A friend recently sent an e-mail requesting my thoughts on using birth control. Here is my response:

This is a very complicated issue with many nuances and real-life issues to consider. I don’t envy you wrestling with this decision at this time, but I admire you for taking it on and exploring it seriously and honestly.

I’ll start anecdotally – I was on birth control for 7 years. It started as being necessary to alleviate a severe medical condition, but turned out to be rather convenient for family planning purposes as well. One summer, though, God changed my life totally when he brought me to weeping tears about being on birth control. In the weeks that ensued, I realized my conviction was not so much about “birth” as it was about “control” — prohibiting God from being in charge of my reproductive life was just a teensy small example of how I was prohibiting Him from being in charge of all areas of my life. I was a very controlling person, and it was evinced by my use of birth control.

I remember having exchanges with God like, “If I go off birth control, I might get pregnant! I’m not ready to get pregnant!” And God responding, “Don’t you think I know best when you’re ready for kids?” I also remember saying, “Lord, you know my medical condition. If I go off the pill, I might do real damage to my body.” And He responded, “What makes you think you’re not doing more damage by staying on the pill? If you knew what I knew, you’d want to go off the pill, too.” I had multiple other similar prayer exchanges with the Lord over this issue – and in the end, my choice was clear. And my relationship with God totally changed. (BTW, it took 13 months before we got pregnant. And at that point, we were trying.)

After I went off birth control – wow. The hormonal extremes and weight gain the pill had caused me were noticeable. I felt like a new — and much more alive person. Other girlfriends who also have chosen to give up the pill have experienced very similar things. One said she felt like she could think clearly — for the first time in a decade! Another girlfriend noticed a stark difference in the quality of men she was attracting. She said when she was on the pill, it seemed that only sleazy guys were interested in her, and after the pill, no sleazy guys. She believes it’s because of the hormones she was emitting while on the pill — what kind of guy hits on a “pregnant” woman?

In addition, many friends of ours have had a really hard time getting pregnant, and several of them believe it’s because they had been on the pill for so long.

Moving on to other things to consider:

The pill absolutely is an abortifacient. When I became a crisis pregnancy counselor, I had to study the details of this and was really surprised. The pill — regardless of whether it’s a typical pill or a progesterone-only pill, etc. — works 3 ways: 1. it prevents the egg from ovulating so it therefore cannot be fertilized (not an abortion), 2. it thickens the mucous around the cervix so that if an egg does ovulate, the sperm cannot get into the uterus (not an abortion), and 3. as the last line of defense, if an egg does ovulate and sperm does get through to fertilize the egg, then the pill causes the lining of the uterus to slough off to prevent implantation (an abortion). When I learned this I was horrified . . . and devastated. Who knows how many children of mine I have aborted?

I believe arguments that the pill is not an abortifacient are weak – for example, all OBGYNs I’ve spoken to say the pill is not an abortifacient because it suppresses ovulation. But, the fact is, it’s not always successful. That’s why there’s the 3-pronged attack. All these arguments are based on assumptions that have no basis in reality. On my part, it is better to be careful with the gifts and responsibilities God has given me then assume my egg will never ovulate, or my endometrium will be of a certain thickness, etc.

Moreover, there is some evidence (though highly debated) of a link between the pill and breast cancer. There is medical evidence for it, and to my non-medical mind, it makes sense — pumping your body full of pregnancy chemicals for years at a time could mess up your reproductive organs. The connection may be disputed, but is it worth the risk?

Finally, there are other ways to space out kids. I recommend the Ovulation Method (not the “rhythm method”). Though not as guaranteed as the pill, it works really well if followed diligently and it does not mess with your hormones or act as an abortifacient. You can check it out at http://www.familyplanning.net/. Also, depending on where you fall theologically on this issue (if God prohibits all forms of contraceptives, if it’s about releasing control to Him, etc.) then you may consider other forms of contraceptives that also aren’t aboritfacients.

Personally, I think the pill is one of the greatest deceptions leveled on women — it makes us think we’re free, but it really enslaves us. I prefer to embrace the gifts that the Lord has given me (the ability to reproduce) rather than drug it away.

Please let me know if you want to discuss further –
I love you!