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< Back to question Is there ever a responsibility to use contraception? Show more Show less

As people globally are having wider access to contraception, should we be evaluating how this has affected our wider moral thinking within society? To what extent, if at all, do we have accountability over having protected sex?

No, we do not have a responsibility to use contraception Show more Show less

Nature will take its course, and we may choose to intervene but have no responsibility to do so.
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All methods of contraception have a failure rate

Every main contraceptive method has a fairly high failure rate, so it is irresponsible to view it as a responsibility to use contraception. It is potentially dangerous to encourage people to use these methods if they cannot fully prevent unwanted pregnancies.
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The Argument

We do not have a responsibility to use contraception because all methods of contraception have high failure rates. If we encourage society to believe that we have a responsibility to use contraception, we are exaggerating how effective contraceptive methods are at preventing pregnancy and STD’s. According to AmericanPregnancy.org every method of artificial birth control (e.g condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, intrauterine devices, oral contraceptives, patches, sterilizations, spermicide (only), sponge, and injections) have a failure rate. For example, if you use male condoms, then nearly one out of every five times that you use the condom it will fail (16%). The female condom has even higher failure rates (21%), Spermicide (26%), Sponge (20%), Sterilization (.2 to .5%), oral contraceptives (5%) injections (.1%) and intrauterine devices (.8 to 2%).[1] If a woman or couple wants to space out their children, avoid becoming pregnant, or find the best time to achieve pregnancy then the best way for her/them to do so is to pay attention to the rhythm of the woman’s menstrual/fertility cycle. The female body already has a natural method for determining the best time to achieve pregnancy or to avoid it – there are no artificial birth control measures needed. ‘Natural Family Planning’ (NFP) is the familiar term used to describe this process.[2] Therefore, we do not have a responsibility to use contraception because all contraceptive methods have a fairly high failure rate, and so it is potentially dangerous to encourage people to take responsibility and use them. It may be more effective for couples to still take responsibility over family planning, but not by using artificial contraceptive methods.

Counter arguments

AmericanPregnancy.org also argues that a reason why there are fairly high failure rates for many of the main contraceptive methods is because some people are not using them correctly.[1] For example, many women find the female condom difficult to use and may accidentally skip a day when using the pill. However, for most people, contraception provides a very secure protection against unwanted pregnancies. If you follow the instructions and use the birth control pill correctly, it gives you great protection against pregnancy. You could even use two contraceptive methods together, such as the pill and condoms, to get extra protection from pregnancy.[3] Natural Family Planning (NFP) actually has the highest unwanted pregnancy rate when compared to the artificial contraceptive methods at 25%.[1] Therefore, we do have a responsibility to use contraception because, typically, they are the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Premises

[P1] Contraceptive methods have high failure rates, so it is wrong to view it as a responsibility to use contraception. [P2] If the woman times when she would be unable to become pregnant by analysing her menstrual cycle, this is an appropriate way to prevent pregnancies without using artificial contraceptive methods.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The failure rates for contraceptive methods are largely due to people not using them correctly. [Rejecting P2] Natural Family Planning (NTF) actually has the highest failure rates for preventing unwanted pregnancies.

References

  1. https://americanpregnancy.org/preventing-pregnancy/birth-control-failure/
  2. https://www.davidlgray.info/2011/07/22/four-reasons-why-artificial-birth-control-is-immoral-and-unnecessa/
  3. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill/what-are-the-benefits-of-the-birth-control-pill

This page was last edited on Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 20:30 UTC

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