Christians and Contraception

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For the past few weeks, I have been working on a project with my boss to come up with a presentation for our hospital folks with regards to the various methods of contraception available. This topic is pretty much our bread and butter in the O&G Department as we will only discharge a mother who has just delivered once she has decided upon a contraception of her choice.

The in-depth reading and researching about this brought up several questions about the sciences behind these methods of contraception and the morality which revolves around that. I’ve had such a struggle even back in medical school but never really paid as much attention to it as I should.

And now it’s part of my business. I’m giving advice to women everyday about using contraception to plan their families and to space their pregnancies, and now upon properly realizing this, I stand back in horror to what I’ve encouraged some women to do and use (but with the back up of strong medical reasons).

  • What methods of contraception are available today?
  • How does each method work in preventing pregnancy?
  • What does the Bible say about contraception?
  • As a Christian medical practitioner, how do I stand in this dilemma of advising women for the contraception they’re suitable for, but those that stands against my moral conscience?

So it was time to dig deeper past the medical journals and evidences about what works and what does not, to the reading materials which set one’s mind straight about the moral and ethical issues behind contraception.

This article was a great help to highlight the Biblical view towards this topic. Here’s another super useful article which talks about each type of contraception and explains how each works for its purpose.

So where do I stand in the definition of where does life begin? Personally, I believe it’s when fertilization takes place. This is really important because by that I have already crossed out several methods which would go against that belief. 

This is where it gets difficult for me. Do I encourage women to use contraception? If so, what type would I advise them to use? Most of the time, we’d counsel them to use the ones with only progestogen in it so as to promote milk production for breast feeding. There is a risk of fertilization in these type of contraception as it works by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg on to the wall of the womb.

Have I done wrong in promoting this type of contraception as a doctor?

Here’s an even increasing problem for me. We have a lot of obese women here, well.. it’s not just a Slim River problem, in fact, it’s everywhere. We just have a lot of obese people around and many of them are pregnant women. The giving of hormonal form of contraception would greatly increase their risk of deep vein thrombosis and other various medical illness, which is why we often advise women who are obese to use the barrier kinds of contraception – either the condom or the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD).

52305FYI, the failure rate of the condom is greater than the other methods and based on what I’ve heard and seen from my patients, men simply just don’t favour them and they’re hardly used. That leaves with the only other option of IUCD insertion – a little device thing we insert into the womb to prevent implantation. Yup. You read that right. Prevent implantation. Fertilization does take place in that womb but because the IUCD creates a hostile environment within that implantation of that fertilized egg cannot take place and therefore is expelled. It is an abortifacient. This is where I stand in horror. I guess I have known about this before, but never really consciously act upon it. I have advised women for IUCD and worse still, I have inserted so many in my line of work. How can I consciously stay clean of this?

I can’t! What do I do? Stop advising for IUCD, let alone for contraception? But I can’t do that as a doctor, as there are so many other complications of being pregnant too many times or having poor spacing between pregnancies!

Help! Any ideas?

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2 thoughts on “Christians and Contraception

  1. Joel says:

    Wow. Complicated issue. I think this is the first time someone has explained in good detail one of the dilemmas doctors face in giving medical counsel.

    Some thoughts:

    1. Is abstinence an option? In a Muslim country, is it possible to establish some common ground with your patients on the sanctity of life and when life begins? It seems to me that time-inappropriate sex is the root of the problem, and patients can either choose to be reactive or proactive.

    2. Would it be possible to educate people of the available contraception options (including temporary abstinence) without having to recommend one? If not,

    3. Is it possible to distinguish between giving standard govt. issued counsel, and having a differing personal opinion? The main issue here would be whether it would be legal to voice a personal opinion that differs from what you are meant to say as a govt. doctor. If it’s possible, it allows you to respect the employer while giving personal counsel that is in agreement with your conscience and what you feel to be biblically right.

    4. Is it possible to exempt yourself from IUCD procedures? Are there conscience clauses in your contract?

    I find it encouraging that you’ve managed to keep a sensitive conscience in the O&G minefield. It seems that if these issues cannot be resolved then you would have to consider moving out of O&G at the next available opportunity, though I’m not sure what new difficulties that will bring.

    In the meantime, I think it’s worth remembering also that God does not hold our sins against us nor does he condemn us any longer because of Jesus. From this foundation of peace with God, it might be easier to work out a morally acceptable course of action without the added pressure of crippling guilt.

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