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Birth control and the church page 2
Richard Cizik's op-ed on evangelicals and contraception-Family Planning: A Beam In our Own Eye?

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Date published: 2/24/2013


The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good (newevangelicalpart nership.org) recently released a groundbreaking document titled "A Call to Christian Common Ground on Family Planning, and Maternal and Children's Health" that refutes any rationale for cutting family planning. It asserts the following major findings:

Family planning strengthens families. Polls consistently show that at least 86 percent of evangelicals believe contraception is legitimate and morally acceptable. By exerting control over the number and timing of births families are strengthened. Couples bring children into their families only when they have the spiritual, emotional, and financial resources to cope with them. The strengthening of families in turn creates stable communities.

Family planning protects women. Pregnancy and childbirth pose inherent health risks for women even in the presence of adequate health care, but those risks increase exponentially if there is no or inadequate health care available. Globally, death in childbirth takes one woman's life per minute per year. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in poor countries. Wouldn't it make sense then to exhibit compassion for women at their greatest vulnerability?

If so, Christians should support rather than oppose efforts to make family planning available to women in all parts of the world. Sadly, according to Guttmacher Institute's research, 215 million women want contraception and cannot get access to it around the world.


To redress this reality, last July's "London Summit on Family Planning," hosted by the U.K. government and the Gates Foundation, was aimed at securing major commitments from philanthropies and governments to help fill in the funding gaps. I attended the event as a representative of faith-based groups and was impressed by the progress, but what the average person in the church pew thinks will make a big difference going forward. They can persuade members of Congress and senators to fund family planning.

The intersection of faith and women's rights is also apparent in the reactions to the Mexico City policy (also called the Global Gag Rule), the federal policy that disallows any funding to international organizations that might provide abortions, regardless of other activities.

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Richard Cizik is president of New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.