Christians And Contraception


Christians and Contraception:
Why it is Your Choice, and Why Christianity Was Wrong in the Past
INTRODUCTION
Contraception History
Contraception is defined by Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary as ?the prevention of conception. ? Its synonym is ?birth control?; defined as ?the avoidance of unwanted pregnancies by preventing fertilization by the use of contraceptives or continence. ? It is argued that many forms of birth control are not in fact contraceptives because they do not interrupt the conceptual process, but merely inhibit the survival of the fertilized egg.
While we will still frame our discussion in the general category of birth control, the distinctions are important when considering ethics. For example, since the so-called morning after pill prevents the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the wall of the uterus, and thus causing a miscarriage, it technically would be a form of birth control, not conception control .
Ancient societies understood the difference between preventing conception and killing an infant. In fact, they used a variety of techniques to try and prevent conception. Coitus interruptus, also known as withdrawal, was widely practiced. It was, however, condemned by conservative Judaism and Roman Catholicism as a vice against nature. This idea grew from the belief that semen was a seed, containing everything necessary for life, and the womb was fertile soil in which to plant the seed. The seeds were believed to be finite, thus carelessly wasting them endangered the future health of the tribe .
The ancients also used types of diaphragms to block the sperm. In Africa, women used plugs of chopped grass or cloth. Japanese women used balls of bamboo tissue paper. Greek women used wool .
While birth control in one form or another has existed for as long as human culture, there have also been attempts to prevent anything that impeded pregnancy and birth. In 1873, Anthony Comstock was successful in passing a law through Congress that defined contraceptive information as obscene. This was the outgrowth of abortion legislation that outlawed all abortions except those necessary to save the life of a woman. In 1869, Pope Pius IX had declared that all abortion is murder. This was a change from previous Roman Catholic teaching that considered 40 days after conception for a boy and 80 days for a girl as the moment of quickening, meaning the beginning of life. The moment of conception now became the beginning of life, and actually the sperm and egg were even seen to be alive .
Types of Contraceptives
Contraceptive methods for women include the rhythm method?abstinence around the most likely time of ovulation?and precoital insertion into the vagina of substances (creams, foams, jellies, or suppositories) containing spermatocidal chemicals. The use of a diaphragm, a rubber cup-shaped device inserted before intercourse, which prevents sperm from reaching the uterine cervix. It is usually used with spermatocidal substances, intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are variously shaped small objects inserted by a doctor into the uterus: they apparently act by creating a uterine environment hostile either to the sperm or to the fertilized egg. The birth control pill, an oral contraceptive, involves a hormonal method in which estrogen and progestins are taken cyclically for 21 days a month. These pills suppress production of the hormone that would ordinarily cause ovulation . Other forms include sterilization of either the man or woman, and many new techniques and medications such as the previously mentioned ?morning-after? pill, or ?minutes-after? hormone, and also different forms of progestin injections or insertions .
The Ethical Contraception Argument
The morality of contraception has been argued for centuries. Traditional Christians view the use of contraceptives or contraceptive behavior as sinful and in opposition to God's will for humanity. These fundamentalists have interpreted small pieces of Biblical scripture to reveal the word of God, which shuns birth control. There has also been brought forth a scientific argument supporting the disallowance of Christians utilizing contraception techniques. On the other hand there is abundant evidence that welcomes the intelligent use of birth control measures into the lives of Christians living in the twenty-first century. There has been counter arguments formed to the traditional views, and stunning revelations about the misinterpretation of God's word in scripture. Also, it will not be a surprise that there is a large amount of information from the scientific side that also encourages