Women deserve better choices

us and bubblesA couple of months or so before my wedding day, amidst RSVPs and dress fittings and bridal showers and cake tastings, I made an appointment at my university health clinic to get a prescription for birth control.  My then-fiancé and I were waiting until after we were married to have sex because, as evangelical Christians, we believed then (and still do now) that God’s design and the proper context for sexuality includes the union of marriage between husband and wife.  However what we didn’t know then (but thankfully know now) is that God’s plan for sexual intimacy was also intended to include the possibility of conception.  We instead had assumed, like most everyone else we knew, that nobody is supposed to have children “too soon” in a marriage and that the logical choice for preventing pregnancy was the pill.

Maybe I should have been concerned when I saw posters happily promoting hormonal birth control plastered all over the clinic’s walls, or when the doctor performing my exam didn’t believe me when I told her neither my fiancé nor I had ever been sexually active.  Perhaps I ought to have questioned the wisdom of using something given out to young women so liberally and cheaply, and by secular humanists at that, on a college campus with an upwards of 40% STD infection rate at that time.  But I had already (and quite unknowingly) internalized the prevalent evangelical narrative that if you want a healthy marriage, you must avoid having a baby for at least a few years.  Becoming a mother or a father was for grown-ups, not for young newlyweds like us.

And yet that’s not to say I didn’t have any concerns about hormonal birth control, but whatever slight misgivings I had were quickly assuaged upon hearing a Focus on the Family broadcast, where a Christian expert confidently stated there were no moral problems with the pill, and that it was “safe”.  Period.

So, I began taking it.

Within days the splitting headaches started, and the constant feeling of being hungry.  I was exhausted, and it took everything I had to make it through the day at school and at work.  These side-effects are surely only temporary, I told myself.  Just a little longer and my body will be used to it!

But the problem was that I also started feeling sad.  Life felt overwhelming in a way it never had before.  My fiancé and I argued more than in times past, often over the stupidest things, and I began to feel out of control.  I knew it was the pill wreaking havoc on my emotions but I felt trapped because, well, how else were we going to prevent pregnancy?  Our beautiful wedding day came and went and our marriage began, and I continued hoping that the hormones would eventually stop hurting me.  But they didn’t.  My wise (and ever-patient) husband encouraged me to stop taking the pills, so three months into our marriage, I threw the prescription into the trash.  Better to be a sane and happy mother than a crazy, sad woman without kids, I reckoned.  Plus I figured that after I was back to normal, I could maybe find a different combination of hormones to try–that would hopefully not throw my body into such chaos.

But shortly after I made the decision to stop taking my daily dose of socially-acceptable poison, some dear friends informed us that they’d just learned the birth control pill was an abortifacientnot only did it serve to prevent ovulation, but it also rendered the uterus incapable of sustaining the implantation of a fertilized egg.  That way, if breakthrough ovulation occurred and a child was indeed conceived, he or she would have nowhere to attach to the endometrium and thus be flushed out of the body with that month’s menstruation.

My husband and I, adamantly pro-life and in complete agreement with the historic Christian notion that human life, body and soul, begins at conception, were understandably horrified.  Granted we’d only used the pill for three months post-marriage, but that was three months too long.  And this claim about the tertiary function of the pill wasn’t just pro-life propaganda–the insert that came with the pill (which I had sadly never read) said that was part of how it worked.

And that was when I began to get angry, because quite frankly, this was deplorable.  Why had no one told us the truth?  Why did physicians not warn young women about the terrible side-effects that might accompany this prescription?  Why were doctors doling out pills without so much as even the slightest word of caution to vulnerable patients?  Why did Christians near and far claim that everything was A-Okay with a product that was potentially killing children?  And for goodness’ sake, why did the ultra-conservative Focus on the Family radio program of all things assure its listeners that pro-life couples were not hurting anyone by using abortifacient birth control?

Stunned by what we were hearing and reading, I did something that I’d never done before and have not done since: I actually followed through when I ranted to my husband about contacting an organization to express my disappointment and frustration.  And so I emailed so-and-so at Focus on the Family, and my jaw about hit the floor when I found justification upon justification in his response.  You can’t prove it and we don’t know for sure, so it’s okay to keep using it was the name of the game, and it would be the theme of pretty much every.single. evangelical’s objection, when we would carefully attempt to share the truth all those years ago.  Surely pro-life Christians would want to know about the grave moral problems with birth control, we’d reasoned.

But we were wrong, and here’s why: the truth is inconvenient.

It is one thing to be a culture warrior, to wear the pro-life brand on your sleeve and talk about how Roe v. Wade and women having abortions are bad.  It’s pretty easy to vote like everyone else at your church and give a few bucks to the local crisis pregnancy center, and to say adoption is a better option from our comfortable bubble of a vantage point.

But it’s quite another to surrender one’s own decisions, marriage, finances, and future to the Lord.  It’s a whole other ball of wax to acknowledge that faith makes demands of us, that we are called into a radical obedience to Jesus, and that we Christians might actually need to rethink our entire approach to marriage and children and career.  Suddenly issues of personhood and life and sacrifice don’t just affect the desperate women we love to scorn and judge, but they affect us.  And what we do.

And I know this first-hand because once upon a time I was terrified to give up the security of the birth control pill, and I didn’t want to believe our friends’ findings–because even though I’d already stopped using contraception for health reasons, the abortifacient factor meant that any and all hormonal birth control would be off the table forever and always.  I did not want to accept the fact that children are an inherent and natural part of married sexuality.

So many of my assumptions and ideas had been wrong.  Contrary to what I’d been conditioned to believe, modern society is hurting women when it speaks the lie that “sexual freedom” means freedom from motherhood, fatherhood, and responsibility.  Lives are being destroyed and forever altered because the culture has convinced no less than two entire generations that empowerment and happiness are only available to those capable of doing whatever they want, with whomever they want, whenever they want.  It’s a brilliant way to render women ineffectual pawns to be used (and disposed of) by men.

And speaking as a woman and a mother, I’m not okay with that.

Because ladies, we deserve so much better!  We deserve to be told the truth about our bodies and marriage and babies, and to be given the necessary information to be healthy and well and whole.  We deserve to be seen as human beings, not merely sexual creatures doomed to operate off of base instinct, like animals do.  We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by men who demonstrate their love and protection through commitment to marriage, as opposed to cheap words and premature physical intimacy.

This subject of hormonal birth control and how it intersects with sexuality is considered to be controversial and therefore taboo, but I wonder: does it really have to be?  Women ought to know the truth and have the ability to make an informed decision when it comes to relationships and health!  You don’t have to be Catholic or someone who believes All The Things to reexamine commonly held beliefs about contraception.  It might initially feel threatening or scary to sit down and think through these tough issues, because yes, it may necessitate a change.  But it’s worth it.  Really, it is.  Because it’s high time we women started reclaiming our health and demanding to be seen as whole and integrated people worthy of care and love.  It’s time we acknowledge the fact that we’ll have to do this for ourselves, since pharmaceutical companies, the medical establishment, your local Planned Parenthood, and the culture at large has an agenda that has little to do with wellness–and everything to do with preserving the illusion of sex without consequences.

(If you’re interested in learning more about scientific and truly healthful methods of addressing reproductive or fertility or family planning issues, make the choice to look into the incredible things happening in the area of NAPRO technology.  Good stuff that doesn’t involve masking problems with risky, synthetic hormones.)

I really believe that we are the ones who must decide enough is enough when it comes to the true war on women.  We are the ones who must choose something far better and greater than merely being a culture warrior or paying lip-service to the pro-life cause.  We must stand up and fight for our daughters and for ourselves, because ALL WOMEN DESERVE BETTER CHOICES.

This is why I’m braving the controversy, sharing my story, and speaking up.  Are you in?

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66 thoughts on “Women deserve better choices

  1. How would people afford to provide for their dozens of children? I value life and especially children, but this just isn’t reasonable. Also, making this an evangelical issue is naive. MANY a devout Catholic woman has secretly been prescribed birth control.

    • Becky with all due respect, did you read my article? I’m “making it an evangelical issue” because WE WERE EVANGELICALS. It’s an actual story about actual events about actual evangelicals. Had we been Catholic at the time and Catholics had told us the pill was morally acceptable, I would have talked about Catholics. Of course regardless what Catholics “secretly” do, it’s still different because the official magisterial teaching is against it, while evangelicals accept its use. And I am naïve about all sorts of things, but this is not one of them–I was on the pill, it was awful, and none of the evangelicals I tried to explain the abortifacient effect to cared. Those are simply facts.

      And seriously, let’s be honest–do you actually KNOW anyone with “dozens of children”? I don’t. And most of the people I know don’t use hormonal contraception, because it has the ability to kill children. As for finances, we all provide for our kids the same way anybody else does, and the way couples have for millennia. Ultimately we believe God is in control, and made our bodies to work a certain way, and that we don’t need harmful pills to “fix” something that’s not broken.

      • What a wonderful article! The Theology of the Body has much to offer on the Biblical basis of what you are saying. Also, the Couple to Couple League (ccli.org) is a great source for information on Natural Family Planning.

      • To the above: Not ALL American females are evangelicals and, of course, THEY DON’T WANT TO BE! LIKE IT OR NOT, many, American female citizens are going to have sex; and, they have that legal/civil/and constitutional right…..THEY ALSO HAVE A LEGAL/CONSTITUTIONAL/AND CIVIL RIGHT TO DETERMINE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT THEY want to do if they become pregnant and want to eliminate it.

        • You’re absolutely right when you say that not all women are evangelical Christians–I don’t expect them to be. (FYI I’m not either. I’m Catholic now.) Unfortunately, the taking of innocent life is ultimately destructive to all involved whether you are evangelical, agnostic, atheist, Catholic, or a smurf.

          You sound angry, and I can understand, because these are big and scary issues. But don’t you want to live in a culture marked by the protection of innocent men and women of ALL ages, and with laws that uphold human dignity? Laws that DO respect *true* freedoms? Surely we can agree that people do NOT have the fundamental right to rape or steal or kill, and that is why I do not believe that people have the fundamental right to kill a preborn child. And NO child is a “rapist’s bastard”–rape is a grave evil that should be punished to the full extent of the law, but an innocent child bears the very image of God and is precious beyond measure. Regardless of the monster his or her father may be.

          I am personally so thankful for the love of Christ, who is mercy and hope and makes all things new. He is with women and children in their darkest sufferings, even when they have no one else to protect them. God bless you on your journey, and thank you for being willing to speak here.

          • I must add, Brianna, in response to above, that Roe v. Wade may appear to be very pro-woman, but one topic not covered here, is the FACT that no law which protects and even (I believe, based on the increased number of abortions since) encourages a woman to look to abortion as a reasonable and often FIRST response to “unwanted” pregnancy is one that is pro-women. Because women who have been (as the above guest asserts) raped and therefore traumatized in their bodies by having something happen to them against their will, are NOT going to find freedom, healing or peace by adding to the offense with the taking of an innocent life. No matter how you cushion it, abortion is NOT pleasant, it is NOT desirable, many women who have had abortions suffer from an actual diagnosable condition called Post Abortion Stress Disorder, and taking a human life does not “undo” what has been done. Abortion is NOT in a woman’s best interest, regardless of what some people in robes behind a bench might assert about a person’s “right” to choose otherwise. So if we cannot protect women via the law, then we must do what we can (while still fighting for laws to be passed) to protect them by educating them about this “option” and helping them understand that our culture is selling them a bag of crap! (PS, I like your point about “sex without consequences” because I really do believe this is what it all boils down to, that and how many billions of dollars the pharma would be out if people caught on!). In addition, a very small percentage of abortions are performed as a result of rape. Gosh, just thinking about how often a couple has to have intercourse to INTENTIONALLY conceive a child, makes it difficult for me to imagine that many rapes result in pregnancy. I truly hurt for the fact that there are men who would force themselves on women, and I personally have walked with women who have been through that. But I would not counsel them to re-traumatize themselves by aborting a baby. Also, haven’t we as a culture promoted the “take what you want even at the expense of others” mentality that leads to rape? Haven’t we, by things like legalized abortion and the passing out of BCP’s like candy, promoted a casual view of sex such that a man might conclude that it’s “no big deal” to take it forcefully? It is not sacred, it’s just something fun that feels good, right? WRONG. And this is why women DO deserve so much more! We do deserve the commitment of a partner whose character we can respect and whose children we cannot wait to bear! We deserve to know that our children will have a father in the home where he can teach them and love them and show them how to be MEN and how to PICK a GOOD MAN. Ugh, my heart just feels so heavy with this issue sometimes, that I want to throw up my hands and say, “Come quickly, LORD Jesus!”

          • Great to see your transformation! And becoming aware of the truth!
            I was shocked to read the naivety of Evangelical Christians!
            Being Catholic now, you must becoming aware of the light of truth that has been purposely been removed from denominational churches for centuries? The infestation of humanism? By who you may ask? Well that answer lies in the history of freemasonry. Official records tie their involvement of medaling with the Catholic Church, its arch enemy since 1738. The Church officially banning them since 1826. The issue I raise here is that no other Christian church did outlaw their parishioners from joining. Digging deeper its obvious that the same spirit that fuels the hatred by the masons of the truth in the Carholic Church, is essentially the same spirit that fueled the division of reformation. Satan conquers through division and deception. The elites of the world, the ones who have formulated Wall Street and the coming collapse, the reconfiguration of the world economy & government, are also the ones who have pushed for depopulation through food, illness.. Which translates to GMO products, cancer inducing diets such as vegetable oils…& evils such as contraception! Abortion! Dont be surprised that you were told as an evangelical that contraception was bad. The world is perhaps more evil than you think? Once the truth of the Catholic Church is compromised, know that the prophecies of Revelation is upon us… As the secular world and Jesus’ Church become one through compromise of humanistic attitude and deeds. That time is soon. I pray you and your husband continue to be enlightened, for you are about to witness much more worldly changes and attitudes become part of the visible Catholic Church, as the level of sin around the world has reached such blinding heights, that God’s justice against the sins of the humanity, particularly those against the innocence, has reached a level that has plunged the world into darkness. This is the true nature of why ‘natural disasters’ are increasing. They are warnings of a pending purification. What comes to is a deception, that has well and truly started. God will response with the promises He made in Revelation. Events are soon to escalate the world over. Hearing stories like yours of the discovery of the truth is very uplifting amongst continuously hearing the mundane where people often turn the other way and follow the crowd which is fast entering a spiritual abyss of no return, if it were not for the coming promise of God to intervene, to reveal the truth to all of humanity, so that all can make an informed choice. To either choose truth, to choose Jesus, or to follow the ways of the world, to follow the growing humanistic church… Knowing full well that only one of them leads to everlasting life with God in heaven. I’m great full to read your story! God Bless!

    • Becky, I have to ask you a question: why do you assume that not being on the pill automatically and necessarily means “dozens of children”? It doesn’t even logically follow, and the Church does not require big families of everyone. That she welcomes big families enthusiastically is something quite different.

      Every couple’s discernment is different; what God gives every individual, couple, and family is different– and here’s what seems to be missing from almost every discussion on NFP: talk of grace to go with prayerful discernment. As in, Sacramental grace, and His grace is sufficient.

      His grace is sufficient for a stay-at-home mom with twelve children. It is sufficient for a career woman with two children (NCRegister did a feature on a woman exec at a Fortune 500 company with two children, who evangelizes others at work with her Catholic faith and helps them find jobs). It is sufficient for a woman doctor with four children– which St. Gianna Beretta Molla was (so working and having children will not stop a Catholic woman from being a holy wife and mother, and it’s not going to stop her from being a canonized saint). It is sufficient for a woman academic with seven children, as was the case with practicing Catholic and professor of philosophy at Cambridge Dr. Elizabeth Anscombe (so having a big family isn’t going to stop a woman from having a brilliant career, either). The Church teaches that all of this variety and– yes, I’m going to say it: true diversity– is possible without the pill.

      Moreover, the Catholic Church teaches that chastity is required for self-gift in marriage. Human sexuality is meant to be more fully integrated into our persons, and not repressed either by being white-knuckled before or during marriage or by using the pill. Sexual desire is a good thing. But it must be properly ordered by love as an act of the will, and ordered to and by God, or it will hurt ourselves and others. John Paul II taught that lust in marriage is still sinful for those reasons. And while big families are just as responsible as small ones, responsibility is not a matter of mere size and material head-count. Lust can get you both big families and small families, actually, the only difference being that the lusty couple with the smaller family might well be on some sort of contraception, and the lusty couple with the big family might well be hiding behind providentialism.

      Since the gifts of faith and reason are not antithetical to each other for coming from the same source– God– the Church’s teaching on birth control is entirely reasonable.

      In fact, it confronts us all with our unreasonable and selfish behavior, such as would be the case, say, if a woman or man put career before family at all costs, or if there is no possibility for a woman to balance work and family because she or her husband or both refuse to keep their “sex drive” in check, or have imbibed the larger cultural message that anything other than “free sexual expression” is “unnatural” and “repressive” (when the question we’re not asking is what we’re in fact “expressing”). Our culture doesn’t talk about integration and balance very well. The Catholic Church does.

    • I know personally people with lots of children—10, 11, 12. We have 7. And I assure you, when you live in God’s Divine Will, He provides a way. Families with lots of children are quite frugal, indeed, and far less materialistic that this world defines. Many devout Catholics take birth control because they have bought into the lie just like the Evangelicals. The key point in this article is this—“I did not want to accept the fact that children are an inherent and natural part of married sexuality.” Very well said, Brianna. I have written about this issue from a Catholic perspective on my own blog. http://motherinthevale.blogspot.com/2013/08/marriage-debt-its-not-about-finance.html

  2. Yep BTDT the first two years of our marriage…also went to university health services…also did not hear the truth until later… Deeply regret being carried along by the cultural current…

  3. I know that it’s more glamorous to be inflammatory, but you should post the names of the clinic and the doctor. Your doctor failed to warn you of the side effects, and you are unfairly denouncing all doctors for your one bad experience. That doctor should not be advising anyone on birth control choices. The Pill is a chemical and is not for everyone; there are side effects. You are being conveniently selective, Brianna. If you are a true Catholic, then you should have sexual intercourse with your husband ONLY when you want to create a child. If you are true to your faith, then you should have the power to restrain yourself from your natural animal desires. You won’t need the Pill or condoms or any other chemicals. But, if and your husband can’t control your desires, then don’t worry–you will get a tax credit for each kid. The U.S. tax code provides plenty of subsidies for big families.

    • ” Contrary to what I’d been conditioned to believe, modern society is hurting women when it speaks the lie that “sexual freedom” means freedom from motherhood, fatherhood, and responsibility”

      This is it in a nutshell. I was almost too late in figuring this out. I want to scream it from the rooftops.

    • Elizabeth, did you read the article? Or see the photo of us getting married at First Baptist Church? WE WEREN’T CATHOLIC back then. We are now, and I assure you we know all about Church teaching on openness to life and all about tax subsidies because we have EIGHT KIDS. We don’t use contraception.

      I have no desire to call out doctors or clinics by name because this practice is really quite common–I know many, many women who’ve had the same experience. These aren’t bad doctors, but they have sadly been swept along by the mainstream medical culture. And it was many years ago, and I DON’T want to be inflammatory. And if you think I’m glamorous, you obviously haven’t met me or my eight kids. :)

      • Ha! Love it! Glamorous!
        I must insert here that I too, was quickly offered a Rx with NO talk of side-effects by my doctor, both when I was preparing to be married (I threw it away after the first refill and we decided to remain open to God’s timing for children) and later after I had a C-section and thought I’d better hold off on more kids until my incision could heal. Big mistake, most crabby and irritable year of my life (the second time), and “ironically” resulted in trying for 16 months to have my third child after conceiving right away 3 times prior! So, generalizing she might be, but I dare you to take a poll and find out for yourselves how many women actually had their doctors sit down and open the pamphlet and explain the side effects (especially the abortifacient, which I learned about through a single, celibate EVANGELICAL who actually IS anti-abortion and gives her life to the cause!). Name-naming is not necessary. It is standard practice to just hand out the Rx.

    • f you are a true Catholic, then you should have sexual intercourse with your husband ONLY when you want to create a child.

      …except that’s not what the Church teaches. Sexual intercourse is meant to be unitive and procreative.

      If you are true to your faith, then you should have the power to restrain yourself from your natural animal desires.

      One gets that trough Sacramental grace, whereby one’s desires are properly ordered. That’s not the same as gritting your teeth and being white-knuckled on sheer willpower. Catholicism isn’t Puritanism. Grace reorients and elevates everything, and gives it room to breathe. The Catholic faith is down with sex. It just teaches more holistic integration of everything, including sexuality, instead of unnecessary separation and compartmentalization and a string of false dichotomies piled one atop the other.

  4. Sorry. Just to clarify, I am just saying its not always so glamorous as how you paint it. You are blessed to stay home with your children and have a husband who is able to adaquately provide. What about a couple who each make only minimum wage? It’s difficult for me to see God’s will in a large family forced to live on government assistance. I live in rural America and often see women at gas stations shoving eight kids in their car with no car seats. All I can think is what hope do these children and mothers have. The hope of Christ? For sure! But if a pill could help their mother STOP the poverty madness, then I have to stop and discern if its worth the risk. It really is a VERY minute risk. Like one in ten thousand. Anyway, I respect that your obedience to your faith has brought you here. I won’t use the pill either, but maybe that is a luxury we have. After working in inner city Denver and now living in a poor, rural area, I feel like I’ve seen enough pain to say not everybody should be reproving at rapid rates. Each of us has to discern what faithfulness looks like in our homes and bedrooms. It’s a big responsibility. Thanks for this article.

    • Becky I hear what you’re saying. Truly, I do. I have four children who were born to mothers living in extreme poverty, and it is heartbreaking. Societies MUST work to develop policies that meet the needs of the poor and the Church MUST come alongside women and men struggling to raise their children. We must work to educate women about regulating fertility through natural means, which is very possible and less complicated than people think. I believe in family preservation when at all possible and when it’s not, making it easy for mothers to find safe families to adopt their children (which of course ought to be a last resort.)

      The point of my article was basically that an abortifacient has NO place in a pro-life evangelical worldview (which is where I was at all those years ago. I’m Catholic now.) If there is a chance that even ONE baby is being killed in utero as the result of a woman electing to ingest these hormones, that is just not acceptable. The killing of defenseless, preborn children is a scourge on our society and, just as Margaret Sanger outlined, actually TARGETS the poor for profit. She had hoped to eliminate the poor, the disabled, and minority groups (specifically African Americans) with her founding of Planned Parenthood–and it’s going swimmingly, isn’t it?

      Material poverty is hard, but there are worse things yet (like spiritual poverty for example). Expecting poor women to take a pill that carries risk because we assume they’re incapable of exercising self-control or abstaining from sex is to treat them in a way far below their human dignity. It limits their options and oftentimes KEEPS them poor.

      As for God’s will, we know from historic Christian teaching that married couples should abstain from sexual intercourse if they are not prepared to bear the potential consequence of a child. That’s what sexuality IS–it has not only a unitive function but a procreative one too. If a couple is in a place where they are not capable of providing for a child then they may turn to natural means for regulating fertility. No, the practice of NFP isn’t 100% foolproof, but then neither is the pill–I know of many women who became pregnant while using it.

      So I COMPLETELY agree with you that not everyone should be procreating at rapid rates. But there is a better approach than giving a woman an abortifacient that will increase her risk for cancer and stroke and allow men to use her at will. We MUST instill a respect for the human person and for marriage in women and men, so they know they DO have choices. Ultimately we place our hope in Jesus Christ and believe that one day, He will make everything right and there will be no more suffering. But in the meantime, we should continue affirming life, serving the poor, and telling people the truth about human sexuality.

      • So I COMPLETELY agree with you that not everyone should be procreating at rapid rates.

        But where Catholics must be clear at all times– regardless of the size of their families– is that the Catholic Church does not teach this, either.

        The truth, as you’ve pointed out so well, is inconvenient.

  5. What a wonderful post, you are truly a very blessed person. Thank you so much for what you are doing. God WILL provide. God Bless.

  6. This is a great post. We stopped using birth control early in our marriage when it took awhile to get pregnant and I saw the huge difference in how I felt being off the pill. More recently we have looked into abortification side of the pill. My husband is a physician and it has implications in his practice, but as evangelical christians who believe that life begins at conception, we have made the decision that he will no longer prescribe it. He’s explained his decision to colleagues and patients and while most of the response has been fine, there is a sense of oddness to people. Sometimes it’s not easy to make the right decision, but so important to follow God’s leading rather than society’s.

    • B thank you so much for sharing your story! What an incredibly beautiful witness you and your husband are. My OB does not prescribe hormonal birth control either, and we need more doctors who are willing to stand for life. God bless you both!

    • Yay for your husband! That is awesome and I wish more doctors were paying attention to this. I asked a friend of mine who was training to be a doctor when I first heard of this, and she had not heard of that herself, in training to be a doctor!
      God bless and prosper your husband’s practice, and YOU as you walk alongside and support his decision!

  7. The hormones in birth control that sloughs off a womens uterus mimic what your own body does. You were ignorant not to go back to her doctor or pharmacist and talk about her problems. I understand your opinion but undermining physicians and pharmacist, along with their jobs, is really disrespectful. Also, I know many catholic women who are pro life and who never took birth control, are now taking hormone replacements which has the same effect on uterus, yet decreases the risk of both breast cancer and uterus cancer. You are so nieve to not read prescription side affects, talk to doctors, talk to anyone about your problems and then blame it on heath care professions who gave you what you asked for.

    • Jen, you are wrong. If you don’t believe me, ask a physician–one of the birth control pill’s stated functions is to keep the uterine lining from being hospitable to a fertilized egg. My body does NOT do that on its own, it does the OPPOSITE–the endometrium builds over the course of the month and if no fertilized egg implants, THEN it all sloughs off. If you believe life begins at conception (which historically, Christians have) then it is not morally licit to ingest something that is ordered towards destroying the fertilized egg. (And if post-menopausal women are taking HRT then they’re not at risk of killing an embryo, so that is neither here nor there in this discussion).

      And you are 100% correct–I WAS horribly naïve in taking the birth control pill. Praise be to Jesus Christ that I found the truth, or rather, that the truth found me. God bless you.

  8. Brianna, Keep it up! “The truth is inconvenient” Jesus isnt about making us comfortable. Walking the way is tough. But telling your story like this is a beautiful strong thing. Thank you sister in Christ!

  9. Thank you for writing this, Brianna. I’m so very happy that you did.

    It is one thing to be a culture warrior, to wear the pro-life brand on your sleeve and talk about how Roe v. Wade and women having abortions are bad. It’s pretty easy to vote like everyone else at your church and give a few bucks to the local crisis pregnancy center, and to say adoption is a better option from our comfortable bubble of a vantage point.

    But it’s quite another to surrender one’s own decisions, marriage, finances, and future to the Lord. It’s a whole other ball of wax to acknowledge that faith makes demands of us, that we are called into a radical obedience to Jesus, and that we Christians might actually need to rethink our entire approach to marriage and children and career.

    Spot on. This is the money quote, right there.

    We also need to re-think what we mean by poverty. Material poverty is no breeze. I think everybody knows that. But spiritual poverty kills the soul. That the Church does not divorce the spiritual works of mercy from the corporal works of mercy is no accident: a human being is matter and spirit, and not matter or spirit.

    • WSquared oh my goodness–EXCELLENT point about the human being as matter AND spirit in this context. I’m going to think more about that!

  10. I totally agree. We went down the same path. I was so confused about why the pill made me feel terrible – I ended up getting pregnant anyway 4 months into marriage. We tried several other options that had negative effects on my health (some of which I’m still dealing with 7 years later!!). I’m actually angry that many of the options out there take such a toll on women’s health and come with no warning. Thank you for such a thoughtful article!

  11. Wonderful article, one that I will forward to my friends.

    I understand that your focus is on the harm the birth control pill does to a woman, and is not meant to be a pro-NFP piece. However, I kept getting the impression from the comments that women see this as a choice between the pill and celibacy. Am I incorrect that women are only fertile a few days a month, and that NFP, practiced correctly, brings couples closer together when they do have relations? NFP is 99% effective–same as the pill, I believe. Yes, it would require some work and some self-discipline that the couple SHARE IN, but would it require long periods of abstinence?

    I’m a single woman so I have to remain abstinent all the time, but my friends who use NFP tell me it’s worth the effort. Just the fact that NFP couples have extremely low divorce rates compared to couples who contracept should say it all!

    • Hi Joanne! Thanks for the kind words. You’re right, I did not delve into openness to life per se in this article–it was just my personal story about using the pill in my pre-Catholic days, and about how I think women–ALL women, not just Catholic women–deserve better. I can’t say everything in one little article, otherwise it would be too long and everyone would be bored. :)

      Many women on hormonal birth control would never consider openness to life at this juncture, and I think a great first step is acknowledging that there is something morally wrong with the pill. Many Protestant sisters are reading along and I share my story in hopes of helping and informing others in a non-threatening way. I’ve written elsewhere about marriage being designed to be open to life, and I’m sure I’ll continue to talk about it now and again, but that wasn’t my focus in this piece.

      God bless you, and I’m glad to have you here.

    • Joanne, to use NFP correctly you need to abstain from your period until a couple of days after ovulation (I once ovulated on CD 8!). Your hormones cause you to be most interested in sex in the leadup to ovulation, about a week after your period. Rather than bringing you closer together, not having sex at the time when you’re most interested and having it when you’re not is intensely frustrating and unnatural.

      There’s a great book called “taking charge of your fertility” by Toni Weschler which explains it very thoroughly.

  12. As a “secular humanist” I feel the need to let you know that we all don’t just pass out birth control like candy, rubbing our hands together and cackling about how many women are falling into our trap. 😉 I actually agree with much of what you write. I think much of the current animosity towards motherhood in our culture is because it has become a “choice.” If it’s a woman’s choice to have a baby, then she has no right to demand paid maternity leave, quality child care, etc. If children weren’t viewed as an inconvenience, maybe our society would have more compassion towards mothers, children and families in general. While I do think choices are necessary and helpful to many, many women (which we probably disagree about); I feel some of them have become a bit too easy and convenient. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that perhaps more people than you suspect agree with the premise of your post.

    • LAM welcome! So glad to have you here, and thank you so much for your insights. I think we do agree on many things, and indeed we need to be a culture that supports and assists women as opposed to one that hurts in the name of convenience. Anyway thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to join in any future discussions!

  13. This was an interesting read. I would just like to say, that I think OCPs are getting a bad rap here. I use them, and there is no moral issue at play (I’m not using them for contraceptive purposes, no potential for “abortifacient”). Off of OCPs, I spend at least one day a month vomiting, in extreme pain, unable to work, and sometimes fainting from pain…so OCPs offer a much appreciated relief from unnecessary pain. I’m sorry that your experience was horrible, but I imagine that there are equal or greater numbers who experience benefit like I did. And I followed the link that you posted, but as a medical professional I found that (and the subsequent direct search for their website) to be VERY vague.

    In regards to your comment about increasing the risk of cancer, that is a generally problematic statement. OCPs decrease the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, and increase the risk of breast cancer in only a small subset of women (namely, women with a family history of breast cancer) in women without a family history of breast cancer OCPs decrease breast cancer risk. The large studies that evaluated side effects did not stratify risk, but subsequent studies have.

    All that being said, I agree with much of what you write. I think that the value that you place on sexuality and life is admirable, and certainly would be ideal for many. The reality is that many women are devalued, but I can’t agree that is a consequence of birth control. To say this is a historically new phenomenon is false. It has as much to do with what we teach boys as girls about the value of women. Your blog tends to focus on a female perspective (understandably), but it would also be interesting to hear what you (as the mother of two boys) are doing on the other side of the equation.

    • E I’m so glad that the pill has helped with your medical issues, and provided relief. That sounds terrible! As a Christian I believe there IS a moral problem with using an abortifacient as contraception, which is what I discussed in the article. Please see http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/birth-control-glaucoma-oral-contraceptives_n_4296141.html for some information on some of the health risks associated with hormonal contraception.

      I never, ever said that the REASON women are devalued is “birth control.” I believe that reason is, ultimately, sin and brokenness, and convincing entire generations of women that they need to be on synthetic hormones in order to be whole and empowered is simply part of HOW they are devalued. Among other things it allows them to be more easily used and abandoned by men, and also puts them at greater risk of unplanned pregnancy and therefore abortion.

      I do focus on issues from a woman’s perspective because, well, I’m a woman. :) You bring up an interesting idea about what I’m teaching my two sons, and I think I’ll talk about that sometime soon. But in a nutshell I encourage all of my children to love God, love others, and live up to the dignity with which they were created.

      • A 2009 meta-analysis of 20 studies that looked at the relationship between the risk of developing colorectal cancer and taking the pill actually showed an 18% reduction in risk. That finding held regardless of whether women had recently started taking the pill or had been on it for years.

        Pill use has also been connected to a 50% reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer by 50%, with protective effects lasting up to 20 years after stopping the pill. A similar 33% reduction in the risk of ovarian or uterine cancer has been found for pill users, with a protective effect reaching out to 30 years. While some studies (including one published in 2009 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and a 2014 study in Cancer Research) have found an increased risk of some forms of breast cancer for pill users, doctors still agree that given the relative rarity of breast cancer among young women and the pill’s other benefits, there is not strong enough evidence to make a recommendation against using the pill. Increased breast cancer risk is most commonly linked to birth control pills with high levels of estrogen, which are relatively uncommon now.
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  14. Brianna, thank you for the thought provoking post. I have questions and am not looking for an argument…just answers.

    The idea that every woman should exist without birth control is lovely and all…and the idea that adoption would be an answer for ALL unwanted babies is equally lovely. But it’s NOT happening. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that God would rather a woman give birth to baby after baby after baby, with different fathers, living a life of neglect, poverty and abuse versus just not being born in the first place.

    Example: my cousin in Kentucky is 19 years old. She already has 2 children and is 7 months pregnant with her 3rd – all by different men of course. They live in neglect and constant chaos. It is heartbreaking. They have no hope, no future, nothing. And I guarantee you this will keep happening. She could easily have 10 children before her child-bearing days are over. You’re going to tell me that THIS is better than a birth control? I’m sorry. I don’t think anything will ever convince me of that.

    Also, women who have been raped do not tend to want to take care of themselves during a pregnancy. They are traumatized beyond measure. And what if the child strongly resembles the rapist? I cannot even fathom spending a lifetime looking at a son or daughter who looks like a man who brutally assaulted me. You have the cushion and support of a loving, faithful husband. It is unrealistic to expect that “God’s love” could ever possibly be enough.

    • Sarah, I hear you. I know you probably are addressing Brianna with your questions, but I hope you don’t mind if I pipe in. These are great questions because in reality, as ideal as it sounds for all of us to be BCP-free and still have a manageable number of children with one committed partner, we live in a fallen world. Children are born daily who will become victims of broken families, parents’ poor choices, and poverty, raised without fathers and with a lot of hungry mouths to feed. I was one of 5 children myself. I grew up poor. My parents were divorced by the time I was 8. I had little “hope” or “chance” at much of a life, in the world’s economy. I lived for the daily “free lunch” at school. I craved attention from boys to replace my father’s sporadic attention and presence in my life. By all accounts, in the world’s economy, I should have been pregnant or strung out by the time I was 15. But by God’s grace alone, because His grace is an economy I still don’t quite comprehend, I was the first in my family to go to a four-year university and graduate IN four years, I got married and have stayed married for 11 years, I have 3 children whose daddy loves them dearly, who are growing up knowing what a “dinner table” is, and who know that they are loved and wanted. Why? Why me? I ask myself this question almost daily. And I always go back to God’s grace. Because what other explanation is there? I should have had no hope, I should probably (in the world’s mind) been aborted because my parents couldn’t feed me or care for me (I was the fourth child in 9 years, and was followed a year and a half later by my brother). But I am so thankful to be alive. My poverty was NOT easy, or glamorous, or fun, and I still struggle with emotional consequences. But I also have compassion I would not otherwise have, as well as determination to NEVER let my children know that kind of a life. I am able to teach my children compassion, not from a removed, charity-so-you-feel-better position, but from a “that-was-your-mom-once” position.
      I adamantly disagree that your cousin’s 3+ children don’t have hope, future, etc. Because I was one of your cousin’s children. With God ALL things are possible. If God is not your starting point, then the lenses through which you view such situations are going to be different than mine, naturally. But if HE is your starting point, then what He sees and knows about the children who are born into such circumstances FAR exceeds your own understanding, and if He is good, and just, and loving, then you can trust that you don’t have to understand (not fully anyway) in order to accept His design. His ways are beyond finding out.
      Finally, it almost sounds as if we forget that women actually have a choice before the choice to abort, or before the choice to use BCPs. They have a choice not to allow a man to enter them to begin with. Yes, I know that many women are not educated in such a way, and that, again, that pesky reality of living in a fallen world where people do give in to their lusts and passions cannot be gotten rid of. There again, we can only cling to God for grace, help, mercy and pray for women who are making such choices to see the truth of how they are living and to stop being selfish with their lives.

    • Sarah thanks for engaging. I think *IDEALLY* families would be preserved and women would have the supports necessary to parent. When that is not possible, then as you mentioned, adoption. And you are right, it’s NOT always happening. But the SOLUTION cannot be to kill an innocent life for inhabiting the womb of a drug addicted or struggling woman. Each and every baby has a body and soul and bears the image of God, and that’s serious. So let’s try to address issues of poverty and addiction, and empower women to be responsible and not allow themselves to be used by men.

      I am so, so sorry to hear of your cousin’s situation. That IS heartbreaking. And set against that backdrop I can understand why birth control seems like the answer. But did you know that statistically, divorce and infidelity and unwanted pregnancy and the abortion rates allllll began to steadily climb once contraception became widely accepted? It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true. We tell women and men to keep having sex because it can be consequence-free but it winds up being a cruel joke, because oftentimes it DOES have consequences. Even when we’re being “responsible” by using contraception.

      In a case where rape results in pregnancy–YES, a woman is traumatized. That’s horrific. But further invading her body to kill the life within is simply not the solution. I can’t fathom being in that situation either, but I do know that it doesn’t justify taking the life of another.
      And you’re right–it IS probably “unrealistic” to expect God’s love to be enough. But somehow, even in the darkest of suffering, IT IS. That is faith, having hope in the unseen, and it is sometimes all we have.

      These are good questions Sarah, and I’m reminded of the fact that life is hard and oftentimes (most of the time?) there are no easy answers. God bless you, and I will say a special prayer for your cousin and her kids tonight.

  15. I haven’t read all of the comments, so I don’t know if people are already saying this, but this part…

    “It’s a brilliant way to render women ineffectual pawns to be used (and disposed of) by men.

    Because ladies, we deserve so much better! We deserve to be told the truth about our bodies and marriage and babies, and to be given the necessary information to be healthy and well and whole. We deserve to be seen as human beings, not merely sexual creatures doomed to operate off of base instinct, like animals do. We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by men who demonstrate their love and protection through commitment to marriage, as opposed to cheap words and premature physical intimacy.”

    …is uniquely unpleasant!

    I am always a little disturbed to read these kinds of descriptions of sex and marriage, because they seem to hint at something in the writer’s experience with men. It’s sad. This idea that women need marriage, commitment and the potential consequences of sex as a sort of cudgel to ensure that they are even seen as human beings gives a frightening insight into your view of men (and, potentially, into the quality of men in your life). Strangely enough, quite a lot of women have managed to have multiple sexual partners, and sex unrestrained by marriage, without being reduced to mere sex pets in the eyes of the men they’re sleeping with. And if a man does not see a woman as fully human because he is having a sexual relationship with her, (relatively) free of medical consequences, then that is not the fault of contraception or the fault of modern society. It is the fault of the man. He is clearly a scumbag. If you need to use marriage, the threat of constant children and the idea of sex as a consequence-laden, potential burden to get a man to treat you with respect… he is not a nice man. I certainly would not want to be saddled with such an unpleasant man in the lifelong commitment of marriage.

    • Tottie, what about my husband? Is he uncommitted to me and only sees me as a sex object because for the last 20 years and for the next ten years we’ve only been without contraception when trying to conceive our two children? I suppose that might be true. I know for a fact that if I had ten children instead of two I wouldn’t be the sort of person anyone, including my children, would want to be around. And my prolapse, if it needed to be surgically fixed after every two pregnancies, is that even possible? And the morning sickness -who mothers my children while I’m flat on the couch? Not to mention there’s no arthritis medication while potentially pregnant or nursing. Since I nurse my kids for 2-3 years, that’s no arthritis medication at all, until I’m 50.

      Besides all that, I enjoy sex. Is that wrong? Why should I have to go without from 24 to 50 just because we don’t want more kids?

      • Let’s follow Brianna’s logic (and note that I am being sarcastic, not mean): The fact that your husband is able to have sex with you without viewing you as some sort of subhuman scum means that he deserves a thumbs-up and a gold star. The only reason men might see women as fellow human beings, with all the respect and dignity that entails, is if the woman weighs them down with infinite babies. Otherwise, women’s only role is to be sex trash. You see, having no control over your own fertility gives you choices!

        • Tottie if it’s so uniquely unpleasant, I wonder why you’re spending time here reading and arguing against basic historic Christian values which are nothing new. If you disagree, that’s great, but you shouldn’t be surprised that a Catholic believes this stuff. And I agree–men ARE scumbags when they prefer to hook up and/or enjoy relationship without backing it up with a stable commitment. That IS their fault. But my point was simply that women would do well to take responsibility for their sexuality and rethink the cultural narrative, because like it or not we’re in a pretty vulnerable spot.

          • Here’s the thing, Brianna: I couldn’t tell if I was going to agree with your piece until I read it. So I read it. Would you prefer that I not read it and just prejudge you? Once I read your blog entry, my feelings about it were strong enough that I left a comment and then checked in on that comment and commented again. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I’m sure it happens on a million different blogs every single day.

            I think we have lost something in translation here. You say “And I agree–men ARE scumbags when they prefer to hook up and/or enjoy relationship without backing it up with a stable commitment.” But that was not my point at all. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a man who enjoys a casual sexual relationship with a woman. Not everybody (male or female) wants commitment or marriage. My point was: if you interact with men who see the women they sleep with as subhuman, it is the men who are at fault. Your solution of using marriage and babies to force men to view women as fellow humans is a bad one. I would argue that the better solution is to cut those men loose. Cut that man out of your life like the metaphorical cancer that he is. From my experience, it takes a lot to see one of your fellow human beings as not fully human, non-human, subhuman, Untermenschen or other. For example, when we see a horrendous crime on the news – an act of cruelty, brutality and depravity – it’s not unusual to hear people say things like “Whoever did this is a monster”. But even then, even in that scenario, it is said more in hope, disgust and desperation than anything else. People hope that the brutal rapist/murderer/kidnapper is a (non-human) monster because it is devastating to comprehend that somebody with humanity has committed those crimes. If your man sees women as not wholly human because of something as petty and insignificant as an active sex life then the answer is not to marry him in the hopes that he will respect you more. Marrying him with just lumber you with a callous, disrespectful, scumbag jerk for the rest of your life.

        • Tottie I’m replying under this comment b/c it’s not giving me the option of doing so under your most recent.

          I questioned your reading and commenting merely b/c you seemed particularly upset about the content, and I’ve never been one to hide the fact that I am a religious person. I welcome conversation here, including dissent–when it is respectful. It’s a balance because when a combox devolves into angry arguing and such, it’s not conducive to women feeling safe to share their stories. Plus I don’t have time to argue, and I don’t enjoy arguing, but I also don’t want to ignore anyone who is really wanting to dialogue. So it’s hard. Hopefully that makes sense.

          You and I are coming from two very different places–I ascribe to the historic Judeo-Christian belief which says that God made people, and God made sex, and God created the human family to be the bedrock of a society. Thus I DO see casual sex as a threat to the good of the human person and therefore the culture. I know you don’t agree, and that’s okay! Personally I think women and men ought to respect one another for who they are as a whole–NOT for what one can give the other, not just for procreative purposes, and not just for fun hookups. We are sexual beings certainly, but we are much more than that too.

  16. Brianna, didn’t your packet come wth the insert? I would pursue legal action against the pharmacy, it’s required by law. These days they even attach a reprint of parts of it to the paper bag with a staple.

    The part of your story I find saddest is this “t I felt trapped because, well, how else were we going to prevent pregnancy? “. Your high school let you down! There are so many options for contraception! And when you went back to the doctor and said the pill she prescribed didn’t suit, what did she say? She let you down too! Pills vary greatly, there are monophasic, triphasic and continuous versions, doses go from barely there to heavy duty (My friend has PCOS and takes a super strong pill to supress androgens). There’s also the progesterone-only pill. You could have tried the patch. If none of those worked the ring and mirena deliver a much lower topical dose, so many people don’t get side effects.

    Then there are the non-hormonal options. Diaphragms are old school, but still available. Condoms are extremely effective when used correctly. The oft-cited 76% figure includes people who say condoms are their primary method but don’t actually use them. There’s also the copper IUD.

    It’s not that women don’t have plenty of choices, it’s that your high school and your doctor failed you in not explaining them. I’m sorry. No one should feel they have no choice but to have children they’re not equipped to parent.

    • Sorry for double commenting. I looked up the effectiveness rate for condoms, it’s 98%- if 100 women them for a year, 2 will become pregnant.

    • YES, they provided the packet and NO, I didn’t read through it. That was my mistake. And NO, I was NOT going to use a different hormonal pill or patch because they all function as abortifacients. As for the IUD, that is far worse than the pill in terms of harming fertilized eggs. Maybe you didn’t catch that I was primarily horrified by the abortifacient factor of hormonal contraception.

      While it’s convenient and enlightened to paint me as stupid and naïve, I was well aware of different birth control options. (Incidentally I sat through the most ridiculous assembly in high school where college students came and encouraged everyone to be promiscuous and how to hide used condoms from their parents. Cute! I wonder how it worked out for everyone, because I’m guessing not too well based on the number of single mothers and divorces among my classmates.) Not too long after stopping use of the pill God brought us to the conviction that artificial contraception in all its glory was stripping the procreative from the unitive functions of sex, and I’m so happy that my husband and I have been open to life now for many years.

      • So your whole piece is a bait and switch lie,then? If your real reason for wanting lots of children was that sexual contact had to result in babies, then this whole piece saying that there is only one birth control option and it kills babies is just a way to try and convince women who are ignorant of their options to do it your way.

        On the Catholic dogma point – if sex a week after you know you’ve ovulated is acceptible with a zero chance of conception, then why is sex with a condom with a two percent chance of conception not acceptible? And if god is capable of curing cancer, why can’t he rejoin a Vas deferens or fallopian tubes? It happens naturally from time to time, anyway.

        If you truly considered a zygote to be a baby, you would want to make sure as few as possible died. Since fertilization occurs about 30% of the time, and about 20% of those do not result in pregnancy, by having sex without birth control you’re making sure your body flushes out on average at least one zygote a year. Since the odds of ovulating are far far less than that, at close to zero, you’re killing more zygotes a year than a dozen women on the pill. Of course, if you are nursing or subfertile or having sex outside your most fertile day you’re probably getting fertilisation but not implantation a lot more frequently than that.

        And the news is even better than that. While doctors guessed that one reason why the pill works could be that it makes the lining hostile to implantation, research has shown that’s not actually the case http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/health/research/morning-after-pills-dont-block-implantation-science-suggests.html?pagewanted=all

        • Annie no, I’m not lying. I never set out to want “lots of children”. It’s not MY way, but I do believe it is God’s way. I’M CATHOLIC. I’m open about that, and it is visible on my page. I don’t expect all women to reject contraception altogether, but I would love to see women decide to forego a particular form of birth control that has the potential to kill babies. My post WAS NOT ABOUT ALL KINDS OF BIRTH CONTROL, it was about MY experience with the pill.

          To answer your question, the Catholic faith never says you have to have “lots of children” or always be conceiving. It DOES say that you are not to separate the procreative potential from the unitive aspect of sex. Which is what using a condom would be, having sex but not being open to the POTENTIAL creation of life.

          You’re wrong, Annie. I am NOT “killing” zygotes (that would indicate intent on my part), although that is a brilliant strategy for deflecting away from the issue. God created sex for marriage, and sex is ordered towards life. If some babies do not implant in the womb, that is something naturally occurring that I have no control over, and therefore not an evil on my part. Taking a pill that intentionally does that however, in an attempt to have consequence-free sex, WOULD be.

          That research is fine, but even if my faith did not prohibit artificial contraception in general, I would still not be able to take something that PURPORTS to do that. It is not worth the risk.

          In any case, this is my blog, where I discuss my choices and explain the reasoning behind them, and you are certainly free to write your own. Mine is written from a Catholic perspective because I am, well, Catholic. This ought to be a safe place for other women to dialogue and share. And I’m sorry but you have shown yourself to be disrespectful here, and while I don’t mind engaging with people who disagree, your accusing me of lying and killing babies because you’re angry with my position and feeling the need to lash out is where I draw the line. This will need to be your last comment here, unless you can speak to me with respect. I don’t have time to argue with you, and I will not have my combox devolve into a bunch of nasty insults. Catholic doctrine has existed for 2,000 years, and what I’m saying is nothing new. Thank you for understanding, and God bless you.

  17. Brianna, thank you very much for the response and the prayers. They are much needed!

    Mama Craig, that’s awesome how life worked out for you and that managed to rise above. That’s incredible and inspiring. But also very, VERY rare. In my cousin’s situation, her mother lived the exact same kind of life. It is a horrible cycle and we need to be realistic and admit that very few kids can break free from it. And when I see my cousin (the 19 year old I mentioned above) posting videos of her precious 2-year-old daughter on Facebook encouraging her to “shake her booty,” well…you can see how she’s probably going to end up. Heartbreaking.

    Anyway, I guess there’s not much else to say. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree, though Brianna, I HATE hormonal birth control and so sympathize with how awful you felt. I tried the Depo shot when I was around 21 and ended up bleeding for 2 months straight. Fun times! Hey — when’s that birth control for men going to be available?! (I know…I know…not a solution. Just trying to lighten the mood.) Thanks for the discussion everyone :)

  18. Brianna, I did forget to ask another question – how do you recommend that a mother cope with raising a child who LOOKS exactly like the man who raped and destroyed her? What if the man who raped her was her own father? (I am feeling sick just typing this, by the way, but these are questions that do need answers.)

    I cannot understand how “God’s love” can be enough to get a young woman through 18+ years of having to raise a son or daughter that reminds her of such horror. What about non-believers? Because there are obviously many out there. How do you suggest that they make it such a horrible ordeal? If God says that sex should only happen between a married man and a married woman, how can He possible expect a child conceived from rape/incest to be a a good thing?

    • Oh, Sarah, I don’t know. :( I really don’t. One thing to consider is that additional brokenness won’t fix the original brokenness. Does that make sense? That is the big, ugly lie about abortion–that it will restore things or make them better, when not only does it destroy the life of a small child, it also has the potential to emotionally hurt the mother. When you believe in a personal God who is goodness itself, you also believe in truth. And intentionally killing an innocent person is always wrong. That is truth.

      Rape and incest are GRAVE EVILS, make no mistake about it. They are serious sins against God and against the victim. But a child, a human person that is a body + soul and bearing the image of God, is never a bad thing in and of itself. God allows suffering and we won’t always know why. He gave humans free will and the ability to choose to do good and to choose to do evil. He gives men and women the power to bring forth new life through sexuality, and sometimes that power is abused, and sometimes when it’s abused a child is conceived.

      Any woman who has been raped has been victimized in a tragic and terrible way. I would suspect that she would face a long and difficult road of healing. It is true that not all people know Jesus, and yet I believe His mercy is available to them too. And my hope for a woman in that very hard situation, who also finds herself pregnant, would be that she might choose life and dignity for her child, and in so doing prevent further victimization. If she chooses not to parent, there is the option to place the child for adoption. And as an adoptive mother, I can say that children coming from broken pasts are still children, with an incredible capacity for hope, love and healing.

  19. “I knew it was the pill wreaking havoc on my emotions but I felt trapped because, well, how else were we going to prevent pregnancy?”

    As you weren’t yet a Catholic, did it not occur to your “wise and every-patient husband” that condoms involve no artificial hormones and aren’t abortifacients? Or was that too “inconvenient” for him?

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