Monday, November 14, 2011

Breastfeeding Causes Abortions (Part 3)


I cannot end this series without giving due consideration to the claim that birth control pills are abortificiant in nature. While there are lots of things I personally think and believe about this issue, the most accurate way I have to describe them would come from the reading I have done through the website of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians & Gynecologists.

According to their position statement about BCPs

At the current time, we feel that each individual physician should evaluate the available information, and then follow the leading of his/her conscience in this matter.
Why does this controversy exist? Why is there not a consensus on this issue in our organization, or in the larger pro-life community?
In short, it is because our current scientific tools limit us. In the case of a surgical abortion we can directly attribute the death of an embryo or fetus to a suction dilatation and curettage of the pregnant uterus. With the administration of mifepristone (RU486) or methotrexate in an early gestation we can easily recognize the causal link with death by biologic plausibility coupled with the overwhelming statistical association with observed embryonic death. No one disputes these conclusions.
On the other hand, the methods available to us to evaluate the in vivo processes of human fertilization, tubal transport and implantation are relatively crude. We are not currently sophisticated enough to evaluate oral contraceptives (or even IUDs) for a possible effect on the pre-implantation human being in the same rigorous fashion that we can evaluate the effects of a suction dilatation and curettage, mifepristone or methotrexate on an implanted human being.
Thus we find ourselves in a situation where speculation, deduction, and educated guessing must be employed. There are times when our knowledge of the truth is incomplete, and we must peer through the fog to make, and act upon, judgments about the information available to us. In these settings, individuals wholeheartedly committed to the truth can come to different conclusions. So it is with us.

Accessed 10/20/11, emphasis mine
I encourage you to read the full position statement and supporting research documents to draw your own conclusions about BCPs. Personally, after reading and researching, I do not believe that BCPs cause abortions. However, and more importantly, I firmly believe that God is the Author of all life and has the ability to open and close the womb; as such, He has significantly more power over conception than any human action.

With that in mind, I want to remind you that I do not condone the use of artificial hormones. The risks of artificial hormones (in any capacity) are significant and should not be minimized in considering both the short term and long term effects of treatment.

Further, I want to point out the position statement of the AAPLOG with regard to IUDs. Many Christians have been led to believe that IUDs are abortive in nature. However, according to the research (and as noted in the position statement about BCPs above), we simply do not have the technology to confirm or refute this claim. We do know that under perfect-use conditions, BCPs result in significantly fewer pregnancies than non-hormonal IUDs.... Women with a non-hormonal IUD are twice as likely to become pregnant as a woman on BCPs (under perfect use conditions. It is important to note that perfect use and typical use are very different- it is much easier to achieve near-perfect use for an IUD than for BCPs, simply because an IUD is a passive contraception, whereas BCPs are active contraception that require not only a woman's will but also finances, access to a pharmacy, interactions with antibiotics and other medications, etc...)

Along these same lines, I do not believe that breastfeeding does, in fact, cause abortions. Neither do I believe that the medical conditions, medications, and treatments I listed in my first post cause abortions. I do believe it is wise to prayerfully consider whether attempting to conceive is prudent if you suffer from one of these medical conditions or need to use certain medications/treatments, just as you would strongly consider the wisdom of becoming pregnant if suffering from a medical condition that would place the mother at risk.

Which is all to say: I cannot decide for you if BCPs cause abortion any more than I can decide for you if breastfeeding causes abortion. However, I do not believe either are ethically wrong.

What do you think?

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