The Christian Woman's Guide to Personal Health Care

Article excerpt

The Christian Woman's Guide to Personal Health Care Debra Evans Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1998 ISBN 1-58134-020-6, 400 pp., paperback, $15.99

Evans first wrote this guide in 1991, and republished the 1998 version as a revised and updated edition. She presents her book as 'an informative resource guide,' and as a significant contribution to literature in that no other existing health care guide covers the same material; a statement that is entirely indisputable.

From the onset, the author adopts a heavily gynaecological slant to women's health, devoting three of the four sections of the book to female anatomy and physiology, the menstrual cycle, family planning, assisted reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases. The remaining section addresses doctor-patient communication. Areas such as menopause, health care maintenance, preventive medicine, and even obstetrics receive surprisingly little, if any, attention.

Evans speaks to the reader in various voices, a salient feature of her prose. At first she sounds dry and factual, like a medical text, diagramming pelvic anatomy and the menstrual cycle. Later chapters resemble self-help books, including quizzes and menstrual diaries to heighten self-awareness. In sharp contrast are paragraphs that read as a tabloid newspaper might, with sensational news exposing physicians as perpetrators of harm. Portions are very much a mother's personal advice, at one point dedicating her thoughts to her daughters. Interspersed are lists of herbs, recipes for tonics, and alternatives to conventional medical therapies.

Christian beliefs are woven into the text primarily in her discussion of birth control. This section is devoted almost exclusively to the rhythm method, complete with drawings of cervical mucus and basal body temperature charts. She strongly advocates the method, and presents a beautiful, though theologically one-sided, discussion of the biblical basis for the three 'acceptable' forms of birth control: abstinence, condoms and the rhythm method.

According to Evans, all forms of birth control (i.e. the Pill, Depo-Provera, Norplant, IUD) are categorised with RU-486 as clearly abortifacient, and for this reason she neglects discussing them objectively. She suggests that couples who are not engaging in the rhythm method are vulnerable to communication breakdown and divorce (p. …