In recent days I have given this paper more thought and have come to the realization that it serves as a great spring-board for our continuing conversation. At the moment (even as more people are sharing their stories of marital thought and practice concerning contraception in general and specifically ‘The Pill’) it appears that it would be advantageous for us to move beyond ‘The Pill’ toward a discussion of the more general class of contraceptives.
Dr. Eyer writes:
"The claim that hormonal contraceptives such as the birth control pill include an abortion causing effect is being widely spread by well-meaning, but misinformed pro-life people. The rumor claims to be based on scientific fact when there is no such evidence to
support it... The issue here is a concern for the credibility of the pro-life witness. At present it is being compromised by misinformation and is causing divisiveness within that same community."
Dr. Eyer's premises are, as I understand them:
1) That a lack of scientific evidence leaves us with no grounds upon which to believe/suggest/rumor there to be a link between the pill and abortion (an argument based on biology).
2) Furthermore, that misinformed pro-lifers who espouse such a connection are hurting the pro-life witness.
Dr. Eyer has thus (as far as his logic is concerned) denied the connection between the pill and "an abortion causing effect." Thus Christian couples are saved from this "rumor" set forth by "well-meaning, but misinformed pro-life people." The Pill is safe, he argues.
For the moment I will concede this point to Dr. Eyer (though I do not agree with his premises or his conclusions). Let's say ‘The Pill’ is safe. I would still like to ask the following important questions...
Is the only potential connection between ‘The Pill’ and abortion one of biology? Or, insofar as ‘The Pill’ falls into the larger class of contraceptives is there another connection to abortion? (Notice I have broadened the scope of concern from ‘The Pill’ to contraceptives in general.)
The answers are No and Yes, respectively.
Sam and Bethany Torode, in their book Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception (Eerdmans, 2002), point out that their is also a legal/cultural connection. They write (pg. 66):
On the surface, it seems ridiculous: How could the right to prevent pregnancy be construed as a right to terminate a pregnancy? Writing for the majority in Roe, Justice Harry Blackmun states that the realm of "sexual privacy" established by Griswold and Eisenstadt "is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy." (Roe v. Wade, 410 US113 (1973), Opinion of the Court, section VII.)
This is a recording of the facts of history by the Torodes. This does not represent their thoughts or opinions on the matter. Rather, it demonstrates the connection in the logic and thinking of the majority of the Justices in Roe v. Wade. In their reasoning and judgment (whether right or wrong) they determined that a woman's right to "privacy" and her decision to engage in contracepting intercourse extends then to her right to decide "whether or not to terminate a pregnancy" (abortion).
There IS a legal/cultural/secular connection between contraceptives and abortion. Like it or not the connection is there. The reasoning and laws that allow abortions to take place rest on the backs of the reasoning and laws that made contraceptives legal.
When it comes to the biology of the workings of ‘The Pill’ we can dismiss the topic – saying that there is no scientific research which we can point to as the smoking gun. But we, and Dr. Eyer, have a more daunting task yet if we wish to eradicate all connections between contraceptives and abortion... We have to deal with the connection named above - a connection that the pro-choice, pro-abortion crowd are well aware of and even celebrate.
"The issue here is a concern for the credibility of the pro-life witness."
To the pro-choice, pro-abortion crowd we, the pro-life contracepting Christians, look less than credible as we cry out against abortions on the one hand, while with the other we whole heartedly embrace - and swallow - the contraceptive age.