The word contraception is derived from the two words 'contra' meaning against and 'conception' meaning to conceive at the point a single male sperm cell fertilises a single female egg (or ovum). Hence, contraception means against the conceiving of a new human being. This may seem so obvious as to warrant the question why should it need explaining? The answer, however, needs careful contemplation.
Firstly, we have the question of 'what' is not to be conceived. Again, a seemingly obvious answer - a baby. So, if conception is not to take place, then the sperm and egg must not be allowed to meet and to fertilse. Once conception has taken place not only has a new individual been created, but this new individual has parents who have supplied the new human being's genetic makeup. The time for 'choosing' to become a parent has past. Parenthood has occured. After this point 'contraception' no longer can prevent a baby from being created.
Some so-called forms of 'contraception' are still offered, however, that will PREVENT the pregnancy from continuing by ensuring the newly created child is deprived of nourishment. Fertilisation normally takes place in the fallopian tubes and the developing child then makes his or her way, taking about six days, to the womb where, in ideal circumstances, s/he will implant into the lining and produce a placenta that will be the lifeline until the baby is ready to be born. This womb environment is often made hostile to the developing child by the use of 'contraception' so that the lining of the womb comes away, similar to the menstrual period, and the baby with it. The baby thus dies. The mother is no longer pregnant, but that does not stop her being 'a mother'. It just makes her a mother of a dead baby.
For those who argue that 'it' is not a baby until x time after conception need to be able to then explain why they used contraception in the first place. What else are they trying to prevent from being conceived?
Some people say a woman is not 'pregnant' until implantation. They accept that fertilisation has taken place in the fallopian tube, but still insist the woman is not a mother as she is not yet pregnant - the baby or 'it' has to implant in the womb first. How do they then explain an ectopic pregnancy? This is when a child grows in the fallopian tube, normally due to a blockage that prevents the journey to the womb taking place. The mother's body normally displays all the symptoms of 'being pregnant' as the relevant hormones have been working since the moment of conception as in any normal pregnancy. The baby has been known to grow for about six weeks in the tube. Although, sadly, in these circumstances the baby and the fallopian tube have to be surgically removed to ensure the life of the mother is not put at risk. But implantation in the womb never took place. Does that mean the woman with an ectopic pregnancy was never pregnant?
(NB: An ectopic pregnancy operation is NOT an abotion as the aim is to save the mother's life and not to kill the child although invariably the child does die as we do not yet have the technology to save his or her life. An abortion HAS to end with a dead baby whether or not the mother's life is 'at risk'. Ectopic figures do not come into the abortion figures, and women who have had an ectopic pregnancy are allowed and encouraged to grieve their dead child.)
IVF (Invitro Fertilisation - More commonly called 'Test Tube Babies')
We then need to consider IVF. A woman who cannot conceive naturally takes drugs that will make her 'super ovulate'. This means that instead of naturally producing one egg from each ovary, normally every other month, she produces many eggs. These eggs are then removed, examined and the 'best' ones are selected and fertilised in a laboratory. After checking for 'perfection' two or three of these 'eggs' (a few days old embryos) are then introduced into the woman's womb in the hope that they will implant and go on to develop normally. If this is not a human being that is being placed into the womb then what is it? Although in this day and age we have the prospect of genetic engineering, cloning and possible hybrid (human/animal) technology, at the moment we can assume that a mother would only be willing to accept a 'pure' human being into her womb for a baby at the end of the gestation period.
Please note that the Human (note the word 'Human') Fertilisation and Embryology Authority - HFEA are only permitted by UK law to allow any newly laboratory created individual to live for 14 days in the laboratory before s/he has to be destroyed if s/he has not already been implanted into a womb, or frozen and stored for possible future use. This 14 days is taken from the moment of conception or fertilisation - day 1 of a new child's life. The vast majority of spare embryos are used for experimentation purposes before being destroyed.
For anyone who is considering IVF treatment, please check out the pro-life FertilityCare Programme ethical alternative.
We then come onto the question of 'why' any woman would willingly take a drug (the Pill) on a daily basis when she is only able to conceive on one day every menstrual cycle - which is on average one day every 28 days. Each egg, following ovulation, only lives for about one day unless it is fertilised and sperm can remain alive in a woman's body for 2-4 days. To dispense with the need for artificial chemical alterations to the body, women can be taught to recognise and understand their naturally occuring menstrual cycle - see Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning for further information. Natural Family Planning is also used to help infertile women conceive by recognising when they are about to ovulate naturally.
Other forms of artificial chemicals that women take to prevent conception occuring (or to prevent a pregnancy continuing) include Depo-Provera which is an injection every six months or so, and Norplant which are a number of 'rods' inserted under the skin. Once an injection has been given there is no antidote. Rods placed under the skin are extremely difficult to remove. One further method that is used is the IUD or Coil that is chemically coated and placed directly into the womb. These last three methods all have a 'slow release' capacity which is why they can last up to six months. However, any adverse reaction may mean emergency treatment to try to reverse the chemical imbalance in the body.
Most women and young girls today are very concerned with how their body looks. They exercise and eat a healthy diet, yet they continue to ignore the dangers, both short term and long term, of taking the contraceptive pill. If the Pill is so 'safe' why must it NOT be used by women who smoke, women who are over 35, women who suffer from migraine, and women who have breast cancer or thrombosis (blood clotting) in their family? Why do some women gain weight once they go on it? Why is it blamed for the death of some women and girls - see Parents Against Oral Contraception for Children? Why is it considered 'essential' to give a constant dose of body changing hormones to anyone who is already healthy and in cases of young girls, whose bodies are still maturing naturally? There are many people who would prefer to take no drugs of any description for fear of what it may do to their body, yet women quite happily 'pop the pill' on a daily basis.
The Pill has to be taken at the same time of day, on a regular basis, for it to work (see Bible and Birth Control for the three ways in which it works). What happens when the daily routine changes at the weekend? What happens if after taking it you vomit or have an upset stomach? How does alcohol, smoking, other drugs or even concentrated orange juice affect the way the Pill works? What happens if conception takes place despite being on the Pill, which can happen? How might this affect the development of the unborn baby?
The Pill has been linked to cancer of the cervix, breast cancer, blood clots, birth defects and infertility (see A Consumer's Guide to the Pill). The quote (which goes back to 1985) from the front of this book says "In an age in which preventative medicine has high priority, it is distressing to have women exploited as guinea pigs in order to establish with absolute certainty the causal relationship of the Pill to cancer and other complications." by Dr Margaret White.
Three Main Reasons Why Contraception is Taken
Now we come onto the question of 'why' anyone should try to prevent babies being conceived in the first place. There are three main reasons.
For some, these may seem good reasons. But are they?
In the meantime, chemicals are taken daily to change the natural functions of the body in a bid to stop babies being conceived. These chemical contraceptives have long term adverse side effects, not only on the person taking them, but society as a whole, and probably including the environment as well. Could forty years of Pill use have anything to do with the current low sperm count in men, or that some fish are known to be changing sex - from male to female? What other effects could there be that have not been recognised yet, but are due to vast quantities of female hormones getting into the water supply?
Contraceptives are man-made chemicals that women take. Scientists are currently working on a male Pill. Anyone who really cares about what happens to their bodies should seriously consider the implications of their actions, and particularly for Christians who use, support and promote contraception, maybe it is now time to look into the history of contraception, why it has developed and who really benefits. To help you understand more go to Bible and Birth Control, Eugenics and Protestant View of Birth Control.
There is one further reason why many promote and use condoms as contraceptives, and that is to prevent STDs or HIV. See Could Condoms Leak HIV? and STDs to see why we believe this to be a dangerous action.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Please visit our Healing page if you have had an abortion or supported someone who has.