Contraceptive Compromise

In this position paper you will read these terms: family planning, birth control and contraception. In everyday speech, they have come to suggest the same thing—an artificial device or chemical used to prevent the creation of a baby in the womb.

Outlawing Contraception?

One of the most common allegations made against the pro-life movement is that our ultimate goal is to outlaw contraception! Is this true?

No. We would have more success if we were to dig a hole in the sand and attempt to empty an ocean into that hole. After all, legal or not, the practice of contraception has become a social behavior that is accepted. As such, our goal is to expose the practice of contraception for what it is, and for what it is not.

American Opinion

In a recent sampling of public opinion, for example, 78.6 percent of those who heard the following statement agreed, at least somewhat:

“The pro-life group bothers me. They’re completely against abortions, yet they’re against birth control as well. It doesn’t make sense. If they really want fewer abortions, they should be advocating birth control methods.”

In other words, 78.6 percent of Americans somehow feel that the practice of using birth control will eliminate abortion. The problem is that quite the opposite has been shown to be the case. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that some of the most popular forms of birth control are actually causing abortions themselves.

Defining Terms

What does “contraceptive” mean? The word, according to the dictionary, means “against conception.” In other words, a contraceptive is supposed to prevent conception, the creation of a new human being.

But ... this is not the case with most of the popular methods in use in the United States today.

In fact, attorney Frank Sussman, when arguing on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America during the Supreme Court hearings on the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services case in 1989, told the justices:

“There no longer exists any bright line between the fundamental right that was established in Griswold and the fundamental right of abortion that was established in Roe. These two rights . . . overlap. . . . The most common forms . . . of contraception today—IUD’s, low-dose birth control pills, which are the safest type of birth control pills available—act as abortifacients.”1 According to Mr. Sussman, then, they cause abortions.

From Contraception to Abortion

In 1965 the Supreme Court (in Griswold v. Connecticut) established a “right to privacy,” not formerly identified in the Constitution of the United States in matters of sexual practices, and still not found there today except in the creative minds of a politically active Supreme Court. So, because of that case, birth control/contraception/family planning—whatever one wishes to call the artificial separation of man and woman during sexual intercourse—became a matter of “privacy.”

Following swiftly on the heels of that case came the 1973 decisions that legalized abortion on demand, the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions.

There is a legal link between some forms of contraception and abortion. The IUD and the birth control pill2 both work not as pure “contra”ceptives, but rather as methods of abortion.

Basic Biology

At the moment a human sperm joins a human egg in the female’s Fallopian tube, fertilization occurs. This means that a new human being, who is biologically unique in every way, is created and that this human being’s life has begun. As he or she grows, this person journeys from the Fallopian tube to the uterine wall, where the little one will implant and begin to create his or her own home for the coming eight months and three weeks, or until birth occurs.3, 4, 5 But, if the uterine wall is irritated, this wall will reject the little one’s effort to implant and the little one will die.

And this is also how the IUD and the Pill work, at least in part.6 Thus, the IUD and the Pill methods of “contra”ception are really “contra”implantation of a baby.

Understanding this, one can see why the pro-life movement would indeed not only oppose the Pill and the IUD, but would work actively to stop their use through education of the public and those in policy-making positions at all levels of government.

We do not believe that the average man and woman know that the Pill and the IUD act to abort, so we must tell them the truth.

Further, we must tell the truth about RU-486, the Norplant implant system and Depo-Provera, to name but a few “reproductive technologies” that are touted as “contraceptive” when in fact they are clearly abortifacient.

American Life League is against all abortions, whether they are caused at one hour of age, one week of age, or at any time during pregnancy.

Human Behavior

Those who advocate abortion on demand, in many cases, are the same people and organizations that provide for-profit family-planning services that include abortion. These are the groups that teach our children sex education in the classroom. In 1973 (correspondence cited in “From Contraception to Abortion,” by Paul Marx, OSB), for example, Alan F. Guttmacher, M.D., the late president of Planned Parenthood, wrote the following to “Friends of Planned Parenthood”:

You have accepted the responsibility of broadening the scope of your family planning services, and you have welcomed a wider patient clientele—most notably, to include minors for whom you have created special services to meet their special needs. All of you recognize the logical inclusion of sterilization and abortion as integral components of a modern fertility control service.

In Family Planning Perspectives (1976), Christopher Tietze, M.D., who was associated with Planned Parenthood at the time, wrote:

The safest regimen of control for the unmarried and for married child-spacers is the use of traditional methods backed up by abortion; but if this regimen is commenced early in the child-bearing years, it is likely to involve several abortions in the course of her reproductive career for each woman who chooses it.

Today, of course, the most popular forms of contraception cause early abortion, and so the practice of contracepting has become the practice of abortion.

What Are We Thinking?

Could it be that fertility is viewed as a disease? Has man begun to view sexuality as nothing more than a pursuit of lust for the sake of lust? These questions must be asked in the heart of each and every one of us, and then a conscious decision must be made. We must ask whether the choice should be the personal practice of contraception or, alternatively, the practice of chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage coupled with a comprehensive understanding of natural family planning.

Think about the provocative statement by Professor Charles Rice in his remarkable analysis “America: The Contraceptive Society” (1979):

Contraception is widely advanced as an alternative to abortion, but even in materialistic and pragmatic terms, contraception is not the remedy. Instead, it adds to the abortion problem. Widespread contraception tends to require abortion as a “backstop.” And, if abortion is readily available, people tend to be reluctant to bother with contraception. The two evils feed on one another. But apart from this, there is an intrinsic reason why contraception can never be the “solution” to abortion. Contraception is the prevention of life while abortion is the taking of life. However, both come from a common root: separation of the unitive and procreative aspects of sex. The contraceptive mentality of not wanting babies tends to reduce the objection to abortion to the emotional or esthetic. The contraceptive mentality is hedonistic, regarding comfort, worldly success, and pleasure as the primary aims of life. It is not surprising that the claim of an inconvenient unborn, and, therefore, unseen child does not fare well against that mentality.

Is it possible that the act of sexual intercourse has become nothing more than a mere pastime, completely divorced from love?

Is it possible that love itself has been separated from the image of Christ and simply become a word that makes it easier to participate in acts that satiate the senses but dull the conscience?

Is it possible that men and women who practice contraception have not seen the relationship that their choice might have with the fear of having an ill-timed baby?

A great physician and leader, Siegfried Ernst, M.D., wrote:

Hate and envy and murder destroy human communities all over the world, whereas love is the mortar that binds every community together. Consequently, no one can deny that honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love form the standards that are valid everywhere and indispensable for the creation of higher human communities.7

Contraception / birth control / family planning—words that suggest to some that they are simply avoiding a child but words that today mean a child is conceived and then quietly killed. The Pill, the IUD, the Norplant implant system, RU-486, Depo-Provera and other chemicals and devices are killers. And no one wants to avoid a child by terminating that child, do they?

American Life League Policy

Recognizing that:

— If hatred or fear of children causes a human being to practice contraception, love is lost;

— If self-centered desires for commodities stifle a desire to form a community within a family where children are welcome as gifts from God, love is lost;

— If the murder of innocent children continues to be the norm for those whose “choice” of contraception may cause abortion or lead to abortion, love is lost.

American Life League takes the undeniable position that contraception can become abortion, by its very nature and by the attitude of those who have prevailed upon society to practice it without heed of the consequences.

American Life League calls upon those in doubt to review the material available, the studies that have been done and the reality of God’s precious gift to man and woman—the ability to procreate, to participate with Him in bringing into this world children created in His image and likeness.

American Life League denies the moral acceptability of artificial contraception and we endorse the moral use of natural methods for spacing children and for trying to have children.

American Life League will work to outlaw any form of “contraception ”which kills a human being once that baby’s life has begun at conception/fertilization.

American Life League will continue to educate our fellow Americans with regard to the abortifacient nature of certain forms of so-called contraception and the dangerous practice of contraception as a gateway to abortion.


1 “Excerpts of Arguments Before Supreme Court on Missouri Abortion Law,” Washington Post, 4/27/89, p. A16.

2 “Project Abortifacients,” Human Life International research monograph, 6/91, pp. 1–23.

3 “The First Days of Creation,” Life magazine, 8/90, pp. 2–46.

4 “As Your Baby Grows, From Conception to Birth,” From the Publishers of American Baby Magazine (distributed by Gerber Products Company), 1992, p. 4.

5 Jerome LeJeune, The Concentration Can, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992) pp. 48–54.

6 Physician’s Desk Reference, 1990, listing for each of the approved birth control pills, section entitled “Modes of Action.” See Appendix A for a complete list of birth control pills.

7 Siegfried Ernst, “Is Humanae Vitae Outdated?” 1990, HLI, p. 8.