Birth Control: A Rational Approach

L. David Roper, http://arts.bev.net/RoperLDavid/
27-Apr-2017

Contents

Pre-Conception Birth Control

I emphasize pre-conception birth control because there are thorny moral problems with post-conception birth control. Despite some religions’ objections to pre-conception birth control I cannot arrive at a moral reason to oppose it. In fact, there are good moral reasons to promote it. I do not see any logical difference between sexual abstinence, coitus interruption and using a condom or a diaphragm or a pill to prevent conception. Surely most rational people of the World can agree that most methods of pre-conception birth control are morally acceptable. Pre-conception birth control should be available without cost all over the world to help reduce population increase.

http://www.care2.com/causes/can-a-fertility-app-be-as-effective-as-the-pill.html

Post-Conception Birth Control

With regard to post-conception birth control, I also cannot understand moral arguments that a one-cell zygote immediately after fertilization or a few-cell collection of undifferentiated cells (a blastomere) about two days after fertilization is a living human being. The tricky question is: When does a blastomere become a viable human being? Some cell-division steps to consider when trying to answer this question are:

  1. When a blastomere connects to the womb wall on the 6th day after fertilization. (Millions of them are flushed out every day in menstrual blood before connecting to the womb wall and hundreds of thousands are destroyed by fertility clinics. See Sex, Drugs and DNA: Science’s Taboos Confronted by Michael Stebbins, Macmillan, 2007.) If destruction of a fertilized egg is an "abortion", there are millions of them naturally occurring every day!
  2. When a blastomere becomes an embryo, which begins as the cells begin to differentiate in function.
  3. When an embryo becomes a fetus, which begins as the cells begin to slightly resemble a human at about six weeks after fertilization.
  4. When a fetus is able to be sustained by bio-technology outside of the womb. This changes with time as new biological techniques are developed. This may be the proper time to call abortion a "late-term abortion". After a fetus is removed from a woman and sustained, it could logically be called a "baby".
  5. When a fetus is able to live without technological life support outside of the mother’s womb. This may be the proper time to call abortion a "late-term abortion". After the fetus is removed from a woman and sustained, it could logically be called a "baby".

Logically, one could make a strong case that human viability occurs only at step 4, whose time interval after conception would depend on the technology available to sustain a fetus, although emotionally the case is strong at step 3.

Many regard a human egg to be a human immediately after it is fertilized by a sperm and is a single zygote cell; thus they oppose the “morning-after pill”. Would they also regard a system of an unfertilized egg and a sperm swimming on a trajectory toward the egg as a human? I guess they do if they oppose humans using condoms or other barriers to sperm reaching an egg.

My logical conclusion is that abortion should be legal up to step 4 and illegal from step 4 on through step 5. However, at any point in a pregnancy when a fetus is dead, as evidenced by lack of a heart beat or a dead brain, it should be removed from the womb. If the death of the mother is certain if a late-term abortion is not performed, it should be allowed and the fetus sustained into becoming a baby by bio-technology, if possible. There are other valid reasons for some late-term abortions; here is an example. Here is a cogent explanation of rational and moral late-term abortion.

There is the special case of women who have been raped. In every case, when possible, the morning-after pill should be made available to the woman. In cases where the morning-after pill is not possible to prevent the development of a embryo, abortion should be made available as soon as possible after the rape.

There are natural miscarriages (up to 20 weeks) and stillbirths (after 20 weeks), which could be called natural abortions. No laws should punish women who have them.

It may be that science will someday be able to create, at least, simple single-cell life from basic chemicals. Or the next Major Ice Age may come before that can happen, perhaps stopping major scientific advances. If science is someday able to create a human egg and a human sperm from basic chemicals, then the discussion given above will have to be totally altered!

Since there is so much dissension about abortion at the various cell-division steps, I think that the main hope of stabilizing population by birth control is in the pre-conception stage.

True Meaning of Pro-Life

The adjective “Pro Life” often is used to describe a person, especially a politician. The implication is that the person is dedicated to keeping people alive. What are the ways that a Pro-Life person can work to keep people alive?

The first requisite to be a pro-life person is to work toward new-born babies having good health care so that they do not die early in life. The measure of this is the rate of infant mortality. In comparison with 23 other comparable developed countries the U.S. has by far the highest infant mortality rate (about 5.2 deaths per 1000 of live births).

1

Japan
2.17
2
Sweden
2.73
3
Iceland
3.17
4
Italy
3.33
5
France
3.34
6
Spain
3.35
7
Finland
3.38
8
Norway
3.47
9
Germany
3.48
10
Netherlands
3.69
11
Ireland
3.78
12
Switzerland
3.8
13
Israel
4.03
14
Denmark
4.14
15
Austria
4.2
16
Belgium
4.23
17
Australia
4.49
18
EU
4.49
19
UK
4.5
20
Portugal
4.54
21
New Zealand
4.65
22
Canada
4.78
23
Greece
4.85
24
USA
5.2

Anyone who claims to be “Pro Life” must be working very hard to reduce infant mortality, including universal pre-natal and post-natal health care.

The second requisite to be a pro-live person is to support universal health care.

The third requisite is to provide free birth control, since studies have shown that free birth control reduces unplanned pregnancies and abortions..

Educating Women

Many studies have indicated that one of the best ways to stabilize and eventually reduce population is to educate women. See The United Nations Girl’s Education Initiative. A discussion about the research findings and criticism about this method of achieving population control are in http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/SAsia/depop/Chap11.html .

Glossary

References

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Gun Control: A Rational Approach

http://www.roperld.com/personal/InterdisciplinaryStudies.htm