Twitter icon

Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret the Bible
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Confusing terms
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Death penalty

Same-sex marriage

Human rights
Gays in the military
Sex & gender
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news



Religious Tolerance logo

Contraceptives: An overview

horizontal rule


Contraceptives prevent pregnancy. Some are in the form of medication. Others, including condoms and IUDs, take the form of a contraceptive device.  They inhibit pregnancy by preventing:

bullet Ovulation (the release of an ovum from an ovary) and/or
bullet Conception (the joining of a spermatozoa from a male with an ovum), and/or
bullet The implantation of the resulting fertilized ovum (more correctly called a zygote) in the wall of the uterus.

Until the early 20th century, almost all faith groups in North America, Canada, and the UK were opposed to the sale and use of contraceptives, even to married couples. Churches gave fertile couples two choices: abstinence or enforced pregnancy. The Church of England was the first major Christian denomination to deviate from this teaching. In 1930, they approved the use of birth control in certain specific situations. Almost all other faith groups followed the lead of the Church of England in subsequent years. Today, the Roman Catholic Church is the only large faith group that still bans the use of birth control.  Many governments have since drastically altered their policies. Twenty five years ago, some still criminalized the display of contraceptives in pharmacies. Now, these same governments are actively promoting their use.

Unlike contraceptives, abortifacients interrupt a pregnancy which is already in progress. i.e. they cause the implanted zygote, or embryo or or fetus to be rejected by the woman's body.

horizontal rule

Sponsored link

horizontal rule

Various religious groups define the start of human personhood differently:

  • Religious conservatives and pro-lifers generally define the start of pregnancy as well as the start of human personhood as happening at the instant of conception.

  • Religious liberals, secularists, physicians, fertility researchers, biologists, etc. generally define pregnancy as beginning when the zygote is implanted in the lining of the womb; they often define human personhood as developing later in pregnancy.

These differences in definitions can cause some conservatives to define a specific pill as a potential abortifacient, while some liberals and others define it as a contraceptive medication. To the former group, a pill may murders a helpless human at its most vulnerable state; to the latter, the same pill simply prevents a group of undifferentiated cells from implantation -- i.e. it avoids the start of a pregnancy well before human life becomes a human person. 1

There is little probability that these differences will be resolved any time soon. The pro-life and pro-choice "solitudes" occasionally debate each other, but essentially no dialogue is taking place.

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

 Home page > Christianity > Christian history, belief... > Beliefs > Sex > here

or Home page > Christianity > History, practices... > Christian practices > Sex > here

or Home page > Religious Information > Christian practices > Sex > here

horizontal rule

Copyright © 2002 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-SEP-10
Latest update: 2015-DEC-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the human sexuality menu, or choose:


Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.



Sponsored links