Karen Swallow Prior has written a crash-course in the difference between birth control and contraception at Christianity Today. If you didn’t know that there was a difference, this article is definitely for you. A couple of items here are noteworthy:
1. Prior takes on Rachel Held Evans and others who confuse “birth control” with other medicinal uses of the pill. She writes:
One is “using birth control” if one is using the method with the intention of preventing pregnancy. A woman who receiving treatment solely to alleviate menstrual irregularities or other medical problems is not “using birth control” any more than a woman who undergoes a hysterectomy due to cancer is “using birth control.” To advocate for “birth control” under the guise of other medicinal uses only sets the cause of birth control—and women—back by communicating obfuscation and perpetuating ignorance about female sexuality and reproductive health. If medications should be covered by insurance for off-label uses, that’s an argument to be made intelligently on its own merits.
2. Prior also talks about the potentially abortifacient mechanism of the Pill. She has a wallop for people who make facile appeals to “science” to dismiss that concern when they apparently don’t understand the science themselves. This is a contested issue even among evangelicals (which I write about in my book), but I’m glad she brings it up. She writes:
Concerns about possible abortifacient mechanisms of some birth control methods are not based on belief but on scientific statements. It’s a strange state of affairs when the people citing the medical community are said to basing their views on religious belief, and those basing their views on speculative theories claim they are the only ones with science on their side. Given this data, I have to question Hobby Lobby’s lack of consistency in not opposing all forms of hormonal birth control whose labels describe the same possible mechanisms.
There’s much good in this article. Sometimes I think I hear echoes of Humana Vitae in this one (which is probably why I appreciate it so much). Read it here.