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Related to Birth Control Thread

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about the discussion on the Pill in the birth control thread. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that the Pill could cause the loss of a fertilized embryo, and I don't think a lot of people know that. (I likely should have made the connection, but it really never occurred to me, so maybe I am just dense?) I can think of, for example, Roman Catholics who are very anti-abortion, but continue to use the Pill and think birth control is a private matter.

Now, I don't really want to get into whether they should be making that decision for themselves. I'm more interested in what people know about how those hormonal BC items work. Do the churches people attend give them information on this? How did you find out, if you are comfortable saying, and was it a surprise?
post #2 of 60
I never felt comfortable from a spiritual level taking birth control. I couldn't put my finger on it. but my fiance was bugging me and my pastor almost refused to marry us if I wasn't on the pill I felt so pressured. so I called what I thought was planned parenthood because I figured if I was going to take it I wanted to get it for free. turned out I was calling the local crisis pregnancy center. still, would have suspected they would encourage a young girl looking at marriage to get started on the pill right away . . . but instead they sent me a huge packet about the pill being an abortificient. that settled it for me right then and there. there was also a lot of other scary medical information in that packet about long term effects (long term being more than a year or two) and its link to other undesirable side effects. yuck. through them I got hooked up with a bunch of Catholics and that solidified my spiritual convictions. when I confronted my pastor on it (I assumed the average person dd not have this information and would be as appalled as I was and he said "I don't care unless you want a baby right away you better take it." so I confronted him about all his talk on trusting God blah blah blah and he pretty much said "everything but this because God will give you a baby and you don't want that" SERIOUSLY!!?? just screw God, he knows what is best and will provide for all your needs except he is going to screw you over here, his plan sucks here so you better take care of it even if it means killing a baby . . . .(this was 1994 by the way)

I was horrified and that was my first step away from the protestant church. I got tired of the hypocrisy. even today I won't align myself with any prolife organization that doesn't address the pills roll in abortion. not only by way of how it acts as an abortificient but also how it effects our attitudes about sex and conception.
post #3 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
when I confronted my pastor on it (I assumed the average person dd not have this information and would be as appalled as I was and he said "I don't care unless you want a baby right away you better take it." so I confronted him about all his talk on trusting God blah blah blah and he pretty much said "everything but this because God will give you a baby and you don't want that" SERIOUSLY!!?? just screw God, he knows what is best and will provide for all your needs except he is going to screw you over here, his plan sucks here so you better take care of it even if it means killing a baby . . . .(this was 1994 by the way)


Quote:
not only by way of how it acts as an abortificient but also how it effects our attitudes about sex and conception
Once again I am a non-Christian stepping in to a thread directed towards Christians, but I just had to say I totally agree with this. Especially when it comes to young women, teenagers. Nobody tells them that their sexuality is sacred, a gift, powerful, capable of creating a new life for crying out loud, and therefore something valuable best saved to share with the right person (nobody tells this to boys either for that matter) - no, they are just put on the pill by overbearing doctors who assume that they are going to be having sex with whatever boyfriends they might have, that creating and caring for a new life would automatically be a disaster, and don't breathe a word about the many side effects. It seems like the only words young people get about pre-commited-relationship sex are either intrusive moralizing (which no teenager will listen to) or then the other extreme, a total refusal to acknowledge and teach to young people that sex is not just a mindless activity to throw around for genital pleasure, but something tender and amazing, that should be treated with care.
Just my two cents
post #4 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I never felt comfortable from a spiritual level taking birth control. I couldn't put my finger on it. but my fiance was bugging me and my pastor almost refused to marry us if I wasn't on the pill I felt so pressured. so I called what I thought was planned parenthood because I figured if I was going to take it I wanted to get it for free. turned out I was calling the local crisis pregnancy center. still, would have suspected they would encourage a young girl looking at marriage to get started on the pill right away . . . but instead they sent me a huge packet about the pill being an abortificient. that settled it for me right then and there. there was also a lot of other scary medical information in that packet about long term effects (long term being more than a year or two) and its link to other undesirable side effects. yuck. through them I got hooked up with a bunch of Catholics and that solidified my spiritual convictions. when I confronted my pastor on it (I assumed the average person dd not have this information and would be as appalled as I was and he said "I don't care unless you want a baby right away you better take it." so I confronted him about all his talk on trusting God blah blah blah and he pretty much said "everything but this because God will give you a baby and you don't want that" SERIOUSLY!!?? just screw God, he knows what is best and will provide for all your needs except he is going to screw you over here, his plan sucks here so you better take care of it even if it means killing a baby . . . .(this was 1994 by the way)

I was horrified and that was my first step away from the protestant church. I got tired of the hypocrisy. even today I won't align myself with any prolife organization that doesn't address the pills roll in abortion. not only by way of how it acts as an abortificient but also how it effects our attitudes about sex and conception.
Wow, I am totally shocked! Was it a mainstream denomination?

I think the availability of the pill and other very easy effective birth control has affected our underlying attitude about sex, it just doesn't feel like a weighty activity with consequences.

I have never, in the Anglican church, ever heard anyone mention that the pill is an abortificient. Not that they say much about anything controversial anyway, but you think it might be pointed out.
post #5 of 60
I don't remember when I found out. My parents are pro-life medical doctors, so it was probably during a discussion at the dinner table.

Among the evangelical Christians I know, many are either severely shocked to find out this information, or disinclined to believe it at all (the ones who don't believe it *all* are on the Pill and want to stay on it). And my generation is in their 20's and 30's, so it's not like their ill-informed teenagers or something.

Lilyka, our current chuch has a similar kind of cognitive dissonance going on. Drives me bonkers. "Children are a blessing...a wonderful blessing...we're all about family...we teach faithfulness and abstinence....etc." and then "You're CRAZY (to have a third boy, as if I could choose the gender)....[insert random mockery of a family with 6 kids]...my girl is on the Pill because that's what responsible parents do...."
Our church is *big* on faith, and believing and trusting in God, and healing, etc. But it's like birth control, and birth for that matter, are on a completely separate planet and everybody is gung-ho for the highest-tech, most convenient way to make things happen *their* way.

There are a few evanglical leaders who have spoken up about it, Randy Alcorn and Albert Mohler, notably. But for one thing, it's hard to have recommended it and/or used it for decades and then have to come out and say you believe that it was wrong and that you may have contributed to the end of new lives during those years. For someone who is otherwise pro-life, that is a painful, horrible realization. Sometimes it's easier to avoid realizing it, or insist it can't be true.
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Wow, I am totally shocked! Was it a mainstream denomination?
no. it was a very conservative non-denominational evangelical protestant church which is why it was so shocking. we are talking about people who packed up their family, bought tickets to fly across the world on a mission trip and were standing in the airport without passports waiting for God to provide them while they had absolutely no doubt he would come through for them. (for the record the passports arrived in the nick of time). I have never seen people trust God like this but family planning is not something they can apparently trust God with. its crazy.
post #7 of 60
Thread Starter 
So does the Orthodox Church have an official or generally accepted view on the Pill, or is it not on the radar there either?
post #8 of 60
I believe the official stance is no abortificient birth control but it is an ask your priest sort of thing.
post #9 of 60
I learned this and lots of other information from a guide to women's health published by Ms. magazine in the early 1980s. My mother showed me this book when I was 11 and told me I could read it anytime. It was ~800 pages of very thorough information, intended to help women make fully informed choices.
post #10 of 60
I learned this in a pharmacology class in college. It is also in the fine print (or it used to be) in the insert that comes with the prescription. I had never heard a church speak on the matter until a few years ago. I think a lot of medical professionals specifically leave out this information (along with glossing over serious side effects) so fewer people will question taking the pill. I know none of my doctors ever mentioned this.
post #11 of 60
I don't think most people know that the pill can allow fertilization and then inhibit implantation. I had no idea when I was on it, and it wasn't until after I stopped taking it (for other reasons) that I found out. I wouldn't go on it again, for that reason all together, not to mention it also totally killed my libido and gave me awful headaches.

I have never heard from a religious leader that hormonal birth control is an abortificient, even though I have heard it preached that abortions are wrong. I don't think the preacher was being hypocritical, I truly believe that he has no idea. And why? Probably because Doctors don't tell women the truth about how the bc pill and other things really work. When I had my first the OB I had him with was pushing birth control on me and told me that an IUD probably didn't inhibit implantation. I went home and googled and found out otherwise. Women should be educated to make informed choices, not lied to.
post #12 of 60
I was raised Roman Catholic, and they do not condone any form of birth control except for nfp.

When I became sexally active, I researched bc, and struggled a lot with the idea that a fertilized embryo could be aborted. In the end I chose to try depo provara, where your ovaries are put into stasis. I got incredibly sick and lost all of my hair. (A rare side effect.) Then I was put on the pill to try to fix the damage to my cycles, which made me more sick, and now I'm just anti hormonal bc for my health.

Wow, way to go on a tangent. Sorry!
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I've been thinking about the discussion on the Pill in the birth control thread. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that the Pill could cause the loss of a fertilized embryo, and I don't think a lot of people know that. (I likely should have made the connection, but it really never occurred to me, so maybe I am just dense?) I can think of, for example, Roman Catholics who are very anti-abortion, but continue to use the Pill and think birth control is a private matter.

Now, I don't really want to get into whether they should be making that decision for themselves. I'm more interested in what people know about how those hormonal BC items work. Do the churches people attend give them information on this? How did you find out, if you are comfortable saying, and was it a surprise?
Roman Catholics with this view are in violation of Church teaching. The church is a vocal opponent of the pill, partly b/c of this, and partly b/c the Pope back in the day said the pill would lead to abortion and the desecration of the family as a sacred unit, and therefore to the disintegration of society, since the family is the basic building block of the family. I can't remember off the top of my head which Pope-- may have been John Paul, but I think may have been decades earlier. As early as the 30's the Church was talking about birth control in this way.

Aside from that, I learned about the possibility of this type of early abortion through Church but also through my mother who's an NFP-only midwife.

Most people deny that it's abortion, though, even if they know that it causes the rejection of a fertilized egg-- because the egg hasn't implanted yet, so it's not a pregnancy, therefore it's not an abortion. It's rather circular reasoning, but that's the justification-- abortion is the untimely end of a pregnancy, and the pill prevents the egg from implanting, thus preventing the pregnancy from ever occurring.
post #14 of 60
I can't remember how I first found out, probably pharmacology at uni but it was also included in everything I read about OCMs when I was searching online for solutions for my PMS problems.

I guess maybe because I am Anglican and the Anglican church is not opposed to contraception and doesn't really discuss it (at least not at any of the churches I have attended) but it would never occur to me to get this type on info from a minister or church leader because it's not their area of expertise.

No doubt it also helps that I am a nurse/midwife so I have access to plenty of other resources. I also have no problem telling my GP what the limits are and using their knowlwdge to help me come up with a satisfactory solution.

It's a real problem though as any of the hormonal contraceptives can lead to a fertilization but not an implantation.
post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I believe the official stance is no abortificient birth control but it is an ask your priest sort of thing.
Really? The only thing I know about the Orthodox Church is what I read here at MDC, I was totally assuming that the Orthodox were in union with the Roman Catholic Church about no birth control at all. Bummed that I am apparently wrong on that.

I have known about the pill as an abortifacient for a long time, I am Roman Catholic and active in the pro-life movement. My pro-life group is always disappointed in the protestant based groups that fail to counsel women about this issue when they come in for testing. I get that protestants are not anti- all BC as we are, but- I really am disappointed in the number of churches that take no stance against abortifacient birth control. It is major hypocrisy, IMO.

Many Catholic churches will have pamphlets in the narthex about NFP, which will usually discuss this issue.
post #16 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
Really? The only thing I know about the Orthodox Church is what I read here at MDC, I was totally assuming that the Orthodox were in union with the Roman Catholic Church about no birth control at all. Bummed that I am apparently wrong on that.

I have known about the pill as an abortifacient for a long time, I am Roman Catholic and active in the pro-life movement. My pro-life group is always disappointed in the protestant based groups that fail to counsel women about this issue when they come in for testing. I get that protestants are not anti- all BC as we are, but- I really am disappointed in the number of churches that take no stance against abortifacient birth control. It is major hypocrisy, IMO.

Many Catholic churches will have pamphlets in the narthex about NFP, which will usually discuss this issue.
No, their stance on the choice to prevent conception is the same (it's a serious question) but apart from issues like this one, the method of prevention once that decision has been made is up to the individuals involved.

But I think that the OC would say that the RC was out of union on any issue, not the other way around
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
No, their stance on the choice to prevent conception is the same (it's a serious question) but apart from issues like this one, the method of prevention once that decision has been made is up to the individuals involved.

But I think that the OC would say that the RC was out of union on any issue, not the other way around
LOL on the second part of your post.

I may be dense (been sick here for 3 weeks and a bit feverish at the moment), can you clarify the Orthodox belief on BC for me, I don't get what you are saying. Roman Catholics can only use NFP to space children, and even that is to be done with serious consideration. I thought from the PP that she was saying that even abortifacient BC could be used by the Orthodox if seriously considered and discussed with one's priest. That is pretty far off from the Catholic belief.

If that is the case- that Orthodox are allowed to use artificial birth control- can I ask when that started in the Orthodox church?
post #18 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
LOL on the second part of your post.

I may be dense (been sick here for 3 weeks and a bit feverish at the moment), can you clarify the Orthodox belief on BC for me, I don't get what you are saying. Roman Catholics can only use NFP to space children, and even that is to be done with serious consideration. I thought from the PP that she was saying that even abortifacient BC could be used by the Orthodox if seriously considered and discussed with one's priest. That is pretty far off from the Catholic belief.

If that is the case- that Orthodox are allowed to use artificial birth control- can I ask when that started in the Orthodox church?
I'll do my best -

My understanding of the RC position is that it can be ok to prevent, not just space, children, but that it is not a matter to be undertaken without good and sufficient reason, prayer, and possible consulting a priest. The Orthodox position, I believe, is the same. "Good and sufficient" is of course hard to pin down, but they seem to have similar thoughts on that too.

Now, I've done a bit of research, and what I've found is that they seem to be less definate than the RC church on outlawing artificial contraception, in general. It seems to be discouraged, but possibly allowed if the priest agrees - it would depend on the situation. NFP or abstinance is prefered. THere were some statements outlawing it's use in the 30's, and the (slightly) greater flexibility seems more recent.

I think the principles involved are that while they see children as the natural and desirable consequence of sex, the main purpose of sex is actually the spiritual purpose. So, it could be, theoretically, that in some situations, allowing the spiritual purpose without the procreative purpose would be ok. Although abstinance of some kind would be the usual method, in some cases other methods MIGHT be appropriate.

They don't seem to have a statement about hormonal birth control, but my impression is that it hasn't been realized as an issue, because they are unwavering on abortion.

I hate to use Wikipedia, but this is what tey say -

Quote:
The most recent view was expressed in 2009 when the Moscow Patriarchate gave support to Benedict XVI's position that condoms are not an acceptable solution to AIDS, which means there is a very strong opposition to contraception. [32]

Many people, on all sides, believe that the Orthodox change in thinking on contraception has not received adequate examination, and that any examination has too often become tied up in identity politics, with various groups accusing the other of western influence. Still, the "new consensus" has not gone unchallenged.[33][34]

Many Orthodox hierarchs and theologians from around the world lauded Humanae Vitae when it was issued. Among these Orthodox leaders, some teach that marital intercourse should be for procreation only, while others do not go as far and hold a view similar to the Roman Catholic position, which allows Natural Family Planning on principle while at the same time opposing artificial contraception.[33][34]

More lenient Orthodox leaders maintain that the new consensus position is too conservative, and thus allow more freedom for contraceptive use.[33][34]

Some devout Orthodox Christians do not just consider using contraceptives a sin, but a mortal sin in the group of "unnatural carnal sins" along with homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, etc.[35][36]

[edit] Alternate views

Until about 1970, the Eastern Orthodox Church generally opposed the use of contraception.[citation needed] Since that time a "new consensus" was said to have emerged. This new view holds that contraception is acceptable within a Christian marriage if 1), the means of contraception is not abortifacient, 2) it is used with the blessing of one's spiritual father and 3), children are not completely excluded from the marriage,[37][38][39] which is found in a chapter called "The foundation of chastity", by Germogenos of Shimanovo.
post #19 of 60
Interesting, one of the things I have always been fascinated with reading here, was the idea that somehow the Orthodox were more "together" so to speak even without a pope, ykwim? I didn't realize there were "more liberal" and "more conservative" groups in the Orthodox faith. I guess none of us have it all together, but I am thankful that even though we (RC) have an unfortunate number of renegade priests, we do have the Holy Father and Magesterium to give a "this is actual church teaching on this subject".

Do the Orthodox have something like the RC Magesterium, that would given an official position, or is it really just a "talk to your parish priest" issue (which I find problematic knowing how that goes in the RC Church).
post #20 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
Interesting, one of the things I have always been fascinated with reading here, was the idea that somehow the Orthodox were more "together" so to speak even without a pope, ykwim? I didn't realize there were "more liberal" and "more conservative" groups in the Orthodox faith. I guess none of us have it all together, but I am thankful that even though we (RC) have an unfortunate number of renegade priests, we do have the Holy Father and Magesterium to give a "this is actual church teaching on this subject".

Do the Orthodox have something like the RC Magesterium, that would given an official position, or is it really just a "talk to your parish priest" issue (which I find problematic knowing how that goes in the RC Church).
I think this will have to go to a real Orthodox person for a good answer, but the answer as far as I can see is, not exactly, but it isn't like a Protestant Church either.

There are a lot of things that they are very unified about, doctrinally, and the idea of making any real change to doctrine and Tradition is just not on. There is variation in practices though, which sometimes causes controversy but is not the same.

The various bodies in the church do get together, and also make pronouncements individually. So, some church bodies have, for example, chosen to use a more modern calendar system. But they could not choose to change the doctrine of the church as it has existed since the beginning, or they would cease to be recognized by the other Orthodox Churches as Orthodox.

Now, modern forms of birth control are a relatively recent thing. The doctrinal side - what is marriage, what is sex, what is the purpose of the family, are the relevant points of doctrine, which are understood by all. The question of exactly how to apply them is somewhat unresolved, though there are some clear indicators.

So is it a problem that it seems to be taking some time to come up with the answer? I am not sure, but so far, it has taken less time than it took the Church to work out the Trinity or the Incarnation.

Also, there seems to be more of a tendency in Orthodoxy,(as far as I can see) to be less definitive about how each individual situation should be handled, while maintaining the principles involved absolutely. It also seems that Orthodox priests are often more conservative in making such judgments than the RC ones, though I have no idea why that should be.
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