Arguments For and Against Birth Control
What is Birth Control?
When it comes to birth control, the idea of being against it or for it, comes down to what an individual defines birth control as being. In some opinions, anything that prevents or terminates a pregnancy would be considered some type of birth control. Others would limit their definition of birth control only to those things that actually prevent a pregnancy, (i.e. birth control pills, condoms, diaphragms, or surgeries such as hysterectomies). For the purposes of this paper, the definition of birth control will be limited to those forms that simply prevent pregnancy and not those that terminate a pregnancy.
Arguments for Birth Control
In what is probably the most hailed purpose for birth control is its usage as a means of controlling the population. Proponents of this idea state that the world, with its population of 7 billion plus people, is greatly overpopulated. It is only through the use of birth control that we can stop this meteoric ride to self-destruction by the inability of the earth to sustain our population.
Another argument in favor of birth control is concern for those who simply can’t afford to raise children. In some cases this might mean that the parents already have 1 or 2 children, but would become financially strapped were they to have more. In other cases, some couples want to have children, but would rather wait a few years until they are more financially able to afford them. In cases such as these, advocates say, birth control needs to be readily available and affordable.
A third argument for the need of the availability of inexpensive birth control is in situations in which a woman is not healthy enough to have a child. Although medical advances have made the incidences of endangerment, and even death, a much smaller problem than in years past, there are still women today who might possibly suffer serious consequences related either to the pregnancy or the birth itself. These are the women who would benefit from the availability of birth control products, say advocates.
Arguments Against Birth Control
Although many people are for the sale and use of all or at least some of the many forms of birth control, there are still many people who object to the sale or use of any birth control products, regardless of the reason. One such group is that which opposes it on religious grounds. The biggest purveyor of this belief is the Catholic Church. What is the Catholic Church’s reason for denying its congregants the right to practice any type of contraception? According to the Catholic Answers website, Pope Paul VI stated, “it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.” (Birth Control) The Catholic Church teaches that the main, if not only purpose of intercourse is for the purpose of procreation. Although pleasure is allowed in the act, no sexual act is allowed which is for the sole purpose of enjoyment. Thus, intercourse using any type of contraceptive would be deemed sinful according to Catholic doctrine.
Another argument in the debate concerning birth control isn’t so much an argument against birth control itself, as much as it is against the purpose of birth control. Although many people have promoted the use of various methods of birth control to combat the surge in the population, there exists another group that challenges that assertion saying that the earth is indeed not overpopulated. It was said a few years ago, when the earth’s population was roughly six billion, that if all the people in the world at the time were placed in the same location roughly forty feet away from each other, then the whole world population could be gathered together in an area the size of Texas with room left over. When one does the math, they find this statement to be correct. Even with the rise in population to the 7 billion of today, everyone would fit inside of Texas and Oklahoma, and the rest of the world would still be empty. Although land mass isn’t the only factor when considering whether or not the earth is overpopulated (one must also take into consideration the natural resources, food, and water requirements needed to sustain life), one can see from the example above that the world is a lot bigger place than we give it credit. Regardless, those who say that the earth is far from being overpopulated believe that the earth’s carrying capacity is much higher than the current population. According to the How Stuff Workswebsite, “if everyone on the planet consumed only what he or she needed, 40 billion would be a feasible number”. (Layton)
Weighing All the Facts
No matter what side of the argument you are on, reasons to support your position can always be found. One must look at both sides of the story and compare all the facts available in order to determine which side you will agree with. Notwithstanding, it will always be an interesting debate.
Birth Control. Catholic Answers website. Retrieved April 5, 2016 from http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control
Layton, Julia. Has Earth reached its carrying capacity? How Stuff Works website. Retrieved April 5, 2016 from http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/earth-carrying-capacity.htm
© 2018 Stephen Moore