practice of intentionally controlling the rate of growth of a human population
- The difference between human beings and other species is that only human beings practise birth control.
- Al-Jahiz (in a book about the animal kingdom). Quoted in Lucas Catherine: Islam voor Ongelovigen (EPO, Antwerp 1997), p.215. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. (1997) The Demographic Siege.
- Many people think that God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" can be taken too far. It's generally accepted that over-population will seriously damage the earth and the lives of most people on it.
Large increases in population have already damaged the environment and condemned many people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to poverty.
In the latter part of the 20th century, people began to put forward the effect of population control upon the environment as a justification for regulation of fertility, independent of economic concerns.
However, many people would have serious moral objections to plans to use contraception in order to control population.
One objection that isn't covered here is that the real cause of poverty and damage is overconsumption by a few, and that if rich nations stopped consuming far more than their fair share of resources there would be no need for population control to be applied unfairly to poor nations.
- There are a number of general objections that can apply to any mass contraception programme.
Imperialism: Both the following can be regarded as forms of imperialism:
rich countries funding contraceptive programmes in the third world
rich countries demanding the implementation of birth control programmes in exchange for financial or other aid
Cultural imperialism: Bringing birth control to a community that has previously avoided it will inevitably change the relationships and power dynamics within that community. It's important to take appropriate precautions to minimise the impact of contraception on cultures to which it is introduced.
Human rights: Mass birth control interferes with a person's right to have as many children as they wish
Eugenics: Mass birth control programmes may be used to reduce the birth rate of certain classes, castes or ethnic groups
Gender bias: The majority of mass birth-control programmes operate by controlling only female fertility. This is because there are long-term female contraceptives such as the pill, hormone implants, and IUDs, but no male equivalents. As a result:
women unfairly bear the burden of population control
female fertility is treated as something dangerous that needs to be controlled
this gender bias operates regardless of the good intentions behind programmes of mass contraception.
- The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.
- Compedium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, question 497.
- The two great sources of the opposition to Birth Control are found in the purely selfish motives of the religionist who wishes his people kept in ignorance of Birth Control and its methods so that they will beget children and yet more children for the glory of God and the Church, and the capitalistic exploiter of labor who is afraid of a diminution in the cheap labor supply.
- Lydia Allen DeVilbiss, Birth Control: What is It? (1925), p. 36
- The only remedy against hunger is reasonable birth control.
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Portrait of a Planet (1971)
- The ulema declare: If need be, then, as long as the excuse lasts, one can use contraceptive methods, but, frankly speaking, it is sheer ingratitude for divine bounty that one gets oneself deprived of offspring through tubectomy without a legal excuse. The Holy Prophet (pbuh.!) has said: ‘Contract marriage with women who love more and beget more children so that on account of your multitudinousness on the Day of Judgement I may take pride in your number vis-à-vis the other ummahs’ (Mishkat). God is the Provider; He will provide for you as well as your children. The children’s provider is God, not we. He who supplied nourishment in the mother’s womb, He will provide it after birth also. The list of livelihood the offspring bring with them from the mother’s womb and they will receive their quota according to the same. Why should then one entertain such thoughts? The Divine Commandment is: ‘And that ye slay not your children because of penury—We provide for you and for them’ (6:151). At another place it has been said: ‘Slay not your children, fearing a [fall to poverty]; We shall provide for them and for you’ (17:31). It is reported in a hadith that certain Companions, in order to save themselves from sins and wordly worries and to engage themselves in devotions, expressed the wish to get themselves castrated. The Holy Prophet (pbuh.!) did not permit it and recited the Quranic verse: ‘O ye who believe ! Fobid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors’ (V. 87). (Bukh., vol. ii, p.759). It is conclusively proved from this that castration, that is, the discontinuance of procreation artificially is unlawful (haram) according to the explicit verse of the Quran also and is included in transgression from the limits fixed by God. Hence an operation that discontinues procreation is unanimously unlawful (UQ, vol. xx, p. 72)... And the jurisconsults have said: ‘Castration of men is forbidden’ (haram). (DM & S., vol. v, p. 342). And: ‘And that ye slay not your children because of penury—We provide for you and for them.’ (VI: 151). And: ‘Slay not your children, fearing a fall to poverty.We shall provide for them and for you.’ (XVII: 31).
- Fatawa-i-Raihimiyyah, Quran, Hadis, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
- When the Companions asked the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Aliaihe wa sallaml) about coitus interruptus (‘azl), he said: ‘This is like burying a live child.’ And this is the same which has been described in the Quranic verse: ‘And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked’ (LXXXI) (Vide Muslim Sharif, vol. i, p. 466; Mishkat Sharif, p. 276). In Path al-Mulhim Sharh-e Sahih-e Muslim, Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani quotes that Qazi has written that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Aliaihe wa sallam!) has determined coitus interruptus ‘a hidden burial’, that is, to waste the seed which Allah Most High had prepared for procreation is like infanticide and burying the child alive. The result is the same: the only difference is that it is not buried alive openly and hence it has been called hidden. There is a hadith in the Bukhari Sharif to the effect that when the Companions, on account of their zest of engaging in devotions and in order to avoid sins and for remaining aloof from relations, expressed the desire to get themselves castrated, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa sallam!) did not allow them and adduced the Quranic verse, ‘O ye who believe: Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors’ (V: 87), in proof. Even as the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe wa sallam!) has, by this verse, determined castration to be unlawful, it is obvious that the termination of propagation under the family planning scheme will also be included under this order.
- Fatawa-i-Raihimiyyah, Quran, Hadis, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
- Since certain portions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2012, birth control has become free for many American women, since the law requires most insurance plans to cover contraception without charging individuals. According to the CDC, roughly 62 percent of American women of childbearing age used some sort of contraception as of 2013. Yet according to a report by a company that tracks the pharmaceuticals industry, women aren’t necessarily using more birth control. For example, the number of prescriptions for the pill—the most popular form of contraception—has only increased slightly the past half decade, rising from 93 to 95 million between 2009 and 2013.
Theoretically, more affordable birth control might lead to fewer unintended pregnancies. It’s still unclear how the Affordable Care Act will affect this number; the latest data available is from 2010, when roughly 37 percent of births were either unintended or mistimed, according to the CDC.
- Emma Green, “Why Are Fewer American Women Getting Abortions?”, The Atlantic, (June 17, 2015).
- Birth control should be resorted to only in cases of extreme necessity, such as the wife's ill-health owing to constant births. Imam Abu Hanifa holds it makruh (abominable).
- M. Imran: Ideal Woman, Delhi 1994 (1981), p.66.
- Hence, the real solution of the problem (over-population) is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order or which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed, scientific and technical effort on man’s part to deepen and extend his dominion over nature… The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore, permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate his laws not only offend the Divine Majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are the members.
- Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 1961, par. 189, 193, 194
- The Pharaoh of old, haunted by the presence and increase of the children of Israel, submitted them to every kind of oppression and ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women was to be killed (cf. Ex 1:7-22). Today not a few of the powerful of the earth act in the same way. They too are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries. Consequently, rather than wishing to face and solve these serious problems with respect for the dignity of individuals and families and for every person's inviolable right to life, they prefer to promote and impose by whatever means a massive programme of birth control. Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy.
- Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 16
- Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly illicit that it can never, for any reason, be justified. To think, or to day, anything to the contrary is tantamount to saying that in human life there can be situations where it is legitimate not to recognize God as God. Users of contraception attribute to themselves a power that belongs only to God, the power to decide in the final instance the coming into existence of a human being.
- Pope John Paul II, September 17, 1983, Address on Responsible Procreation.
- It is "one of the fundamental tenets of Islam -- namely, to multiply the tribe."
- Saeed Naqvi: Reflections of an Indian Muslim (Har-Anand, Delhi 1993), p.32.
- But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
- Pope Pius XI, Castii Connubii, 54
- It is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
- Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 14
- Regular access to effective contraception, as in the developed world, is the best way to reduce unplanned pregnancies and the need for abortion. Unfortunately, current U.S. policies restrict family planning assistance to foreign non-governmental clinics and agencies that perform or even discuss abortion or advocate liberalizing abortion laws. The result has been a loss of family planning services and less access to condoms in many developing countries — services that would help reduce the need for abortion.
- Presbyterianmission.org, “Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options”
- Most of clergymen condemn birth control None of them condemns the brutality of a husband who causes his wife to die of too frequent pregnancies. I knew a fashionable clergyman whose wife had nine children in nine years. The doctors told him that if she had another she would die. Next year she had another and died. No one condemned; he retained his benefice and married again.
- Bertrand Russell : ‘Why I am not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion’, seventh edition, 1996, London, p. 56
- Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man’s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation.
- Margaret Sanger, Women, Morality and Birth Control (1922), p. 3
- Had the monster of 'Birth Control' as an instrument of state policy raised its head in the days of the Holy Prophet, he would surely have declared Jihad against it in the same manner as he waged Jihad against Shirk (polytheism). ... The Qur'an says that 'Children are an ornament of life' and Hadith literature views with favour larger families for the greater strength of Ummah, and as such birth control / family planning cannot be in any way compatible with the Shari'ah.
- M. Samiullah: Muslims in Alien Society, p.90-97.
- There are three classes of people who have always been objectors to any form of birth control, and who have always opposed any measures which would enable parents to have children by choice rather than by chance. These are, first, the war leaders; second, the church leaders; and, third, the leaders in the commercial world who have wanted cheap labor.
- William Hawley Smith, Children by Chance Or by Choice, and Some Correlated Considerations (1920), p. 260
- “Well, birth control’s easy. The first thing you have to know is that it doesn’t work.”
“Not consistently. No matter how careful you are, every time you play hide-the-salami with the boys, you’re running the risk of ending up with a belly full of consequences.”
“Contraceptive spells are never entirely reliable. That’s because their power comes from the Mother, and the Mother wants children. Each cantrip has its loophole, every fetish its flaw. Ultimately, contraception is just a way of luring you into playing her game.”
“You mean that sooner or later it’s going to fail me?”
“That’s not what I said. It works well enough for enough of us that the rest will take their chances. But the odds are never going to be as good as you’d like them to be. There are no guarantees.”
- Islam is one of the few religions that allow for birth control.
- Yoginder Sikand: "Bogey of family planning and Islam", Observer of Business and Politics, 27-2-1993, with reference to B.F. Musallam: Sex and Society in Islam (Cambridge 1933). Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. (1997) The Demographic Siege
- Catholic theologians argued that contraception contravened natural law in several ways. First, it separated sex from its natural purpose of procreation. Second, by attempting to prevent the formation of new human life, it challenged God's authority as the Creator. Finally, it treated human life as something to be prevented rather than valued. Contraception introduced a "deadly...cheapening of human life," the Jesuit magazine America charged in 1924. Those who promoted contraception "would destroy the law of God and the law of nature by interfering with human life at its inception. For they would teach the custodians of human life how to frustrate life before birth. In the views of Catholics, this was only a short step removed from abortion. "Does artificial prevention of life stand on any higher moral ground than the artificial taking of life?" Edward J. Heffron, executive secretary of the National Council of Catholic Men, asked in 1942.
Birth control advocates, including Sanger, disagreed. They saw contraception as an anti-abortion measure, since women would likely have fewer illegal abortions if they had a more convenient and safer way to limit their fertility Catholics disputed this claim. They argued that legalized birth control would actually increase the abortion rate, because people who had been encouraged to try and avoid pregnancy would resort to any means at their disposal-even an illegal abortion-if their contraceptive devices failed. Birth control had "created the mentality which abhors births," Jesuit priest Wilifrid Parsons declared in 1935. It's "inexorable outcome will be the killing by abortion of unwanted babies."
- Daniel K. Williams, “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade”, (2016), pp. 16-17