Birth Control Issues
The subject of birth control is and always will be a very sensitive and controversial subject. The very words suggest that “someone” is going to be in control of how many babies you have. As a midwife, I am constantly asked questions about this issue and am occasionally asked if I prescribe birth control. Even though I am licensed by the state of Tennessee, I do not have prescriptive privileges so that’s usually the end of the discussion. I try to give my clients lots of information and refer them to one my collaborative physicians if their choice is to practice some form of medically-induced birth control.
I have been misunderstood and misquoted so the purpose of this article is to give you information so that you can make your own decision regarding this all-important issue. Regardless of what I believe, I have a responsibility as a midwife to present correct information but ultimately you and you alone are responsible for your choices.
I rarely read secular material. My information on this subject has come from Medical Journals and the manufacturers themselves quoting what the pills were designed to do, not man’s opinion which includes physicians. I learned a long time ago not to trust “opinions” no matter who they come from.
The Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) is the most frequently used reference book by physicians in America and is considered to be the ‘bible’ of the medical industry. The PDR, as it is often called, lists and explains the effects, benefits and risks of every medical product that can legally be prescribed. The Food and Drug Administration requires each manufacturer to provide accurate information on its products based on scientific research and laboratory tests. This information is included in The PDR.
As you read the following, keep in mind that the term “implantation”, by definition always involves an already conceived human being. Therefore, any agent that serves to prevent implantation functions as an abortifacient, thus destroying the life of a baby.
THE PILL AS AN OPTION
I have done extensive research on the “pill” and have an understanding of how they work. This information is not the “opinion” of any man, but of the drug manufacturers themselves, quoted in their own literature and published in the PDR about how their particular drug was “designed” to work. If a person refuses to believe that information, they are fooling themselves. How can you go back to the people who made the drug to function in a certain way and argue that they are not doing the very thing they say they were created to do? That doesn’t even make common sense. Some of the newer drugs such as Mirena work in the same way. And to ask most physicians for correct information is futile because they simply are not well-informed. You must do the research yourself. How many of us have simply believed what we were told only to find out later it was entirely wrong?
There are three different ways the pill operates. #1 usually works. The first mechanism is designed to prevent ovulation = no chance of fertilization = no baby. This is the one most physicians want you to believe works and a lot of the time it does. When #1 fails, #2 may work by causing thickening of the mucus, preventing or at least increasing the difficulty of the sperm to enter the uterus where the egg is (no sperm reaching the egg = no fertilization = no baby). When #1 and #2 fail, #3 may work (and will work unless God intervenes) by also thickening of the mucus forming a barrier in the wall of the uterus, preventing an already fertilized egg (= a baby, a new life, according to the Bible), from implanting. Because this new life cannot implant in the wall of the uterus, it can receive no nourishment to sustain life and continue to grow. The baby has already been alive for 6-8 days at this point. If it cannot implant due to the characteristics of the pill, it suffocates and dies and passes through the body, perceived as a normal period. As far as I’ve been able to tell, ALL birth control pills work the same way and have these three components. It just eases our mind to believe the first one always works. We don’t know for sure because God doesn’t give us the insight to see what “He does in secret;” therefore, we don’t know if the egg was already fertilized and #2 or #3 kicked in.
In an interview by Denny Hartford, director of Vital Signs Ministries, he asked world famous fertility specialist Dr. Thomas Hilgers, “Are there any birth control pills out there that do not have this potention to abort a developing child?” Dr. Hilgers answered,
“There are none! At my last count in looking at the Physicians Desk Reference…there were 44 different types of birth control pills…and they have different concentrations of chemicals that make them work. None of these so-called birth control pills has a mechanism which is completely contraceptive. Put the other way around, all birth control pills available have a mechanism which disturbs or disintegrates the lining of the uterus to the extent that the possibility of abortion exists when breakthrough ovulation occurs.”
With the pill, if a pregnancy occurs, it is only because the way the manufacturer intended them to work has failed on 3 levels. I do realize that no one knows but God whether there was ever life or not but can we, in good conscience, take something that there was even a chance that it could destroy a life, not that it would ever be the intent of our heart? The end result would be the same, intentional or not. I also know that God could keep that baby safe even if the pill was in effect, but if we really believe that, why would we go through all this anyway? Why not just trust Him on the front end instead of on the back end? Still a mystery to me why we think the way we do. I suppose we can just live in the “ignorance is bliss” phase and just pretend none of this is true or trust God to make the #1 component to work, every time.
Contrary to common slang, ignorance is not always bliss. My only consolation even in my own life is that God only holds us accountable for the light we’ve been shown. He uses all kinds of things in our lives to make us take a closer look and to see the truth. Not everything comes as a whisper from the Holy Spirit. Some truths come through human beings. Sometimes it takes a circumstance to cause us to take a closer look at things and question our belief system. In my own daughter’s life, it cost the sight of one of her eyes directly from using a method of birth control before she ever questioned what the birth control methods do. She simply believed what the physician told her. Our personal beliefs don’t matter if they do not constitute evidence of the truth.
I have a little book on the subject that asks a question which I’ve heard on numerous occasions. “If this is true, why haven’t we been told?” The answer to the question was as follows:
“The published indications of Pill-caused abortions are substantial, but it is spread out in dozens of obscure and technical scientific journals. Consequently, relatively few physicians have ever seen the most compelling evidence that is in print. Many well-meaning physicians, including Christians, and including OB/GYNs, and Family Practitioners simply are not aware of this evidence. I know this, because that’s exactly what a number of them have told me. This is not entirely surprising. Consider the staggering amount of medial knowledge that currently exists. Now picture the average physician who is both conscientious and overworked, swamped with patients. He might read medical journals in an area of special interest, but there is no way any human being can be fully appraised of the tens of thousands of medical studies conducted each year in this country. When patients hear someone suggest the Pill causes abortions, they will often come to their physician, who may be prolife, and ask if this is true. The physician may sincerely say, “according to my understanding, the Pill just prevents conception, it doesn’t cause abortions; you have nothing to be concerned about.” Most physicians assume that if the Pill really caused abortions, they would surely know it. In most cases they are not deliberately misleading their patients. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that their patients do end up being misled. Based on their physician’s reassurances, they don’t look into the matter further – nor would most know where to look even if they wanted to. In reality, the dedicated physician is extremely busy and confident that the Pill only prevents conception. Typically he too does not take the time to do the necessary research to give informed consent and truthful information.”
VASECTOMY AS AN OPTION
I have, after much soul-searching and prayer come to this conclusion concerning Vasectomies, even though it is never something I would have wanted us to do because of altering our God-designed bodies. For those who have already made the decision that they no longer want any children, I do believe it is a possible way to obtain birth control that does not endanger the already fertilized egg (a baby). After a Vasectomy, (unless God intervenes) the sperm never reaches the egg; therefore, no chance of fertilization and no life = no baby. If you have made the decision to have no more children, this is the safest option, assuming of course it works as planned.
One of the ‘Standards of Midwifery care” (as well as good physician care) is to always provide “informed consent” which is what I do for every test I perform or offer and every option a pregnant couple has. I am required to present both pros and cons and allow the client to make their own informed choice based on facts. I do expect others to do the same. I simply would hope my children and grandchildren and those that I serve would be given full informed consent, not just a blanket “pills are ok”. It’s simply not the whole truth. I do believe each person is responsible to make their own decision and will stand before God and give an account for those decisions but I know He will judge the heart. I do also believe that those who choose to take birth control pills, for the most part, would never ever knowingly commit an abortion. We simply are at times, uneducated and uninformed.
Based on years of studying and knowing ultimately the decision is totally yours and between you and God alone, I submit the following:
1. I do not believe the Bible is black and white clear on the issue of birth control.
2. I do believe the Bible teaches that life begins at conception, (evident in Jesus’ mother Mary) not implantation.
3. If a person’s decision is to practice some form of birth control, I ask them to please do their own research and do it in a safe way and one that does not take a chance on destroying the life of a baby.
4. I have advised the use of condoms (preventing sperm and egg from meeting).
5. I have advised the use of a diaphragm or cervical caps which are inserted into a woman as a total barrier to sperm = 100% effective against pregnancy as the sperm and egg never meet.
6. Even though I personally do not believe we should mess with the way God designed our bodies to perform, the choice of Vasectomy does not jeopardize the life of an unborn child.
7. I have said that IF there is a hint of birth control being ok with God or in the Bible, it might be through Natural Family Planning, even though the Old Testament talked of God opening and closing the womb. I’ve always believed the Natural Family Planning method to be the most gentle and effective way to control things because it uses the God-given signs of ovulation as a means to know when a woman is fertile, which involves a woman watching discharge and the changes in the mucus and practicing self-control for those several fertile days. This method also makes us the most responsible to each other in the husband-wife relationship, demanding communication and agreement. http://nfpandmore.org/
Some people believe that since God is the creator of life that it is His business and He alone should be in total control with no interference by man. Others believe that God has given us fertility “signs” each month that allow us to know when we are fertile and therefore the ability to choose to abstain from sexual activities during those days, thus preventing the conception of a baby. Then there are those who believe God isn’t concerned at all with such “non-spiritual” issues and leaves the choice entirely to us, trusting our own wisdom and desires. This option, in my opinion, has always gotten us in tremendous trouble. Since when have we ever known what was good for us or made the right decision when left to our own thinking? I personally cannot believe the last argument from a Biblical perspective. To understand that the Bible teaches that God cares enough about us to number the hairs on our heads and notices when a little sparrow falls from the sky, certainly makes me believe He cares about everything that concerns us including the size of our families.
The bottom line of all this is that we ultimately will be held accountable for what we believe and owe it to ourselves and our children to be well-informed so that we can make honorable, wise decisions.
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