0

Why should contraceptives not be cheap and widely available?

When it comes to personhood one can broadly categorize two positions:

  • A person becomes a person at or very shortly after conception
  • A person becomes a person around the time of birth

This results in two respective perspectives on abortions:

  • An abortion is the intentional 'murder' of a person ("Pro-life")
  • An abortion is a medical procedure removing a clump of cells from a woman's body ("Pro-choice")

Thus you have one group that would consider abortions abhorrent, whilst you have another group which basically considers them fine. However, looking at Christian groups who argue against abortions, there is a systematic tendency to also be against the wide availability of contraception, which would be a very effective way to decrease the rates of 'something abhorrent' happening... whilst in contrast it's the groups that would consider abortions 'okay' (and thus have a far smaller 'motivation') that seem to advocate in favor of wide and cheap availability of contraceptives.

Thus getting to my question: What are the main religious arguments employed by Christian 'groups' against the wide availability of contraceptives? Note that I am specifically not asking whether specific denominations are in favor or against the use of contraceptives by their own congregation (as there are some fantastic articles already discussing that).


Some perspective: Personally, I take an anti-abortion view (based on the position that we don't know when a person becomes a person, so I think we should play it safe), and I feel like it thus becomes a moral imperative to advocate in favor of the wide availability of cheap or free contraception, because regardless of whether a Christian should or shouldn't use contraception, it's far more important to decrease the rate of abortions. I always felt like this is something that should've and could've been a common ground between the different groups (pro life and pro choice), and yet the polar opposite is true. Nearly every time I express this position in a discussion with a 'pro-choice' individual I get relatively shocked reactions.

5
  • @Matthew I am trying to understand your logic. For now ignoring the two poles idea, as I completely don't understand that one, but more importantly, the idea is that "humans should have as many children as possible", thus "contraception might cause the sin of having less children"? Like is the core of the idea that all sin is equal, so "murder of infants" equals "having less than maximum number of children you can bear"? Not trying to attack your comment, just trying to wrap my head around it. Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 13:44
  • @Matthew So if the command does not mean 'have as many kids as you can', then contraceptives could play a role in that even in a Christian's life. Regardless though, when discussing the wide availability of contraceptives it's about the policies Christians promote that affect non-Christians. And that's the thing, assuming that Gen 1:29 should be interpreted in the way you suggest, then that will still only damn the person in question, whilst getting pregnant and going through an abortion would affect another life (a life that depending on what you believe will/can never be saved). Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 14:22
  • (I'm deleting my comments for tidiness; see my answer.) Many Christians would say "quit having sex if you think you have enough kids", and that trying to control conception is trying to take control that is rightly God's. As to non-Christians, see my answer. That said, note that I'm trying to explain the attitude you asked about. Whether or not I agree with that attitude is a different question which I am not addressing.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 14:31
  • Why according to whom? There are already plenty of questions on this site about why contraception is immoral. How is your question different?
    – Geremia
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 20:59
  • 2
    @Geremia Just because something is immoral doesn't mean religious groups don't accept that people outside of the religious group might do it. Even religious groups don't advocate that sex outside marriage and/or sex without the goal of child bearing should be punishable, yet they do advocate for policies that make it have more bad consequences (both for all parties involved, but also ethically) for those same people. My question here is why. Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 2:44

2 Answers 2

2

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
— Genesis 1:28

It all boils down to how each denomination interprets the Hebrew word מָלָא, which is often translated as "replenish" or "fill".

Some believe that "be fruitful and multiply" means to continue increasing the population until the end of the age.
For them, the only purpose of contraceptives is to avoid obeying that commandment, and so should be banned.

Others believe that we have already replenished and subdued the Earth; that for most of history our population has been in the hundreds of millions and sat comfortably under a billion until relatively recently (about 200 years ago); and that the Earth can't support its current load of nearly ten times that number (“The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants”).
For them, overpopulation is the obvious cause of the current environmental disasters, and in light of modern medicine that now allows most children to survive to have their own families, contraceptives and deliberate family planning are the obvious solution to this problem.
(Consider that 90% of all pollution wouldn't exist had we kept our population at around one billion.)

0

God commanded humans to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). He also gave all sorts of commands regarding marriage and sexual morality. In summary, man is made for woman and woman for man, and the purpose of this Holy Union is to "be fruitful and multiply". Hence, not only adultery, but also homosexuality and transgenderism are excluded. Children are the intended outcome of this union, and in particular, are the intended result of sexual intercourse.

Now, it's true the abortion is homicide. (In most, but not all, cases, we can say further that abortion is murder, but there are exceptions.) However, that is not the whole story. Many Christians see the division as not (only) between those who would murder defenseless children, but between those in obedience to God's commands, and those who are disobeying Genesis 1:28. From this perspective, pro-abortion attitudes are a natural extension of people that demand sexual intercourse outside of God's plan. That these same people define pregnancy as a "consequence", rather than the blessing God intended, shows rather starkly the perversion of this thinking. (And, of course, contraception makes it much easier to engage in adultery without "complications".)

In other words, many Christians view the issue as not merely about abortion, but about those who obey God versus those who hate children and will do anything to avoid having them, in contradiction to God's command. Note that the argument is not that contraception is homicide (though I wouldn't be surprised if some do make that argument), but that the question of abortion is a subset of the real issue wherein abortion and contraception both arise from the same underlying cause.

To your question then, these Christians would see little legitimate use for contraceptives; at least (see also below) no legitimate reason for them to be widely available. What benefit is there to something which enables sin being cheap and widely available?

As an aside, "contraception" is the deliberate prevention of conception. Other users have noted that there may be legitimate uses of "contraceptives" when the primary purpose of use is not contraception. The prevention of implantation, however, would be considered murder by most Christians.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .