwanted pregnancies, typically by use of contraception.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMONLY USED METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL?
The most commonly used methods of birth control are: abstinence, the The Billings Ovulation Method (rhythm method), oral contraceptives (the pill), diaphragms, vaginal rings, and condoms.
WHY USE BIRTH CONTROL?
The number one reason people use birth control is to practice family planning. However, medical studies show that oral contraceptives, containing hormones, have aided women whom suffer from heavy bleeding, painful cramping, ovarian cysts, and acne.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIRTH CONTROL AND ABORTION?
Birth control is the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies, whereas, abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. The goal of birth control is to prevent conception. The goal of abortion is to terminate a pregnancy. Sadly, oftentimes abortion is utilized as a form of birth control, and they are two very different things.
CAN BIRTH CONTROL USE CAUSE AN ABORTION?
Some types of contraceptives may cause an abortion, and we wouldn’t recommend using any form that is abortive in nature. These contraceptives, including IUDs, work both by interfering with the sperm and also by “post-fertilization mechanisms.” That means they prevent the fertilized eggs/zygotes/embryos from implanting in the uterus. Even newer IUDs appear to induce early abortions in some cases.
However, there are forms of birth control that prevent conception. For example, the hormones in “the pill” work by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries or act as a barrier to the sperm reaching the egg by making cervical mucus thicker. Condoms also prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. In these cases, there is no fertilization and therefore there is no life. It is no different than an egg being released unfertilized during a typical menstrual cycle. Yes, you are taking steps to interfere in the potential fertilization, which is a problem for some, but you are not aborting a life.
It should also be mentioned that women on oral contraceptives, since they have fewer conceptions, actually have a lower rate of miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). Some would argue this is a moral good, in favor of oral contraceptive use.
With all that said, you should not take any form of birth control if you think you might be pregnant.
IS BIRTH CONTROL MORALLY WRONG?
This would depend on your own personal convictions and conscience. Besides talking about it with God and deciding whether or not this would be a suitable choice for yourself and your spouse, talk to your family doctor as well. Many types of birth control aren’t abortifacient (preventing fertilized egg from implanting), but rather keep an egg from being released/fertilized or act as a barrier to the sperm reaching the egg. Since there is no fertilization, there is no life and it is no different than an egg being released unfertilized during the typical menstrual cycle. Yes, you are taking steps to interfere with potential fertilization but you are not aborting a life.
Do we believe it’s morally wrong to use birth control? No. Do we believe that it can lead to the breakdown of families and to other issues of thought? Yes. The main point is that we should consider this an important life decision which requires thought, research, prayer and insight.
There is the question of the intention and effect of artificial contraception as a whole, apart from any abortifacient concern. Though the most famous teachings against it have been by various Popes (Pius XI and John Paul II come to mind), you don’t have to read an entire papal encyclical to get it. Sexual intercourse is meant for husband and wife for purposes of unity and procreation/generation. To abstain for a few days timed to periods of infertility violates nothing, but to bring in artificial means designed to separate the sex act from its purpose is where the problems start, ultimately leading to a demeaned value of life (for example, seeing children as problems and burdens rather than gifts) which negatively carries over to other areas.
WE DON’T WANT TO USE AN ARTIFICIAL OR MEDICALLY PRESCRIBED FORM OF BIRTH CONTROL, BUT WE ALSO DON’T WANT TO GET PREGNANT RIGHT AWAY. WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?
Natural family planning is an entirely acceptable method of birth control. The Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) in particular entails monitoring fertility by identifying when your wife is fertile/infertile and during each ovarian/menstrual cycle. The Billings/ cervical mucus method was shown in a 1992 British Journal of Medicine article to be cheap, effective, side-effect free, and reliable with a success rate equivalent to combined oral contraceptive pills.