Report on contraception out soon

The report takes a comprehensive look at a myriad of birth-control options, offering both medical and spiritual perspectives. It was prepared by the Sanctity of Human Life Committee, a program of LCMS World Relief/Human Care, in response to Resolution 6-10, approved at the 2004 LCMS convention. The resolution requested a review of birth-control products and methods — including clarification on those that can act as abortifacients — and asked that this information be made available to LCMS pastors and laypeople.

The report examines everything from abstinence to the latest hormonal products and intrauterine devices. It opens with a discussion of “God's original design for the beautiful vocation of marriage and how that vocation has often been negatively affected and influenced by our sinful society,” said LCMS Life Ministries Director Maggie Karner.

The Sanctity of Human Life Committee charged three members with writing the report for committee approval. In addition to Karner, the report's authors are Rev. Dr. Kevin Voss, director of the Concordia Bioethics Institute and a Concordia University Wisconsin professor, and Dr. Sherry Prowatzke, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Waukesha, Wis.

The report will be available as a free download at http://worldrelief.lcms.org by mid-July.


Pr. Conner said...

Here's what I find interesting/disturbing:

I have heard/read statements by Dr. Voss and his predecessor Dr. Eyer to the effect that the third function of the pill (thinning the endometrium lining to lessen the likelihood implantation) is a scare tactic used by pill companies/legal jargon to ensure no one sues them and not an actual description of a function of the pill. Therefore it is morally acceptable for Christians (a matter of “Christian freedom”).

Lutherans for Life, however, states (in their position statements), “Birth control pills, promoted as contraceptives, thin the uterine lining as a back-up mechanism and, therefore, can be abortifacient in nature…”

This upcoming report gives me little hope for a consistent pro-life ethic (never mind the fact that they will likely repeat the phrase “as long as marriage is fruitful as a whole it is God-pleasing” – whatever that means and will also likely say nothing about the morality/immorality of separating something from its God-ordained end i.e. the procreative nature of sex).

Thoughts by others?

Pr. David Rufner said...

I too have the same concerns. This takes me back to the 2006 LFL sponsored Bioethics Conference where I attended the round table discussion about this issue.

First, the discussion was disappointing in that not all sides were represented. (Not only does that make for 'bad radio', as they say, but it means and meant that the side of the discussion not present was caricatured at best!

Second, when Dr. Voss publicly made these very same assertions that the drug makers are only covering their rears in a legal sense concerning the third mechanism I was incredulous. It was a irresponsible and flippant dismissal of a serious concern. And if the drug makers are concerned enough about it to mention it, then maybe or likely it happens! (Read Large Catechism 5th Commandment on this one!)

Third, this panel discussion bode poorly for the forthcoming paper. Why? Because those who sponsored and moderated this panel discussion were the very same people putting together the group to produce the forthcoming paper.

My hope is that Dr. Lamb insisted on at least representing the minority report.

Erich Heidenreich said...

Prs., I certainly agree.

Here is our earlier discussion on the pitiful Eyer/Voss position, a position which we should expect to reappear in some form in the upcoming report.

There sure is a lot of bad information out there, and I am not hopeful that this report will do anything but propagate the worst of it.

Here is an excellent scientific review of the medical liturature regarding: "Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives." This scientific review is infinitely more complete and reliable than the opinion piece penned by 21 "pro-life" physicians on which Voss and Eyer rely.

Dizziness said...

Where is this paper? Anyone know?

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...


Sorry to take so long in replying. I just saw your comment.

No, I have no idea what happened. I've never seen the awaited paper published, and the announcement of it's impending release has been removed from the LCMS World Relief web page.