Birth Control and the Bible

Hazards of Birth ControlLet’s take a look at Birth Control and the Bible: Information about some of the hazards of some of the popular birth control methods and an introduction to what Scripture has to say on the subject.

All methods of birth control work by either preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus of a woman, by changing the hormones of a woman’s body to prevent her from being fertile, by preventing a man’s sperm from ever reaching an egg in a woman’s body, or by simply preventing the union of a man and woman during times of the month when she is fertile.

The Bible teaches in Genesis that men and women were made in the image and likeness of Yahweh Elohim (God) (Genesis 1:26-27).   The Bible also teaches that the obvious “fruit” of the union of a man and woman is the creation of a new life, a new being that is also made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 4:1, 25).   For this reason, Yahweh Elohim (God) has taught us to have respect for human life.  We understand that when a man and a woman become “one,” the amazing creative result is immediately also a human being who is made in the image and likeness of Yahweh Elohim (God).

However, our culture would prefer to simply redefine life.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a statement in 1965 that defined life as beginning, not the moment that a man’s sperm unites with a woman’s egg (“fertilization”), but 8 to 10 days later, when that fertilized egg finally implants within the lining of its mother’s uterus.  By changing this simple definition of when conception actually occurs, a wide possibility of birth control options opened up to women everywhere, without any further thought of moral or health implications.

Birth Control Methods

I think it is interesting to note that most people consider birth control to be just a simple way to prevent fertilization of the female ovum or egg. But look at the term “Birth Control”, the name itself tells us that it is a method to control birth – that doesn’t mean that these methods will always prevent fertilization. With some types of birth control, fertilization actually occurs but the method prevents the fertilized egg (and new life) from growing and birthing – therefore it is a form of abortion.

Today, there are many types of birth control available; some are new “medical” methods and others have been around for ages. Here are the most common:

Barrier methods of birth control have been around for many hundreds of years. They prevent a man’s sperm from ever reaching a woman’s egg in the first place.  The most common of these methods include condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, and sponges. Although morally these are much more acceptable, they still show disregard for the blessing of fertility that God gave us.

Spermicides use chemicals or harmful substances that kill the male sperm cells before they have an opportunity to fertilize the female ovum. Spermicides contain a chemical that kills sperm or makes them inactive so they cannot enter a woman’s cervix. Nonoxynol-9 is the active chemical in most spermicide products in the United States. The FDA states that spermicides only have a 20-50% effectiveness rate.

Withdrawal requires the man to separate or withdrawal from the woman’s body before his sperm can be ejaculated into her. This method is not reliable and pregnancy can often result. This is also known as “spilling the seed” and Yahweh clearly shows His disapproval of this within Scripture.

Birth Control Pills – Hormonal methods of birth control, including the popular birth control pill, are the most common of all forms of birth control, used by millions of women in the United States each year.  Ideally, they are intended to prevent a woman from ever releasing an egg (“ovulation”) in the first place; but is is not always the case. Some forms of birth control pills also work to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg by making the lining of the uterus inhospitable to the tiny life – this is another form of abortion.

Intra-uterine Devices known as the IUD are a popular method of birth control that works by preventing implantation, not true fertilization.  In other words,  fertilization does occur (new life) but the IUD does not allow this new life to survive in the dangerous environment created by the device  in the womb. This is another form of abortion.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a type of birth control that has gained great popularity in evangelical circles because it has no harmful side effects and is morally acceptable.  However, for NFP to work as birth control, a couple is required to abstain from sexual relations (or use an alternate method of birth control) for extended periods of time each month – basically, any time that she might be fertile.  However, believers must carefully check Yahweh Elohim (God)’s Word and prayerfully seek Him to see if abstinence for the purpose of avoiding pregnancy, is what they should do. In some situations, there may be serious health or illness problems that could make childbirth potentially fatal for the mother. Should this be the case, prayer and seeking the Lord is always the best thing to do.

Health Hazards of Birth Control

Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of purposely impairing our fertility.

Yet when we ignore Yahweh Elohim (God)’s original design for His creation, we suffer the consequences.

Spermicides

Spermicides may irritate the genital areas of both men and women. Side effects include irritation, allergic reactions, and urinary tract infections.

Birth Control Pill Side Effects

Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones and a woman’s response to them causes physical changes in her body. Some of these changes or “side effects” are breast enlargement or tenderness. Changes in the skin, specifically the skin condition – acne. These artificial hormones can increase or lessen the occurrence of acne and they can contribute to weight gain or loss. Irregular monthly bleeding or spotting can take place as well as nausea or dizziness. Mood swings are common and depression can intensify, libido may be lessened. Signs of allergic reactions include itching, unexplained rashes or hives, unexplained swelling, wheezing and having a hard time swallowing or breathing.

More serious health hazards include: accelerate the risk of liver tumors and cancers (specifically cervical and breast cancer). Chest pains or heaviness which are important manifestations of a heart attack. It can also lead to speech impairment, numbness or weakness of an upper or lower extremity and a severe headache; all are definitive signs of having a stroke. These drugs can increase the existence of migraine headaches, cause gall bladder disease and infertility. Birth control pills make the blood concentrated and contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure), increased blood clotting that can lead to a vision loss or stroke. The liver must work extra hard to remove the toxic ingredients of birth control pills and that can eventually cause liver damage.  Liver symptoms include dark urine, upper right abdominal pain and jaundice (yellow skin or eyes). To read an article in the NY Times about recent serious side effects of popular birth control pills, follow this link.

Posey’s Note: When I was younger, I didn’t realize the side effects or long term problems that taking birth control pills could cause. When I was first married, I took them against my mother’s advice. She had serious problems when she took them and didn’t want me to battle the same health problems.

Within four months of commencing a birth control pill regimen, I experienced two severe symptoms: High Blood Pressure and Intense Mood Swings.  My blood pressure which was low (115/70) jumped to 190/90! I was put on blood pressure medication immediately; unfortunately I have had to continue it for the past 34+ years. I was fit and trim when I began birth control and my  weight or physical condition seem to have no positive bearing on my blood pressure.  The second side effect was severe mood swings. My personality seemed to change because of the mood swings and my family never knew how I would react at any given time. For the most part, I was mean and easily upset. I would fly-off-the-handle at every little thing. My husband and mother both begged me to stop taking the “pill” but I ignored them and continued for a total of two years. During those two years, I also gained 30 pounds – ughhhhh!

NuvaRing

NuvaRing is a vaginal ring contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy. It contains Ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel, two female hormones used to keep ovulation, or an ovary’s release of an egg, from occurring. The above hormones additionally make it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and also make it harder for an egg that has been fertilized to implant within the uterus; this is achieved through changes in the cervical mucus and uterine lining caused by NuvaRing. Information is from Drug Alert.org.

IUDs

The following is a quote from Dr. Fred Bloom,  and the original article can be read here. “Mirena is a T-shaped, plastic IUD (intrauterine contraceptive device) that is inserted by a physician into the vagina, passed through the cervix, and implanted in the uterus. It stays in place for five years while it releases levonorgestrel.

Levonorgestrel is a chemical that is not normally found in the human body. Many health professionals refer to levonorgestrel as a “progestin” or “progestagen.” This misleading term leads many to believe that progestins are somehow related to the hormone progesterone that the human body produces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because their biochemical structure is different, all progestins have hormone disrupting effects and their effects are opposite to the effects of progesterone. Therefore it is not surprising that many women experience adverse reactions while they are using Mirena.

Levonorgestrel is found in many oral contraceptives and it was also the active ingredient of Norplant which consisted of implants that were injected into women’s upper arms. Some Norplant users experienced significant side effects.

Here is a list of common side effects:

Prolonged menstrual bleeding, Prolonged uterine cramping, Dizziness, Weight gain, Low back pain, Headache, Stuffy nose, Depression, Abnormal Pap smears, Ectopic pregnancy (which can be life-threatening and result in infertility), Intrauterine pregnancy (birth defects are a possibility), Sepsis (an infection which can be fatal), Pelvic inflammatory disease (which can result in infertility), Irregular Bleeding and Amenorrhea (no periods), Embedment (in the uterine wall), Perforation (of the uterus or cervix), Ovarian cysts (can cause severe mid-cycle pain), Breast cancer, Risk of Mortality (risk of dying is low), Lower abdominal pain, Upper respiratory infection, Leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge), Nausea, Headache, Nervousness, Vaginitis (irritation or inflammation of the vagina), Dysmenorrhea (cramps or painful periods), Breast pain, Skin disorder, Acne, Decreased libido, ,Hypertension, Sinusitis.”

NuvaRing Side Effects

The following information is from Drug Alert.org

NuvaRing can potentially cause birth defects, and should not be used if you are pregnant. Inform a doctor if you become pregnant, and discontinue use immediately. NuvaRing should not be used if you have certain types of cancers, a history of blood clots, strokes, or jaundice. Avoid NuvaRing if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver diseases, migraines, high blood pressure, or heart disorders.”

These hormonal, chemical and structural methods of birth control are fraught with danger and serious life and health problems.  In addition, we must consider whether an abortion is taking place!

AbstinenceWhat About Abstinence?

The Law of Moses lists one time that abstinence was required, and that was during a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle or at any time when she was bleeding because of hormonal or other health disorders.  Whenever a woman had “an issue of blood,” she was to remain unclean (and abstain from relations with her husband) for seven days (Leviticus 15:19-24; 18:19).   Issues of blood that were unrelated to her monthly menstrual cycle required that she remain unclean for an additional seven days past the time when they stopped, mostly likely to prevent her from conceiving at a time when she was not healthy enough to carry a child (Leviticus 15:25-31).   The amazing thing is that when abstinence during a woman’s period is practiced, a man’s fertility is increased and they come together again at the time of month when a woman is also most fertile.  God’s ordinances were for the protection of the couple and also intended to increase the number of children that would be conceived by that healthy couple.

 

You might also be interested in reading:

Children are a Blessing

Fertility and the Role of Hormones and Passion

Fertility and Scripture

Just sharing information is you can prayerfully consider your actions.

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