December 06, 2004

Birth Control

Recent news stories about pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills have inspired me to do some research on the history of birth control.
I'm curious about how common the use of contraceptives and abortion was in post-Roman Europe. The Greeks and Muslims used disection to study anatomy so there was some concept of reproductive physiology.
Some prostitutes and those who frequented them knew about condoms and contraceptive sponges. I wonder what common, supposedly church-going, people knew about these things.
I'm thinking about married people who can't afford any more children. Considering the danger of childbirth, abortions for the health of the mother could have been common.
I will be doing more research and will share what I learn but until I have more hard facts, onto the opinions. Most religions don't seem to approve of birth control for some reason. Could it have something to do with expanding the flock? More tithes, more soldiers or settlers for geographical expansion. It certainly isn't out of respect for life. You show me a holy book that isn't full of war and smiting and I'll call it a philosophy. If you read the Old Testament, you'll realise that the reason Israel is having so much trouble with the Palestinians is because they didn't kill them all in the 7 Days War. More on that another day, but even the Jews saw the benefits of increasing the number of Jewish people in the world, not to mention Israel. I've heard Christians talking about "stewardship of the earth" like our current problems aren't directly related to overpopulation. If birth control pills and condoms were available to every person in the world it would be a good thing. It wouldn't be enough, though. Religion and culture would prevent millions from using them.
The concept of a finite amount of stuff in the world to go around is one that most people avoid. Regardless, it is true and unless we get moving into space soon, it will only become more true as time passes.

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