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What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?

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Updated January 30, 2014

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Christianity and Evangelical Protestants
What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?

Christianity

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Christian notions about birth control stem from church teachings rather than scripture (since the Bible says little about contraception). So beliefs about birth control tend to be based on different Christian interpretations of marriage, sex, and family. Contraception was condemned by Christianity as a barrier to God’s procreative purpose of marriage until the start of the 20th century. Protestant theologians became more willing to accept that morality should come from the conscience of each person rather than from outside teachings.

Many Christians began to consider sex as a gift from God and a positive force that could strengthen the institution of marriage if couples did not feel threatened by the possibility of having children they could not support. The majority of Protestant denominations, theologians, and churches allow contraception and may even promote family planning as an important moral good. As with all issues of Christian morality, it stresses that members use birth control as dictated by their consciences.

Evangelical Protestants:

Opposition to birth control is growing in conservative Evangelical groups who rely more heavily on Catholic teachings, so birth control still remains controversial. Some oppose all forms of contraception short of abstinence while others allow natural family planning but oppose other methods. Some sects even support any form of birth control that prevents conception but are against any method that keeps a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. In 1954, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated that “to enable them to more thankfully receive God’s blessing and reward, a married couple should plan and govern their sexual relations so that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth.”

 

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