There's a conversation going on in one of my posts below
having to do with the so-called "rythym method"/Natural Family Planning and the death of very young embryos.
I linked to the article here: Journal Article
. L. Bovens argues that it's quite possible that the rythym method causes quite a bit of fertilized egg death, rivaling other birth control methods, such as condoms or perhaps even the pill.
Putting that article aside for a moment, I will argue as follows -
1) It's widely understood that 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, most of them prior to the woman even knowing she's pregnant.
2) The earlier in the pregnancy, the more likely the miscarriage will happen, so most of the 50% number is at the zygote (cluster of eggs) stage
3) An egg fertilized in optimum conditions (i.e. sperm not too old or egg not too long after release) has a better chance of surviving than one fertilized a few hours/days "too early" or "too late"
4) An egg fertilized in less than optimum conditions is a likely cause of the high numbers of early miscarriage.
5) Natural family planning has resulted in many pregnancies (much more so than birth control pills), so we know that eggs are getting fertilized with this method.
Therefore, Natural family planning is an intentional limiting of sexual activity to times when an egg, if fertilized, would less likely survive. And, since natural family planning does end up fertilizing a lot of eggs, it is also probably killing a lot of zygotes.
The question I have for Amy is this: Which one of the 5 premises do you think is wrong and why?
Aside from this, I would argue that the intention of using condoms and other barrier methods is to prevent fertilization from ever occurring, so the intention is essentially that there would never be any risk of zygote death. In fact, the true moral high groud in this matter would go to those who are sterilized
. Thus, sterilization, condoms, or diaphrams should be the preferred methods of birth control for those who are truly concerned about zygote death. When a couple is ready to have children, they should at least make a passing attempt to time their intercourse during ovulation.
In truth, I suspect that very few people are really
concerned about zygote death, since no one seems to be trying very hard to prevent it in any meaningful way. One could argue that not directly trying to cause their death makes the difference, but we certainly try to prevent later miscarriages, and things like SIDS.