Saudi Arabia, Birth Control and Islam

When I wrote an earlier post seeking readers suggestions for topics, Tina asked that I provide a post on birth control and Islam. It is permitted or not? I knew in speaking with various Saudi women I was told both that birth control was allowable and also told that it was not allowable. Those who said it was allowable cited such reasons as the need for family planning, financial circumstances, health issues and not having too many babies too closely together. Those who said birth control was not allowable shared the view that whether a woman got pregnant or not was “God’s will.” They also cited that the sexual act was to be performed to procreate and bring more Muslims into the world. Not surprisingly, women who would be viewed as moderate, educated, liberal and open-minded were the ones advocating birth control. The women who were against birth control were more conservative, most did not attend University and would likely never work outside of the home. There were a few exceptions in that several women were university educated and worked and not in favor of birth control. I’m not trying to make any stereotypes here or point fingers but relaying findings.

 

I then turned to various search engines to see what information would surface since this is a topic on which I did not know and hoped to find a sanctioned source who could enlighten me and others on this topic, especially with the diverse answers when making an informal poll. In a 1996 edition of Islamic Journal, “Alyssa” writes an article entitled “Family Planning in Islam” (http://www.unh.edu/msa/familyp.htm) which cites that birth control is indeed permissible and cited the following reasons promoting the use of birth control:

 

 

Modern scholar Shaykh Ahmad al-Sharabassi of Egypt has pronounced the following as genuine reasons for practicing contraception:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1. <!–[endif]–>So that the woman may rest between pregnancies.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2. <!–[endif]–>If either partner has a transmittable disease.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3. <!–[endif]–>For the sake of the woman’s health. For example if she is already breast-feeding a child it would be damaging for both her and the child to have another pregnancy.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>4. <!–[endif]–>If the husband can not afford to support any more children.

 

Epigee Womens Health (http://www.epigee.org/guide/islamic.html) also has some very interesting reads about ‘Birth Control & Religion’ as well as citing the above reasons which birth control is permissible. The Epigee article also goes into aspects of courtship, sex before (not allowed) and sex within marriage, birth control and the sensitive subject of abortion.

 

Lastly, Jannah.org (http://www.jannah.org/sisters/famplan.html) has an online article which comprises the views and thoughts of multiple scholars on the issue of birth control in Islam.

 

I found that there are pages of links when doing a search using the terms islam and birth control.

 

Since I started this post with informal findings by simply asking random Saudi women about this topic, I’d like to end it with readers sharing their views. If you are muslim, how do you feel about birth control? While the links site specific findings and guidance, what are your personal views on the topic?

 

As I understand according to the predominant tradition and culture in the Kingdom, it is unusual for a woman to enter into marriage while using birth control. The tradition and culture expects for a newly married couple to give birth within the first year of marriage. As such, it would also be unlikely for an unmarried woman to be able to obtain any kind of birth control such as birth control pills, diaphragm or IUD prior to marriage. What are readers views on this practice and tradition?

 

Thanks Tina for asking I write a post on this topic. I enjoyed the research and opportunity to learn more on this topic.

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44 Responses

  1. [...] Andrew Bostom wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhen I wrote an earlier post seeking readers suggestions for topics, Tina asked that I provide a post on birth control and Islam. It is permitted or not? I knew in speaking with various Saudi women I was told both that birth control was … [...]

  2. Don’t they call the Min of religious Affairs or ask local Imams when they have such doubts ?

  3. If one is comfortable with that I’m sure that would be an option.

  4. lol I imagine they’re not
    Well here in Oman women are more open, at least those of the capital
    Enough you call the Ministry and get the related fatwa
    Or you can watch Q&A in religious programs, that should be safe

  5. I had to get over my initial discomfort in being asked which form of birth control I use by women I’d just met. It is a run-of-the-mill conversation amongst many women from all different walks of life, in my experience. The general consensus is that birth control is permissible to space out births but that sterilization is not permitted nor is using birth control with the intention of never having children again. A woman is expected to continue to produce children until menopause and birth control is used to space out the time between births. Birth control was used during the time of the Prophet in the form of coitus interruptus (withdrawal method) which was given the official OK.

    You don’t get much more conservative or much less educated than the group I’m around and there is a clear indication in every family when the mother “discovered” the pill…births go from one a year to one every 5 years or so. If a woman remains on it for too long or her youngest child is potty-trained and past toddlerhood, people start encouraging her to get pregnant again no matter how many children the woman already has.

    Several of my Saudi friends took advantage of being abroad to explore different birth control options. Many went for IUD’s since it did’t involve having to think about it since the only options in Saudia are the pill, the “shot”, or condoms (not popular but sold in every pharmacy…in colors AND flavors). Diaphragms, sponges and other forms of inserted birth control have never been popular with the women I know, perhaps because it involve getting to know one’s anatomy very well:P

    My friend and I used to buy a years worth of birth control pills every trip home for ourselves because we didn’t want to fuss around with having to get prescriptions and appointments for them in England (she didn’t speak English so couldn’t go on her own). Imagine going to the pharmacy and buying 24 packages of birth control pills, 1/2 for you and 1/2 for your friend, LOL. Sometimes in England we’d call each other in a panic when we realized our stash was depleted and we were due to begin a new pack and pray the other had extra packs to spare:) Neither of us had blood pressure problems and were healthy young women in our 20’s so we didn’t require constant monitoring by doctors.

  6. I think your blog is eating my comments:(

  7. oh well, if it was worth typing once, I’ll type it again. How disappointing it is to see my comment vanish into cyber-air:(

    I had to get used to women asking me what form of birth control I use, sometimes within minutes of meeting them. It is a run-of-the-mill conversation amongst most women I’ve met from all different walks of life.

    The general consensus is that birth control is allowable to space out births but sterilization and birth control to prevent children indefinitely are not permissible (unless the woman’s life is endangered). Women are expected to bear children until menopause but can space out the births as needed with the understanding that more is better. Coitus interruptus (the withdrawal method) was used during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and received an official OK for its use…the idea is if God will’s you to get pregnant, YOU WILL.

    These days, I’m in a conservative area with generally uneducated women and yet, they all have used birth control. There is a clear indication of exactly when the mother of a family “discovered” the pill; births decrease suddenly from one a year to once every 5 years or so, even amongst my MIL’s generation who were giving birth in the ’70’s and ’80’s.However, people start asking when the next baby will be after the youngest child is potty-trained and past toddlerhood no matter how many children she already has.

    My Saudi friends took advantage of being abroad to explore different forms of birth control…mainly IUD’s. Inserted forms of birth control have never been popular amongst these women, perhaps because of the intimate knowledge required of one’s own anatomy. The main forms of birth control here are the pill (the most popular), the “shot”, and last but not least condoms are sold in every pharmacy and prominently displayed in various colors and flavors.

    My friend and I would take turns replenishing each others stock of birth control pills on our trips home, each during alternating years. Imagine going to the Saudi pharmacy and buying 24 packs of birth control pills, 1/2 for you and 1/2 for your friend. Sometimes when we’d find our stash depleted and we were due to start another pack, we’d make an emergency call to the other hoping she had a spare pack or two. She was unable to go to the doctor in England because of her lack of English and I just couldn’t be bothered…neither of us had any blood pressure issues and were in good health so we didn’t require constant monitoring by a doctor.

    If the other comment I made before pops up, please delete one of them for me. Thanks.

  8. Balqis,

    Actually if I am correct the initial query about Islam and birth control came from a non-muslim reader of my blog who was curious.

    SSW — I don’t understand what you mean?!

  9. Hehe, this is a topic I love! Well, personally I was not very well informed on the topic of birth controls until I actually got married. It was too late by then because I’ve already gotten pregnant :P

    The other reason for not researching birth controls too well before stepping into the relationship is that my husband wanted us to get the baby project done. Like you pointed out, eventhough many parents and relatives theoritically tell a new couple “don’t get pregnant right away, enjoy your time alone for the first few months,” in reality, once a couple is married the social eye and ear awaits proof that their reproduction engines are working fine :P

    Once I got married, and became formally enrolled in the womanish gossip, I learned that many girls actually did start with the pills a month or so prior to marriage (either after engagement, or signing of marriage contract “milka”). The girls who did, were mostly from families that allowed a couple to go out alone during engagement / milkah. Not that those families tell their girls “go have sex before marriage” but they learn to be better prepared in case the couple go all the way through out this period (which religiously is permissable after the signing of the contract-which is an event before the actual wedding.)

    What I hear from Saudi friends, is that men are not comfortable with condoms. Also, when newly married and uptight with each other, it is hard for a couple to discuss what each one should and should not do. So, it is mostly up to the girl to take care of herself.

    Religiously, birth control is supposed to be a mutual decision. A woman is not allowed to be taking pills without consulting her husband. While in high school, we were taught that there are cases which birth control is allowed. I don’t remember what they were, but in proof was examples of friends of the prophet who would use the manual “pull out” method.

    I don’t think that religiously there’s any problem against birth controls, but I think some men/women have their reasons to religiously pressure the other by quoting some religious texts that serve their goal and overlook others.

    Some reasons for wanting more kids might be:
    1-For the woman: earn credit and become the perferrable wife, disappointment with the husband and thus committing one’s self to a more worthy/loyal project=kids, lack of interest in schooling, lack of interest in career, lack of interest in self development, fear of challenge…
    2-For the man: jellousy over the woman, wanting the wife to keep busy at home, wanting many kids to carry his name, wanting to gain tribal presitge, wanting to keep the wife busy from his ventures, fearing competition from the woman, having a mother who did that and thus wanting to copy her model.

  10. AA, as far as i understand i agree with all you mentioned except that quote about using family planning to avoid the cost of family planning. The Qur’an says ‘do not kill your children for fear of poverty’.
    On a personal note my husband and i had a child on our 1 year anniversary when he had no job and no money. It was hard but we don’t regret it. I found out i was pregnant again when my husband also lost his new job. I was worried but Alhamdolillah he had doubled his salary every time i was pregnant. Yes it was stressful but Allah has provided for us (and my husband has worked hard). But apart from that any other excuse i feel is acceptable – including just not wanting to have more. But fear of expenses incurred i don’t personally agree with.

  11. First to SSW, don’t ask me why but your comments went into the spam folder! but as you can see, I retrieved them.

    Birth control and Islam can be a sensitive topic for it is not only when and what birth control methods are allowable but there are the cultural sensitivities involved as well as Aysha pointed out. However I’m glad to hear that at least to a degree, sex education is raised in schools for I do not think any young man or woman should go into a marriage unprepared or ill-informed.

  12. One of religious opinions I heard regarding contraception is that some methods are allowed whereas others are not. The ones that are valid prevent the creation of the embryo in the first place (condoms, pills etc). On the other hand the types that are not permitted are the ones that cause the embryo to die after it has already been formed (e.g. IUDs that prevent the embryo from attaching itself to the wall or morning-after-pills that are effectively like an early abortion).

    There is a narration that references the companions of the Prophet asking him if it is permissible to practice coitus interruptus and he did not forbid it but smiled and told them they would not be able to prevent having a child if it was meant to be. This is sometimes the reference used to “prove” that using contraception is allowed.

  13. Welcome Ruhsablogger and thanks for your comment.

  14. I personally agree and know that islamically it’s ok to use birthcontrol that as said above doesn’t kill an already joined egg/sperm. The question is which exact methods do this. Some pills don’t prevent the sperm from meeting the egg and jsut keep it from attaching to the wall. Like IUDs and such. Barrior methods like condoms, spermiside, diaphrams, sponges etc.. all stop the meeting. Pulling out of the man before releasing the sperm usually works and is stated above but the percentage that is works with is low enough for couples not to want to take that chance. Though if you run out of condoms, pills etc..this option is best. Also a woman can watch her body’s fluids and patterns to determine when she’s most able to get preg. and DONT have sex durring this time. (i used it the other way around to GET preg with my second and it worked). Most of thew point is to be educated about the different kinds of optional available. We didn’t want kids for the first year (ok half year) [[ok ok it only lasted a few months before he caved in to my begging] so we went straight away to the doctors like a few days after we were married. Pills were the easiest to manage but I still hate to take them because I don’t believe that it is preventing the meeting and I feel bad for all those “met egg/sperms” that have been flushed out. May Allah forgive me.

  15. AMW,

    Why do you think that taking the pill doesn’t prevent the meeting of egg and sperm? As long as you are taking the correct strength, as I understand it, taking the pill stops your eggs from being released at all. Right?

    Birth control was never a big topic in our family gatherings. If anything, the most commonly asked question at every meeting was ‘When are you going to have another baby?’ Some women I know used to go into a rage when asked this question. I just laughed and told everyone that my husband didn’t want anymore and they stopped asking.

  16. I’m not Muslim, but I used to be Christian and I examined this question pretty closely taking into account Catholic and Protestant viewpoints, and I find it really interesting that the arguments on both sides were the same. The major difference is that the Jewish and Christian scriptures condemn coitus interruptus (although just in a specific situation, so one could argue that it’s not always wrong). Other than that, it seems people tend to see the same reasons to choose one side or the other. I found this educational, glad I stumbled across it.

    Ruhsablogger, what you said about the morning after pill is highly debated. The purpose of the medicine is to prevent ovulation, not to abort an embryo. It is possible that if ovulation and fertilization have already occurred, it may keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, but that’s not confirmed scientifically. In fact, the World Health Organization says that it has not been found to affect the uterine lining after ovulation, which suggests that it would not interfere with implantation. To further complicate matters, some don’t consider interference with implantation to be causing an abortion, because they consider implantation to be the beginning of a pregnancy, since it seems that the majority of fertilized eggs fail to implant all on their own. I don’t want to get in the way of anyone following their conscience, I’m just explaining how the morning-after pill can be seen both ways.

  17. Hi Carol I first want to thank you sooooo much for your blog it’s very insightful and I have been following it for a year or so first on myspace. I live in Jeddah and have dealt with this issue when I first arrived I assumed that birth control was not allowed here but after I became pregnant with my youngest when his sis was just 7 months I went to my doc and she was shocked that I hadn’t gotten on birth control, now she is verrrry conservative Saudi she doesn’t even uncover her face in her office when its just me. She let me know that of course birth control pills are here but also IUD’s are available. I just want to comment on the not having children because of a fear of not being able to provide for them. I am not sure where but Allah says that with every child comes his Rizq ( I really can’t think about what the translation is for that my mind is blocked if someone could help) but its like his sustinance? or providings?? help me out people!!!

  18. American Bedu! Hello!

    I’ve been to your blog before and enjoyed reading it A LOT. Life then happened too fast and I had to quit! Now I’m back and more than delighted! I learn a lot and I wish I had more time to do more reading and maybe also some writing.

    When I first met my Saudi fiance I could not resist asking uncle google about Saudis and marriages with Saudis and so I was led to your blog and the information here from you and your readers helped me a whole lot with many of the important issues I was dealing with and for which I had no reliable source of information (apart from well, my love!) : P I had to steer clear of bias though : P

    I lived in the gulf region for 15 years and after my move to the US I had no intention of ever going back. The possibility of that happening is not too far off and that is why when I decided to get together with my fiance I had to ready myself in case it’ll ever happen. (Although I made it very clear from the beginning that living in that part of the world is out of the question for me and that he has the right as a Saudi to live and work in his country and so if he sees no other possibility we should not be getting together.

    We got together.

    I hope I don’t have to live there sometime in the future. Although I know if I do I’ll adapt as I’m born to parents from different backgrounds and have lived in 4 countries so far.

    I’ll continue reading your blog, you write insightful pieces. Thank you so much for helping me make the best decision I ever have in my entire life!
    (And don’t worry, if it someday doesn’t work out between me and my fiance I won’t be after you : P)
    Love your blog! Keep writing!

    Love,

    Dee

  19. It’s such a pleasure to hear from new and old readers of the blog. I’ve enjoyed the comments and in addition to what I learned when researching the topic of the post, I’m continuing to learn from the comments posted too.

    I am curious then as to what form of birth control is the most popular in Saudi…not sure if I’ll get a clear answer as I doubt there are statistics on the topic.

    I had always thought the IUD had a higher possibility of leading to problems or tubular pregnancies so surprised to see it cited as among options. I agree with earlier comments (SSW) that while condoms are widely available and in evidence at chemists, they do not appear to be the medium of choice ; seems like birth control continues to be the duty of the woman.

  20. AA Carol,

    Aaww! You dedicated a whole post to my request and I’m the last to respond! Sorry, Saturdays are a busy day for me. I actually had somewhat selfish intentions of asking you to post about this. You see, Mosh’Allah I will be 39 in about 2 weeks and I, Mosh’Allah have 5 and 3/4 children ranging from being due in August ( that’s the 3/4 ! ) and 20 years old! I’m really beginning to become exhausted of being pregnant and trying to keep up with my toddlers and the everyday chores of running a family and a household. My body isn’t what it used to be at 20 or even 30 and I feel aches and pains that I didn’t used to!!! Can anyone relate?! ; )
    Anyway the selfish part is that I would really like to go to school for nursing and have no idea how I could fit that in and continue to have children until menopause. I know Islam does not require me to work and it is not an excusable reason to stop having children but what about dreams, what about things, as a female, I would like to accomplish and experience in life? Where does that fit into Islam? Perhaps I should have gone to school when I was younger but my head was in a completely different place at that time in my life.
    And my husband, Alhumdulillah, he is the greatest, but he would love nothing more than for the two of us to continue having as many children as Allah will give us! While I honestly see and feel where my husband is coming from I often wonder if he sees and feels the same for what I want. He brings his sister up alot, she lives in Saudi and Mosh’Allah has, I believe, 7-9 children. she has educated herself and teaches. While that’s wonderful for her she also has alot of female help. My female help consists of my 20 year old daughter who lives and works in another city, my 13 year old daughter who lives with me half the year and her father the other half of the year and is not domesticated what-so-ever, and my mother who lives in another city and works a full time job and 3 part-time cleaning jobs. So my husbands suggestion is that after the baby we visit the local Mosque and ask the MAN in charge what Islam says about this. My guess would be that I’m going to be pregnant for many more years to come! Thank you Carol for posting this and thank you for all the comments. I definately will be keeping them all in mind for our visit to the Mosque!!! ; )

  21. Wow Tina – that is a lot to take in and digest. I agree that chances are the imam or sheik would likely support your husband and encourage you to leave it to Allah on whether you would continue to become pregnant.

    I would suggest having a serious heart-to-heart with your husband since marriage and children are a parternship.

    Yes; so many Saudis have many children. Most in my extended family have a minimum of 6 children and usually more. You’re also correct in that they do have help which makes a big difference in energy levels and keeping up with daily life. I don’t think it is fair for one to automatically expect that the older children would be expected to routinely help.

    I do hope you can fulfill your dreams as well as find a balance with your spouse that is agreeable to both of you.

  22. Carol,

    Insh’Allah, I’ll I keep you posted!! : ) Thanks again!!

  23. You’re very welcome Tina…and please, keep giving me great suggestions for topics!

  24. Hi Carol, interesting subject. And sensitive too. As much as I am being a Muslim, I find it rather practical to be on contraceptive. Mine has ranged from IUD, to pills to jabs, and even condoms. To me children are God’s gift given to us as responsibilities. Responsibilty to feed them with the best food, the best education, all and all the best life possible that we can offer them. If we get stuck with all of these basics how can we take care of God’s gifts to us?

  25. Hi Hanie and welcome! I’ve missed your comments!

    I’m curious…what are jabs? I’m not familar with that term.

  26. KSA is the center of Islam.Every muslim loves it as if it is his own motherland.I am a Pakistani who loves KSA.As far as my personal opinion is concerned KSA needs to moderate itself by giving permission to women to drive cars and by allowing birth control because the modern world thinks KSA a very conservative place to live.The women all over the world are driving then Why not in Saudi Arabia.The other thing I want to discuss is birth control.I think Saudi Government must seriously work on it just for the sake of a better future.It is very difficult to take good care of a large family for both man and woman as compared to a small family.

  27. KSA does allow birth control; at least according to what I learned in regards to Islam and birth control. But one will continue to see larger than average family sizes here in the Kingdom. In fact, Arab News had an article about 2 weeks ago about a Saudi taxi driver in Mecca who was living with his wife and 9 children in a tent as he could not afford a house. However the good news is that when the story was released people came forward to assist and place him in a house.

  28. I would say the most common methods are pills and IUD’s. That’s what I hear from friends and relatives. Maybe condoms and other manual methods are too ellaborate for Saudi girls to talk about. But my guess is that the latter are just too much of a hassle to be considered seriously in long-term relationships. Moreover, if spouses are not in agreement on (not) getting pregnant, the wife -though not allowed to religiously- could take the pill in secret so she doesn’t get pregnant.
    My mom’s family/relatives are pretty conservative and well educated, but I never heard IUD’s mentioned in any negative context!
    There’s this text in the Quraan that discourages people from asking too many questions, which has been interpreted as refraining from seeking too many fatwas. The deal is, use your heart to judge. If something isn’t clear and percise, and you don’t know that it is forbidden, then you’re not penalized for it.

  29. Carol,

    I just came from talking with a friend who is also pregnant, Mosh’Allah. Her youngest just turned 5 so I asked her how she was able to have so many years between the youngest and this pregnancy. She said that she counts. I said, what?! She said Insh”Allah after you have your baby I will show you. If it is what I think she’s going to show me, I think it’s practiced by the Catholics, and they call it the “rhythm method” ? I believe they count so many days after the period and that should be the days for ovulation and you should avoid intercourse on those days to keep from conceiving. Although you are still trying to avoid a pregnancy and that may be considered haram, it certainly sound more halal than other ways?

  30. “Don’t they call the Min of religious Affairs or ask local Imams when they have such doubts ?”

    Carol, in the UAE there are a number of local call-in shows (or regional) in which residents ask religious scholars (supposedly scholars) all sorts of questions about practicing-some of them quite personal. Does anything like this exist on Saudi TV? Perhaps coming in from Kuwaiti TV?

  31. Cairogal,

    I’m not aware of any similar shows -in English- here in KSA but that’s not to say there may not be one in Arabic and I’m not aware of it.

  32. Carol, japs are usually referred to Depo japs. If I am not mistaken, some women in the military take this jap as a way to control their menstrual and not get messed up with sanitary pads and the inconvenience of dealing with monthly cramps etc. I havent been online for a while, true. Been busy sorting personal life ;-) but while come back often now.

  33. Hi Hanie,

    I am embarrassed to say I am still clueless here…I’ve never heard of a term “jap” in reference to birth control. I’ll have to google (if not blocked here) and see what I learn!

    Regards,
    Carol

  34. [...] I’m not trying to make any stereotypes here or point fingers but relaying findings. … credit : [...]

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  38. She is referring to a shot- the dep shot for birth control

  39. NiC – thanks!

  40. So I wondered when reading Aysha’s comment;
    *What I hear from Saudi friends, is that men are not comfortable with condoms.*
    So The saudi ”lords of creation” The guys who are totally responsible for their women’s évery aspect of life, The mahrem without whom a woman can’t do absolutely ánything, can’t deal with putting a rubber on their dick? (excusé l’expression) Noo, that is to much to ask of them?
    Pathetic losers!

    A2S ”The pill” does not prevent sperm and egg meeting, or the eggs from being released, it prevents any fertilised egg from nestling into the wall of the womb.

    An arab friend told me that the prophet (pbuh) has stated that a baby only counts as a real soul after 120 days. So the ”morning after pill’ would be allowable. (though pretty stupid in my opnion to use as anticonception) Anyway doesn’t life and health come before all in Islam? Using women as broodmares isn’t conductive to their health.

    Counting days method was responsible for a friend of mine getting a little sister. Her mother (very happy with the unplanned baby) decided to rely on more serious birthcontrol afterwards.
    The best ”natural/” way of preventing new pregnancies, I read somewhere is suckling your baby. While still suckling your womb apparently will be unresponsive to a new pregnancy. While this is not as watertight as the pill, or a condom, it seems to have a pretty high success rate in Africa where it was widely used until the west started peddling their anti-conception pills there to make money out of poor people.

  41. Aafke, you’re mistaken about the pill. The purpose of the birth control pill, as with the morning after pill, is to prevent ovulation. Here’s a quote from the website for the pill I’m on, Yaz:

    The body is “tricked” into thinking it is pregnant. This prevents the release of an egg (ovulation). Without an egg to be fertilized, you can’t become pregnant.

    The cervical mucus is thickened, making it hard for sperm to travel toward the egg and fertilize it, in case an egg is released.

    It doesn’t say anything about implantation. But it does tend to make periods lighter, so it’s possible that it could work against implantation if given the chance, I don’t know for sure. In any case, that chance is pretty low.

    Other than that, no arguments with what you said. The morning-after pill is indeed a stupid thing to use as a primary means of contraception, which is why it’s called Plan B.

  42. Honestly, I even hate the name “Morning After Pill.” Yuch!

  43. Found this searching for something else: just a couple of summarizing thoughts from all the good comments:

    Breastfeeding is a very unreliable birth control method, as is the rhythm method (counting fertile days), and coitus interruptus (withdrawal). The breast feeding cannot be supplemented (ie no skipping feeds) or even the relatively weak protection is lost.

    BCP or long acting hormonal injections (jabs) prevent ovulation–no egg, no fertilization, no implantation

    Plan B only works reliably within 72 hrs of intercourse– either to prevent ovulation, or fertilization or implantation (depending on your cycle at the time of intercourse, how fast you have taken it, and how fast his “swimmers” are)

    IUDs with hormones prevent ovulation, fertilization, and implantation, and without hormones inhibit fertilization and prevent implantation.

    Spermicides prevent fertilization.

    Barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, foam, sponges) prevent fertilization.

    Most Muslims set ensoulment (personhood) at 120 days, some schools at 40, some at 10 and rarely at conception (fertilization). The longer you wait the worse interrupting reproduction is, both islamically and medically, but is always allowed to spare the life of the mother.

    Islam prohibits permanent forms of contraception (tubal ligation, hysterectomy, oopherectomy, or vasectomy) unless they are necessary to spare life (usually the woman’s).

    Non-permanent forms of birth control like those above are acceptable for the reasons given in the post.

    The pregnant from menarche to menopause is more likely cultural, familial, tribal.

    And the injunction about not having children due to want is most often interpreted as a reference to infanticide (common in pre-Islamic Arabia) rather than birth control or family planning/spacing.

    Hope this (belated) summary helps.

  44. Thanks for the detailed information, Chiara.

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