Wade Burlson is a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention who is part of a movement to reform and renew the church. His latest posting was about the control of the SBC over its members but has ended up becoming a heated discussion about abortion. This is the offending illustration that Wade uses in his post:
SBC Interviewer: "Do you use contraception?"
SBC Interviewee (female): "Yes."
SBC Interviewer: "What kind of contraceptive method do you practice?"
SBC Interviewee: "The pill."
SBC Interviewer: "Are you aware that the pill changes the lining of the wall of the uterus so that if ovulation happens to occur the fertilized egg cannot implant itself in the uterus?
SBC Interviewee: "No, I was unaware of that fact."
SBC Interviewer: "Do you believe life begins at conception?"
SBC Interviewee: "Yes."
SBC Interviewer: "So, if you carry life in your body via a fertilized egg, but refuse to allow that life to be implanted in your uterus by means of a pill, are you taking that life into your own hands, playing God, and committing an abortion of choice?"
The illustration goes on. The point of Wade's use of this illustration is to show just how personal the SBC could become in its control over people. Yet the use of such a touchy subject as abortion has got some readers heated up and claiming that Wade supports abortion by supporting the pill.
Let me just summarise the particular problem:
1) A woman who uses the Pill as a contraceptive will prevent conception in 99% of cases. This is because the Pill prevents ovulation.
2) In 1% of cases, the woman will ovulate and there is a chance that conception will occur.
3) The Pill causes changes in the woman's uterus that prevents the fertilised egg from being implanted, which results in the loss of the fertilised egg.
4) A Fertilised egg is considered a human being created by God.
5) Therefore, if a woman used the Pill, then she may be causing the death of a human being.
6) Therefore, Christians should not use the Pill for contraception.
It's an interesting argument. Let me point out that I am reasonably conservative at this point. I believe that a fertilised egg is a human being and this new information that I have learned today has disturbed me and forced me to delve into the issue more deeply. My wife and I used the Pill early on in our marriage for a couple of years, and it has shocked me that we may have caused the death of an unborn child.
Fortunately, I have found the answer. The answer lies in the natural prevalence of miscarriages.
Medical science has determined that a full 25% of conceptions result in miscarriage - most of them occurred within the first few weeks and went totally unnoticed by the woman.
We need to remember that, while sad, such a high death rate has been recognised by God. It is he who has chosen such a high number of miscarriages.
So if a woman takes the Pill, she actually prevents conception - which results in less miscarriages. Yes, a fetus may die because it does not implant in the wall of the uterus - but overall, there are less deaths.
To reiterate - using the Pill results in far less miscarriages than normal.
To illustrate - imagine a woman who is super fertile and will conceive whenever the chance occurs. If she takes the pill, then, statistically, one child will die for every 100 times she, um, well... you know. But if she does not take the pill, then, statistically, 25 children will die. (She will also have 75 kids, which shows how limited this illustration is)