Contraception in the Philippines Essay Example
Contraception in the Philippines Essay Example

Contraception in the Philippines Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2012 words)
  • Published: September 18, 2017
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Concluding Paper The focus of my concluding paper revolves around the use of contraceptive methods, specifically condoms and birth control pills. In the Philippines, contraception is a topic that sparks intense ethical debates. While I have heard arguments from both sides, I do not feel adequately informed to make a definitive decision for myself. It is crucial to thoroughly examine arguments from both perspectives before taking a stance. Thus, it is important to continue exploring this subject in order to develop a more knowledgeable viewpoint.

To begin with, I will explore the arguments against contraception. According to the BBC Ethics Guide (2014), some key points raised include its perceived unnaturalness, being anti-life, seen as abortion-like, and separating sex from reproduction. The statement connecting abortion with contraception may carry emotional weight; however, opposing viewpoints are evident when considering that preventing p


regnancy is its intended purpose. The question we must ponder is whether preventing pregnancy itself is inherently morally wrong.The BBC Ethics Guide (2014) presents arguments against contraception including the promotion of a "contraceptive culture" hindering the birth of potentially good human beings, contraception being used for eugenics purposes, and contraception leading to depopulation and promiscuity. Although the relevance of these arguments varies, the most compelling one suggests using contraception for eugenics purposes. As a psychology major, I am aware of the disturbing history surrounding the recent eugenics movement introduced by Sir Francis Galton in 1883 targeting individuals deemed "poor" and "unintelligent". Sterilization laws were implemented in approximately 30 states by the 1930s according to Tartavosky (2011). However, what was truly alarming about these laws was how they defined who could undergo sterilization, with terms like "imbecile" an

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"feeble-minded" being arbitrary and susceptible to misuse. Eugenics itself is considered negative but its unrestrained application becomes monstrously unethical. Margaret Sanger (1921, p.43) also argued that birth control holds value from both an eugenic perspective and aligns with its ultimate goals as well.Despite the potential similarities between birth control and eugenics, it is important to question whether they serve the same purpose. This raises doubts about the perceived advantages of birth control. While eugenics is widely seen as morally wrong, if birth control has a similar purpose, it should also be viewed unfavorably. However, there is genuine danger in utilizing birth control harshly or irresponsibly, despite its initial appearance as unlikely.

The BBC Ethics Guide (2014) argues for the benefits of birth control. It asserts that it grants individuals reproductive autonomy and enables them to decide if they want children. Additionally, contraception can potentially reduce the need for abortions. The guide also states that contraception provides women with choice and promotes equality by preventing unwanted pregnancies that could lead to economic dependency or health risks.

Furthermore, population control through birth control can help alleviate poverty. These advantages suggest that pregnancy isn't always a positive outcome of sexual activity and preventing it in certain cases can have more positive than negative effects.

Pro-contraception arguments emphasize giving people more choices and reducing health risks as an alternative to abortion. Contrary to beliefs that legalizing contraceptives would lead to the legalization of abortion, contraceptives might actually prevent such outcomes from occurring.According to Crimmins (2007), in the Philippines, where abortion is illegal, around 500,000 women resort to unsafe abortions every year. This leads to approximately 80,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths due to

complications arising from these illegal procedures. These statistics demonstrate that criminalizing abortion does not deter everyone from seeking it. Therefore, providing contraceptive options may help prevent many of these abortions if individuals have a choice. The government's denial of contraception options seems irresponsible, especially considering the extreme and risky alternative.

The BBC Ethics Guide (2014) presents both positive and negative aspects of contraception. Supporters highlight its benefits in reducing pregnancies, which is a concern for those against it. This raises questions about the validity of arguments on both sides. However, there are instances where these arguments contradict each other.

Proponents argue that contraception reduces abortions while opponents claim it leads to the legalization of abortion through a "contraceptive culture." On the contrary, DeMarco (1983) argues that contraception does not prevent unwanted pregnancies but actually promotes them. He cites Sweden as an example where legalized contraception resulted in a significant increase in abortions. DeMarco further suggests that separating intercourse from reproduction leads to irresponsibility.Studies have demonstrated that affordable contraceptives can effectively reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates. Winter (2013) conducted a study at Washington University, which revealed a significant decrease in abortion rates of 62-78 percent when women had access to affordable contraceptives. Furthermore, Winter (2013) discovered that teenage girls aged 15-19 with free access to birth control had a much lower birth rate of 6.3 per 1,000 compared to the national rate of 34.3 per 1,000 for girls in the same age group.

It is crucial to consider the relevance of both Winter's and DeMarco's studies. While Winter's study may appear more important due to its recent nature, it would be premature to dismiss DeMarco's findings at this

point. DeMarco's research finds support through biblical passages as evidence of its significance. Although there is no direct mention of contraception in the Bible, certain passages such as Gen 1:28 can be interpreted as discouraging it since they emphasize reproduction and contradict practices aimed at preventing it.

According to Leeuwen (2001), people often misinterpret fertility passages in the Bible as commandments rather than blessings. This misunderstanding occurs frequently when reading in English. For example, Leeuwen (2001) highlights an instance from Gen 24:60 where Rebekah is blessed with many children.
The expectation of taking this as a literal command is questioned by Jacob in Gen 30:2 when he asks, "Am I in the place of God?" Leeuwen (2001) emphasizes that not fulfilling God's blessing of fertility is not considered a sin and applies to all humanity. Another relevant passage regarding contraception can be found in Gen 38:9-10 where Onan avoids impregnating his brother's wife. This act displeased the Lord and resulted in his punishment. Protestants use this biblical story to condemn all forms of contraception, considering it worse than adultery or incest. However, it is important to note that this story takes place in a different time period and highlights Onan's responsibility to impregnate his brother's wife for the sake of continuing the family lineage. While it is unclear if Onan was punished solely for not wanting his brother's wife to conceive or for failing to fulfill his duty, today this act would be considered rape. The main mistake appears to be the failure to fulfill responsibilities, but it raises questions about whether preventing conception itself violates those responsibilities. Regardless of the woman being his brother's wife, God

may have punished him anyway. According to Leeuwen (2001), fertility and procreation might not necessarily be the responsibility required by God. The episode with Onan could be seen as a specific part of Jewish tradition that may hold little significance in today's society.Although Leeuwen suggests that the Bible does not explicitly condemn contraception, there is no direct argument for its use found in the Gospels when referring to Jesus. It is often argued that contraception threatens the sanctity of marriage, as stated in Matthew 19: "Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I inform you that anyone who divorces his wife, unless it is due to sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.'" Some argue that contraception promotes sexual immorality (BBC Ethics Guide, 2014; DeMarco 1983).

While the Bible does not directly address Jesus' stance on contraception, one could potentially justify its use by considering how Jesus treated women. In John 7:53-8:11, Jesus saves a woman from being stoned to death for committing adultery. This instance shows Jesus defending the importance of marriage but also choosing to save a woman who violated its sanctity.

Although the text does not explicitly advocate for contraception, it implies that it may not be considered more significant than human life. By viewing contraception as a means to prevent deaths caused by unwanted pregnancies, there is a possibility that Jesus could be more accepting of its use. However, Jesus does not condone promiscuity as seen in his instruction to abandon a sinful lifestyle.It is possible that Jesus acknowledges and accepts the alternative of murder as

a consequence of not forgiving. The leniency of Jesus, represented by his symbol of forgiveness, can be understood in relation to the use of contraceptives. Contraceptives have the potential to reduce deaths from childbirth and abortions. While it is possible that Jesus does not fully support or may even oppose contraception, Catholic theologians such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine argue that forgiving promiscuity is easier than forgiving abortion. Both Aquinas and Augustine disapprove of contraception based on Natural Law, which dictates that individuals should act in accordance with their innate nature designed by God for their own benefit, pursuing good while avoiding immoral behavior. According to Aquinas, actions may seem beneficial but are not inherently good. When considering contraceptives, there is a conflict between the natural consequences of sexual activity and the purpose of using contraceptives. Engaging in contraceptive practices goes against the principles of Natural Law and is considered sinful by Aquinas. Similarly, Augustine believes that using contraception hinders reproduction and prevents true engagement in marriage between a husband and wife (Magee, 1999; Marshall, 2012). Augustine shares strong beliefs against contraception with Protestant reformers who argue that those who use contraception are simply trying to disguise their sinful acts as marriage when they are actually satisfying lustful desires (Magee, 1999; Marshall, 2012).The argument is made that contraception undermines the reproductive purpose of sex, leading to immoral behavior. Luther takes it a step further by stating that spilling one's seed is a greater sin than adultery or incest, which angers God. Calvin also condemns intentionally withholding sexual intercourse for contraception as monstrous because it destroys future generations. These perspectives all highlight opposition to

preventing conception. On the other hand, the Anglican Church has a different view on contraception without objections. According to "The Church of England" website (2014), during the 1930 Lambeth Conference, it was declared that complete abstention is the primary method when there is a clear moral duty to limit or avoid parenthood. However, they acknowledge that other methods can be used if they align with Christian principles. In contrast, the 1968 Lambeth Conference disagreed with Humanae Vitae and asserted that methods of contraception beyond abstaining were against God's will (The Church of England, 2014). This creates a divergence between Catholic and Protestant beliefs on contraception. Despite differing viewpoints, I personally believe that contraception is acceptable due to its progress and benefits offered. While some argue that it may contribute to promiscuity, historical evidence shows that people engaged in promiscuous behavior even before contraception existed.
Thus, the argument that this text lacks merit is unfounded because even St. Augustine himself engaged in promiscuity during his youth. As a result, contraceptive methods help reduce the negative consequences of promiscuity, such as abortion. While they may not fully resolve the underlying issue of promiscuity, they do mitigate its impact. Additionally, there is a positive trend towards embracing contraception as a viable option. The "Homiletic And Pastoral Review" (pp.56-63), R.Leeuwen's article titled "be fruitful and multiply" (available at hypertext transfer protocol: //, and J.Magee's article on natural law (available at hypertext transfer protocol: // present various perspectives on contraception from different viewpoints.T.Marshall discusses the sinfulness of contraception at [link]. M. Sanger's article on the eugenic value of birth control propaganda can be accessed at "The Birth Control Review." W.P. Saunders'

book "Straight Answers" is available in Baltimore, Md.: Cathedral Foundation Press. M. Tartakovsky's article on eugenics and the story of Carrie Buck can be found at [link]. Finally, "Access to Free Birth Control Reduces Abortion Rates" by Winter is located at Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis. The information on contraceptive choice is provided in the following text retrieved from the website [link] on 24 Feb 2014.

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