What you need to know about Birth Control

Birth control is a contentious issue, and one which seems to be open to interpretation. However, there are several forms of birth control which directly violate other commands of the Bible, specifically the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

We believe that human life is sacred, and that all humans are created in the image of God. This begins with life, that is, at conception. The Bible clearly confirms this by underlining the value of our lives before birth (e.g. Isaiah 46:3-5, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 119:73, Psalm 139:13-14, etc.), even tracing them back to the moment of conception on multiple occasions (e.g. Genesis 4:1, Ruth 4:13, Psalm 51:5, Song of Solomon 3:4, etc.) Therefore, anything that destroys this human life is a direct violation of the sixth commandment.

There are many different types of contraception (“birth control”) available today. There are some we dismiss outright as being morally wrong—abortion (which destroys a baby that has implanted into his/her mother’s womb) and intra-uterine devices (which prevents an embryo from implanting into the womb). What many people are not aware of is that all hormonal contraception (e.g. “the pill”) may work by preventing implantation as well.

Most of us wouldn’t think of taking the morning-after pill, but this is the same combination of medications that is found in birth control pills and uses the exact same three ways of action to prevent pregnancy that the pill does. In fact, in many cases, the morning after pill is literally punched out of a birth control pill package and dispensed in a vial with different directions, but it remains the same medication women all over the world use to prevent pregnancy on a month-to-month basis, albeit at a higher dose.

Most hormonal contraceptives contain the two female hormones estrogen and progestin in various forms and combinations. Some contain only progestin (mini pills) and are often prescribed to women who are breastfeeding or experiencing difficulties with side-effects of the estrogen component of most other hormonal contraceptives. Regardless of which type and brand of hormonal contraception used, all prevent pregnancy by the same three ways, which can be viewed as a series of hurdles that one must pass in order to become pregnant. In more detail, hormonal contraception:

1. Prevents ovulation from occurring so no egg can be fertilized;
2. Prevents conception by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg in case ovulation does take place;
3. Thins the lining of the uterus so that a newly conceived human embryo (often referred to as a “fertilized egg”) will be unable to implant.

Thus, if ovulation occurs, chances are the sperm will not be available to fertilize the egg, but if fertilization occurs, the embryo will not survive because the uterine environment cannot sustain the pregnancy. While the first mechanism of action is the predominant means by which hormonal contraception works and the one that we are most familiar with, the other two are important mechanisms for preventing pregnancy. The prevention of ovulation and sperm passage is contraceptive—that is, it prevents the act of conceiving, the fertilization of an egg—so that a human life is not formed. But it is this third mechanism of action that acts in an intraceptive, life-interrupting way.

How is this possible? Ovulation can take place while using hormonal contraception. Any time ovulation takes place there is the possibility of conception, and pregnancy. We know birth control pills “fail” (a women gets pregnant while taking them) at a rate of 3 out of every 100 women per year. Some of these pregnancies are due to “human error”, that is, not taking the pill exactly as prescribed, for example, by missing a dose, taking the pill late, or taking other medications or herbal products that interfere with the pill. However, in women taking the pill perfectly, pregnancy can still happen. This means that all three mechanisms of action for the pill failed… the baby passed all the hurdles!

What is unknown is how often do the first two mechanisms fail and it is the last mechanism, the prevention of implantation that is responsible for the prevention of pregnancy? How then can pro-life women in good conscience be taking a medication to prevent pregnancy that can also terminate life?

While science clearly proves that human life begins at fertilization, some medical textbooks argue that human life begins at implantation, and many health care professionals do not view human life as innately sacred. This vast difference in world view and definition of life has profound effects and often leads to the provision of confusing and misleading information from most health care professionals when members of our community ask about birth control methods.

For example, if a woman asks whether the birth control pill can terminate life, and the doctor believes human life does not begin until implantation, his/her answer will be no, putting the woman’s mind at ease with misinformation. Yet others, knowing that fertilization is the starting point of each of our lives, do not consider this life to be valuable yet, and also inform patients that the pill can do no harm. It is therefore incredibly important that we are aware of this information.

Finally, if you have been using birth control pills or other forms of hormonal contraception, prayerfully consider other methods that are known not to disrupt life. Children are always a blessing from the Lord, but there may be times when pregnancy is to be avoided. There are other means of avoiding pregnancy that are as effective as hormonal contraception, perhaps without the convenience factor, but also without the fear of unknowingly losing a child.

Hormonal contraception can be used to treat or control a variety of medical conditions. As with any medication, please discuss this with your physician prior to making any changes if you are considering discontinuing your hormonal contraception. Consider that taking this, while being sexually intimate with your spouse, can put the lives of your pre-born children at risk. Above all, while making well-informed decisions that are consistent with Biblical, pro-life views, pray for guidance to do so in a way that glorifies God.

Michelle Van Maanen, BSP, Accredited Canadian Pharmacy Resident (ACPR)
Danielle Van Maanen, BScN, Registered Nurse (RN)

For further information, see also:

Birth Control Pill: Abortifacient and Contraceptive by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? by Randy Alcorn


The Pill—How it Works and Fails by Pharmacists for Life International

Things your Doctor May not Have Told You about Your Birth Control by My Feminine Mind

WOOMB Canada

Facebook and the 7th Commandment

A woman walked into my study a few days ago. She was nearly naked, wearing only a bra and panties.

There is just one woman in the world who, while dressed like this, can be around me: my wife. But the woman who walked into my study a few days ago was not my wife. I was very embarrassed.

She, however, was not embarrassed at all. Let’s call her: “Shameless.”

The reason Shameless was not embarrassed was because she had swallowed the lie of our modern society. This lie says the following: if the bra and panties are the same color and made of a fabric that can be used in water, then walking around in them is completely different than walking around in underwear because they are, after all, swimwear.

Shameless is a professing Christian, yet, because she has bought into this lie, she has no problem exposing her body to the whole world. I imagine she might be embarrassed to walk in the mall, or visit her grandparents, dressed only in her bra and panties. But for some reason, she does not see any problem in choosing a photo of herself dressed this way as her Facebook profile photo.
That’s how she came into my office: by my computer screen.

I have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook that I hardly know. I accept friend requests from anyone who professes to be Christian, because I want to expand my network of contacts so I can promote the work of the various Reformed organizations and institutions I work with.

However, when a contact posts things on Facebook that promote indecent thoughts, or attitudes or actions that are not Christian, I delete them immediately.

Three reasons

Let me share with you the reasons why I deleted Shameless.

1. Her body belongs to her husband

If she is not married, she must keep her body for her future husband (1 Cor 7:4). Her body is not to be exposed for the world to see, much less is to be displayed on my computer screen.

2. My passion belongs to my wife

Seeing the body of another woman does not promote my sanctification or edify my marriage (Prov. 5:15-20; Job 31:1). God created man so that he experiences a very strong reaction when he sees the body of a woman. This reaction within marriage is beautiful and promotes true love. Outside of marriage it is shameful and brings destruction and sorrow.

In this world, mired as it is in immorality and sexual perversion, vigilance is necessary for a man to keep his sexual purity. When other women present themselves almost naked to him, that surely does not help in his fight against sin.

3. Public nakedness is a denial of Christ’s work

When man fell into sin, his nakedness was exposed. God then gave clothes to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. An animal had to die so that their nakedness was covered. This was a foreshadowing of Christ’s work, in which He was exposed and naked on the cross, taking upon Himself our shame, and shedding his blood for us so we could be covered with the white robes of His righteousness.
The way we dress reflects something about our understanding of the Gospel. When Christian men and women expose their bodies in public, they are obscuring the manifestation of the power of Christ’s work in their lives – instead of dressing in decent apparel, with modesty and good sense, they mimic the world, which glories in its shame.


Sadly many readers will find this article too radical. Christian women can’t wear bikinis? Men should vigilantly avoid looking at such exposed women?

There’s a reason this seems radical: we’re so mired in worldliness that we don’t even notice it. Today’s worldly, superficial Christianity produces worldly, superficial Christians. However Christianity as taught by Christ and his apostles is a total transformation of life in all respects, accompanied by a radical commitment to holiness. The change in us is not meant to be a slight one – we are to be transformed into something else entirely: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17a). Now that’s radical! And that is Christianity!

This article first appeared in Portuguese, and was first published in English in Reformed Perspective (www.ReformedPerspective.ca). It is reprinted here with permission.

Kermit Gosnell and the Gospel

Yesterday I was typing the name “Kermit Gosnell,” and my phone auto-corrected the name to “gospel.” I shuddered momentarily. After all, what could be more contradictory than the name of a notorious abortionist on trial for child murder, and the good news of the mercies of God in Christ. My smartphone, it turns out, was smarter than I was.

The Gosnell case is stomach-turning. Testimonies in court point to a sadistic man who would sever the spines of babies, in and out of the womb. They tell of a man so cold-blooded that he would keep the feet of unborn children as trophies of his evil. They speak of a man who would prey upon the poorest and most vulnerable women in his community in order to destroy their lives and those of their children. It’s hard to think of the gospel in the midst of all that evil.

But that’s just the point.

In the crucifixion narrative of Jesus, the gospel writers tell us that he was not hanged alone. On either side were thieves. That word thief” has, I fear, taken the edge off of this scene for many contemporary Westerners. When we think “thief” we tend to imagine a shoplifter at Wal-Mart or a burglar cracking a safe. In this context, though, “thief” communicated a murderous terrorist, feared and reviled by all. Jesus in his crucifixion identified himself with the worst and most violent of sinners, even in terms of the geography of his death.

The one criminal responded the way most of us, left to ourselves, would. He didn’t want repentance but deliverance. He taunted Jesus to rescue him, not from his sin itself but from the consequences of it. This is what Gosnell is seeking, to defend himself in court and escape prosecution. The one we have come to know as “the thief on the cross”, acknowledged the justice of his sentence, and pleaded for mercy. He identified himself with Jesus as King: “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

The gospel isn’t a mere matter of God exempting people from consequences. We could understand such pardons, handed out for cosmic misdemeanors or victimless crimes. The gospel comes to those who are the horrible, the damned.

How could this murderous doctor walk in every day to a chamber of horrors and do what he did? How could his nurses and assistants suppress the screams of these children, the spattering of blood? They do so by suppressing the conscience and walling over the embedded revelation of the justice of God. They pretend as though there will be no reckoning, no Judgment Seat, that somehow all of this can be kept secret, that they can take these secrets with them to the grave.

The gospel, though, reveals the justice of God. Sin cannot be hidden, and judgment cannot be escaped. The cries of the oppressed, the orphaned, the murdered, are heard, and their Redeemer is strong. Justification isn’t a matter of waving away consequences. It’s a matter of self-crucifixion, of embracing the judgement of God and agreeing with his verdict. And, in Christ, it’s a matter of being joined to another, one against whom no accusation can stand.

The Gosnell case is horrific. It ought to revolt us and to turn our stomachs and to shock our consciences. But Kermit Gosnell’s criminality is one of degree, not of kind. Left to ourselves, we would all be given over the kind of cruelty and rage he displayed. Our hope, and his, cannot be in simply evading consequences. After all, the worst consequence facing Kermit Gosnell is not that he be executed or imprisoned. The worst consequence facing Kermit Gosnell is that he be handed over to being Kermit Gosnell.

If we minimize God’s justice, and ignore the evil here, we eclipse the gospel. But there’s another danger too. Many Christians are rightly upset that the media have ignored the Gosnell trial. Our internal media do the same thing, with our own cosmic crimes against God. Our hope isn’t in indulgence but in the kind of mercy that crucifies and resurrects.

The Kermit Gosnell story is one of severed spines and seared consciences. A gospel of justification without justice cannot picture a holy God. A gospel of justice without justification ultimately leaves us all without hope before the tribunal of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ speaks of both justice and justification, and brings them together in a Man drowning in his own blood at the Place of the Skull.

And on either side of him, there were thieves.

Reprinted with permission from the author; originally posted on Moore to the Point.