MYTH: Contraception Prevents Unintended Pregnancy

Many opponents of contraception point out the grave immorality inherent in its use: rejection of natural functions of one’s body, treating children as aggressors, refusal of God’s gifts etc. However, one thing that we must also continue to remind our culture of is the simple fact that contraception does NOT prevent unintended pregnancy.

Now, before you get all, “whaaaaaat?” on me, I’ll build a little more suspense by telling you a brief story that has recently come out in the news.

“It’s Not My Fault”

A woman in Kansas City is suing a manufacturer of contraceptives because they were mispackaged and she believes that it was this faulty packaging that led her to get pregnant. In light of her pregnancy she said,

“I was devastated. I questioned myself. After [12] years [of using these contraceptives] how could this happen? Then I received a letter in the mail [which cited the mispackaging]. Of course I was angry. There was nothing I did that was a mistake.”

I’m sorry to say that she did make a mistake, two in fact. I’ll take each of these one at a time.

#1: Believing that contraception will prevent unintended pregnancy.

First of all, and to finally relieve you of your bated breath and palpitating suspense from my first remarks and the title of this article: contraception doesn’t prevent unintended pregnancy, it simply changes the odds. The proof of this comes first of all from statistics touted by the Guttmacher Institute, a rabidly pro-contraceptive research organization with ties to Planned Parenthood that, if anything,  has a bias to show an increased effectiveness of contraceptives. According to the Guttmacher Institute: “48% of women with unintended pregnancies and 54% of women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant.”

Not only does this show that contraception clearly doesn’t “prevent” unintended pregnancies, but a study published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Contraception showed that  a 63% increase in the use of contraceptives was accompanied by a 108% increase in the rate of elective abortions. Since, thankfully, not every mother who has an unintended pregnancy aborts her child; the rate of unintended pregnancies in this study is probably even much higher.

To drive this point home even further, I’ll share a brief anecdote about a former colleague of my mother. This woman worked with Mom for years, during which she had 5 children. Every single one of these children was conceived during the use of a form of contraception ranging from pills to IUD to implants to shots. The last child was actually conceived after this woman’s husband was surgically sterilized…or so he thought.  While, despite these “failed” contraceptives and sterilizations, she had the presence of mind to not abort her children when she was faced with unintended pregnancies, she still seemed persist in her delusion that contraceptive drugs, devices and surgeries would prevent them.

#2: Doing the thing that makes babies when she didn’t want a baby.

When I hear of people being surprised that they have conceived a child after having sex I can’t help but to think of the guy standing in his doctors’ office:

Guy: “Doc, it hurts when I do this?”

Doc: “Then don’t do that!”

This may come as a shock to anyone that hasn’t taken a science class which covers basic mammalian sexual reproduction but it wasn’t faulty packaging on this woman’s contraceptives that caused her to become pregnant, it was the fact that she had sex.

Glibness aside, an analysis of a decline in non-marital pregnancies among teens found that, “the reduction in numbers of 15-19 year olds having intercourse accounts for 67% of the decline in pregnancy rate.” Plus the Centers for Disease Control found that from 1991 to 2001 “53% of the decline in pregnancy rates can be attributed to decreased sexual experience.”

If you don’t want to be the person that says, “Doc, I get pregnant when I have sex” then… “Don’t do that”

Suffice it to say, if people want to actually prevent unintended pregnancies instead of simply changing the odds, then they need to rely on the only effective means: abstinence before marriage and fidelity to your spouse afterward.


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