Added note since first publishing:
We must take responsibility for our part in the culture of death in which we now live, or be hypocrites, as we ponder the atrocity that is Planned Parenthood. We didn’t just wake up in a place where killing babies was an option better than having them. When birth control became accepted, it became expected. We essentially said we wanted to not have babies when we didn’t want babies, but we still want to take part in the act of how they are made. And with us being all in control now, an “unplanned pregnancy” became a tragedy.
Worse, we projected that expectation onto everyone else. “Don’t have babies too soon after marriage” (they will hinder you)…”Don’t have babies too close together” (they will inconvenience you)…”Don’t have too many babies” (they will cost you), and by our narrow allowance, babies–people, immortal human life, simultaneously, were devalued.
When the stigma is strong enough, the criticism loud enough, and the value of one’s own comfort exceeds the value of a new life, abortion is the second and obvious line of birth control. We can do our part, as Christians, esteeming and valuing every life, by echoing God’s Word, instead of the culture’s voice.
People get really squirmy when the topic of birth control comes up and I can attest, having studied and written on the subject for almost 7 years, there are few hotter button topics.
I’ve been begged to leave the subject alone, reminded that it’s “an issue solely between husband, wife and God.” And it is. But the ripple effect goes far beyond that, and it’s that effect I’m so concerned about, among Christians, which is why I keep tackling the topic.
Some beg for the lives of the innocent at their local abortion mill. And some beg with words, agonizing during the night, rushing to find a keyboard.
I have believed, and will continue to unless I’m convinced otherwise, that there is a short walk between the birth control mindset and abortion.
Hear what I said: “the birth control mindset.” This is a very important distinction. I am not saying, nor have I ever said, it is a sin to prevent or space children, upon careful prayer and discernment, within the proper understanding of life. It’s not a discussion about specific circumstances, or sick mamas or hard pregnancies.
The “birth control mindset” is one that treats new life too lightly, fails to give proper authority to the Creator, assumes absolute control over fertility and consequently establishes (either consciously or not) that the idea of “normal” family size is two or three children.
The birth control mindset inadvertently becomes hostile to the practice of forgoing birth control. And herein lies a great problem.
To the church I say: we cannot be staunch pro-life advocates only where abortion is concerned. It is hypocritical to fight for the life of the unborn, but insult the life of the born (and the mother who gave him life), where we deem his birth order to be too high. That is as good as saying, “you should have aborted those last three.”
You might say, “no, she should have prevented the last three.”
Which could be said to every mother walking into an abortion clinic. But her birth control simply failed. Yet we still clamor for that child’s life, and rejoice to see it spared. And we should. Just as we should celebrate every life, especially the life of a believer, receiving into his family the very heritage of the Lord.
Here are my reasons for believing there’s a strong connection between birth control and abortion:
- The contraceptive mentality fosters the notion of unwanted children.
“The connection between contraception and abortion is primarily this: Contraception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral character that are likely to lead to abortion. The contraceptive mentality treats sexual intercourse as though it had little connection with babies; it thinks of babies as an “accident” of intercourse, as an unwelcome intrusion into a sexual relationship, as a burden. The sexual revolution has no fondness – nor room for – the connection between sexual intercourse and babies…” –Professor Janet Smith,”The Connection Between Contraception and Abortion“
- Abortion is simply the back-up method for failed contraception.
Planned Parenthood vs. Casey:
“…the recent Supreme Court decision that confirmed Roe v. Wade, stated, “in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception… for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” (emphasis mine)
Janet Smith again writes:
“To support the argument that more responsible use of contraceptives would reduce the number of abortions, some note that most abortions are performed for “contraceptive purposes.” That is, few abortions are had because a woman has been a victim of rape or incest or because a pregnancy would endanger her life, or because she expects to have a handicapped or deformed newborn. Rather, most abortions are had because men and women who do not want a baby are having sexual intercourse and facing pregnancies they did not plan for and do not want. Because their contraceptive failed, or because they failed to use a contraceptive,they then resort to abortion as a backup. Many believe that if we could convince men and women to use contraceptives responsibly we would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and thus the number of abortions. Thirty years ago this position might have had some plausibility, but not now. We have lived for about thirty years with a culture permeated with contraceptive use and abortion; no longer can we think that greater access to contraception will reduce the number of abortions. Rather, wherever contraception is more readily available the number of unwanted pregnancies and the number of abortions increases greatly.”
- Birth control increases the number of abortions.
Judith Bury, coordinator of Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion said:
“There is overwhelming evidence that … the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”
- Artificial birth control can actually cause abortions.
Dr. Walter Larimore, who for decades prescribed the pill, tried to disprove the claim that the pill is abortifacient, only to find 94 scientific studies proving that “postfertilization effects are operative to prevent clinically recognized pregnancy.” He published his findings in the scientific journal of the American Medical Association, and from then on stopped prescribing the pill.
Why it matters so much
Christians must think carefully and discern wisely about reproduction and fertility. To simply adopt the culture’s practices of such an important, world-changing activity, without due attention to God’s directives, is not only unwise, but potentially destructive.
Where God said:
- Be fruitful and multiply…
- what I have created is good…
- It is I who have made you…
- I knew you before you were formed in the womb…
- I want to give you a heritage…
- a gift…
- your children will help you fight the enemy
- the fruitfulness of your marriage is to reflect the church
- I desire godly children from your union (Malachi 2:15)
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood & Pro-Choice Advocates said:
- “The marriage bed is the most degenerating influence in the social order.”
- “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
- “Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most.”
- “A baby is a baby when the mother says it is.”
- “I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.” *
- “a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity (read: “child”) inside of her. Always.” *
(So What if Abortion Ends a Life, Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Before we can hope to see abortion eradicated and life embraced as sacred–sacred enough to protect, preserve and defend at all costs, all life must become so.
If the birth control mindset causes us to measure the value of a child’s life by the number of children born before him, we do not share the mind of God, and deserve the consequences of sharing the mind of a culture who defends death.
We cannot mock what God has created and called good, while simultaneously claiming to be pro-life. As long as we do, we needn’t wonder why abortion is such a vile blight on our society.