Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why I Choose Not to Take the Pill

Since this is almost the 50th Anniversary of the Pill I've been reading a lot about birth control and it has struck me that I never really have shared my opinion on this subject. I know that this blog is mostly about my kids, but it is also a place I can share my views. I like to look back and see not only how my kids have grown, but also how I have grown. So here it is, my view of the pill:

Way back in 2007, when Zach and I were engaged, I decided to address the issue or what we will use for birth control. I had been on the pill since high school for cramping and assumed that I would probably remain on the pill, however I wanted to see all the options. I'm not sure if I heard it somewhere or I just read how the pill works, but I found something that alarmed me.

The pill works in three ways:
1) prevents ovulation preventing any possibility of pregnancy
2) thickens the cervical mucus preventing sperm from reaching the egg
3) thins the lining of the uterus preventing a fertilized egg from implanting

The third is what alarmed me because I would consider this abortion. I believe life begins at conception, when the DNA is formed. Now if you believe life begins at any different point (such as implantation), then you would disagree. But I think a majority of my audience probably agrees. No one knows how often the third step actually happens while taking the pill, but we do know that sometimes even all three methods don't work (since women get pregnant on the pill all the time). I understand how women might find this alarming or question if this is really wrong since their intention is not to abort a child. I can't describe it any better than Al Mohler on why I choose not to take the pill because of the fact it can work as an abortifacient. Here is his blog post about it: Can Christians Use Birth Control?

After discussing with Zach about my concerns, we agreed to use another method (condoms). He didn't really share my view on this matter, but is up in the air. Tonight I actually told him he needed to do more research on the subject. You might be thinking, well they didn't use the pill and they ended up getting pregnant one month later. Yea we messed up (twice, even with Ainsley), but I'm kinda glad we did. We might have gotten carried away with the views that we needed this or that before having kids, or needed to do this before having kids, or even the typical I'm not ready yet. Now don't get me wrong, I definitely feel that there are good reasons for waiting to have kids, but we probably wouldn't have had any. I'm the first to say that having kids is definitely hard work, with tremendous sacrifice. However the blessings they are to me and all that I have learned from them are incomparable to the "burdens". Our society views kids more as burdens than blessings, which has led many astray.

From a biblical stand point, I think God intended sex not just for pleasure but for procreation. Therefore if you are having sex (which should be done within marriage), you should always be open to having kids. So even though we have not only one, but two surprises... they were both planned by God. However this does lead me to question how open I should be to having kids? Should I completely surrender all forms of birth control, surrender everything but Natural Family Planning since there is nothing to stop procreation except abstinence, or are non hormonal contraceptives (i.e. condoms) okay? I still have yet to conclude that any birth control that is merely a contraceptive and not an abortifacient would be theologically inconsistent.

Feel free to share your opinions.


Tessa said...

Hi! I just came across your blog and ... well, I love everything you just said. I know a lot of people don't agree, but I 100% do. I just wanted to say that I love that you wrote this and kudos as well.

The Robinsons said...

Thanks for posting this! (and for including the Albert Mohler article...Caleb is obsessed with that man so I know we will read it carefully).

I have had a lot of the same questions as you...we opted out of the pill for the same reasons...and 2 babies later..well...:)

But I also really struggle with wondering if even condoms are inhibiting what God would want. Abstinence as often as would be necessary for NFP seems a little bit of a struggle too haha. So without ending up with 19 kids and counting, I wish there was a clear answer of how to have a controlled family size yet still put it in the Lord's hands.

Keep up the good research!

Zack said...

Hey Laura,

Good post!

Stephanie and I are pretty much in the same boat.

In our case, we had been married for several months (using the pill), and one day Steph asked if I was ok with her taking the pill.

It had never, ever occurred to me that there was any good reason not to, but once I read up, we agreed that we would find other forms of birth control.

All things considered, condoms cost a little more and are probably a tiny bit less intimate, but given the possibility of harming a potential life, the benefits definitely out-weigh the cost.

I don't judge folks who choose the pill, but I definitely encourage them to read up on it.

Months and months ago, I was reading through "Religion Saves (And Nine Other Misconceptions)" and did a blog post on the chapter about birth control.

I thought the comments were very interesting. You can check that out here:

Anonymous said...

I was on the pill for a year and 3 months before we decided to try to have a baby I L-O-V-E-D the pill because it took away my PMS and my pimples and made my period more predictable. After Andrew was born, Josh didn't want me to go back on the pill, and although I loved the benefits of the pill, I did what he asked me to. Honestly, if Josh didn't ask me to stop taking the pill, I would still be on it now. I agree that preventing a fertilized egg from implanting is killing a human being. I just think the pill has other ways of preventing pregnancy that keep an egg from being fertilized at all.
I read the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility" and that's been really interesting, and I'd recommend it to everyone.
So, that's my story. We aren't using the pill, but I'm doing lots of other things to prevent pregnancy right now because I'm not ready to be pregnant again. I don't think the idea of having sex and leaving the size of our family up to God works for our family. It's not that I don't trust God to make everything work perfectly - I just feel that I need to be responsible to make good decisions. However, this is my personal belief for my family, and I don't expect all families to use my approach to family planning. Different things work for different people.

Zack R - We actually did a cost analysis and condoms are cheaper for us. Birth control was $35 a month, and condoms are less than $1 apiece, and we don't use 35 condoms a month :)