The Birth Control Debate

*This post is about to get ADULT-CONTENT oriented. If you’re too young to read about sex, go play outside with your toys and stop reading here.*

In many Christian circles (mostly very conservative ones), there’s an on-going debate not just about abortion, but about birth control.

Is birth control wrong to use?

I think what I found so frustrated after leaving the ministry and leaving church was that I was only prepared for adult life inside the “bubble” of the church. I only knew how to act and think inside the bubble, and with those friends and acquaintances who were also as devoted to their faith as I was.

Otherwise, I had no idea how to make decisions or live life.

For example, I had to one day decide if I wanted to have sex (so taboo!). Which also meant, I had to think about what a contraceptive was (something that wasn’t talked about in church).

I found it frustrating that churches either close the dialogue to the birth control topic or they talk about sex, condoms and the pill like they’re creatures from the black lagoon that we shouldn’t touch, think about, or use or we will die.

I’d appreciate it if churches were either silent on the issue, letting a person decide for themselves what they wanted to do in their own personal time in the bedroom, or if they taught responsibly and practically.

Abstinence only education is irresponsible and I don’t consider it education. It’s a form of proselytizing and it’s also a way of saying, “You’re too stupid to think, so I want to tell you what to do with your own body.”

Think of it this way, consider that just about everyone who is taught about or who follows “abstinence only” teachings is eventually going to have sex–ONE DAY, some day. I know that the idealist abstinence-only teachers and clergy who push the idea forward think that those who abstain are all going to be virgins who marry other virgins, but let’s face it, that’s not the case.

So, I think it’s irresponsible NOT to teach young adults about sex, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted diseases. One day, little Miss Virgin (or Secondary Virgin) is going to meet Mister Virgin (or Secondary Virgin) and they’re going to have to figure out a) how to plug one thing into another b) how not to get pregnant before they’re ready and c) how to prevent and recognize an STD.

Who’s “right” is it to teach their children? I don’t know and I don’t care. If a parent wants to teach their children, they should have every right. If a school wants to talk about it from a public health standpoint, I could care less and I think it’s fair to say that they should in order to prevent diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Another issue that’s real taboo to talk about is abortion. Did you know that there are several ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies? No, I’m serious. Some people really don’t know, or are misinformed about how to prevent a pregnancy.

So, I’m about to get real Kindergarten here, and very “health class” on you, because I think it’s pretty responsible to talk about.

For one, you can use a condom. This protects you from some, not all, STDs and pregnancy if you use it correctly.

For two, a woman can use a variety of birth control pills, rings, implants that work to prevent pregnancy when used correctly. If you use it incorrectly, or use it while on some other medications (like anti-biotics) you can get pregnant. These don’t prevent STD’s.

For three, there’s Emergency Contraception (EC) or one popular brand of this EC is called Plan B, also known as the morning after pill. It’s in the event that a condom breaks, or your birth control method failed, or you had unprotected sex. You can’t take this regularly…it’s just a once in a great while kind of thing.

I mention this #3 specifically, because some people believe that the morning after pill, Plan B, is an abortion pill.

Do you?

Did you know that the morning after pill is not an abortion pill?

According to their website, “Plan B One-Step™ is one pill that has a higher dose of levonorgestrel, a hormone found in many birth control pills that healthcare professionals have been prescribing for more than 35 years. Plan B One-Step™ works in a similar way to prevent pregnancy. Plan B One-Step™ will not affect an existing pregnancy.”

Another Q & A from their site:

Is Plan B the RU-486 (the abortion pill?)

No. Plan B® One-Step is not RU-486 (the abortion pill). It is an emergency contraceptive (EC) that helps prevent an unplanned pregnancy after contraceptive failure, or unprotected intercourse. Plan B® One-Step will not affect an existing pregnancy.

So, let’s talk about what an abortion is. An abortion is terminating an existing pregnancy.I know some quacks talk about the “sanctity of life” like it’s an egg or a sperm, but we’ve all already realized that if you didn’t use all of your eggs, or all of your sperm, or “killed them” by allowing them to go unfertilized and shed from your body, then we would ALL be killers.

Killer! haha

Totally kidding.

So, back to the lecture at hand:

Emergency contraception is similar to a birth control pill, and works primarily by:

  • Preventing ovulation
  • Possibly preventing fertilization by altering tubal transport of sperm and/or egg
  • Altering the endometrium, which may inhibit implantation

EC is not effective once the process of implantation has begun. It will not affect an existing pregnancy or harm a developing fetus.

So, the basic way it works is that it may prevent ovulation, or inhibit implantation. That is not an abortion. That’s more similar to using a condom or a birth control pill. I’m no doctor, but it sounds like it’s not letting Mr. Sperm and Mrs. Egg get together and make a baby.

Where Do I Stand? by Aaron Gates

 

Where do I stand?

A Guest Post by Aaron Gates 

After leaving a church group that I had been “professionally” affiliated with for five years I had a lot of questions to ask myself. I had to ask myself where to go to church; who my real friends were. Everyone I associated with on a regular basis I went to church with. When the dam finally broke I was engaged and about to start pre-marital counseling with the pastor. I was living with a family from the church. Two of the teenagers I worked closely with in the youth group lived in that house. It was a Thursday afternoon when I had finished up my extremely heated conversation with my pastor by telling him I was going to find somewhere else to go to church. When I got home I told the guys that I had a disagreement with Pastor S. and would not be going to church with them any more. When their Grandmother got home a little later I gave her the same vague description of why I was leaving. She said something very interesting to me. She said, and I quote, “You know what really happened is going to come out so you might as well tell me.” She was right and I knew it. So I responded, “You’re probably right but you aren’t going to hear it from me.” I promised myself I would not bad mouth the pastor to any of the church members or anyone affiliated with the church.

To this day I have not.

I have had more opportunities than I can count to tell people how badly I was treated. How violated I felt by people I trusted. I could have told the truth. I did not. Unfortunately I was not afforded the same courtesy.

The people at the church had always talked about our relationship as if we were family. So when I stopped attending that church I did not know what to expect.

Would they continue to treat me like family, or was I only family when I attended church with them?

So I was hurt when I realized that I was only a family member when I was a church member. I felt like I was mourning the death of myself; like part of who I was died, because part of me did. A huge part of my life was over, and I felt empty. I was stressed out by trying to live up to the expectations and standards that were set for me from the time I was 18. Then I felt broken and lost.

 

The conflict at the root of everything was that my relationship with God was founded on what I had been taught and told and made to experience. My relationship with God had been corralled in a direction that a pastor wanted me to go. I had a need to find out what I believed and needed to reconcile that with all that I had been taught for the past ten or so years.

I had to decide for myself where I stood.

What do I believe? That is a scary question.

I wanted to know if believing in God was even worth it. It took me a very long time to work everything out.

I wrote that like I have it all worked out. That’s funny. I don’t!

However, there are some things I know. I know that God loves me and He sent His Son to the world for that reason. I know that I chose to live for God before I went to Masters or to the church. I know that my relationship with Him is based on our mutual experience with each other. I believe that He is the way the truth and the life and no one can go to the Father except through Him. I also know that everyone has a different reaction to difficult situations and I don’t expect everyone to believe that. I know that in the church that God wants to see in the world there is room for everyone and room for different opinions and different convictions.

Some will say that there is only one way to be a Christian. I know that God made every person on earth different. Based on that, there are roughly six billion ways to have a relationship with God and it is not my place or anyone else’s to determine what that should look like for anyone. I also know that I lost sight of God because I was more concerned with what a group of people thought about me than what God thought about me. I know that I will never be in ministry in any capacity again, by choice.

But most importantly, I know God.

 

My name is Aaron Gates I live in Gulfport, MS with my wife Jenny and brand new daughter Rebecca. I have been blogging about my experience as a Christian and a new dad since August 2010. If anyone wants to contact me to talk about your experience in Master’s Commission, ministry, or anything else, I’d love to hear from you: aaron.p.gates@gmail.com.

Check out my blog.