Illinois Right to Life Committee
A Protestant analyzes contraception, Part II
STANEK: A Protestant analyzes contraception, Part II
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
By Jill Stanek
The word contra-ception literally means anti-creation. Websters defines it as, against conceiving.
To put it plainly, couples using contraception are expressing hostility toward the prospect of conceiving a baby. It is considered normal to think this way. But it wasnt always so.
Until 1931, all Protestant mainline denominations taught that contraception was evil. Our most famous (or infamous, if youre Catholic) Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, called contraception a sin "worse than adultery or incest. Other greats such as Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon condemned it as well.
Acceptance of contraception born
But in 1931, the Anglican Church accepted contraception (the condom) for married couples in certain "extreme circumstances, thereby allowing, as one email writer cleverly wrote this week, the Trojan horse to enter the Protestant village.
The Catholic Church did not support this shift in thinking. In 1930, Pope Pius XI publicly reaffirmed Biblical teaching of the two purposes for marriage: procreation and union (Genesis 1:28, 2:24; Malachi 2:15).
In the late 1950s The Pill was created, a mix of female hormones that tricked a womans body into thinking it was pregnant, therefore disallowing the sustenance of a real pregnancy .
Feminists and ideologues thought the Pill offered the solution to almost all our problems: overpopulation, undesired pregnancy, abortion, child abuse, the poverty associated with large families and, above all, marriage stress. Spouses would now have blissful sex any time, any place, without fear of pregnancy.
The first "woman's right to privacy"
By the mid 1960s, laws that had made contraception illegal in most states were cast out due to the womans right of privacy. The Pill became widely popular, and almost all Protestant churches came to accept contraception (with notable exceptions like the Mormons and the Amish). And the sexual revolution began.
In the "spirit of Vatican II" many thought the Catholic Church would update its teaching on contraception. So in 1968 when Pope Paul VI reaffirmed in his famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that artificial contraception ran contrary to the law of God, it was received with shock.
The Pope made several predictions in Humanae Vitae about what would happen if contraceptives became widely used in society.
First, the Pope said, there would be a general lowering of morality in society. Second, there would be a general disregard for the physical and psychological well being of females by males, including the impoverishment of women. Third, governments would use family planning programs for coercive purposes. And fourth, we would begin to treat our bodies as though they were machines.
We now have 40 years of prevalent contraceptive use by which to analyze whether or not the Pope was right. Was the secular worlds prediction that contraception would end our maladies true?
Some interesting finds:
· Widespread use of contraception and induced abortion as a means of birth control has indeed halted the population explosion, at least in North America and Europe. The birth rate has now dropped below the death rate in many developed Western nations, meaning some countries are not replenishing their population. Spain now gives gifts to couples who bear children, and France offers large financial incentives. Just this past Sunday, The Sunday Times reported, A United Nations report due to be released later this month warns that the world will soon be in a dangerous situation of overall population decline. Far from the population controllers predictions that the world will be completely overpopulated, the UN demographers warn that the decline in fertility rate shows no indication of stopping at 2.1 - the replacement rate.
· Regarding the Popes concern of lessening respect for women: The CDC reports that in 2001, 33.5% of all births in the U.S. were to unmarried mothers. The Joint Center Data Bank reports, The poverty rates for families maintained by married couples have been strikingly lower than those for families of single mothers . Overall, from 1974 to 1998, the poverty rates of single-mother families have been at least three times higher than those of married-couple families with children among both whites and African Americans.
· Marital bliss? Dr. Janet Smith reports, In fact, the divorce rate doubled between 1965 and 1975. Until the mid-1960s it was 25%. By mid-1975 it went up to 50%. Robert Michaels, a demographer from Stanford, discovered that as the contraceptive pill became more and more available, that line was parallel to the divorce line. The divorce rate leveled off in 1975, when every woman who wanted access to the pill had it. In his statistical scientific investigations, Michaels attributed three reasons why he thinks the use of contraceptives is tied to the massive divorce rate:
1. Those using contraceptives have fewer children and have them later in marriage. Statistical data shows that those who have their first baby in the first two years of marriage and another baby in the next two years of marriage have much longer lasting marriages than people who dont. One reason is that there are other people in the family to care about and to stay a family unit for. Also, being a parent makes one a better person. One begins to care about things not cared about before One becomes more patient.
2. Since contraceptives arrived on the scene, there is much more adultery than there was before. If almost every woman is contracepting, then almost every woman is available, and there is not as much reason to say no. It didnt take people long to catch on: If you could wipe the fear of pregnancy within marriage, you could wipe the fear of pregnancy of sex before marriage.
3. Women are financially more independent. They do have fewer children. They do go into the workplace. It is easier to tell a husband to take a walk.
· What about the Popes prediction that our bodies would become machines, that we would lose respect for ourselves as an integral combination of body and soul? Today, battles rage over legally allowing women to manufacture eggs for cloning and fetal stem cell research. Semen is bought and sold in special stores. Busy couples hire surrogates. Forget sex. Babies are manufactured in dishes. Pornography use is skyrocketing.
· Indeed governments do now use family planning programs for coercive purposes. This is clearly demonstrated by UN policies that will only give aid will to countries with active contraception and sterilization programs. A one-child policy is law in China as well as forced abortions. (The Chinese population control propaganda poster atleft reads "Control population growth, improve our human race.")
· If now every child is a wanted child, as Planned Parenthood trumpets, child abuse should also be lowering. In fact, the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect found that child abuse and neglect is seriously worsening. Between 1986 and 1993 the number of reported neglect cases doubled.
The Bible is clear that God is involved in every detail of human existence. If God is Who He says He is, there can be no such thing as coincidence. It is, therefore, incorrect to think that human contraception is happenstance. As I pointed out last week, God frequently demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testaments that He orchestrates the creation of each human child, and who each childs parents will be.
Bear in mind Scripture says, Children are a gift from God; they are his reward (Psalm 127:3), and Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord on all who obey him! Their reward shall be prosperity and happiness. Your wife shall be contented in your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around the dinner table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees. That is Gods reward to those who reverence and trust him (Psalm 128:1-4).
Contracepting couples are telling God they dont want this gift from Him, his reward.
Its a match
Did you know that at delivery a baby girl has all the eggs in her ovaries she will ever produce?
Of the several million [eggs] formed originally, only a million or so remain at the time of birth, and perhaps 400,000 are present at puberty, states John Hole in the textbook, Human Anatomy & Physiology. Probably fewer than 400 or 500 will be released from the ovary during the reproductive life of the female.
Boys dont produce sperm until their testes descend. Their testes must descend outside their bodies because the body is a few degrees too warm for sperm to live. At ejaculation, as many as 300 million to 500 million sperm cells may be deposited, [but] only a few hundred ever reach an egg cell, says Hole.
What does it say to you that our human bodies, made by God in His image, produce such an extraordinary number of eggs and sperm? It says to me that God loves babies.
It amazes me that people at greatest fault, myself - walk through life not realizing how intimately involved God is in the details of our lives. A couple may say they cant afford a baby, or their house is too small, or give a hundred other reasons. But is it all about us? Do we or do we not trust the promises God makes in the Bible that we will be provided for?
Have we considered that Gods eye is not just on us but also on our future baby? He plans the match of each particular egg of millions, with each particular sperm of several hundred million, during a particular moment in time never to be repeated, in a particular part of the world. He sees the immortal soul and potential destiny of each child that the union of one particular egg and one particular sperm will make the only time in the history of mankind they will meet. And we block Him?
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