A Biblical Perspective on
Family Planning

A newly married couple sits down to discuss their plans for the future.  Included in this discussion is the number of children they want to have and when they want to have them.  Because they wish to complete the hus­band’s education, they decide to wait to have children.  The husband uses condoms to prevent conception.

A couple in their late thirties, with three teenage chil­dren, learn that the wife is pregnant.  Their family and lives are well-established and another child is not in those plans.  The wife has an abortion.

Although married for ten years, a couple has not been able to conceive a baby.  They deeply want to be parents and believe they will be good ones.  To help her con­ceive, the wife begins taking fertility drugs.

* * * * *

 What do all of these scenarios have in common?  All por­tray couples who are practicing family planning, that is, deciding how many children they will have and when they will have them.  Careful thought leads one to the conclu­sion that family planning encompasses all of the follow­ing:  (1) Couples who decide not to have children, or to have only a certain number of children, can intentionally prevent conception through the use of female or male con­doms, diaphragms, spermicides, surgical sterilization, or the rhythm (“natural”) method.  They can also choose to use abortifacients (prevent a fertilized egg from implant­ing in the womb) such as the pill, “morning after” pills, Norplant, or an IUD.  (2) Couples who do conceive, but who do not want a child or any more children, can choose abortion.[1]  Methods of abortion include suction aspiration, dilation and curettage, dilation and evacuation, prosta­glandin, hysterotomy, dilation and extraction, or use of a combination of drugs approved for other medical use but prescribed “off-label” to induce abortion.  (3) Couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child can use fertil­ity drugs or attempt in vitro fertilization[2] (sometimes using a surrogate womb).  Because of today’s advanced medical technology, there seems to be no limit as to how far we can go in an effort to plan our families.

In order to understand the influence of family planning on society and within the church, it is important to know that for over nineteen centuries Christian denominations viewed family planning as opposed to God’s laws.  Then in 1917, Margaret Sanger founded the Birth Control League[3] based on the premise that women have the right to control the childbearing function of their bodies.  She established the first permanent birth control clinic in New York City in 1923.  Anglican bishops at the 1930 Lambeth Conference were the first denomination to approve limited use of contraceptives for married couples.  The first child conceived from frozen sperm was born in 1953.  In 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court determined that the use of contraceptives within the marital relation-ship is a private matter between a husband and wife, thereby voiding state laws which forbade their use.  In 1972 the Supreme Court determined in Eisenstadt v. Population Services International that the use of contra­ceptives is also a freedom guaranteed to unmarried cou­ples.  The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision determined that the right to privacy extended to a woman’s “right” to choose abortion.  Today family planning, in one form or another, is generally accepted and practiced by most Christians.

Is there anything wrong with planning one’s family?  Yes.  Nowhere in the Bible is there teaching regarding God permitting people to plan the number of children they will have.  Rather, God tells us to submit every area of our lives to Him.  The mindset that leads to planning one’s family begins with sinful heart attitudes which focus on our individual rights and wants rather than on obeying and serving a holy God.  Anything to which we give the place in our hearts that rightly belongs to God alone is idolatry.  Thus, the desire to conceive a child can become idolatry to those unable to become pregnant.  To many fertile couples their career or house or bank account has become their idol.  For these, children have become something not desired as precious treasures from God, a blessing of the marital relationship, but rather possessions which are con­ceived and/or given birth to when convenient, much as one would plan the purchase of a car. 

Is it any wonder, then, that when a married woman comes to her friends and family with the news she is pregnant, often her wonderful news is greeted with comments such as, “Oh, will this be the last one?” or “How can you afford so many children?” or “Better you than me!” when rejoicing should be the response.
Well-meaning people sometimes advise “spacing” chil­dren according to family finances, the mother’s health, or for the sibling’s benefit.  There is no teaching in the Bible to support these ideas.  In fact, Colossians 2:8-10 tells us to beware of men’s teachings and instead to hold fast to Jesus.
By planning their families, couples are saying, “God, our will, not Yours.”  The issue really comes down to one question:  Who owns the womb?
In addition to ignoring God’s commands, the family planning mindset also ignores the fact that we do not know and cannot predict the future.  At the time a hus­band and wife decide to conceive a child, they could be financially secure, physically healthy, and have a strong marriage.  Any one of these circumstances could change overnight.  On the other hand, many children are raised in less than “ideal” circumstances and grow stronger because of the challenges faced in childhood.  We are saying we know better than God when we decide when and into what circumstances a particular person will be born.[4]

Planning one’s family becomes “necessary” only because a couple is not satisfied with God’s, “Yes, you will bear children,” or His “No, you will be barren.”  We are to do all things for God’s glory.  Are you willing to glorify God by allowing Him to determine the number of children you will have?

Raising godly children in this ungodly world is a challenging and rewarding way to serve God.  Couples not blessed with their own children can pursue other ways to serve God in the lives of children.  Following is what the Bible teaches about conception and children:
1.   Reasons for marriage are companionship (Genesis 2:18, 20-25), mutual sexual pleasure (Song of Solomon), and procreation.  We are to be fruitful and multiply.  God has never restricted or rescinded this, His first com­mand to man.  In fact, God restates this command to Noah following the flood (Genesis 1:27-28; 9:1, 7).
2.   A husband and wife are to abstain from sexual intimacy only for periods of prayer and fasting.  (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
3.   The natural biological function of the woman is to bear children (Romans 1:25-27).  It is interesting that the physiological differences between men and women are for the purpose of procreating and bearing children:  (1) women menstruate; men don’t;  (2) women produce milk; men don’t; (3) women have uteri; men don’t; (4) men have male sexual organs; women don’t.[5]
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it; . . .
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord;
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Psalm 127:1, 3-5a

4.   God owns the womb and He alone has the authority to open and close the womb (determine when and if a child will be conceived).  (Genesis 20:17-18; 30:1-2, 22; 1 Samuel 1:5, 19-20; Luke 1:7, 13)
5.   God uses the same word zerah to refer to human seed (Genesis 38:9; Leviticus 15:18, 32) and those already born (Genesis 46:6-7; Leviticus 22:13), because in His eyes seed are children.
6.   God unites a woman and a man as one flesh because He seeks godly offspring.  If Christians don’t obey God and raise up godly offspring, where will future generations come from?  (Malachi 2:15)
7.   Among the blessings of a man who fears the Lord is a fruitful wife.  (Psalm 128:1, 3-4)
8.   As our Maker, God designed the miracle of pro­creation (Job 10:8-12; Psalms 100:3; 139:13-16).  Surely He can plan and provide for the number of chil­dren with which He wishes to bless us (Matthew 6:32-34; Philippians 4:6, 19).
9.   Children are a treasure from the Lord and bring joy.  Why would a couple knowingly avoid receiving one or more of God’s treasures?  Could it be that their definition of “treasure” is different from God’s?  (Psalms 113:9; 127:3-5)
10.  Jesus never turned away a child.  (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)
It is our prayer that if you have practiced family plan­ning, you will prayerfully read and discuss this brochure with your spouse.  Search the Bible and see for your­selves what God says regarding conceiving and bearing children.  Submit your wills and bodies to His control.[6]  Then obey God’s Word in this area of your life with a heart overflowing with a desire to honor and serve Him.
* * * * *

A final thought:  Perhaps you are not a Christian, and much of this brochure has been confusing to you.  You can become a Christian by believing that God the Father sent Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin, suffer, die and be buried for the wrongs you have done.  The third day God raised Jesus from the dead.  Because of this you can personally know God the Father through Jesus Christ and live a life pleasing to Him.  “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  (Romans 10:9-10)
 Note:  The discussion of family planning in this brochure assumes a woman and a man are married to each other and are in a monogamous sexual relationship.  Any form of sexual intimacy outside the sanctity of marriage is forbidden by God.


[1] About 20% of the abortions performed annually are on married women.
[2] In vitro fertilization bypasses sexual intercourse, requiring the husband to masturbate in order to emit semen.  Also, unknown numbers of embryos are destroyed in the attempt to place an embryo in the woman’s womb.
[3] In 1942, this organization’s name was changed to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and today is a branch of Planned Parenthood International, which is the world’s primary provider of various forms of family planning, including abortion.
[4] Sometimes couples take the attitude, “We’ll practice family planning, but God can override it if He wants to.”  This is far different from, “Your will, Father, not ours.”
[5] Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control  (Zimmer Printing, Monongahela, PA, 1989), p. 27.
[6] If you have had elective surgery to avoid conceiving children, you can attempt a reversal.  If a reversal fails, God does not intend for you to live in guilt.  Confess and repent to God of sins you committed in this area.  Then go on with your life in service to God, a forgiven and restored person.

For information on other post-abortion resources such as Bible studies and books, please see links in category  “Links to Other Post-Abortion Resources.” 

Parts of this brochure are adapted from The Post Abortion Reference Manual, Copyright 1991-2017 Pamela J. Koerbel

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, The Lockman Foundation, LaHabra, California.  Used by permission.

Text and Artwork Copyright  1996, 2000-2017 P J Koerbel
All Rights Reserved 

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