Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Birth Control

How do we begin a dialogue with Baptists, from around the world, about supporting family planning practices including the use of birth control?

How do we begin culturally considerate conversations about the use of birth control in conservative Baptist contexts?

In thinking about a maternal health initiative among Baptists throughout the world I know this is an issue that will have to be discussed. I'm anticipating the controversy and trying to consider ways to begin a productive dialogue.

Obviously I need to dialogue with Baptist women, and men, from the conservative areas in question. I wanted to start with a few of my friends first.

Any thoughts you might have will be greatly appreciated,


Blogger Mandy Mc said...

I'm STILL intrigued by our conversations in NYC about birth control. It got me thinking quite a bit about the way in which we (and by we, I mean "progressive" women in developed countries) let our lives be ruled by a little pill. We let our cycles be tamed (forced to fit THE standard of 28 days) and our hormones be thrown out of wack all in the name of convenience. I can't help wondering whether this is a good thing.

So, when you say bc, do you mean the pill? Could it mean condoms? Charting fertility cycles so one knows when to abstain? Something else, potentially? I'm not trying to poo-poo the pill entirely, but I'm beginning to think it's not quite the gift I thought it was.

I'm not sure that these ramblings are helpful at all, but I also want us to be careful about what we feel compelled to share with our sisters around the world.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By birth control I mean any method that aims to prevent pregnancy. Birth control, of any form, is often not accessible or acceptable in many parts of the world (our country is not exempt from this fact).

I need to do some formal research on what I am about to say, but Baptists in some parts of the world advocate no birth control. There are religious "convictions" as to why women are discouraged from using birth control and then there are women whose husbands won't participate because they don't like the way it feels or the cultural stigmas that come with the product(obviously talking about condoms here).

Even conversations about family planning/birth spacing by cycle charting is something that would be taboo to discuss in many global Baptist settings.

So how do we get women to talk about reproductive health period?

I think you have brought up a very good point and one that our context should consider. I'm sure I mentioned this book in NY, but have you read Inga Muscio's book that chronicles this issue in our country? It's very though provoking.

10:49 PM  
Blogger texasinafrica said...

This is such an important question, and one that I've thought a lot about since a conversation with a Congolese Christian doctor and his wife (who's British) last year. They are much more theologically conservative than I am, but when told that there's a growing anti-birth control movement among conservative American Christians, they were shocked. With what they see every day (rape victims, parents of huge families who can't afford to feed all their children, etc.), the idea that someone would oppose family planning is anathema. I've also been told that, during the war in Liberia, the only place to get condoms in Monrovia was the Catholic hospital.

Perhaps the perspectives of Christians in the poorer parts of this world would be a good place to start this conversation. They tend to be highly pragmatic and committed to helping people. They tend to believe in doing the thing that is most compassionate rather than the thing that is most dogmatic. And they tend to take God's word so seriously that they actually live the lives of service into which most of us are afraid to enter.

By the way, I'm so glad to know about your blog! Looks like you're having some really great discussions here. Thanks for stopping by so I could know about it!

1:21 PM  

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