7-1 Population Control

Population Control--Cultural Connections

Much of the debate centered around the termination of any pregnancy is whether or not a human being with full human rights is being deliberately killed, which to a large segment of our population, constitutes murder.

Part A

Go to the web site http://www.religioustolerance/org/abo_fetu.html to look at stages in human embryonic development. Can you determine for yourself when the embryo should be considered human? Discuss this with your classmates and write your opinion, backing it up with your observations. To help you do this, you could examine pictures of human embryos at different stages. Grays Anatomy is a book which has excellent diagrams of each stage, or you could look at the video called The Miracle of Life, or the following web site http://www.visembryo.com/baby/

To avoid terminating a pregnancy, many feel that the problem should be solved even before the egg and sperm get a chance to meet.

There are several ways to prevent the sperm and egg from coming together. These methods of contraception fall into the following categories:

• Not engaging in sexual activity - abstinence

• Preventing a follicle from developing - birth control pills

• Placing a barrier between sperm and egg—condoms (male/female), cervical caps, diaphragms

• Killing the sperm - spermicides

• Surgery - blocking the sperm or egg with surgical procedures like tubal ligations (in women) or vasectomies (in men)

• Timing - avoiding intercourse during the period of maximum fertility

How well do these methods of birth control work? You will note from the table on the next page that only one is foolproof. Total abstinence from sexual relations is the only guaranteed method of birth control. It is also the only method agreed upon by all cultures in all places, with one stunning exception! The abstinence in many cultures applies only to females, and NOT to males. Some cultures will go to extremes to keep their young women virginal, while young men are expected to “sow their wild oats”.

Part B

Do research on Internet to find out which methods of birth control are considered acceptable or feasible in various cultures. Each student or group could take one or two methods and research reasons why it is or is not used. Look at education, cost, and status of women.