Last time, I shared some personal conclusions I reached on the issue of birth control for our family, and this time around I want to explore the issue of birth control for Christians in general. Note, I said “for Christians”. Obviously, if you are not a Christ-follower, most of what I have to say doesn’t apply to you, so no offense, please.
In the first place, there is the fact that some BC pills do in fact cause a very early abortion. If you believe that life begins at conception (and I do), then as a Bible believer you have no choice but to avoid those types. The gray area is that every pill I’ve ever heard of is believed to have the “handy back-up plan” of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting (surviving) in the event that conception takes place, which is essentially forcing the body to miscarry or abort – and this is true even for those pills that claim to prevent ovulation/fertilization. That is because the level of hormones necessary to completely prevent ovulation is dangerous for a healthy woman, and so the pills contain a lower dose. However, these pills have never been “proved” to cause a miscarriage, so many Christians believe it’s ok. Either way, I take issue with the idea of drastically changing the natural hormone balance of my body for the majority of my (rather extensive) fertile years. It just doesn’t seem smart. Why not go with God’s original design and have a baby every couple of years as He blesses you?
Well, there are several reasons Christians would rather avoid having babies than go with the flow. And this is what I really find interesting. Because, often, the reasons we give are the exact same reasons people choose abortion.
1. I can’t afford a baby right now. While this might sometimes be true, I have never met a Christian family who claimed such a thing who lived in actual poverty. As in, “can’t feed my family or put a roof over their heads” poverty. Typically the people who claim the money issue are the same ones who eat out all the time, by nice clothes, drive newer cars, live in big houses and put their (2) kids through every sport imaginable. What they mean by “can’t afford” is, “Can’t afford to sustain this life style”. I know there are different situations, but I also know the American expectation of life style is pretty high, and that by lowering those expectations we can “afford” much more than we think. I know. I grew up in a family and surrounded by families who chose this life style of more kids, less stuff.
2. This is not the right time. This is a hard question for humans to decide. I mean, how often in life have we been through something for which we felt unprepared, and yet, that very event became one of our biggest blessings. As a Christian, I believe these things are in the hand of God.
3. There is a risk of birth defect. This is usually only an issue to Christians over the age of 35, but I have heard that it is actually irresponsible to get pregnant at that age, and risk having a special needs baby. ???? Like special needs babies don’t happen at any other age? Like God isn’t ultimately in control of that? Like those babies are better never born? This doesn’t make sense to me.
4. I can’t handle any more kids. I’ve never seen someone turn down a job promotion because they “couldn’t handle” the extra responsibility, and yet people turn down more children for that very reason all the time. My mom used to say, “If you have three kids, you can handle three kids. You can’t handle eight, because you don’t have eight, but if/when you get to eight God will give you what you need to deal with it and do a good job.” I really believe that’s true. I’ve seen many grade schoolers struggle with a math problem and claim they can’t do it, but what they really need is to learn and practice. If I am not good at time management, that is not an excuse for wasting my time. It means I need to get good at it. I need to learn. I need to grow. I need to adapt to my work load, trusting that God won’t give me more than I can carry. This is just part of life, and we have to apply these principles to every area if we are going to succeed.
In conclusion, while there may be some good reasons to consider spacing your children (and a handful of inconvenient, but healthy, methods for doing so) the majority of reasons given to me by my Christian peers are pretty selfish. Sadly, it seems that as a whole, the Christian community has the same heart and mind set as our pro-choice opponents, except we believe in doing things in a more sophisticated way by disposing of the by-product of our natural married love before we even knew it existed. I can’t help but feel that this is part of the reason we can’t convince the world to not abort their babies. We don’t actually value our own very much (or we wouldn’t spend so much money preventing them!), why do we expect them to value theirs?