Churches pushing contraceptives on their singles? Yikes! I picture condom vending machines in church restrooms, or a young adult rite of passage in which purity rings are exchanged for NuvaRings. I was part of the Q panel on reducing abortion; folks working in higher education (that would be me), research, crisis pregnancy support, and adoption offered many ideas for reducing abortion. One was that churches take a both-and approach to abortion reduction: both uphold premarital chastity as the biblical ideal, and encourage and educate unmarried singles about the effective use of contraception. Encouraging, not pushing. Educating, not affirming.

This may sound like a compromise (it certainly does to me), but consider where years of abstinence absolutism have left us. The National Association of Evangelical's Generation Forum presents data that says 4 out of 5 Christians aged 18-29 have had sex, many within the last year. About 1 in 3 unplanned pregnancies among evangelicals end in abortion. People aren't "just not doing it," and the consequences are severe. There are many ways to reduce abortion; a few obvious ones come to mind immediately: promote abstinence and earlier marriage, and cultivate church and para-church supports for crisis pregnancies. Encouraging contraception is hardly the first, best, or only way to respond to premarital sex that may lead to unintended pregnancy, but it is a valuable tool in the abortion reduction toolkit.

Now, if I were an unmarried Christian considering sex in my intimate relationship, church would not be my go-to place for contraceptive consultation. Information is readily available online, from peers, a doctor, or a local drugstore. By presenting young adults with choices that shut down ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueOur Spiritual Gifts Have an Expiration Date
Our Spiritual Gifts Have an Expiration Date Subscriber Access Only
Let’s rejoice in them—while looking forward to a time when they’re no longer needed.
RecommendedHow to Love Your Ideological Enemy
How to Love Your Ideological Enemy
If hospitality is a model for discipleship, then we need both open doors and clear boundaries.
TrendingISIS Kills 29 Christians on Church Bus Trip to Popular Monastery
ISIS Kills 29 Christians on Church Bus Trip to Popular Monastery
(UPDATED) Egypt cancels Ramadan’s opening celebration as Copts resist revenge.
Editor's PickDo This in Remembrance
Do This in Remembrance
Participating in the “high holy day” of American civil religion is beneficial for Christians, so long as we do so thoughtfully.
Christianity Today
Both Chastity and Contraception: A Sacred Compromise
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.