First off just wanted to apologize for not posting recently, life has been crazy, being busy at work, weathering the onslaught of Hurricane Isaac, and preparing for a little one. But anyway, I'm back again!
What I want to post about today is the real effects of birth control and my journey to finding the reality of what birth control actually does.
Growing up in a predominantly catholic culture here in south Louisiana it was pretty much a given that you were to oppose birth control. It was mentioned in passing once or twice but not really talked about in detail. In our CCD classes when we got into the upper levels all they taught was abstinence. They spent way more time dealing with abortion than birth control. So, I knew why abortion was bad, they showed us some video clips and they were really active within the pro-life movement in the church. So, abortion equalled bad and sin BECAUSE abortion equalled killing an innocent child of God. But why was birth control bad, other than being told it was immoral we had nothing else to go on.
Well recently I've been hearing more and more about different types of birth control, at my wife's baby doctor they have posters pushing IUD methods, oral methods, and even injection type methods and we all know how many times a day ads run on tv. We got to talking about how we would handle the timing of our second child after Ady is born in October. We were both leary of all of these methods, first and foremost because we know that the Church's teachings are contrary to the use of these methods. But we needed to be educated on all sides to make the right decisions concerning this matter. My wife had never used any type of birth control method because she was intelligent enough to know it would likely affect her reproductive system. That knowledge alone was enough for her to steer clear of these methods so she never really looked into why they were so controversial within the church either.
So here we are, 25 and 26, about to have our first child, and probing into the ins and outs of birth control methods. For the first time in our lives, with years of church teaching under our belts and public school sex ed, we finally found out what actually happens when you use birth control...and here it is...
The Pill is one of the most common uses of birth control. The pill works in three different ways to ensure that a pregnancy does not occur. The FIRST thing the pill does to stop the process of life is what is called an "ovulation suppression." This is attained by the chemical and hormonal balances the pill contains, these hormones try to stop an egg from being released each month. If this doesn't work and an egg is produced the pill moves onto the SECOND stage of it's attack. The pill changes the make-up of the cervical mucus that is normally used to help the sperm get to the egg. When on the pill however, this mucus becomes inhospitable to sperm, it becomes much thicker and significantly reduces the chances the sperm has to get to the egg. But if a sperm does make it through and is able to fertilize the egg the THIRD stage begins to work. The third stage is the ABORTIFICATION stage. The pill makes the body abort the conceived human (because human life starts at conception!) by basically starving it. While on the pill the body isn't allowed to produce the uterus as it should, the uterine lining is significantly under developed and is thinner than it should be, the fertilized egg isn't able to implant into the lining and it is basically starved before being discharged.
The third stage is obviously what hit me big time. I didn't realize that it worked as an abortification method, that it actually killed a child. I'd be willing to bet a lot of people don't realize this, especially people in my age group. The companies that manufacturer the pill actually report that on average 2-3 pregnancies are aborted a YEAR in EACH woman that takes the pill. These estimates are conservative, many places hold that it is probably closer to 5 or 6 a year. It is possible for this to happen TWELVE times a year!!! If that isn't alarming, I don't know what is!
Based on CDC research about 62 million women are in the child-bearing years, of those 62% use these methods of birth control. Based on these stats combined with the conservative estimate of 3 abortions a year per woman from the manufacterer themselves that is a total of 115.32 Million Chemical Abortions a year attributed to birth control! The total number of abortions since 1973 performed legally in the United States is 50 million (source), that means birth control attributes to over 2 times the amount of terminated pregnancies!
The IUD works in much the same way as the pill here is some information pulled directly from the website of American Pregnancy Association:
The progesterone intrauterine device releases a constant low dose of a synthetic hormone continually throughout the day. Both the progesterone IUD and copper IUD prevent pregnancy in one of two ways:The American Pregnancy Association goes on to address the ethical and moral dilemma that we as Catholics face, they do so in a broad way, but at least they acknowledge it. Here's how they describe it...
- The released progesterone or copper creates changes in the cervical mucus and inside the uterus that kills sperm or makes them immobile.
- Changes the lining of the uterus, preventing implantation should fertilization occur.
It is possible that you may not have been aware that any ethical questions existed concerning contraception. The contraceptive methods that involve the changing of the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation from occurring create an ethical or moral consideration for some people.My faith teaches me, and my wife and I believe, that life begins at conception. Not allowing life to sustain itself is Immoral and Unethical to me and my church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2370) has this to say:
Some people believe that life begins at conception whereas others believe it begins at implantation. The ethical consideration develops for individuals who believe that life begins at conception.
When contraceptive methods fail to prevent ovulation or fertilization, the changing of the uterine lining is used to prevent the fertilized egg or “life” from implanting in the uterine wall. It is this action that leaves people believing they have crossed an ethical boundary.
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:I've italicized the parts that speak great volumes to me, first that the act of natural family planning encourages tenderness and authentic freedom and on the flip side that those things that see an end or a means to procreation is intrinsically evil. I believe that the first half is quite the opposite of evil, but rather intrinsically beautiful.
I know this topic is touchy for some people, and truly I don't mean to start controversy. I just find it important for us not only to know what we believe, but why we believe it. The information that I have come across is more than enough for me to know why I cannot condone the use of birth control methods such as the pill and IUDs.
Please, be smart. Know your options. Know the consequences. Know your beliefs. Don't get caught up in the high dollared advertising campaigns, the promise of a freedom that at best is false, and don't get caught in the self-centricness that artificial birth control promotes.
The Catholic Church supports two types of birth control. Abstinance is one. Natural Family Planning is the other. For great information on Natural Family Planning please visit the following websites. I greatly reccommend the Family of the Americas website, I've spoken to Mrs Mercedes Wilson, founder of the organization, personally and she is a great person with tons of information. Her website helps you ween off of birthcontrol if you plan to go natural, and has tons of great resources!
Family of the Americas
United State Conference of Catholic Bishops - NFP
If you stuck with this post till the end, Thanks! I hope you were able to learn something, I know through the research I learned tons. My wife and I will be traveling through the NFP method once we have our child in October. So as I learn the methods I'll be glad to share. Please leave your comments and opinions as I always love hearing from you. Until next time..