I am Margarita Estacio from the Philippines. I am in my fourth year high school. I am conducting a study about birth control in fulfillment of the requirements of English IV. I visit your web site and find it very informative. I plan to include your articles and opinions in my research. My study is to find out this problem:
Is there a difference in preference with the use of contraceptives between professionals and non-professionals?
I would appreciate it very much if you could answer these questions:
Articles, opinions and news coming from you will also be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Lovely to hear from you. I always enjoy e-mail from high school students. I am glad you are doing a research paper on such a crucial topic. In some ways birth control is the central social issue (cf. article by Lionel Tiger referred to on my website). Our basic relationships (courtship, engagement, marriage and family) all hinge on the stance we take toward it. I would like to see the results of your study, particularly the impact of birth control on those relationships.
Regarding your question on what contraception is, I would break down the word: "contra = against" and "ception = conception." This is important because some today are trying to extend it beyond conception and say the morning after pill is a form of contraception. The argument is that pregnancy does not begin until implantation (nidation). It is sometimes portrayed as an argument between "moralists" and "medical people." This of course misses the point because even if you define (or re-define) pregnancy* as beginning some days after conception, you still have to ask, "What is conceived?"
Up to now the most crucial single moment of my life and yours was our first one. Not only did that instant determine our physical characteristics, but a good part of our emotional, mental and even spiritual make-up. I have two younger brothers who are (fraternal) twins. They are as different as bread and crackers. What made them so was not the spot in my mom's uterine wall they landed, but what sperms and eggs came together for each of them.
As far as using man-made barriers to prevent such sperms and eggs from joining, I would refer you back to my article on birth control. The Church does have a clearly defined teaching on this subject, but it is not just for Catholics. In fact, her position is that any person using their natural moral reasoning could arrive at the same conclusion. We've had only about four decades of massive use of artificial birth control. The jury is still out, but a lot of evidence points against contraception.
My message for women today about contraceptives is: Don't use them.
Let me know what you come up with, Margarita.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. I don't mean to imply that words are unimportant. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about medical terminology could help clarify the definition of "pregnancy." What I have not seen in the newspaper articles which suggest that it begins with implantation, is any word which then describes the interim period (I understand it may be 14 days between conception and implantation, but that whatever the length of time a lot is happening not only to the embryo but to the woman carrying that tiny being). In other words if she is not pregnant after conception, what is she? Or can a woman be a little bit pregnant before she is fully pregnant? I do not mean to sound flip about this. I believe the words we use here are crucial. Maybe your research can help on this, Margarita.
One final consideration: Does the discussion of the morning after pill not illustrate how the line between contraception and abortion easily becomes blurred? Part of the Church's argument against contraception is that its use creates a "contraceptive mentality" which can lead to a casual acceptance of abortion.
*Columbia Encyclopedia definition of Pregnancy: "period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo)."
See also contraception: "the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation by any of various drugs, techniques, or devices; birth control.
For a more in depth analysis, please see Chemical Abortions (Interview with Dr. Thomas Hilgers, M.D.)
How the Pill Works (Letter to Seattle Times by Peter Mactutis)
Boston Globe's Misleading Article on Catholic Church
Deflating Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Stephen Jay Gould: Gorbachev of Darwinism?
Test Tube Offspring Want to Know Father
Erickson vs. Bartell Drugs
Call No Man Father
What is Original Sin of Sex?
Bicentennial Man (Hidden Assumptions)
Bogus Knights of Columbus Oath
See also: An Eternally Unbridgeable Chasm
The Fiery Furnace
Jesus Teaching Concerning Heaven
Some Good News on Teen Pregnancy and Abortion
Hitler's Pope: Comic Book Approach to Church History
He Approached the Victim: "It's much more likely one of your relatives will lose his life by surgical abortion than by heart attack."
Germaine Greer on Birth Control
Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)