thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

august 15 podcast

“Truly, you would be sorry that you made this decision. So I must tell you, no, I will not do this surgery.” I came home, devastated and very angry that this doctor would not comply with my wishes. Surely I could find someone else who would give me what I wanted, but, in the back of my mind, I kept wondering what I would do if I actually could never have another baby. That was the beginning of the Lord prompting me, asking me this question “Karen, do you love children?” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled “Militant Fecundity vs Seeing Children as a Blessing from the Lord, Part Two. (And please take note that parts 3 and 4 will be aired on August 22 and 29.)

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22 Comments»

  Cindy Marsch wrote @

Thanks for another great podcast, Karen. However, you might want to check a fact or two: I agree completely that all forms of the Pill have abortifacient potential, but for combination pills this is ONE of the possible means of efficacy, after suppression of ovulation and thickening of cervical mucus (a kind of barrier to sperm). The mini-pill works primarily by making a hostile endometrium that will not allow implantation of a fertilized egg, but the combination pills have this as only a possible mechanism. It’s still too much of a possibility for me, and I’m glad I learned of it while engaged 22 years ago!

  Cindy K wrote @

Karen,

This brought out a million thoughts in my head. Yesterday, I had cause to revisit the scene of years past, and now again today with this podcast. Hmmm. (Makes me wonder what will happen tomorrow. ??)

You used a phrase that shouted at me from a memory from my very early in my marriage.

“God did this to us.”

One Friday night (when I could not easily go to the doctor and get a blood test), I realized that my cycle had taken an eight week holiday. I was a Birthright volunteer then, but it was suddenly a very personal thing. My mother was not a happy parent, and I phoned her and mentioned what was going on, planning to make a trip to the doctor’s office that Monday morning to get a test. I was entirely terrified and overjoyed at the same time, and my Christian mother responded with a disdainful “Oh, God” followed by a long pause and my quick excuse to get off the phone.

I burst into tears, and my husband ran up the stairs to see what was wrong. I told him that I had ruined her life with my birth, both of our lives and would surely ruin the life of this maybe baby. (I’d always figured that when God opened my womb, everything would be instantaneously wonderful.) I wept and wept, but my sweet husband declared (among many other beautiful expressions of love and care), “God did this to us.” And he was just absolutely wonderful with me, and we were both changed in that instant.

And you mentioned this “spirit of abortion” comment that is sometimes heard and hurled at people who are not QF or patriocentric.

Is that really true? “Abort,” among other things, means to abandon, to cease an action/ operation, or to destroy something that has not yet been completed. Is that not what is done with living, breathing people by this group? On one hand, many in the movement cry “militant fecundity” while some (like Wilson) state that the non-elect hate God and deserve to get what’s coming to them, including children starving and dying. And what of their stance on women? Are they not brought to one level and expected to remain there? And grown children?

I’ve also been in churches where they were geared to evangelism and then these new believers were virtually abandoned to starve to death spiritually. They counted converts and paid little to no attention to teaching them milk or meat afterwards. It was heart wrenching. But they were certainly proud of their stats.

There are many denominations that profess Christ yet also avoid the topic of abortion — that I will readily admit. There is no excuse for this. Yet those who seem to be so “militant” also abandon and abort many of those whom they criticize. We will all give an account to God, and that day will be beyond sobering. But how many of those who live outside our doorsteps have we abandoned and aborted with our out-of-balance pet doctrines of distortion? Or with our “Death, Disease and Divorce” curses in the name of Jesus and righteousness?

Here is something that hope that the patriocentrists consider. We are not called to love only the elect (and we do not know who the elect are or will be) but to love all of our neighbors as well as our fellow believers. We are called to love the unborn as well as those who are born. (And a Calvinist, as many of these folks profess to be, believe that all are born very much guilty and not innocent, so a baby should not be any more or any less significant than any other life.) It makes no sense to me, save that it is “survival of the spiritually fittest.” That is spiritual darwinism.

  Cindy K wrote @

Cindy Marsh,

Karen discussed this about a year ago. I initially had this same response to what she had to say as well. And then, I add to it the four nurses I’ve worked with over the years who all got pregnant while taking the pill. (Add my patients or CPC clients to that number! I’ve cared for two patients who were using both the pill and a barrier method and got pregnant.) It’s also a bit of an issue for people that take oral contraceptives for medical reasons. I think that if God wants to open your womb, He’s going to do it and there is NOTHING that you can do that will stop Him. And what’s a greater sin to Him? If you do it

with a spirit of shaking your fist in His face…. ? There is also the issue of what makes an active method of avoiding conception different in motive than NFP which would be a passive method? He is still sovereign over the womb.

But I respect the opinion of those who interpret that all differently. God gives us all discernment, and this isn’t exactly meat sacrificed to idols at risk. Christian physicians are divided on this, even with the newer combinations of hormone mixes that are more like the mini-pill. I never had to make the decision as oral contraception was never an option for me anyway. I’ve got enough of an issue with them from a health standpoint to protest their use. I’ve had doctors that sang their praises to me as if they’ve had a vested interest in me taking them???? So I’ve been turned off by the whole thing. If the studies are unclear about breast cancer and breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women, why are they being given to anyone for contraception at all. It’s not worth the risk. I don’t think I ever got beyond this issue to get to the ethical one of any pill possibly being abortifacient.

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy and Cindy, (how often does that happen?)

Any method of birth control that is designed to alter the nurturing properties of the uterus lining is an abortifacient and should never be used. Even if that is only ONE of the ways it functions, it is still considered to be an abortifacient.

Here is a link to Randy Alcorn’s book on the subject.

http://www.epm.org/artman2/publish/prolife_birth_control_pill/A_Short_Condensation_of_Does_The_Birth_Control_Pill_Cause_Abortions.shtml

When my doctor wanted to prescribe birth control pills for me to address a premenopausal issue I was having, I had already read this material and pressed him to talk to me about it. He finally admitted that it was accurate and that I was correct and he would respect my decision to not use the pill. Most doctors won’t admit it but it totally makes sense if you consider how the pill is supposed to work. And the idea that somehow the cervical mucous could be rendered ineffective makes little sense to me, really. Think about how tiny just one sperm is, and it only takes one!

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy K,
You bring up a good point about having the proper attitude toward unbelievers who are in a crisis pregnancy. One of the issues I have with the militant fecundity crowd is the attitude they have that ignores the sovereignty of God in working in the lives of women who are unregenerate but desperately in need of love and compassion by Christians. We need to be the first ones who step up to the plate to help any woman who finds herself pregnant and without assistance. When I first read Doug Wilson’s thoughts that we ought to pray imprecatory psalms down on the unregenerate, even praying that their children’s heads would be dashed upon the rocks, I felt ill. That would have been my head. Tomorrow I plan to share a little about that, btw.

  Cindy K wrote @

Karen,

You can almost argue that the cervical mucus prevents fertilization of the ovum (egg), if there is even an egg inadvertently produced. The primary way that the pill works is to mimic the hormones produced in the early phase of pregnancy (like non-stop, late phase PMS). The pituitary senses the presence of progesterone and thinks that there is already a pregnancy, so it does not produce the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (develops the egg for release) or the Lutenizing Hormone (the hormone that calls for the release of the egg). [BTW, the identical hormones cause maturation of sperm in men, also produced in the pituitary. GASP!]

That is why many women who come off the pill have a high rate of multiple births. When FSH and LH kick back in with instructions from the pituitary to get back to work, the ovaries respond by catching up and releasing lots of eggs (since that is what they were designed to do). They make up for lost time so there are lots of extra eggs released when they get the message to kick back into action.

I have no idea what the stats are on how many women experience “break through” hormone release and ovulation. BUT That is the first line effect of the pill and its primary action.

The rest of the effects of the pill are secondary and a natural response to Progesterone which happens naturally, late in every woman’s menstrual cycle EVERY MONTH. That’s why I don’t put as much weight in the arguments that the pill creates a hostile environment as some evil, evil thing. That same hostile environment is there and active naturally late in a woman’s menstrual cycle, even when a woman is not on the pill. There are multiple hormonal players involved, coordinating the miracle of fertility. Some hormones are from the pituitary in the brain, some are coming from the lining of the uterus. Some are coming from the ovary. And in obesity, some come from abdominal fat. And sex hormones are created from other hormones. Thyroid plays a part. Adrenal hormones also play a role as building blocks of estrogen and progesterone, so part of is is dependent on the adrenals under the kidney. My cousin has a condition where her LH and FSH don’t match up with the progesterone, and she has to get supplemented to even conceive. It’s all pretty miraculous to me, as it is a very complex, coordinated dance requiring interlacing of all of them.

So, in the rare likelyhood that there is an egg released:

The cervical mucus thickening prevents sperm from getting to the egg. When a woman is fertile, the cervical mucus is very thin and has low “ferning.” (When you put it under a microscope, it looks like the pattern of a single fern leaf.) Think of a fish, swimming through one fern, freely leaning back and forth in a fish tank. When the cervical mucus is thick (like thick fern on top of fern) as a natural effect of progesterone, instead of having one fern, you have a wild forest. If a single sperm was like a single fish in a fish tank loaded solid with thick ferns, that fish could never make it away from the side of the tank. The sperm cant readily get to the egg. They get out of the stall but can’t run the track very well.

Here’s the flip-side of that argument and the rub to saying that the cervical mucus prevents the sperm from getting to the egg: You could also then argue that the fertilized ovum cannot be propelled (by little finger-like projections or hairs that push the egg downward to the uterus) because they also have to deal with the thick fern-like mucus, too. So the hurdle that prevented the sperm from meeting the egg prevent the egg from getting to the uterine lining. BUT, if this were a big factor, women who get pregnant on the pill would have high rates of ectopic pregnancies. But they don’t. So far as I know, they have the same rates of ectopic pregnancy as the general population. So I don’t buy that as a good argument for the evil cervical mucus. And if there was such a statistic, we would know all about it as a support to this argument.

So the secondary effect of progesterone is the thickening of mucus. It is the natural barrier that prevents the sperm from having a chance with the egg. That’s why it is an important consideration, and I think you could actually argue that it prevents what people call the “hostile uterine lining.” Randy Alcorn argues that it is something that makes things hostile to the fertilized egg, but I don’t think that the statistics support this. I will go look though when I get done here. I see the mucus as just as much or more as a preventative effect than something hostile. I think you could honestly argue it either way.

Now for Alcorn’s “hostile uterine lining” argument:

The fertilized ovum faces the same conditions that are naturally in the womb late in the menstrual cycle (high level progesterone). I don’t think of that in terms of an evil pill creating a hostile uterus but more like something that happens every month anyway. (But considering that a baby can attach to a fallopian tube or any other tissue in the area, that tissue is no more hostile than a fallopian tube or other such rare host to an ectopic pregnancy. And that happens about 125,000 times a year in the US.) It’s not necessarily some evil, unnatural, cruel environment but one that happens every month, during the week prior to menstruation. So I almost don’t get where he’s coming from, because there are so many ectopic pregnancies. That baby will find a place to go if it needs to. It is more likely to attach to the hostile uterine lining than it is to the fallopian tube.

REVIEW:

Primary Effect: No egg released which is what happens most of the time.

Secondary Effect: In the event that there is an egg, the sperm must traverse a thick forest that mimics the late phase of every monthly cycle during the week before menstruation. And theoretically, this natural effect that happens every month anyway can impede the fertilized ovum getting to the uterus for ideal implantation. But I’m not personally persuaded this way because of the stats regarding ectopic pregnancy with women on the pill. If the stats suggested this, NO pro-life doctor would prescribe the pill.

(With each hurdle, you’re talking about skyrocketing odds against pregnancy.)

Tertiary/Third Level “Hurdle”: Matured uterine lining beyond the ideal for implantation. —
This happens late in every woman’ cycle every month during the week before menstruation NATURALLY anyway. It’s not rich and inviting, but it is available. The newer pills don’t have as much of this effect as earlier pills.

Now, because the system has been altered, some docs claim that the uterine lining will not be rich and inviting to the placenta. The baby does not have an optimal good start. This is also why a woman on the pill has lighter periods. The uterine lining has not had the optimal maturation process that it would have had otherwise. So the baby DOES have a chance to attach, and it is certainly more inviting than a fallopian tube. It’s just not rich and ideal, but the placenta can overcome this if it can make good contact. And this is what happens when women on the pill get pregnant.

So I don’t look at it like the uterus is made to be a war-zone for the tiny baby with an egg released every month. The odds of that happening and the odds of the sperm traversing the mucus and the odds of the ovum failing to implant are astoundingly high. And I guess having friends that I know well and are responsible, taking the pill as prescribed and still getting pregnant, it seems that if that there is low likelihood that there is an egg and that sperm is able to get past hurdle 2 and even find the egg, then how hard is it for God to see to it that the baby finds it to the uterine wall (already designed to do the job), a condition that happens every month anyway?

Either He opens the womb or He doesn’t. If He causes break through hormone release from the pituitary, the ovaries respond and then He causes the sperm to traverse the forest to get to the egg, then He can finish the job. Because He is the one who opens the womb…

  Cindy K wrote @

I wrote above: That’s why it is an important consideration, and I think you could actually argue that it prevents what people call the “hostile uterine lining.”

I should have said that it prevents access of the sperm to the egg to start with, so the lining of the uterus is far, far down the pike.

If that were the PRIMARY action of the pill, then I would find this REALLY horrible. But is is only creating what already happens every month. It’s not like the pill poisons the uterus.

Again, my big deal with the pill is that it is poisoning breasts, a leading cause of death among women. Add to it the other risks… Why is breast cancer a leading cause of death? And no one finds that significant, considering that we now prescribe the pill to everybody and her sister?

  Cindy K wrote @

First, the women who get pregnant taking the pill have no higher of a rate of ectopic pregnancy than all other women who experience ectopic pregnancy. So I don’t think that the theoretical argument made by Alcorn that the thickened mucus is an abortifacient is valid. Again, if it were, there would be a much higher rate of ectopic pregnancies in women taking the pill who have thick mucus at all times because of high progesterone through most of the cycle. If anything, it argues that the pill actually works like a natural barrier method.

As previously stated, I don’t like the pill for a host of reasons. I think it lends a false sense of security and the illusion of control over conception, so things are downplayed. (And it’s high risk — clots, heart attacks, deadly blood clots in the lung, strokes, hypertension, gall bladder disease, benign growths on the liver, etc. and other reproductive cancers. They also stress the immune system which lowers resistance to STDs. If you have the false illusion that there is no risk of pregnancy and you don’t use a barrier method, some women are at greater risk of infection than someone not on the pill.) But that is apart from the belief of some that the pill is abortifacient.

The primary action is to inhibit release of an egg. In a study evaluating the ovaries of women on two different types of oral contraceptives for the corpus luteum (healing follicle following ovulation that produces progesterone and helps sustain pregnancy) for 5 years, 95% of women ovulated either 0.5 to 1.7 times out of 100 cycles (8 years based on 12 cycles per year). So if you took the pill for eight years, if you ovulated at all, you only ovulated once or twice during those eight years. Arguments made by those who oppose the pill make it sound like it is nearly a monthly occurrence. If there is ovulation, there is low likelihood (even based on Alcorn’s argument) that there will be conception because the sperm is inhibited by the ferning in the mucus.

Here’s the next big problem that I have with many of the arguments made by Alcorn and others. The statistics are distorted.

They say that a 3 – 5% rate of pregnancy taking the pill means that 3 to 5 women out of a hundred who take the pill will get pregnant. This is an unintentionally but grossly inaccurate statement to make. Like many physicians will often do, they do not interpret the statistics reliably. It does not mean that 3 to 5 out of every 100 people will get pregnant. This means that out of ALL women who take the pill, no matter how they took the pill (including teens who have a dramatically high rate of inconsistent use and high risk-taking), all people who have other mitigating illnesses or take additional medications, etc. Depending on age and such, your personal risk is not going to be remotely this high. This also takes into account all of the pills that Planned Parenthood pushes to increase the likelihood of breakthrough ovulation in their stats. So your personal risk as a private patient, married and responsible, will be dramatically lower for a breakthrough pregnancy than in the general population. Your chances of having this happen are going to be incredibly unlikely. If there were that many breakthrough pregnancies, people would not use the pill.

(If the stats issue really interests you, there is an old book called “How to Lie With Statistics” you should read. It’s what my first stats teacher used as a second textbook.)

The Life Advocate article also has a drawing to give you an idea of what the uterine lining looks like, and also states that the uterine lining decreases by 60%. How much of a lining does the fallopian tube have? None. Do babies implant in the fallopian tube? Over 100,000 cases per year in the US alone. How much better will they implant in the uterus than they will on ectopic tissue? At least 30% better (as there is some uterine lining), and even that is a poor use of statistics. It is not statistically accurate to say that if your uterine lining is 60% less in thickness that it is 60% less inviting to a pregnancy. Unless you’ve proven this, I think it’s unethical to say this. If my husband did stuff like this in court, he would lose cases. He would consider this lying on the stand. The fact is that this is the condition of the uterus for about 50 to 80% of a woman’s regular menstrual cycle. This is the same for cervical mucus, both conditions that respond to progesterone levels. The way it is presented, it almost makes it sound like it’s a way of poisoning the lining. Following Alcorn’s reasoning, it is honest to say that the uterus is hostile to an egg 80% of the time as a normal finding experienced by every woman every month because of natural progesterone and the natural cycle.

I think it is really wrong to call something “hostile” when a better term would be “not ideal.” I think it’s very wrong to say “hostile.” It makes it sound like you did something to poison the uterus. If you’re taking the pill, you don’t want to be pregnant, and you’ve already taken measures to not invite sperm to find an egg that is likely not going to be there. The real issue then is the use of contraception at all. If an unexpected guest shows up on your doorstep and you don’t have a meal planned for them and a bed turned down for them, does this count as hostility? What would you do in response? You would accommodate and change your plans which is exactly what the hormones from the baby and the interaction with the ovary does to the uterine lining. There is a local effect from the hormone and the uterine lining will respond to the HCG and sustained progesterone from the ovary. It responds just like the tissue of the fallopian tube does. Know why a woman’s perineum turns deep red or purple when pregnant? Increased blood flow from the local action of the hormones of pregnancy. They are the same hormones.

I think it’s more honest to say that, in the rare event that you would release an egg while on the pill, and in the event that a sperm makes it to the egg, do you want to roll out the red carpet for that egg to implant? That’s very different than hostile. This is why some physicians consider the pill to be non-aborifacient. (Now, this is certainly true of the IUD, as this is its primary action – preventing implantation.) If you are on the pill consistently, you will not have as thick of an endometrium, but you will have one. Again, if a pregnancy needed this rich lining to sustain itself, we would never see ectopic pregnancies. So that point is moot to me. Not every fertilized egg results in a pregnancy, and eggs fail to implant all the time as a natural finding. What they are saying is that every time there is conception that there must and always is a pregnancy. That is not the case, even without the pill.

If you want to take the risk and in the event that you might have this happen once in your lifetime or that you might end up with a rare instance of a metabolic problem of some type that might put you at more risk of pregnancy on the pill which does happen, then your uterus will not be as inviting to a pregnancy than if you were using another method. If that is a major consideration, then what you’re really talking about here is the logic of using contraception, not oral contraceptives.

If you personally find Alcorn’s argument to be non-negotiable, then that is your stance, but I think it is a matter of conscience and what you understand about the details. I have tremendous respect for both views. Plenty of pro-life people, some physicians, find points in Alcorn’s (and others’) argument to be weak and unsubstantiated, no clinical data to support what he says. For this reason, I don’t personally believe that one must completely agree with Alcorn.

And if you argue that you believe that God sovereignly opens and closes the womb, then a thin endometrium is not going to be to great for Him to transcend, is it? Pregnancy is a miracle, and it is even more so with contraceptive use. People who have been sterilized can get pregnant at rates comparable to controlled studies of oral contraceptives.

  Cindy K wrote @

Forgot to mention, Progestin only pills have a very high rate of breakthrough ovulation and are very definitely abortifacient in action as primary. The combination, multiphasic pills are the ones that are more reliable. Injectable chemical methods or other mechanical delivery methods have greater effectiveness 0.09 – 0.3 percent because there is less variability delivery. Nuva ring (high risk and discontinued because of very high stroke rates) and patches are more effective in some studies as well, but they still have the same chemical effects in comparison to the oral forms.

  thatmom wrote @

Here is another link with information regarding the abortive nature of birth control pills:

http://www.prolife.com/BIRTHCNT.html

Here is a quote from a non-prolife site that explains in detail how the pill works:

http://www.healthywomen.org/healthtopics/birthcontrolpills

“Birth control pills are a synthetic form of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. They prevent ovulation by maintaining more consistent hormone levels. Without a peak in estrogen, then, the ovary doesn’t get the signal to release an egg. No egg means no possibility for fertilization and pregnancy. They also thicken cervical mucus so the sperm cannot reach the egg, and make the lining of the uterus unreceptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg.”

There is no way around it that birth control pills are abortifacients. Whether or not the pill works in the same way every time is irrelevant because there is no way to know those statistics. And at what point does it not become an abortifacient? Either it is or it isn’t. There is no “sometimes” or “tiny percentage” about it. The fact that one of the functions of the pill is to make the lining of the uterus “unreceptive” or “hostile” or however you want to phrase it, to a fertilized egg, makes it an abortifacient.

  thatmom wrote @

As far as the relationship between birth control pills and breast cancer is concerned, I have long though that this is one of the greatest outrages ever against women in the medical community. Even a ninny can see that the rate of breast cancer parallels the rate of pill usage over the last 30-40 years. Where is the FDA and the Susan Komen breast cancer research group on this one?

  Cindy Marsch wrote @

I understand what you mean by defining the Pill as abortifacient because that is one of its possible mechanisms, Karen, and that’s why I am glad I never used it. But I think some of the pro-life docs who prescribe the Pill do so on the strength of the idea that the abortifacient property (endometrium “hardening”) is a slim possibility. I think folks who don’t study up on the topic can get confused by the terminology, and for that reason I prefer to say that the Pill is potentially abortifacient (and the mini-Pill primarily abortifacient).

I consider that a cop-out myself, but I actually heard a Christian OB-Gyn on a radio program once justify the use of the Pill (using a statistic of perhaps one abortion in a year’s use) as PRESERVING more lives than unprotected intercourse, because, he maintained, a woman not preventing pregnancy at all probably ovulates and conceives and then has a very early miscarriage several times in a year. Yes, he said that the Pill thus prevents lives from being lost. I know I wandered my kitchen with my mouth gaping after that one. Awful!

  Lin wrote @

“As far as the relationship between birth control pills and breast cancer is concerned, I have long though that this is one of the greatest outrages ever against women in the medical community. Even a ninny can see that the rate of breast cancer parallels the rate of pill usage over the last 30-40 years. Where is the FDA and the Susan Komen breast cancer research group on this one?”

Can I add one more thing that no one wants to admit because of the potential for lawsuits? Deoderants. Over time they have become more potent and since women shave there, too, the chemicals have easier access.

  Lin wrote @

Karen, I really loved this podcast and it brought me to tears in several places.

I do have a question on this because of some things I have witnessed. This does not really apply to you at all so please do not take it as a criticism.

Some couples keep having children they really cannot afford and the grandparents have to help financially. This can get frustrating when the couples feel they have to keep having children but rely on their parents financial help to do so. The grandparents cannot say no because there is a real need so they feel somewhat trapped by their childrens decisions to keep having kids.

I feel mean even asking about this. :o)

  Lynn wrote @

Lin, in my county there is a “career center” where my 18 year old attended for three weeks right after graduating from high school, and landed a job with benefits, where if she hunted around she could be making as much as $14 or $15 dollars an hour now. This as a nurses’ aide. She currently makes just a little less than this, but it’s in a Christian setting (a nursing home), and she could have health/dental benefits if she wanted them. But there are other kinds of jobs this center trains people for as well.

Generally speaking, a mother who is capable of delivering children every couple/three years and caring for the ones she has, has to have some measure of health where she could also be pulling in outside income.

What I would do if faced with such a situation, as a parent, where I live, I would say —

“Here, honey.” Here’s the $600 that will pay for you to land a job that pays twice the minimum wage, so you can pull in maybe $1000 extra a month if you just work part time. I’ll be happy to provide the child care while you get your state certification, and I’ll even give a day a week to watch the kids while you work a shift, even a 12 hour one, if you want. Child care In your home, while your husband is at work, too, so you don’t have to be working all the time he is at home, and you can have more time together. How about it?

No? You think it’s immoral for you to work outside the home?

Then you must also think it’s irresponsible for a healthy couple to rip off your aging parents, and child care is all the help you can expect from me, unless, of course one or both of you become incapacitated.”

Now that’s kind of sarcastic of me, so apologies in advance, but my point is there are many ways parents can help their children financially without having to give them money, and child care is one of them.

  Cindy K wrote @

Lin and Lynn,

I have had friends that had the “grandparent financial support” problem work in a reverse way many times. Because they were partially supporting the family, they felt entitled to how that money was spent and used this as a lever to manipulate their adult children. If the grandparents are patriocentric, the grand issue is one of control and obedience of the patriarch at the top of the totem pole.

If that’s not the making of a modern day Shakespearian tragedy, what is? Hamlet ought to be required reading.

  thatmom wrote @

Lin,

I know what you are talking about. I have known grandparents who met needs as they saw them, buying underwear for grandchildren or helping with paying dental bills, school tuition, etc. I know what a blessing it was for our children when their grandparents offered to help with college expenses. In a family with a lot of children, it is something we couldn’t have done on our own and came as a lovely surprise.

Lynn mentioned helping children with childcare and I have seen this be both a blessing and a problem. Right now I have a friend who is in poor health, as is her husband, and she watches 3 little ones for 8-10 hours nearly every day. She is overwhelmed but sees a need and wants to meet it. And I think that is the way it usually is with grandparents. They want to meet any needs they see. BUT, they should never be expected to do it.

Doesn’t Scripture tell us both that “he that will not take care of his own is worse than an infidel” but also to seek to meet the needs of others, especially the poor? It seems to me that these must go hand in hand. We do all we can to help others but they also must realize that they are the ones who are responsible to care for their own.

  thatmom wrote @

“I actually heard a Christian OB-Gyn on a radio program once justify the use of the Pill (using a statistic of perhaps one abortion in a year’s use) as PRESERVING more lives than unprotected intercourse, because, he maintained, a woman not preventing pregnancy at all probably ovulates and conceives and then has a very early miscarriage several times in a year. Yes, he said that the Pill thus prevents lives from being lost.”

We call that pretzel logic.

  thatmom wrote @

And here is another thought….

There is this push in the same group that promotes militant fecundity for neither sons or daughters to go to college and to marry young. So how are they supposed to support a large family? What kind of jobs will they be qualified to fill?

I am continually troubled when I read some of the PW’s who talk openly about receiving welfare and yet they are continually pregnant. Is there responsibility in this? is this honoring to the Lord?

That being said, I think couples make choices all the time on how they will spend their income and many responsible couples who don’t make a lot of money choose to forgo great vacations, new clothes, young vehicles, etc. in order to have more children and I think that is admirable. In fact, many of the reasons I hear people say they don’t want more children all focus on wanting more money for themselves, more temporal stuff.

  Cindy K wrote @

Here is another issue of exploitive language: “endometrial hardening”. The connotation of that is misleading if not dishonest. In an academic sense, this might be reasonable as a term to use among physicians, but the endometrium does not become hard. That’s manipulative. I also looked at the literature concerning the studies of the endometrium in OC use, but because there is no good clinical resaon to examine this, there are not good numbers statistically. Not enough people and not enough good data. One of the more frequently cited studies uses MRI as a technique, and I called two docs today that deny that MRI is a reasonably reliable method for this eval, all on top of the bad statistical numbers in that study. The IVF data may be helpful but may not be, as the IVF population is not normal either. What part of the normal population with normal fertility also has thin endometrial lining. You can publish crummy numbers and then just put a summary statement beside it, but the author might not have ANY basis in fact for making these statements. Physicians are the WORST people for doing this, second only to Drug Recognition Experts (police) to make absolutely erroneous statements that are not based in fact.

If you have serious medical reasons for not getting pregnant or if you have a medical condition that is best treated with oral contraceptives, some of these blanket arguments are really unfair to people in this category of users. You can rightfully argue that riding or driving in an automobile is aborifacient, because there is far more likelihood of injuring yourself or another innocent person than the likelihood of breakthrough ovulation, depending on your population, age and the reason for contraception. For this reason, there are pro-life doctors that use the pill with caution and with good discernment, and the “never to be used” becomes problematic. (And that’s worlds away from indiscriminately prescribing the pill to everybody and his brother). Conservative, peer reviewed OBGYN literature states that in healthy women who use no contraception, the miscarriage rate of all conceptions is a very conservative minimum of 30%, and the Academy of GYNs (fertility specialists and the guys who do in vitro, studying this stuff very closely) actually said a few years ago that it was 50 -80% (as this includes a 20% silent miscarriage rate based on known egg fertilization rates in healthy, normal people). Your chances of conception per menstrual cycle are 25% under normal conditions, so when you figure in oral contraceptives, this number of spontaneous miscarriage that happens naturally actually drops because there are fewer eggs released.

That’s what that doctor on the radio (mentioned by Cindy Marsh) was trying to say (however poorly). (I think anyway, basing it on what I read here and what I know about the stats, given my own personal interest in the topic for reasons of fertility.) What he said was based upon what is currently known about fertilitiy, much of which we did not know when the early arguments about the aborifacient arguments were first made. When chemical contraception is used properly and with a good candidate, there is legitimate and resaonable medical logic accepted by pro-life physicians that challenges Alcorn. There is enough sound reason to consider this to be a Romans 14 issue.

I also found this website, and they make many of the same arguments I already made above which is pretty cool. (Am Assoc of Pro-Life GYNs and OBs)
It actually has a nice index of physicians, too, if you are looking.

http://www.aaplog.org/collition.htm
http://www.aaplog.org/decook.htm

The bottom line is intent. “Do we love children?” “Do we really want to follow God’s will?” We will answer for the intent of our hearts and idle words. That has implications for all contraception use.

The other issue is the gross lack of informed consent with the pill and the gross lack of accountability within the medical community. The truth is that if this drug never would get through the FDA today if it had any other purpose (save maybe AIDS treatment). The drug itself objectifies women over convenience when used for standard, routine contraception only because of the high number and variety of serious, serious complications to such a significant number of all people using the drug. And do you have an astute physician that is sensitive to your pro-life concerns and someone that respects you? We can have misplaced trust in bad doctors, and it is our duty to find a good one. That gets increasingly more difficult.

Actually, the cancer rates are on lower end of the spectrum of risk with the pill. The vascular risks are very high. They pulled phenopropanolamine off the market in 2001, a decongestant that was associated with a very low incidence of stroke. (My life has not been the same since!) That is NOTHING like the risk of stroke and vascular problems with chemical contraception. The Nuva Ring was phenomenally higher, something that was unexpected.

And this is one of those issues that will always have tension, just like all our ethical concerns those of life in a world where much is beyond our control.

The other factor is whether we actually believe that God opens and closes the womb.

We also have to respect the convictions of those brethren who hold to perspectives that are different than our own.

  Cindy Marsch wrote @

Cindy K, I think people taking the time to really understand the issues, to understand pro-life physicians’ well-reasoned conclusions on BOTH sides of the Pill question, is vitally important. But many are in the position of a physical therapist friend of mine who waved away my offer of a brochure about the abortifacient potential of the Pill: “I don’t want to know about that.” And others are like the mother of a newlywed daughter who said, “Our OB-Gyn group is pro-life, and they prescribe the Pill, so I trust that.” How convenient, to find a doctor who says what you want.

BE INFORMED, pray about what the Lord would have you do, and examine your heart about your bottom-line openness to children. Karen, you put it well: “Do you love children?” It’s a very deep question. I know my answer must always be, “Not as much as I should.”

  Cindy K wrote @

Cindy Marsh,

I completely agree. This is a hard topic and there are many levels of understanding of it. There is no way of skirting around our personal responsibility to be faithful to the Word of God and to soberly apply it. Living the Christian life is fear and trembling whether we want it to be or not. And we will answer for the intent of our heart as well as our actions, ones that are hopefully ever more conformed into the likeness of Jesus.

We are creatures of circular logic and why appreciate the writings of the presuppositional apologists in Evangelical Christianity. Just like you can proof text nearly anything from the Bible, this absolutely true about some of these sensitive topics, especially when we have a interest in having our ears tickled. Having reviewed scientific studies for publication with my husband (doing research prior to his review so that he could easily determine whether that author was accurately representing the truth or just proof-texting to prove the author’s own speculation with circular reasoning), it was scary to see what my husband often called “worthless” articles that he rejected published later in other well-respected professional, peer-reviewed, scientific journals — in a hard science field. How much more of this takes place when the illusion of power over circumstances and freedom from personal responsibility is dangled in front of us?

I wrote more about this topic over on the WWF website after Anne commented on it there today. I responded and am unsure whether my intent was understood. In the event that it seems that I am arguing for the use of the pill, I humbly apologize. I wrote more over on that site in two posts. I also wonder whether I was mistaken as there was a response offered there that seemed obscure to me. To the end of being even more clear, I attempted to clarify and offered my own very personal example which I largely avoided here. As Karen states and though I argue for the respect of liberty, our personal convictions are more like Doug Phillps’ own on many but not all of these matters.

http://whitewashedfeminist.com/2008/08/17/the-law-and-the-lady-whats-a-girl-to-do/#comment-2924


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