11.15.2005

Beginnings...

On November 13th I commented on Devonas post 'Introductions'. In that comment I suggested that we might frame an orderly discussion over the next days, weeks, months based on the following:

1. State clearly what our concern (those of us who hold it) over The Pill is and show how Confessional Lutheranism would lead us in the midst of that concern.

2. Demonstrate somewhat anecdotally where the journey away from The Pill has led some couples. (This may be a move to NFP for some couples, or to other contraceptives for others.)

3. Make a two-part (or more) case for NFP:
aaaa. What distinguishes NFP from contraceptives? (This will then in part disarm the objection in b..)
bbbb. Put forth a case on how to respond to those who level the objection that NFP is no different than contracepting because the married couple is still exercising their will over God' (There are certainly different variations on this objection, sometimes put in question form).
cccc. (which I am only now adding) Make a case based upon 3a. and 3b. why NFP is to be preferred. (This will sound presumptuous at the present to some, but my hope and prayer is that the discussion leading up to it will validate c..)

4. Make a case (contra 3.) that NFP is just one more contraceptive. Though different in many ways from other contraceptives, it is just one more way of preventing the fruits of marriage that the Lord has commanded/blessed marriage with.

This then constitutes the order of conversation that I am proposing. Does anyone have any additions, subtractions, objections?

Along the way, of course, the path may wander. Other tid-bits may be thrown in. We will find ourselves having discussions over the Word of God, Natural Law, Church History, modern culture, The Roman Church, etc.

I am excited about what is to come. I welcome all discussion on the matter whether for or against what is written. Contention will lead to clarification, and can and will happen in an atmosphere that need not be uncharitably contentious.

This blog is described as an 'open blog'. If you have a particular heart for this matter I would be glad to add you to the blog in such a way that you can author original posts. At the same time, we all recognize that an open blog can only be so open in this regard. Therefore, many others of you will choose to make your contributions to the discussion through comments. A third option would be to e-mail me a post and I would be glad to put it up in your name.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

In Our Lord,
David

3 comments:

Christopher Gillespie said...

Pr.,

Sounds like a fun time. Lets get going! A coordinated discussion is a new blog concept for me... Usually these things yield rants and raves with no continuity (much like my own mind.)

Chris

Mike said...

"I am also interested in reading more about the distinction between NFP and other contraceptives. Of course, the obvious difference is the physical effects that a birth control pill has on a woman. Also, NFP, I am sure, promotes family life. But what would the difference be then between NFP and a condom? I have often thought that there is a medical side to this discussion and then a theological/philosophical side. The usage of a condom and NFP would still be questionable under the theological/philosophical side."

Tina said...

I'll take a stab at number 1 - why the Pill presents a problem for us.

The Pill works in 3 possible ways. It's main effect is to prevent ovulation. But, breakthrough ovulation does occur (and as the level of hormones has decreased over time to reduce side effects, this breakthrough could possibly be higher). In this case, the 2nd mechanism - thickening the cervical mucous so that sperm cannot get through to fertilize the egg--would come into play. Both of these mechanisms are truly "contraceptive"--they prevent fertilization.

However, the 3rd mechanism is problematic in that it thins the lining of the uterus, making it inhospitable to a newly fertilized egg (a baby), so that it cannot implant. This would cause the abortion of a week old baby.

The dilemna occurs because no one knows how often this 3rd mechanism actually happens. We know that all 3 mechanisms fail and women do sometimes get pregnant while on the Pill, and go on to deliver healthy babies. But there have been no studies to show how often fertilizations occur and fail--nor is there any incentive for the makers of the Pill to conduct these studies.

I've heard this 3rd mechanism described as a "marketing ploy" to increase the user's confidence in the product. But this is described in the very technical patient insert that is impossible to read or understand without an MD--NOT in the slick pamphlets handed out at the doctor's office.

I'm not sure why pro-lifers are so reluctant to take the Pill makers at their word when they say how the product works. Perhaps our ease and convenience are more important? And if it is explained away in this manner, the consience can be soothed.

Obviously, for we who believe life begins at conception, this 3rd mechanism is a problem. Ob-gyn's will not consider this to be an abortion, however. The medical community defines pregnancy as beginning at *implantation*, not fertilization. If the baby doesn't implant, the woman is not pregnant, so she cannot abort.

For me, because the risk is unknown, I chose to not take the risk with the life of one of my children. It seems others hold the opinion that because the risk is unsubstantiated, we can continue using the Pill in good conscience, until it is proven otherwise. I hold that we should NOT use it until it is proven that it does not pose a threat to a tiny baby.

I believe that if we are to be wrong in this matter, I would rather be wrong on the side of life.

Respectfully submitted,
Tina