Generation Cedar

Focus on the Family aired a two-part series last week entitled “Hope in the Midst of Unexpected Pregnancies”. With all due respect (I generally like Dr. Dobson, even despite some of his liberal stands ;-), I’m sure they aired the show for the purpose of encouraging women. No doubt many women in our day experience “unplanned pregnancies”. (According to FOF stats, 3 million women in the US every year.)
But listening to the show (I heard most of it, though not all), it was almost shocking to hear the women discuss the “tragedies” of these unplanned pregnancies. Briefly, they were all Christians, and they were career women (there may have been one who was a stay-at-home mom–I need to double check), who claimed to have “made their sacrifices…raised their family, and now could focus on their careers”. Several of the women admitted to having contemplated abortion! (They all had several older children when they learned of their unplanned pregnancies.)
One of the women even lamented, even though her “surprise child” was more than a year old, she still wonders what life would have been like had he not been born.
Of course as they’re speaking, Dr. Dobson and his host are woefully sighing with them, sharing in their understandable plights.
And I’m just listening, thinking, “these are Christians, discussing God’s most precious gift on earth like it was cancer!”
The discussion strongly supports my long-standing theory that birth control is, indeed, a slippery slope. These women would have never dreamed of having an abortion, unless they had already been accustomed to the means of preventing children. If the first line of defense doesn’t work, you are forced to acknowledge that there is a second option. (I realize not all women who find themselves in that situation consider abortion, I’m simply stating that there are some Christians who do–and that should be absolutely shocking. FOF stated that out of the 3 million unexpected pregnancies, half end in abortion.)
The very term “unplanned pregnancy” bothers me. Think about it…you can’t really believe in the sovereignty of God over the womb and also believe in such a thing as an “unplanned pregnancy”. I wonder if a pregnancy was ever considered unexpected, unplanned, or worse, a mistake, before birth control was a popular practice.
It is only once we’ve allowed those terms to be suitable for describing a life, that we are even able to entertain the possibility of eradicating it. I have no qualms about saying that I firmly believe birth control is a stepping stone to abortion. (To clarify, no I’m not saying everyone who uses birth control will even consider an abortion. I’m saying that birth control paved the path of the thinking process for those who do.)

Because of the general acceptance of being able to prevent children, these women felt cheated, angry and hostile toward God and their very own child! (They admitted to those feelings–one even up until birth.) They were basically mad because they thought they had been in control, and then “slipped up”. There was a time when the greatest joy a man and woman could imagine was the news of life in the womb. It was celebrated, and the sacredness and miracle of it was awed. Who would dare shake a fist in the face of God and demand, “why did you allow this to happen”? How his heart must break!
And I have to pose the question…do you think they would have been so upset if they had not had their lives so wrapped up in their careers? This unplanned child threw a kink into THEIR plans, THEIR hopes, THEIR lives.
So I ask you again…can we simultaneously accept both views, without admitting that one inevitably affects the other?
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24 Responses

  1. The discussion strongly supports my long-standing theory that birth control is, indeed, a slippery slope. These women would have never dreamed of having an abortion, unless they had already been accustomed to the means of preventing children.

    I could not agree with you more. The attitudes about birth control that have come to exist in the Christian realm are very disturbing. The Bible says children are blessings and they really are. No pregnancy is “planned” by man’s hand, but planned by our Heavenly Father.

    And I have to pose the question…do you think they would have been so upset if they had not had their lives so wrapped up in their careers? This unplanned child threw a kink into THEIR plans, THEIR hopes, THEIR lives.

    I sincerely doubt it. If they have built their lives surrounding God and their families, their attitudes would (hopefully) be different.

    The contraceptive mindset DOES affect how children are viewed and places many women and children in danger. From women aborting babies, children being abused, men abandoning their familes, and so on, the abortive/contracpetive attitude is dangerous, snister, and hurts many people.

    I also think the mass acceptance of such an attitude has cause the medical professional to become less concerned about the sanctity of life than they already are. We now have prenatal testing of all kinds done of women and women choosing and being encouraged to abort because their babies are not perfect. I once read an article about women in some European country (I believe it was Sweden) who would abort just because the baby had an extra finger or toe.

    I also think the contraceptive attitude deeply affects women who have the unfortunate experience of a miscarriage for the worse. When I had my miscarriage, the comments that were said to be were incredible. When people kill their babies each and every day, what else can be expected I guess. Even many doctors are not too supportive when a woman is going through a pregnancy loss. I really think these sort of attitudes must be linked to our acceptance of BCPs and abortion. :o(

  2. Kelly,

    I agree with you. As a matter of fact, I just published a post on my blog and explained why exactly we chose not to give room for contraception in our future family – and this is precisely one of the reasons!

    Thinking our plan is better than God’s plan leads to arrogance, selfishness, being focused on our own little plans and forgetting about the greater scheme. Birth control is basically an expression of how little value people give to God’s most precious blessings.

  3. And I’m just listening, thinking, “these are Christians, discussing God’s most precious gift on earth like it was cancer!”

    The term “Christians” should be used loosely here. that is the problem with most of America. Go ask around town, No one needs to hear about Jesus because they “ALL” are christians. Give me a break. Christians are those who follow Christ Jesus, not just admit that He came, died and rose again. Demons know what Jesus did, but they arent going to heaven! Jesus said that “those who love Him will obey Him” THOSE are christians in deed. Not that I feel the need to point fingers at people, but there are too many naming the NAME of Christ, yet not walking His walk. Even in the churches today. Just because you go to a church, doesnt mean you are a christian!

    I am sorry, I didnt answer the question you asked. I guess its because I get on my soapbox when people say that “some christian women are considering abortions (or something similar)” (not that you stated it that way). I do not believe that followers of Christ would do that at all.

    Okay will step down now!

  4. I can’t say that any of our 10 children were planned. The first 3 are each 2 years apart, and there are 3 years between the third and fourth. I was sure that was the way God intended to continue to do things,but when the fourth was 6 months I was pregnant again. Then began a time of wonderful learning to trust God that has continued to this day. Having children has totally turned our lives upside and backwards, but in all the best ways. We have learned to trust God more and to understand His Word better. A surprise is having a boy number 6! That was a big surprise.

    Sharlene
    harbourlightradio.org

  5. We are a family that does not practice any kind of birth control. We’ve been married almost 7 years and have five children. (Just feel I need to preface with that!)

    I don’t think things are quite so black and white as to doubt the salvation of someone who is not thrilled immediately at being pregnant. And if a woman, God-forbid, considers abortion, that is not a sin. Temptation cannot be confused as sin. Jesus was tempted, but did not sin!

    It’s often scary for women to find out they are pregnant, whether they are single or married. And it’s no reflection on their salvation.

    I remember being very overwhelmed when I discovered I was pregnant with our fifth blessing. I actually spent some time in tears before the Lord. “What am I going to do, Lord?!” And it isn’t because I am anti-child or pro-birth control. One look at my blog certainly shows that!

    You wrote: “I wonder if a pregnancy was ever considered unexpected, unplanned, or worse, a mistake, before birth control was a popular practice.”

    Sure there were pregnancies like that. Probably always have been. There is nothing new under the sun. Even when a woman happily welcomes another baby, she may not have chosen that particular time to welcome the wee one.

    I just feel that in discussing this issue (and trust me, I’m plenty passionate about NOT using bc!) we need to do so with GRACE, realizing that sometimes life is tough and emotional responses cannot always be predicted or controlled.

  6. Thank you, Daja, for pointing out my need for more grace. (I’m fully aware of my shortcoming here!)

    It’s very difficult for me to separate individual circumstances from general trends and patterns, because I think we can easily fall into a “moral relativism” when we start defining what is right for certain people based on their circumstances. (I know that’s not exactly what you are talking about here, I’m just stating why I’m so prone to be black and white on these issues.)

    It is true, we are likely to experience emotions out of our control, and we often respond out of our sinful natures, but again, the point of my post was to show a “trend” that I see everywhere. Because birth control is such a common practice, and therefore people are just expected to use it, the sudden surprise of a new life evokes far more “devastating” responses than I think it should. I want to make it clear that there is a danger in embracing this “control” we have over life, instead of acknowledging God’s sovereignty over life.

    I love what Brandi wrote (you linked to her in your blog) about our conditioning to birth control:

    “It is an act of the will that stands in opposition to life.”

    (http://thoughtsaftergod.blogspot.com/2007/07/tantrum-pg-13-commercial.html)

  7. I’d be tickled to have Dr. Dobson read your response. It seems so terrible that children are so low on the totem pole of priorities in many homes.

  8. What an uncanny coincidence. This morning our pastor was preaching on God the Creator and he exhorted the congregation to never speak of any of their children as a “surprise” or “an accident.”

    It was convicting to me because I had always referred to our 3rd child as the “oops!”

    But what am I saying about God when I say that? That God the Creator makes “accidents”?

    Good food for thought, Kelly.

  9. Thank you for this post. My husband and I heard all of the first night and most of the second. I was so grieved at the terms they used (unwanted) and the way they expressed themselves, as you expressed.

    I understand that feeling of “This wasn’t in MY plan”, but I hate it being referred in terms of pregnancy and bearing children.

    We have 6 children ages 18, 15, 13, 8,5, and almost 2. We were convicted about 9 years ago to let God have control of this area of our lives. God’s spacing of our children is greater than our own!

    Also, it has caused me to be aware of my own “encultured” thoughts regarding children: “wow, she’s pregnant again” etc…I know of women who were embarrassed to tell people that they were pregnant because their children were going to be close in age.

    I believe that those of us who claim Christ, need to have a change of mind regarding the blessing of children.

    During the broadcast, I could only hope that those children who were the “unwanted” wouldn’t ever hear that show.

    Why do we as women think that there is more value in being a professor at a college, than in being the most important person in our children’s lives?

    Sorry for the rant – thanks again for the post.

  10. I am of a completely different mind-set now, but I can relate to how these women felt, even having been a stay at home mom when I had an “unplanned pregnancy.”
    It WAS hard, and I did not love the baby until after he was born. But later I realized God gave him to me to bring me to Him. God did not mind my attitude because He knew what was going to come of it. These women will come around. God has a plan for us and them.
    I no longer use birth control, and all of the things we went through had purpose.

  11. My friend listened to this broadcast and told me about it. She and I both (along with our husbands) have been brought through a time of teaching by the Lord that has taken us from a BC point-of-view to one of joyfully accepting the blessings God would send our families. Learning of a new pregnancy is still something I have to spend time with the Lord on, because it just changes what you thought the future might look like, and brings a time of physical vulnerability. I say all of this so you will know that I have full understanding of where those women on FOF came from. But I believe you have not gone backtracked far enough in trying to determine how this mindset “crept into” Christianity. While I do believe it gained rampant growth during the Industrial Revolution and the spread of Planned Parenthood (which has always been the largest promoter of BC and abortions), I am quite certain this is merely a reflection of the lack of belief in a God Who is completely Sovereign in every area of our lives. We do not “give Him” control over this or that in our lives- He has control, and simply brings us to a place of submitting to His control. If we go back to the words of many of this nation’s forbears, their writings are heavily punctuated with words acknowledging God’s providence and sovereignty. When will American Christians wake-up and realize we have fooled ourselves into believing our God is in Heaven just pleading with us and begging us to “give Him” lordship over our lives? HE IS IN CONTROL, regardless of whether we “accept” it or not. The joy then comes in submitting to His will, and obeying His Word.
    Is there room for more grace in this discussion? I’m sure my words need much more seasoning with grace, but I have lived in both camps, and know that the truth must be spoken in love to those who walk in error.

  12. I’ve been reading various posts on your blog after finding it through 5minutesformom and I appreciate your honesty, knowledge and passionate convictions! I agree with you on this subject, as I feel strongly that by working outside of the home, women really do get caught up in their plans and children do become a disease…a pain in the neck. They see their 40 hours a week behind a desk as much more valuable than spending precious time with their eternal investments. It is a tragedy.

    I also agree with you stance on homeschooling. My husband was home schooled and we plan to home school our children.

    Thanks!

  13. I agree with you. I listened to the program last week as well and was also thinking are these people Christians ? I found it very disturbing.

    After about 15 minutes I was so shocked that had to turn the radio off as I felt physically sick. I am a 34 year old woman and would love to be married with children. I think every child is a blessing from God.

  14. I too was troubled when I read about the program from their daily e-mail reminder. I think we need to pray HARD for ministries like FOF… for them to be CLEAR in biblical truth and be… sometimes more discerning, more careful… in their program choices & voices… and articles they publish in the monthly magazine. A year ago for May… Mother’s Day issue… the main article was written by a proud working mom defending her choice & “calling” to work outside the home while she had babies & young children and how she also could minister to other working moms… Huh??! It was sort of a “don’t judge the working mom, since she has a good reason and we don’t want to make her FEEL bad” kind of article. The whole time I read it, my skin crawled and I was thinking “The heart is deceitful above all things.” I thought it very strange for the issue which usually highlights what a mother does for her family in the home. No scriptural analysis ocurred, just a throwing out of Proberbs 31- if I remember correctly and it was not carefully applied. I don’t think Titus 2 was used at all. I emailed FOF and received no answer. I emailed the working mom and received a “politician’s reply”. Susan T

  15. Anon-Susan T.,

    Thank you…I applaud your “voice” in taking the time to e-mail FOF and the woman. I, too, have been meaning to write Focus, about the Unplanned Preg. show, and express my concerns about their “no hurt feelings” policy.

    When they aired a show about a stay-at-home mom last year, they followed up the next day with a career mom, to make sure everyone was treated fairly.

    Very dangerous….

  16. I believe in birth control. I am a Christian. I am married, my husband and I are both students. Birth control allows us to get an education to one day support the children we would like to have someday.
    I also am against abortion. If my birth control failed for some reason, I would not abort. I don’t believe in it. I also would not consider my child a “mistake” or a “problem”. He wouldn’t be a “kink” in my plans We’d figure out a way to make it work somehow. If it were to be God’s plan, he’d help us out and we wouldn’t give up. But I also believe he helped us out by giving us birth control so that we could prepare ourselves better to be a better family, better parents, by getting an education to obtain careers that we would be happy in.

    So please, don’t stereotype. Birth control is not ALWAYS a “slippery slope to abortion”…for some it may be, but for what I believe to be the majority, it is not.

    Thanks.

  17. To the author of this post,

    I came upon this website by accident, and was quite disturbed when I learned what it was about. It seems that you believe that the world would be a better place if all women stopped working, never used birth control, and stayed home and took care of their families. Now I understand that your website is a faith based website, however I too am a Christian, but I do not share your views.
    Throughout my life, I have met many wonderful, strong, beautiful women. Some of these women were full time mothers, others were teachers, lawyers, policewomen, managers and more. My mother is a teacher herself, and I’ve learned a lot from her and these other women in my life, regardless of their work status. Women may not be physical equals of men, but we are just as capable of doing most any job we want, and doing that job well. Who is to say that we shouldn’t do that?

    You claim that the bible states that the women is to stay home, however the woman described in Proverbs went out in to the fields and managed the trade of goods. And she was described as being the perfect wife. This appears to me that she was working outside the household, and still managing to be a woman of God.

    When it comes to birth control, I believe every woman has the right to decide when and if she has children. For years men have abused women and walked away while the woman had to live with an unwanted pregnancy and child. Nowadays this is preventable, but because of the conservative groups such as yourselves, access to birth control is not always easy. Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically say that birth control is a sin, although it does mention that abortion is a sin. And if using birth control prevents abortion, then shouldn’t we be promoting its use?

    A woman has many places, and it’s not just in the home. We are mothers, teachers, daughters, managers, lawyers, politicians, field-workers, sales associates, and so many things I can’t even list. Why pin us down to only one career? Women in the past fought for our rights, and the fight continues so that we may pursue our dreams without worrying about what society thinks.

    To conclude my comment, I will simply say I hope that your goal of all women being sentenced to being homemakers is never achieved. Let us not return to a time already passed, rather let us move on into a future where every daughter has the same opportunities as every son. This is unfortunately still in the future, and groups like yours aim to hinder this possibility.

    Thank you,

    Katelynn

  18. Katelyn,

    I am sad, that you, too, have been deceived by the narrow views of modern feminism.

    I’ve addressed all the things you mentioned here, at length, in other posts. But to restate as briefly as possible:

    Being a homemaker is not “one career”…that’s the first lie. Being a homemaker is the ONLY career that gives women the freedom to be all those things you mentioned. The difference is, she is working out from the heart of home, with her family, impacting the community and world around her. She is working for her husband, instead of being a help meet to another boss.

    This is PRECISELY what the Prov 31 woman did–a homemaker can DO all kinds of things, run business, and yes, even GO PLACES. But all those things come second to her role as help meet to her husband, and manager of her home.

    A keeper at home is beautiful, talented, smart and capable.

    And you ask, “who says”? I submit that God says. Even if it doesn’t make sense to us, His wisdom is far more infinite and we would do well to trust Him.

    And you ask…

    “And if using birth control prevents abortion, then shouldn’t we be promoting its use?”

    Do the research…birth control can CAUSE abortion. I think we should be sharing this information with fellow Christians, and then steering women back to God’s design for the family to reduce the number of broken homes and “unwanted” children.

  19. Katelynn, you said:

    “For years men have abused women and walked away while the woman had to live with an unwanted pregnancy and child.”

    Birth control has done very little to alleviate this. There are not fewer single-parent homes since the advent of the pill, nor are there less reports of battered and sexually abused women! Both have increased and are now accepted as mainstream!

    Men have an easy out thanks to the popularity and high expectations of women to consistently use birth control. Higher access to birth control means more single, uncommitted people having sex, leading to a higher rate of pregnancy out of wedlock, or a lifelong partnership. Because now, if a man and a woman conceive a child together, it is HER fault that she is pregnant because it is supposed to be HER responsibility to take the pill. He can walk away any time he pleases with little to no incentive to be responsible for the life he has helped to create! On top of that, it allows employers more excuse to pressure working women to choose between their unborn children or their jobs.

    I think it’s pretty clear that birth control makes it easier for society to exploit women as sexual objects and override their role in the reproductive processes. Pregnancy can often be a physically, emotionally, and spiritually vulnerable time in a lady’s life. When she has been surrounded by the worldview that what she is experiencing was completely preventable (like a disease or a bad decision), she is left to doubt her natural, God-given powers of life and abandoned to the cold comfort of “choice.” It’s either abortion, adoption (which some women cannot bear giving up their child), or struggling to provide for herself and her child without the father. Is it any wonder that pregnant women facing a crisis turn to a seemingly “quick fix” over the latter two choices?

    Even in committed marriage relationships, birth control puts a divide in the bond between husband and wife. My husband and I have just learned this error, and we are now blessed with a 3rd child to be born in May! I used to perpetuate this belief too, that “women have been sentenced to be homemakers.” It really kept me from enjoying a lot of precious moments with my young son and daughter, because of the callous worldview that devoting my entire attention to them and our home is some sort of punishment. How twisted and awful!

    Birth control is the modern-day shackles used to manipulate women’s bodies, hearts, and minds. She can then be subdued to her “place” away from the home, aka “prison”: long hours behind a desk, a cash register, or objectified on the glossy pages of a magazine. A subtle evil in every way.

    Stepping down from the box now, thank you!

      1. Jennifer, we don’t reduce abuse or pregnancy via abuse by making the victims change themselves and change their bodies, we go after the abusers and their behavior. Today, society subtly shifts the blame onto women for not preventing their own fertility, instead of punishing the men who usurped women’s bodies to meet their own ends.

        Once again, when men can expect that women regularly use birth control, as our current day culture often projects that we do, they have little concern for what happens to the women after they have their way. After all, it’s not the man’s responsibility anymore to deal with fertility, it’s been landed squarely onto the woman to “deal with it.” Once again, it puts women on the spot for something that isn’t their fault.

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  21. I realize I am commenting in on this article much later than the date it was originally posted… I stumbled across it after specifically searching “biblical views on birth control” because I have pondered the subject and prayed over it, and don’t feel completely decided upon the issue – particularly because my husband is not in agreement with my initial inclinations. Aside from my personal situation, I wanted to mention for others that the concept of birth control is nothing new. In Genesis 38 a man named Onan spilled his semen on the ground because the child he could potentially bring into the world would not be considered “his”. The new life would not be part of his plan, and therefore he did not want to take part in creating him/her… On the flip side, Abraham and Sarah desperately wanted children. They had been promised a child. They waited. And waited. And waited some more. And tried all they could. And eventually starting inviting maidservants into the picture to build their family… Just want to point out that family planning is absolutely NOT a new concept.

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