Recently we received a call from a man who inquired if we had
anything we could send him on birth control. He and his wife were
discussing the subject, and he was looking for information which
could clear up the matter. It so happens that in 1986 we
published a booklet entitled “Family Planning and God’s
Word.” We have decided to reprint the portion of that
booklet which deals with birth control methods.
There are tremendous pressures upon couples today to practice
some form of family planning. Only a few decades ago most couples
gave little thought to the matter, but this is no longer the
case. Also in the last few decades there has been a tremendous
increase in the methods of birth control available, thus making
family planning easier.
It is not our intention to address the question of family
planning in general. What we desire to do with this article is
demonstrate how the various methods of birth control work and to
show that there are some forms which no Christian should use.
Beyond that, we believe the decision to practice birth control is
a personal matter.
BIRTH CONTROL METHODS CHRISTIANS
SHOULD NOT USE
We have said that family planning is not something to which we
can give a simple “yes” or “no” answer. In
many aspects it is something that each couple must decide alone
before God. Yet at the same time, there are several forms of
birth control which are clearly condemned by Scripture and which
therefore a Christian is not free to use.
In the following section we will discuss abstinence, abortion,
and some kinds of birth control devices–the IUD, certain birth
control pills, and the new anti-progesterone pill (RU-486).
ABSTINENCE IS NOT A PROPER FORM OF BIRTH CONTROL
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to
avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let
every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto
the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the
husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the
husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his
own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except
it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to
fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt
you not for your incontinency.” (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
If a couple decides family planning is God’s will for them,
the question of method still must be answered. What about
abstinence? Some decide to abstain from sexual relations in order
to avoid conception. The New Testament does not allow such an
arrangement on a long-term basis. In I Corinthians 7 the Apostle
Paul says that one purpose for marriage is to protect men and
women from fornication. In marriage, couples are entirely free to
satisfy themselves. There is nothing unspiritual about relations
between marriage partners.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed
undefiled… ” (Hebrews 13:4)
“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running
waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed
abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only
thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be
blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be
as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy
thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her
love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19)
Abstinence within marriage is not good. It is dangerous! It
is, in fact, disobedience to God’s Word. The Bible commands
Christian couples not to defraud one another sexually.
“Let the husband render unto the wife due
benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The
wife hath not authority over her own body, but the husband:
and likewise also the husband hath not authority over his
body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other …” (1
The husband is responsible to satisfy the wife’s physical
needs; she is responsible to satisfy his. The only exception is
for the purpose of fasting and prayer, and this is only to be for
a time–not a permanent or long-range agreement, but a temporary
one for special periods of concentrated prayer. Any other
abstinence brings increased danger of Satan using the natural
desires of the flesh to create situations of temptation.
” … except it be with consent for a time, that ye
may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together
again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency [lack
of self control].” (1 Corinthians 7:5)
Thus, except for brief periods agreed upon by husband and wife
for prayer and fasting, abstinence is not to be used as a birth
ABORTION IS NOT A PROPER METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
YEA….” (Isaiah 49:15)
It is almost strange that in speaking to Christians about
family planning, we would have to deal with the matter of
abortion being morally wrong. But the fact is that many large
Christian denominations today support “pro- choice.”
Many Christian leaders are not giving a sure warning against this
great evil. In fact, some who call themselves evangelical are
beginning to support abortion for some cases. For example,
Intervarsity Press published a book in 1985 called Brave New
People by Gareth Jones. Consider some quotes from this book–
“If abortion is contemplated, a reasonable decision
will take into account the fetus, and also the parents and
siblings” (p. 157).
“In this instance it has to be decided whether
abortion will benefit the fetus” (p. 158).
“No biblical passage speaks of humans possessing
personhood before birth” (p. 169).
“I am prepared to admit there may be circumstances
where, very regretfully, even Christians may have to
contemplate an abortion” (p. 173).
“Unfortunately, some families cannot cope with such a
challenge, and a compromise must be reluctantly adopted,
namely, termination of the pregnancy [abortion] … God’s
love for the weak … requires comparable concern for the
abnormal and for those likely to be rejected by society”
Because of pressure from various sides Intervarsity stopped
distributing the book. But it has already been published by
another Christian publisher, Eerdmans, and is supported by many
who claim to be evangelical Christians.
LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION
For the Bible-believer there can be no doubt on this issue.
Scripture tells us that human life begins at conception. The
moment the sperm unites with the egg, a brand new human life has
begun. Many say it is not possible to know exactly when the
embryo becomes fully human; thus it should be called a child. The
Bible leaves no such confusion. Consider the following:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my
mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5)
In Psalm 51 David is showing his repentance for the adultery
with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. In verse five he
acknowledges that he was sinful from the moment of conception.
This is reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul in Romans
5:12–“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world,
and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all
have sinned.” Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God,
their fallen nature has been passed on from generation to
generation through the father’s seed.
But notice that David spoke of himself in a personal way even
when considering his conception. He said I was shapen in
iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. It was David
himself who was conceived.
“Thou has covered me in my mother’s womb. I will
praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made … My
substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine
eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy
book all my members were written, which in continuance were
fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm
For Bible-believers, this amazing passage leaves no question
whatsoever regarding whether or not an embryo is a real human
child. The writer, David, says that it was God that formed him in
the womb of his mother and that God knew all about him even while
he was growing from conception–before his little heart started
beating at three weeks after conception, before the little buds
of arms and legs appeared at four weeks after conception, before
his little brain divided into two sections at five weeks after
conception, before his eyes took shape at six weeks after
conception–“when as yet there was none of them,” God
knew him. The impregnated egg in the womb of David’s mother’s was
only a tiny, microscopic-size thing, but that impregnated egg was
known by God as David, the future king of Israel and
great-great-grandfather of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We see that when an impregnated egg is cut off in some way so
that it dies, the death of a distinct individual human being has
taken place. It is true that many eggs for various reasons
naturally fail to become attached to the mother’s uterine wall
after impregnation and do not therefore mature to birth. But man
has nothing to do with that. It is the same with life after
birth. Men die in many ways, natural and unnatural. Often that
cannot be stopped. But if someone takes a knife or a poison and
ends the life of an individual, it is murder. If the murderer
argues that the one he has killed would die anyway, or that
people die every day so we should not be so concerned, his
argument would not be acceptable. He has murdered a human being
and will be punished. Likewise, if someone stops the growth of a
tiny embryo though drugs or some other way, that person has
killed a tiny individual already known by God.
“If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that
her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he
shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband
will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for
life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for
foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for
stripe.” (Exodus 21:22-25)
Note that the Bible says the woman’s unborn fruit is a CHILD.
God calls it a child, and if that unborn child is hurt, God
required that the one who caused the hurt to be punished.
“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit,
nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with
child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh
all.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)
Again, the Bible says the tiny, unborn creature growing in the
womb of a woman is a CHILD. It is not a blob of protoplasm, or a
thing, or an undeveloped human. It is a child even while the
little bones are being formed.
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people,
from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the
bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name … And
now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his
servant….” (Isaiah 49:1,5)
“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before
thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I
ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah
The passage in Isaiah refers prophetically to the Lord Jesus
Christ, and possibly also refers to Isaiah himself. The similar
passage in Jeremiah speaks of the prophet’s relationship with God
before his birth. Notice again that we see that God called them
even before they were born, and it was God who formed them in the
womb of their mothers. Those who interfere with the process of
growth after the mother’s egg has been fertilized are interfering
with God’s work of forming a human being that is known of God.
This is a very serious matter.
If we asked Isaiah’s mother or Jeremiah’s mother what was in
their wombs, they would have answered, had they known the
prophecies which were to follow, “This is Isaiah,”
“This is Jeremiah.” Regarding the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Bible leaves no question whatsoever. “Now the birth of
Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was
espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with
child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18). Later the angel
told Joseph that the child’s name would be Jesus and “that
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew
As soon as Mary conceived her firstborn son by the
supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, He was called a CHILD. And
this was at the very earliest stages of the process of growth in
“…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even
from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
It is true that John the Baptist was no ordinary child, but
the fact that he was filled with the Holy Ghost even before his
birth proves clearly that he was fully a human being. If anyone
had aborted that little being in Elisabeth’s womb, that one would
have been the murderer of John the Baptist.
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the babe
leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy
Ghost.” (Luke 1:41)
This passage shows from the Bible’s side what even medical
doctors are discovering–that the unborn infant is aware of
things outside the womb and responds to them. In this case, the
unborn baby was John the Baptist. Remember that he was already
filled with the Holy Spirit, and he knew of the situation which
was happening outside the womb when the mother of his Lord and
Savior met his own mother, Elizabeth. Notice, too, that the
unborn one here is called a BABE.
With these Scripture references before us we have but two
choices–we can reject the Bible and its teaching or we can
acknowledge that the fertilized egg is a tiny human being, known
by God, and the mysterious and marvelous growth which will occur
during its nine months in the womb is the direct process of God
working to form that baby according to His own plan and purpose.
Any time, therefore, someone interferes with the growth of an
embryo he is committing murder.
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AND IUDS ARE NOT PROPER METHODS OF
Having considered abstinence and abortion, there are yet some
other birth control methods which, when considered in light of
Bible teaching, are forbidden to Christians. In brief, any method
of birth control which cuts off the growth of the already
fertilized egg is a form of abortion and is therefore murder. We
have seen that according to the God’s Word the human life begins
at conception–at the moment when the male sperm joins with the
mother’s egg. At that time a new and unique human life begins its
eternal journey, having become a living soul through the
mysterious working of Almighty God. We have seen that the Bible
teaches this. Not all modern scientists would agree that the
newly conceived embryo is a human being at that point in time,
but all agree that it is a new and unique life which has begun
its explosive growth toward full development.
Scientists also know that a new human life begins at
conception (fertilization). In an excellent book entitled The
Position of Modern Science on the Beginning of Human Life
(copyright 1975, Scientists for Life) we read this brilliantly
simple and clear explanation on page 15–
“When did your life begin?” The answer to this
question can be phrased simply by going backward in time.
Before you were an adult, you were an adolescent, and before
that a child, and before that an infant. Before you were an
infant–i.e., before you were born–you were a fetus, and
before that an embryo. Before you were an embryo, around the
time of your implantation, you were a blastocyst, and before
that a morula, and before than a zygote or fertilized ovum.
However, you were never a sperm or an unfertilized ovum.
Therefore, while life is continuous, your life began when the
nucleus of your father’s sperm fused with the nucleus of your
mother’s ovum, or at fertilization. [The Christian News
(Jan. 13, 1986), p. 8]
Because of newly discovered methods of research such as the
electron microscope, scientists can now observe the tiny cells
and genes which make up a living body. They have actually
observed the formation of the human being from the time the genes
of the mother and father are united. Consider the following
description of what happens during the first few weeks after
“In the [first seven weeks] the cells perform their
most intricate maneuvers, arranging into patterns that give
the embryo its human form. Toward the end of the third week a
gutterlike groove in the back folds into a neural tube–the
future nervous system. As the tube closes, the brain takes
shape, already differentiating into hind-, mid- and
forebrain. The five-week embryo, ONLY ONE-THIRD OF AN INCH
LONG, is a marvel of miniaturization: limb buds are sending
out shoots whose dimples mark the nascent [beginning to form]
hands and feet, and the hindbrain has grown stalked eye cups.
By the seventh and eighth weeks, the embryo’s face looks
human, limbs hinge on joints, hands splay into fingers and
primitive external genitals appear … After eight weeks
almost all of the internal organs are in place and the
embryo, SCARCELY AN INCH LONG, looks like a tiny person.
“At this point [eight weeks after conception!], 95
percent of the known structures, features and organs, from
tiny nerves to fingers and muscles, are there,” says Dr.
Ronan O’Rahilly, an embryologist at the University of
California at Davis(Newsweek, Jan. 11, 1982, p. 37).
THREE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
In thinking about birth control methods, it is important to
understand something about this process whereby the mother’s egg
is fertilized and then grows into a fully developed child.
The process can be divided into three stages–1)
Fertilization, 2) Implantation, 3) Growth.
In FERTILIZATION, the father’s sperm penetrates the
mother’s egg. This happens in the mother’s uterine tube near the
womb. It is at that point in time that the genes of the mother
and father are joined to make the new human life of their
offspring. At this stage the developing child is called in
medical terms a “zygote,” which is a Greek word meaning
Next the tiny, growing person continues its travel to the
uterus where it becomes attached to the uterine wall. This is IMPLANTATION
and occurs between day 5 and 8 and is completed by day 9 or 10 (The
Merck Manual, Fourteenth Edition, p. 1708).
The developing child is now called an “embryo,”
which is from a Greek word meaning “to swell.” That’s a
very good term, because the cells of this newly created little
being are multiplying at a breathtaking rate. For a very short
time the developing embryo draws its sustenance directly from the
uterus until the placenta and umbilical cord are developed.
After this, nothing is left but GROWTH as the baby’s
body rapidly forms. After approximately eight weeks the child is
called by the medical term “fetus,” which is from the
Latin word meaning “offspring.”
The “incredibly intricate and beautiful process of
conception” is described by a medical doctor as follows–
“First, there is the ovary, deep within the body,
that, propelled by some unknown force, turns once a month
towards the funnel-like opening at the end of the fallopian
tube. On the surface of the ovary is a tiny bubble, a
blister, that contains the one egg that alone, for some
mysterious reason, has emerged from a field of 250,000 to
ripen that month.
“Suddenly the bubble bursts. Triggered by a surge of
luteinizing hormone, an eloquent chemical messenger from the
brain, the ovary contracts sharply and the ripe egg bursts
forth. The fringed projections at the end of the fallopian
tube reach out like fingers to grasp the ovum [egg] and draw
it into the narrow tunnel of the tube. In a dreamlike,
slow-motion ballet, thousands of tiny, undulating cilia
caress the ripening egg and gently move it along on its
four-inch, four-day journey to the womb.
“Guided by a direction-finding mechanism whose nature
we can only guess at, the sperm swim up past the barrier of
the cervix, into the womb itself. They must then navigate the
entire length of the uterus and swim into the narrow upper
reaches of the dark fallopian tube to meet and fertilize the
“The process is precisely orchestrated, the co-
ordination of the myriad of biologic details staggeringly
complex. It is, for instance, only at this time of the month
that mucus produced by her cervix will allow sperm to pass
through the cervix and into the womb. At other times of the
month, the molecules of the mucus form a crosshatched pattern
to block the sperm lest they reach an egg too young or too
old to be properly fertilized, thus producing a deformed
baby. At the right moment, though, the molecules of the mucus
realign themselves, forming microscopic tunnels to aid the
sperm on their journey.
“The biochemical communications system that
orchestrates all this is so sophisticated that it makes the
technology of beaming planetwide transmissions off orbiting
satellites look like child’s play. When the sperm finally
meet the egg, they secrete a series of enzymes that soften
the outer shell of the egg and make it permeable. Meanwhile,
other chemicals secreted in the tube have completed the
ripening of the egg so it is ready to accept the sperm that
has managed to permeate the outer shell. The sperm and ovum
lock genetic arms, a mating of a still more complex
biochemistry, and the mingled DNA and RNA of the mother and
father create a blueprint from which a unique human being
“Once fertilized, the egg completes its journey down
into the uterus. The uterus, notified of the impending
pregnancy through an elaborate chemical communications
system, has grown thick and rich” (Woman/Doctor: The
Education of Jane Patterson, M.D., New York: Avon Books,
As we have said, any process whereby we interfere purposefully
and knowingly to stop the growth of the fertilized egg, which is
already a newly created, unique human being, is abortion. If the
fertilized egg is not allowed to implant in the uterus, it is
being killed. The only difference between this and a later
abortion is the size and stage of development of the tiny human
BIRTH CONTROL METHODS THAT RESULT IN
Many of our readers will probably be thinking, as we did not
long ago, that birth control pills and similar devices act to
PROHIBIT fertilization. Actually, as we will see from medically
proven facts, birth control pills have the potential to produce
an abortion AFTER fertilization. The IUD, birth control pills and
the new anti-progesterone pill are actually abortion devices,
since they prohibit implantation, thereby acting to destroy the
already-living, rapidly developing, microscopic embryo.
In an article entitled “Contraceptives: On Hold” in
the May 5, 1986 issue of Newsweek, several types of birth
control devices are discussed which are still in the development
stage. After describing one drug which blocks the preparation of
the uterus for the implantation of an already fertilized egg,
this statement is made: “Many experts believe that the
present anti- abortion climate would make it an unlikely prospect
for the U.S. market, SINCE, IN EFFECT, IT INDUCES AN
That birth control drugs can produce early abortions of the
newly fertilized egg is therefore a fact known and acknowledged
by those who understand how the drugs work. Yet these facts are
not widely known outside of medical circles, and many are
ignorant of these things. It is hoped that the following will
receive a wide hearing.
The following shocking material was published by Lutherans for
Life. The medical facts are written by J.C. Willke, M.D.,
Chairman of the National Right to Life Committee in America.
What is the mechanism of action of the IUD? It would seem at
this time that medical opinion has crystallized to a near
unanimity. The presence of this foreign body within the cavity of
the uterus produces a foreign body reaction. This is a local,
sterile (usually), inflammatory reaction, which alters the normal
body fluids within the uterus. It changes what had been a
friendly environment, for the migration of sperm and the
subsequent implantation of the new human being, to an unfriendly
environment. Some have described the intrauterine fluid produced
as containing “sterile pus.” This unfriendly fluid
environment can have an influence on the sperm migrating into the
uterus and tubes, and quite clearly does have an influence on
Not too much has been said or written to indicate that the
sperm are incapacitated in their passage through the uterus, for
if they were, fertilization could not occur. Most of the research
done tells us the same thing. A substantial number of sperm do
pass through the uterine cavity, proceed out to the ovary, and
FERTILIZATION CAN AND DOES OCCUR.
What is quite plain is that, following fertilization, the
process does not proceed to a normally implanted pregnancy. What
are the mechanisms postulated as to why she does not “get
pregnant”? Overwhelmingly, almost all medical studies have
demonstrated various mechanisms that prevent implantation into
the nutrient lining of the womb, due to the foreign body and
inflammatory reaction caused by the IUD. The end result, however,
in almost every case, when fertilization does occur (an
occasional pregnancy is carried to full term and delivery with
the IUD still in the uterus), IT IS FOLLOWED BY A PROCESS THAT
ENDS IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DEVELOPING NEW HUMAN IN THE UTERUS
THROUGH HIS OR HER INABILITY TO IMPLANT. THIS CAN BE ACCURATELY
DESCRIBED AS AN ABORTION. CLEARLY, ALMOST ALL CURRENT EVIDENCE
INDICATES THAT THE IUD’S MAJOR EFFECT IS TO ACT TO PREVENT
The fact that it is described as a “contraceptive”
agent is because of a change in the meaning of words by the Food
and Drug Administration and the American College of Obstetrics
and Gynecology a decade ago, when they redefined the word
“conception” to mean implantation. Under these semantic
gymnastics it is a “contraceptive,” but everyone
familiar with the function understands thoroughly that its action
is that of an abortifacient.
One other relevant medical comment should be made. In all
likelihood, the IUD possibly could be withdrawn from the market
within a reasonable period of time for it has serious side
effects. The “sterile pus” mentioned above does not
always remain sterile. At times it becomes infected, resulting in
varying degrees of inflammation of the female organs and at times
sterility. All practicing physicians in the United States were
notified several years ago, if they were to insert one specific
type of IUD, the Dalcon Shield, into a woman, that it was their
legal obligation to inform her that this might make her
permanently sterile. To protect from a possible later malpractice
suit, such consent should be in writing. In the face of such
concern, this specific type of IUD was removed from the market.
Whether or not other types of IUD’s will remain on the market
indefinitely is an open question. It is at least possible that
they may be removed for medical reasons before any law can do so
(The Christian News, Jan. 13, 1986).
The `pill’ consists now of over 30 different varieties of
chemical combinations of the synthetic equivalent of the female
hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as the so-called
`mini-pill’ which contains progesterone alone. Understanding that
there are different degrees of actions with different pills, that
one has more of this effect and the other has more of that
effect, they can, to some extent at least, be described
The combination pills basically exert three actions in
`preventing’ pregnancy. The first effect of the contraceptive
pill is to prevent ovulation or release of the ovum from the
ovary. This has been described as `freezing’ of the ovary. Even
if the sperm do reach the ovary, fertilization cannot occur
because the ovum has not been released. This action is accurately
described as temporary sterilization, but in common usage it is
usually spoken of as `contraceptive’ action.
The first contraceptive pill, Enovid, contained ten milligrams
of estrogen- like hormone. It was believed that its physiological
function was almost totally that of temporary sterilization.
Enovid-5 was then marketed, to be followed by Enovid E (2.5 mg.).
Since that time lower and lower does of estrogen have been
presented to the consumer so that now does of 0.5 mgm. and 0.35
mgm. are commonly used.
The well known reason for the reduction of the estrogen dosage
was to try to minimize the threat of blood clot complications.
Paralleling the reduction of the estrogen dosage, however,
there has been the development of breakthrough ovulation, as the
lower doses have apparently not been successful in completely
WITH BREAKTHROUGH OVULATION IT IS NOW GENERALLY ACCEPTED THAT
ACTUAL FERTILIZATION OCCURS AT TIMES IN THOSE TAKING THESE PILLS,
but as described below, these women do not ordinarily `get
pregnant.’ [This means the fertilized egg is not allowed to
become implanted in the mother’s uterus; it is killed.]
The second action is one of thickening of the mucous plug at
the cervical opening. This normally happens at the beginning and
at the end of a menstrual cycle, with the plug melting away at
mid-cycle, and being replaced by an egg white-like substance
containing nutrient fluids, which are `friendly’ to the passage
of sperm. The combination pill prevents this from occurring at
mid-cycle, maintaining the plug, and as such probably exerts true
`anti-fertilization’ action by preventing entrance of the sperm.
The third function of the combination pill is
anti-implantation or anti- nidatory. When this is the function
that is dominant in the particular month, there is sperm passage,
there is fertilization and migration of the new human through the
tube and into the uterus, but implantation does not occur. This
is because THE ACTION OF THE PILL HAS `HARDENED’ THE LINING OF
THE UTERUS, CREATED A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE MULTICELLED
TINY HUMAN BEING CANNOT IMPLANT. THIS FUNCTION IS ONE OF AN
ABORTION AT ONE WEEK OF LIFE.
There is no definitive medical agreement as to what percentage
of times this function occurs, in which women and with which pill
(The Christian News, Jan. 13, 1986).
The mini-pill is a form of birth control pill, different from
the combination of estrogen and progesterone above. This contains
only a small dose of progesterone. It is taken daily, 30 days a
month, rather than the 21-7 schedule for the combination pill. It
allows a menstrual flow to occur monthly while the pill is being
taken. There is considerable controversy as to whether or not its
action is primarily in preventing implantation, as other
mechanisms of action have been suggested, but general scientific
opinion at this time is in substantial agreement. It would seem
that IT DOES ALLOW A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF BREAKTHROUGH
OVULATION, AND PRESUMABLY AT TIMES FERTILIZATION. WHEN
FERTILIZATION OCCURS IT “PREVENTS” PREGNANCY BY AN
ANTI-IMPLANTATION ACTION. THIS ACTION IS BEST DESCRIBED AS AN
THE MORNING AFTER PILL
DES or Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic estrogen. Given in
high dosage, in the days immediately following intercourse, it is
known as the morning- after pill. What is its function? This is
best illustrated by giving two examples.
In the first, a woman is raped at midnight Saturday and is
given DES at 2 a.m. in a hospital emergency room. Within a few
hours there is a high level of estrogen in her blood. Her body
was programmed to ovulate 24 hours later at midnight Sunday. The
high level of estrogen blocks that ovulation, fertilization does
not occur, and she does not get pregnant. This effect is one of
In the second case, rape also occurs at midnight Saturday and
the medication is given at 2 a.m.. This woman, however, has
ovulated several hours before the rape. The ovum awaited. It was
fertilized. She also does not “get pregnant” but the
mechanism of action is quite different. The drug had
“hardened” the lining of the womb. THE MULTICELLED TINY
BOY OR GIRL, AT ABOUT ONE WEEK OF LIFE, COULD NOT IMPLANT AND
DIED. THIS MECHANISM WAS AN ABORTION.
Which mechanism occurs in any specific case may well not be
known, but THE STERILIZING ACTION WILL PROBABLY OCCUR TWO OR
THREE TIMES FOR EVERY ABORTIVE ACTION.
Other medications, such as a shot of progesterone are often
used in place of DES, as well as other forms of estrogen. Without
going into detail one can say that their mechanism of action is
substantially the same” (The Christian News, Jan. 13,
As is well known, these substances cause the onset of strong
uterine contractions and delivery of whatever size baby the
uterus contains. If used before viability [before the baby is
able to live outside the womb], this is the equivalent of
The first form licensed, Prostin F2 alpha, carried a directive
from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] that limited its use
to the induction of mid-trimester abortion only. Subsequently,
Prostin A2 and 15M have been licensed. These have now been
authorized for use for several therapeutic medical conditions
(uterine inertia, non-malignant Hyatidaform mole and missed
abortion). [This study was reviewed before publication by Matthew
Bulfin, M.D.; Thomas Hilgers, M.D.; and Richard Schmidt, M.D.] (The
Christian News, Jan. 13, 1986).
The fact that modern birth control pills can and at times do
function as an abortifacient (although they will often use
different words than abortifacient) is freely admitted by The
Food and Drug Administration, by medical books such as Physicians’
Desk Reference (PDR) and Nursing ’85 Handbook; by
pro-abortion books such as My Body, My Health by Felicia
Stewart, M.D; by pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood;
by drug companies in the literature which accompanies the pill,
and by some non- medical reference books such as Random House
College Dictionary. Quotes from these sources follow:
“How the IUD prevents pregnancy is not completely
understood. Several theories have been suggested. IUD’s seem to
interfere in some manner with the implantation of the fertilized
egg in the uterine cavity. The IUD does not prevent
ovulation” (The Federal Register, Part III, May 10,
1977, Department of Health, Education and Welfare–Food and Drug
Administration, “Intrauterine Devices,” p. 23781).
In describing the mechanism of Parke-Davis’ Norlestrin family
of birth control pills we read this notice in the PDR:
“Although the primary mechanism of action is inhibition
of ovulation, alterations in the genital tract, including changes
in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm
penetration) and the endometrium (WHICH REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF
IMPLANTATION) MAY ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO CONTRACEPTIVE
EFFECTIVENESS” (Physician’s Desk Reference, Medical
Economics Company, copyright 1985, p. 1548).
This same notice is given for the Lo/Ovral and Nordette family
of birth control pills marketed by the Wyeth company (PDR, pages.
2255 and 2266).
“Progestogen … also causes endometrial changes that
PREVENT IMPLANTATION OF THE FERTILIZED OVUM” (Nursing ’85
Drug Handbook, Spring House Corporation, 1985).
“In a natural cycle, the uterus lining thickens under the
influence of estrogen during the first part of the cycle, and
then matures under the influence of both progesterone and
estrogen after ovulation. This development sequence is not
possible during a pill cycle because both progestin and estrogen
are present throughout the cycle. EVEN IF OVULATION AND
CONCEPTION DID OCCUR, SUCCESSFUL IMPLANTATION WOULD BE
UNLIKELY” (Felicia Stewart, M.D.; Felicia Guest; Gary
Stewart, M.D. and Robert Hatcher, M.D.; My Body, My Health,
Consumers Union, pgs. 169,170).
“The endometrium (uterine wall) is definitely affected by
oral contraception … THE CHANGE MAY PREVENT IMPLANTATION OF THE
BLASTOCYST [the fertilized egg, the newly created
offspring]” (Planned Parenthood, Grant Application submitted
on September 1, 1982).
“For example, THE PILL MAY AFFECT THE MOVEMENT OF THE
FERTILIZED EGG TOWARD THE UTERUS OR PREVENT IT FROM IMBEDDING
ITSELF IN THE UTERINE LINING” (Changing Times,
“What We Know About the Pill,” July 1977, p. 21).
“Birth control pill: an oral contraceptive for women that
INHIBITS ovulation, fertilization, or IMPLANTATION OF A
FERTILIZED OVUM, causing temporary infertility” (Random
House College Dictionary, revised edition, copyright 1982, p.
HOW OFTEN DOES THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL CAUSE AN ABORTION?
One question many people immediately ask is, “How often,
granted that every type of modern birth control pill can and
sometimes will function as an abortifacient, how often do they
function that way? Is it 10% of the time? Is it .00001% of the
time? Is it a percentage which is high enough to be significant
in my attitude toward the pill?”
Absolute percentages are impossible to obtain. There are too
many variables. Yet doctors and scientists are able to obtain
realistic estimates from their research. Here are some figures:
1. Planned Parenthood in their grant application state that
the hormones in the mini-pill “prevent ovulation and
corpusluteum formation in approximately 1/3 of the cycles.”
That means that 67% of the time women using the mini-pill have a
real possibility of a “silent abortion” on any given
2. Albert D. Lorincz, M.D. in The Pill–How Does It Work?
cites a study in which 1200 women were given .5 mg daily of
progestogen (an amount equivalent to many birth control pills).
Yet 60% of these women ovulated. That means that 60% of the women
on this pill had a real possibility of a “silent
abortion” on any given month.
3. J.C. Espinoza, M.D., writes in his book Birth Control:
Why Are They Lying to Women? page 27:
“When ovulation occurs, pregnancy is possible. Years
ago Roland noticed ovulation in 30% of the women taking an
estrogen-progestin preparation (combined Pill). Today it is
clear that in at least 5% of the cycles of women on the
combined Pill `escape ovulation’ occurs. This fact means that
conception is possible during those cycles, but implantation
will be prevented and the `conceptus’ (child) will die. That
rate is statistically equivalent to one abortion every other
year for all women on the Pill. Mini-Pills have a much higher
ovulation rate. Pituitary block to prevent ovulation is
evident in only 50% of the cycles. Conception, then, is
possible every other month. This new Pill may produce
abortion 50% of the time–six for every year of use. The very
low dose progestin-only Pill may never prevent ovulation.
With any pill there are a small percentage of pregnancies
that go to full term.”
Some doctors may give somewhat different numbers, but the
evidence is clear–every modern birth control pill can and at
times does function as an abortifacient. The IUD works strictly
as an abortifacient.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’VE BEEN ON THE PILL OR IUD?
Your heart may be troubled right now. You may have been using
the IUD or modern birth control pills without realizing that they
could be abortive. You probably are asking yourself, “Could
I have had a silent abortion? Or even several of them? Could I
have ended the life of a child which God intended me to
The answer, of course, is that only God knows. It is a
definite possibility that you have had a silent abortion, if not
several. Nowhere in Scripture does God promise to keep us from
committing sins in ignorance.
At this juncture we can praise the Lord for His great mercy.
The Scriptures promise, “If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from
all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Also, “He that
covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and
forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
BIRTH CONTROL METHODS WHICH DO NOT DESTROY A
We have said that any form of birth control which destroys a
life that has been created through the binding of the male and
female genes is wrong because it is a form of abortion. It can be
called “silent abortion,” or “microscopic
abortion,” or any other term, but it is still abortion and
as such is a breaking of the sixth commandment–“Thou shalt
The question remains: Are there any proper methods of birth
control which Christians can practice? Is it contrary to the will
of God for Christian couples to try to prevent pregnancies?
The first question can be answered much easier than the
second. There are methods of birth control which do actually keep
the sperm and the egg from uniting and therefore do not involve
the destruction of life. We will list these, and for more
detailed information a couple can contact their doctor or
qualified books on this subject:
1. THE CONDOM. Used by the husband, these are readily
available in most areas, are inexpensive and are effective when
2. VAGINAL FOAMS, CREAMS, AND SUPPOSITORIES. These are
used by the wife and are also quite effective when used properly.
They immobilize or kill the sperm and in some cases provide a
mechanical barrier to the sperm. According to The Merck Manual,
“As the woman’s age increases, the effectiveness of these
agents increases greatly and, in women over age 30, is similar
[in effectiveness] to that of the IUD.
3. DIAPHRAGM. This is a device which is used by the
wife and blocks the sperm from entering the cervix. It “must
be carefully fitted by a physician, and the woman must know how
to insert it so that the cervix is covered … Contraceptive
cream or jelly should be used with the diaphragm….”
4. RHYTHM. “For the rhythm method to be
successful, the woman’s menstrual cycles should be regular. To
determine the period of abstention, 18 days should be subtracted
from the length of the shortest of the previous 12 cycles and 11
days from the longest. Thus, if the woman’s cycles vary between
26 and 29 days, the couple must abstain from … day 8 through
day 18 of each cycle. A more effective method is based on
measuring the woman’s basal body temperature each morning before
arising … Even with this refinement of technic, the failure
rate of the rhythm method is estimated to be about 7%; without
the use of temperature recording, the failure rate is several
times higher” (The Merck Manual, pp. 1699,1700).
Because of the fact that the couple are required to abstain
from meeting one another’s needs for approximately one-third of
the time, I fear that this method is dangerous in light of the
warning in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.
5. STERILIZATION. It is very difficult to reverse the
effects of the sterilization operation, and it is said that such
reversals are effective only 30% of the time (The Merck
Manual, p. 1705). Therefore, this decision should be
considered permanent. Since it is impossible for us to know what
the future holds, it doesn’t seem that sterilization is a wise
thing for an individual or couple to do. What if my mate dies and
I desire at a later date to have more children? What if something
happens to some or all of our children? Sterilization means there
is very little possibility that we could have more children.
We are not saying these methods are proper for the Christian,
nor are we saying they are wrong. But we have listed them because
they are methods of birth control whereby the egg is not
fertilized and therefore a new life is not destroyed.
This material cannot be stored on BBS or
Internet sites without permission from the author. Any articles
which are redistributed by e-mail must be left intact and nothing
must be removed or changed, including these informational
headers. Copyright 1995 by David W. Cloud. All rights are
reserved by the author. David Cloud is editor of O Timothy, a
monthly magazine. Annual subscription is US$20 FOR THE UNITED
STATES. Send to Way of Life Literature, Bible Baptist Church, P.O.
Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Way of Life Internet web
site is http://www.wayoflife.org/