[Home]Contraception

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I've never understood the problem some people seem to have with the idea. Could someone enlighten me? I'm not talking about things which are effectively forms of abortion here, like the morning after pill (which, apparently, stops a fertilised egg implanting in the womb lining as part of its possible action) - I can just about understand why someone might object to those. But what's wrong with condoms and caps?

NickTaylor: Those who are against birth control will tend to outbreed those who are not.  My knowledge of the history of contraception is minimal, though.  It's quite possible that this is not a reason why the belief is widespread.  Another possible cause is that contraception reduces the chance of that generally undesirable consequence of sex, pregnancy.  Contraception and promiscuity could therefore become linked in the minds of some.  Why some people consider promiscuity a bad thing probably deserves another page.

As an aside, I have heard the theory that the fact noted above is likely to lead to the return of NorthernIreland? to the IrishRepublic? within about the next fifty years.  I leave it to your imaginations to work out why. --MJ

AnneRogers: I think the belief about not using contraception is these days purely a catholic belief, resulting in the early church belief that sex was not a good thing even between man and wife, there's a name for this which I can't spell, but it's something like ascetism, this believe was modified into something like, sex is for procreation, thus every sexual act must have the chance to lead to procreation, hence no contraception, this was well before the invention of the pill, and when this was introduced there was some discussion as to whether it might be allowed as there was no barrier, but in the end it was not allowed. As the catholic church has modernised, though nothing has changed from above (ie the pope/vatican), most catholics seem to take the decision based on their own consience, rather than necessarily following the rules of the church.

AR: Argh.  I really really don't have time to be discussing this right now, but I think I need to suggest a few corrections.  The belief about "not using contraception" is not just a view of the Roman Catholic Church.  It is a view also accepted and believed by a good number of Conservative Evangelicals and probably other Christians too.  The view of the RCC is not that no contraception should be used, but only that appropriate methods should be used.  The only one of these that is recommended is known as NFP or Natural Family Planning.  I do not know whether Roman Catholics would term this "a method of contraception", but others would categorise it this way.  Used properly, I know its proponents would argue that it has an above 99% effectiveness rate.  An acquaintance of mine runs a website that promotes its teaching and practice and for further information, you should look here:  [Natural Family Planning website]
{boggles}  Um, I admit I have only previously seen the 'other side' but I have been told closer to a 70% 'success' rate for this method.  Making it, well, worthless.  --Vitenka (who was also under the impression that this aberrant belief was Catholic only)
Entertainingly enough, NIV: Genesis 38: 8-10 suggests that *all* methods of contraception are wicked, which is at least consistent. --NT
(PeterTaylor) It doesn't. The issue there wasn't contraception in the abstract: it was wilful intent to fail to provide his brother with an heir. I'm not sure that "theft" technically describes the sin committed, but it's along the right lines.
I concede this point, though I still find it an amusing origin for the term "Onanism".  Is there any other Biblical mention of contraception as a bad thing? --NT
(PeterTaylor) Is there any other Biblical mention of contraception? None spring to mind.
Not gonna touch that one.  Hello?  Succesfully sleeping with your brothers wife would otherwise be good?  "Covet not your neighbours wife, sleep with your brothers!"  --Vitenka (T-Shirt slogans anyone?  Though you begin to see why Christianity made a popular cult...)
(PeterTaylor) <sigh> There's a concept called "context". While it can most certainly be amusing to take things out of context, it's rarely helpful. The previous verse is NIV: Genesis 38: 7 - so "wife" should really be "widow". See NIV: Deut 25: 5-6
Very true, but in order for context to be helpful it has to either be previously known or supplied.  Sorry, but while a number of ToothyWikizens may well study the bible, it certainly isn't true of all.  I wondered about that myself. --K
If you click through the link, there's another link "This chapter". That will usually supply the immediate context. (Exceptions can occur when the chapter breaks are in silly places).
I blame my general brainlessness for that one.  The end of 7 comes after the marker for verse 8 in my dead-tree bible, so I assumed 7 was un-necessary for context.  I note that by Deuteronomy, the punishment was toned down significantly. --NT
But that makes it less fun!  Can we make "Kill your brother, steal his wife!" T-Shirts instead?  --Vitenka (ok, so the injunction is no longer quite so nonsensical, but it's still pretty crazy.  And what about the edge cases where all brothers are already married?  Not to mention the terrible wording of 'fulfill the duties of a brother in law')  I'm bored, ok?  As for context supplied, I suppose we COULD have just clicked back and read a few verses prior...
Re "edge cases": this was at a time when polygamy was common.
Note to Vitenka: Take care with your punctuation, missing apostrophes can be problematic :) --K
Um.  [WikiQuote], I fear.  --Vitenka  (Yes, that should be the wife belonging to the brother, not the plural brothers.  Unless I'm missing a biiig section of book.)
Could someone explain to this poor idiot how any form of contraception is supposed to make any difference at all to an omnipotent God making you conceive or stopping you from conceiving as he jolly well chooses? I mean come on, we're talking about someone who is supposed to have made Mary conceive when she hadn't had sex at all. In the light of that, the idea of switching forms of contraception to  "give God a better chance" seems, well, silly. Especially if you're someone arguing that the "alternative method of contraception" you propose is just as effective - what's the point in switching? Same goes for medication intended to stop fertilised eggs implanting; anyone got statistics on how many fertilised eggs don't implant without specific measures being taken to prevent implantation? I gather the proportion is not small. - MoonShadow
One particular viewpoint I have problems with is that if a couple have sex while deliberately preventing conception then they deny God's part in it. This, to me, sounds like they're limiting God's part to fertilisation, which sounds daft. Surely God is present in the unitive part as well as the procreative part? Otherwise, his role is that of fertility enhancement, which doesn't sound quite right... - SunKitten
That would certainly make for a novel variation on the usual spam messages... --K
I can see it now.  "Fertility enhancement - not a pill!  Invite god into your life!"  As for 'another method' for those who din't RTFA?, the 'natural method' or 'rythm method' is, basically, not having intercourse except while the female is not in heat. Which method might have a chance for something that doesn';t have a cycle of ~29 days.  --Vitenka  (I'm gonna ignore the 'pull out quickly' part as being a) icky and b) even less effective)

AR:  I challenge you to present me with "the Early Church belief that sex was not a good thing between man and wife".  I think I might know of the documents you speak about, but this is not a biblical view and it is certainly (for rather obvious reasons) not stood the test of time.  Christianity is an incarnational religion and so we should attempt to rid people of the dualistic idea that "Spirit" is good and matter is bad.  This would be known as a doctrine of Manichaeism and it was condemned as heresy a long time ago.  God created the world out of nothing and called it "good".  I know that the world is also fallen, but I don't think that the Fall caused matter itself to become corrupt.

AR:  I think you are correct in stating that most RCs follow their conscience on the matter.

AnneRogers: The majority of Protestants however have no such doctrine and thus are free to use what they choose, in conservative evangelical spheres, most people choose to avoid anything that allows the creation of an embryo but prevents further development. Some types of contraceptive pill fall into this category, as does the IUD/coil, not sure about the contraceptive injections on implants though.

AR: Some Conservative Evangelicals argue that the pill potentially allows for the creation of an embryo.  I've no time to explain it, but see this page here:

[Pill as abortifacient]

AR: This is not the best page I've read on this issue, but I need to go out now.  I might see if I can dig out the old links on this topic if anybody is interested.

Along a similar line, most conservative evanglicals will not have IVF as this usually means some embryos are discarded.

Not in a similar line, most conservative evangelicals will not have sperm or egg donations, meaning fertility treatments can be limited for some couples.

While we're here: [Not the Catholic method at all] funnier, if not as effective.  --Vitenka



Juat as a matter of interest, is AR above AngelaRayner? --Kazuhiko
Yes - SunKitten



ReligionMatters, Morality, Sexuality

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