See Comments section, too, please:
For people my age (born 1973) birth control has been an issue only rarely. Court cases affirming a "right to birth control" happened long before our consciousness, and those who oppose birth control are seen as extreme and/or Roman Catholic. So why is birth control in the news again?
1) Freedom of Conscience- Our government is using health care as a lever to enact a social agenda, first with abortion in most circumstances through the "health care reform" of the last couple years, now with access to birth control drugs, giving only specious cover to a very narrow field of religous exemptions. People don't like having their consciences messed with: It's bad enough that my tax money goes to things I don't support, but everyone deals with that to some extent. In this case, though, the government is giving a strict order that employers provide birth control over and above their deeply held religious principles, a standard of defense that has stood the test of time in court.
2) The Sanctity of Human Life- So why should the rest of the country be held hostage to some people's unreasonable scruples? Because most forms of birth control stop the implantation of a fertilized egg in a mother's womb- or dislodge a fertilized egg thus implanted. To put it another way, they are abortifacent. For example, all birth control pills carry a pregnancy warning. That's why. It would harm a baby. The main issue in the recent legislation is so-called "Plan B," the abortion-inducing drug given to women within 24 hours of unprotected intercourse. This drug- by design- causes a very early abortion. That is not a problem to those who favor unrestricted (or not very restricted) access to abortion. But for the citizen who sees human life as sacred from fertilization to the grave (as does Scripture), it is a problem indeed. And the mandate to provide birth control is thus a major violence of conscience.
3) More Foundational Scriptural Issues- I don't think Scripture opposes all forms of birth control. Roman Catholic theology does, but that is based on the pre-existence of the soul (for example, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" in Jeremiah 1:5, which is true, but says nothing of a soul's existence before fertilization). Scripture, though, is clear on the matter of ending a genetically unique himan life, and as mentioned above, most methods- including those pill versions safest for mothers- can cause an abortion without the knowledge of the parents.
There is more to the issue, though, when approaching birth-control and other not-as-clear-as-you'd-like-it-to-be-issues (the Greek word is adiaphora). Let me examine a few:
A) Calling good evil and evil good- If you trace the rise of birth control use in the United States you will find some really disgusting foundations (read about Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood sometime). The original intent was to decrease the number of children, and thus human beings, in the name of population control. The zero population growth crowd, championed most recently by the late Christopher Reeves, has been around for years. United Nations health initiatives use ZPG as one of their goals. Of course, when you're limiting human population it's wisest to target that limitation, thus Planned Parenthood's genesis in eugenics, the "science" of removing less desireables from the gene pool. So what you read this week from the department of HHS isn't any surprise. Somewhere along the line children became a curse, not a blessing. God disagrees.
B) Yielding to culture- Once you accept something in our culture and allow it to change your theology, all bets are off. That's why some who read this will be tempted to be really angry. Birth control is so entrenched in our society that it takes a bold, sometimes painful adjustment to restablish our views on the foundation of Scripture.
C) Demanding control- When we demand control over our lives and situations God calls it idolatry. And as someone who loves control I can tell you that God- who is both sovereign and humorous- always gets the last laugh. If you know how we became a family of four you'll understand why that's so funny. And tear-filled. And wonderful. Your Heavenly Father really does know best.
D) Operating out of fear- Any time you make decisions out of fear- especially the fear that God won't take care of you in a ci rcumstance you find unreasonable- you are going to err. I found it hard to buy my own "yeah, but we can't afford it" line of reasoning when we were married, especially given our relative affluence compared with the rest of the world.
So that's why birth control is in the news again, and may be a lesson or two on how to think about issues that are "gray areas" in Scritpure.
Resting in Christ's finished work on the cross,