Controlling Birth: A Quest to Understand “Birth Control” – Part I The Question of Life

Part 1: Finally, an Answer to the Question of Life

It sounds rather terrible, doesn’t it?  What does it mean to control birth?  That’s what birth control tries to do, right?  Control it?  It’s kind of a funny name when you really think about it.  Birth is when the baby comes out, something women would say happens uncontrollably.  So, why are contraceptives and the like called “birth control”?  I would prefer to call them pregnancy preventions.  Once one is pregnant, the natural cycle of forming life in the womb to the point of giving birth should take its course.  Life has already begun.  The woman has become a mother and the man a father.  Pregnancy is a time to anxiously await the birth of this new life, a time to prepare, a time to adjust, a time to anticipate how this little life will change yours.

It seems to me that most methods of pregnancy preventions don’t just sometimes prevent pregnancy; sometimes they stop pregnancies from continuing.  Yes, this would mean that a woman on birth control might actually become pregnant.

But, backing up here… what constitutes a pregnancy?  When does life begin?  Differing views on this question would dramatically affect the truth of what birth control does.  So, let’s ask the question of when life begins and then get into the truth about birth control.

It’s safe to say that most people understand the process of conception.  A summary: ovary releases an egg, the sperm travel through the birth canal and meet the egg somewhere in the fallopian tubes, a sperm penetrates the egg, cells divide, a bunch of other stuff goes on, the fertilized egg is then called a zygote, then it attaches to the uterine wall to form the placenta, amniotic sac, etc… and then sometime after all this happens the woman finds out she is pregnant.

The key to understanding different types of birth control is to understand how they act in relation to the baby-making process.  A simple example would be using a condom to prevent (in most cases) a sperm from ever meeting up with the egg, therefore allowing intercourse to happen without procreating.  However, methods like the pill, IUD’s, and other hormones act differently.

But, before getting into all of that I want to make sure one thing is made clear.  Life begins when the sperm unites with the egg.  I believe this is true because it wouldn’t make sense to say that life began at any point before that takes place.  An egg is an egg and a sperm is a sperm when separate from each other.  When united, they change and become something else (a zygote).

I don’t think it is right to claim that life begins at any point in time after the egg has been fertilized because when the zygote attaches to the uterine wall the identity of the zygote does not change.  Once it’s fertilized, suddenly there is DNA; cells are dividing rapidly and constantly changing.  Whether or not it gets nourishment from the uterine lining has nothing to do with the DNA.  A zygote burrowing into the uterus is the natural process of continuing growth, not beginning it.

Since a fertilized egg has every single building block necessary for human life to exist, that’s when life begins.  Period.  End of story.  No other person, fetus, embryo or zygote has the same exact DNA, so a set of completely new DNA is in existence: a new human.

Now with that in mind, we can get into how different types of birth control prevent parts of that process from occurring, or stopping that process from continuing.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.