Saturday, November 13, 2004

When does life begin?

A visit to Marla's blog introduced me to the term abortifacient and the consensus amongst many Christians, physicians etc. that birth control pills induce abortions.

I find this shocking, to say the least. Irresponsibly, I never researched the effects the birth control pill has on a woman's reproductive cycle. The thought that it would abort or terminate a pregnancy is not a thought that even crossed my mind when BCP's were discussed.

My father's family has strong beliefs regarding contraception. They are 100%, absolutely against any form of contraception. They believe wholeheartedly that God is the maker of life and decider(is that even a word?) for their family's size. My aunts, as far as I know, have never used contraceptives of any form and their natural family planning resulted in anywhere from 3-8 children each.

When I was getting ready for my wedding, my aunts all sat down with me, respectively, at their dining room tables explaining to me how it is a sin to use any contraception, quoting the Bible in support of their beliefs. However, my mother's side of the family is much more liberal. In fact, about 2 months before my wedding, my mother scheduled me to see a gynecologist so that I could be prescribed BCP's. She wanted to make sure that I started taking them far enough in advance of the wedding to guarantee, as much as possible, that I wouldn't have a baby as a souvenir of my honeymoon.

Seeing that I was 19 years old and had just started college, it seemed to make sense that I should take a contraceptive, and being the naive daughter that I was, I didn't really question or investigate my options.

When the prescription ran out, I didn't bother to renew it. The cost and the side effects were more than I was willing to deal with and by then my husband and I decided to prevent pregnancy by other means. And so ended my experience with BCP's or any other prescription contraception.

However, I have considered going back to some type of hormonal contraception in the future. After reading a few sites including here and here, as well as a few others, I couldn't possibly.

The debate regarding whether or not BCP's are abortifacient, like with any other abortion debate, is over the question: when does life begin? However, this debate goes even further to the moment of conception. If you look up conception in the dictionary, it basically says that it's the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both. Apparently BCP's prevent a fertilized egg from implanting by making the uterine unfriendly to the egg so that it cannot implant and therefore cannot survive.

Whether you believe that life begins at fertilization or at implantation would be the deciding factor on whether you accept the notion that BCP's are abortifacient. I was surprised to learn that BCP's contain some of the same properties as the Morning-after pill, an option most Christians would agree is not an option for them.

The information is startling and made me do some real soul-searching. I just thought I'd share and hope you'll consider it a little closer as well.....

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