Illinois Right to Life Committee
A Protestant analyzes contraception
STANEK: A Protestant analyzes contraception
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
By Jill Stanek
OPINION by Jill Stanek -- My eyes used to glaze over when Catholics would start talking about the evils of birth control. I thought they were simply taking a good concept too far when they said that not only is killing unborn children wrong, but taking measures to prevent pregnancy is wrong, too.
Even when I became committed to pro-life activism four years ago, I never thought the day would come that I would care about the issue of contraception.
But that began to change this past summer when I learned that a nurse named Carol Olmstead quit her job at the Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation family planning clinic in Greene County rather than be forced to dispense emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning after birth control pill. Nurse Olmstead thought doing so would make her a participant in an early form of abortion.
I thought, this must be a bigger deal than I understood, and I began to look into how the pill works.
My nursing textbook, which I still have, doesnt say the birth control pill can act as an abortifacient ("an agent that causes abortion").
But I found out it can. Birth control pills and ECs stop pregnancy one of four ways: by killing sperm, by stopping ovulation, by making an egg impermeable to sperm, or by not allowing a fertilized egg to attach to the wall of the uterus. The last potential action is what caused Nurse Olmstead to quit her job.
Pro-aborts redefine what "is" is
Pro-abortionists, with their willing accomplices in the pro-abortion medical community, devised a lie in the 1970s that has been repeated so often, it is now unquestioned. Defying science and logic, they simply began to claim a mother isnt pregnant until her very young embryo attaches to her uterus which takes seven to nine days after conception. So, they said, birth control pills and ECs are not abortifacients, because a mother isnt pregnant when they cause a week-old embryo to flush from her body.
So, according to pro-aborts, the first week of 40 that a mother carries her preborn baby, she isnt really pregnant.
Pro-aborts tinkered with timing so moral women would be duped into taking the pill and so organizations like Planned Parenthood could legally receive tax dollars for their family planning clinics and population control efforts. (The Hyde Amendment specifies that the federal government cannot fund abortion.)
I found out the intrauterine device (IUD) also causes early abortions by disallowing the fertilized egg to attach to the uterus, something my nursing textbook did admit but glossed over: Mechanical contraceptive methods act either as barriers preventing the transport of sperm to the ovum or prevent implantation of the ovum/zygote.
All this information was enough to really set me off. But I became even more interested in this subject when someone told me the Pope has said that contraception is the root cause of abortion.
Thats odd, I thought... a pretty big statement to make. I began to wonder, does the Bible say anything about contraception?
I think yes, it does.
Onan should have let matters lie
The story is told in Genesis 38 of Tamar and Onan. Tamars husband Er died, and according to Jewish law (found in Deuteronomy 25), Ers brother Onan had to marry Tamar and conceive a son with her to carry on his dead brothers name.
If a brother refused this duty, the widow was to tell the elders of the city, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brothers family line.
Onan did not refuse to sleep with his sister-in-law. But, whenever he lay with his brothers wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lords sight; so he put him to death also. (Genesis 38:9-10)
What Onan did came to be called onanism, known to us as coitus interruptus, the oldest form of birth control practiced by humans.
If Onans only act of disobedience was refusing to father his dead brothers children, the punishment should have been a slap and a spit. But God killed Onan. Something about Onans action of spilling his semen on the ground was wicked in Gods eyes.
Of course, God doesnt strike down all who practice coitus interruptus today, or a significant number of teenage boys and aberrant husbands around the world would be found dead in back seats of cars and strange hotel rooms. (But I do wonder if He strikes down any!)
Add to that, the Bible is rife with examples of God demonstrating He is actually The One who makes the choice about human creation. He closed and opened uteruses throughout the Bible to unfold human history as He in His ultimate wisdom, love, and compassion saw fit. Is there any reason to think He has stopped doing this?
When Jacob married sisters Rachel and Leah, the discord was immediate. When Leah complained to Jacob, Give me children or I shall die, Jacob responded, Am I in the position of God, who has denied you motherhood? Jacob understood it was not his fault that she did not conceive; the decision was up to God. And indeed, Genesis 29:31 records, When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb while Rachel remained barren.
Davids wife Michal was fertile until God became angry with her for making fun of David when he danced before the Lord. So Sauls daughter Michal was childless her entire life (II Sam. 6:23), a punishment for her pride as well as another demonstration of Gods judgment on the house of Saul.
Hannah was barren because the Lord had closed her womb (I Sam. 1:5). But God remembered her prayer and her oath, so in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel.
Abraham and Sarah were childless until they were very old. But the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him (Gen. 21:1-2).
Just a few verses before, God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the Lord had closed up every womb in Abimelechs household . (Gen. 20:17).
I could recount the stories of Rebekah, Elizabeth, and the Virgin Mary as well as many other examples throughout the Bible when God granted fertility or withheld it.
Is it possible it is not just abortion that denies life to the children God has planned for such a time as this, but contraception and sterilization as well?
Malachi 2:15 tells us Gods purpose for marriage: You were united to your wife by the Lord. In Gods wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in his sight. Your flesh and spirit belong to him. And what does he want? Godly children from your union.
Marriage is a mysterious union of man, woman, and God, symbolizing Gods love for us through Jesus Christs relationship to His bride, the Church. Just as God cannot be cut out of the Church, God cannot be cut out of our marriages, including our marriage bed.
Dr. Bob McDonald says, in The Catholic Family: Image and Likeness of God:
Our sexuality is not simply the satisfaction of a basic animal instinct. Human sexual relations are never meant to be reduced to the mindless copulation of cattle in a field. God created our sexuality to be holy, and lovemaking is intended to be a sacred act which fulfills Gods perfect plan for humanity.
It is intended to be the means by which we and God create a new life. God has wonderfully chosen to give to us, mere creatures, the power to create in cooperation with Him, to share in the awesome miracle, which by rights is reserved to Him alone. Together, a couple forms their childs body, and God honors that by breathing an immortal soul into this little body at the very moment of conception, a soul destined to live forever. Therefore, anything we do to frustrate that design of God is a violation of Gods primary purpose for our sexuality, and is a very serious matter indeed.
Marriage is a covenant between three people: husband, wife and God . Any sexual act that cuts God out of the agreement violates the covenant, and is a serious disorder. In other words, it is a sin.
If we use [contraception], then we cut God entirely out of our sexual union. We buy out His share in the covenant. Actually it is more like a hostile takeover. I am telling God to back off, that this is an affair between me and my wife, and there is no room for God in our sexual lives.
When I began searching Scripture and reading Catholic teaching on the subject of contraception, which is very thorough, it was as if scales fell from my eyes.
Next week I will detail the history of contraception and cite some statistics since contraception became widely available in the mid 1960s.
So much has been written on contraception, it is difficult to capture in a column. A hundred questions will likely pop into the minds of properly skeptical Protestants who have never given this subject serious thought, such as, "What about the overpopulation problem?"
I could write another column on the myth of overpopulation, but Im going to simply say at this juncture, Im banking on God.
If God's first instructions to us were, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28), do you think He wouldnt properly plan to bless us with enough food and room to fulfill this command? Who are you going to listen to, the same people who once said the earth was flat, or God?
More next week....
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