The Pill and Christian Ethics
Many Christians utilize birth control in their marriages. One of the most common forms of birth control today is widely known as “The Pill.” The Pill is a contraceptive device designed primarily to prevent ovulation and thus the possibility of an egg for the sperm to fertilize. Unknown to many however, is the fact that The Pill has two back-up methods of preventing pregnancies which are not morally acceptable for the Christian.
Most conservative Christians accept as a given that abortion is wrong. Abortion in all its forms is deemed unacceptable by many believers who are not disposed to the taking of a human life through methods from the much maligned partial birth abortion to the “Morning After Pill.” The ‘morning after pill’ prevents pregnancy by irritating the wall of the uterus so that if the egg is fertilized it will not be able to take hold in the uterus and thus die. Many conservative Christians rightly reject the morning after pill on these grounds.
Scripture tells us that mankind is created in the very image of God(Gen 1:26-27). This fact is what separates humans from animals. It also makes the value of human life intrinsically more than that of an animal. Whether in the form of what is commonly called a fetus(an unborn human), or a full-grown adult, human life is invaluable. Scripture also indicates that we are known by God from the womb(Ps 51:5, 139:13-16). There is also another passage of Scripture that indicates that God despises abortion.
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The passage from Exodus indicates that if a person accidentally kills an unborn child, they should repay the family and be punished. This is in the case of an accidental abortion. Scripture also tells us that we are not to murder others(Ex 20:13), and this would certainly apply to the unborn who are cared for by God even from the womb.
Most conservative Christians would already agree with the above points and statements made. How does this apply to birth control however? The Pill’s primary method of preventing pregnancy is to prevent ovulation. Therefore to most it would stand to reason that the Pill is a safe method of preventing pregnancy. However, the fact is that breakthrough ovulations can occur.
What is a breakthrough ovulation? A breakthrough ovulation will occur when a woman is using a chemical contraceptive such as the Pill, and an ovulation occurs regardless. This happens to thousands of women every year. It is certainly not an uncommon event. When ovulation occurs, it is possible still for a woman to become pregnant. If fertilization then occurs, the Pill has back up methods of preventing pregnancy.
The first thing that needs to be established prior to discussing the fail-safe methods of preventing a pregnancy by the Pill is the question of when life actually begins. Dr Hymie Gordon testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings in 1981 on this very matter. Dr Hymie Gordon, then the Chairman of the Department of Genetics stated that “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” At the precise moment the egg is fertilized, that is when human life begins. At this point, the egg rides down the fallopian tubes and into the womb where it is given the nourishment needed to be brought to term and begin life outside the womb.
The Pill’s secondary methods of preventing pregnancy prevent a fertilized egg from reaching its destination, the womb. The chemicals the Pill uses interfere with the movements of the fallopian tubes, thus causing the egg to travel much more slowly toward the womb. In this case, the tiny baby will starve to death before ever reaching the womb and the life-giving nourishment given by the womb to the new life created.
The next method of preventing a pregnancy from taking place, is by irritating the lining of the uterus. Much like the morning after pill, the Pill irritates the lining of the uterus and causes it to shrivel. If the fertilized egg survives its ride through the fallopian tubes, it becomes unable to attach itself to the lining of the womb because the uterus is no longer able to sustain the new life brought to it by the fallopian tubes. In this case again, the baby will starve to death
So why don’t more people know about these fail-safe methods of the Pill? The fact is that it cannot be determined exactly how many breakthrough ovulations occur in women, nor can it be determined how many pregnancies are aborted through the chemicals that stop the growth of a newly conceived life. It is estimated that 2%-10% of all women who use the Pill at any given time have a breakthrough ovulation. These are results from various controlled studies performed by doctors and pharmaceutical companies. So out of every 100 women at least 2-10 will have a breakthrough ovulation at any given time. If the egg is fertilized during this ovulation, it is highly unlikely that it will survive, and thus be aborted via the chemicals used to prevent the egg from implanting.
As one can see, the Pill does not only prevent pregnancy, but in some cases can cause an abortion as well. While the numbers on how many abortions can occur are unclear, this should not be seen as a go ahead to continue using the Pill. The fact that it is possible that one could conceive and thus cause an abortion should be enough deterrent to prevent any Christian from using this type of contraceptive device.
Copyright Will Rogers 2006
Scriptures taken from the KJB
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