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What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?


Updated June 21, 2014

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Taoism, Confucianism and Sikhism
What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?

Sikh "Anand Karaj" Wedding Ceremony

Photo (C) 2005 Ashish/CC Attribution 2.0
Evidence of contraception goes back thousands of years in China. Chinese religions emphasize the importance of balance and harmony in the individual, the family, and society. Since having too many children can upset this balance, family planning has been a valued part of human sexuality in both Taoism and Confucianism. In the Chinese religions, sex and sexual pleasure are esteemed and celebrated along with the need for moderation. Moderation is also considered a virtue in reproduction. Given this, there is little religious resistance to birth control, and abortion is also allowed.

In general, Taoists are not against contraception. Birth control is rationalized by the negative impacts that could result from unwanted pregnancies. Confucians, unlike Taoists, put more focus on procreation than on the joy and art of sex. Confucians are not as open to birth control as they are more sensitive to any restriction on their God-given right to procreate. However, they still believe that a husband and wife have an obligation to practice family planning.


Nothing in Sikh scripture condemns the use of birth control. Sensible family planning is promoted by the community. The couple decides how many children they want and can support, whether or not to use contraception, and the type of birth control to use. Contraception decisions are centered on the needs of the family. Although Sikhs have no objection to birth control, they are not allowed to use it as a way to avoid a pregnancy resulting from adulterous behavior.

Many Sikhs use contraception; yet, to some, birth control is associated with lust and seen as disruptive to the natural cycle of procreation. There is also no religious mandate on abortion. Some don't support it because they believe the fetus has a soul. But this decision is considered a personal choice.

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