Contraceptives not an abortion solution

We are living in a culture that, for the most part, is not open to the beauty and the mystery of the gift of life. Abortion is one manifestation of this lack of openness.

Another form of this lack of openness is the use of contraception. Some say contraceptives will solve the problem of abortion, but as well-intentioned as contraception advocates may be, contraceptives are not an adequate solution in preventing abortion. Contraception and abortion are rooted in the same mentality – eliminating one of the dual aspects of sex. Since sex is designed to both unite a couple as well as create new life, splitting them can cause serious problems.

Pope Paul IV, who served as pontiff of the Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978, wrote the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, a time when the contraceptive pill was becoming more popular. In Humanae Vitae, the pope predicted four societal consequences if contraception became the norm. (Summarized by theologian Dr. Janet Smith’s “Pope Paul VI as Prophet”) 1) There would be a decline in moral standards. 2) Men will have less respect for women. 3) People will assume “unlimited dominion” of their bodies, altering their own “physical make-up”. 4) Governments will abuse power by imposing programs that restrict life.

Taking a critical look at the climate of the culture today, one will see that these things are very real and sometimes even common situations. Does contraception have something to do with it?

There is reason to think so. It is another manifestation of an anti-life attitude in Western society.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every couple should have fourteen kids, but people should be open to the gift of life. If there is serious reason to prevent pregnancy or if a couple wishes to achieve pregnancy, then a healthy alternative is to practice Natural Family Planning. NFP is not the old-fashioned rhythm method; it is a highly effective method of charting a woman’s common signs of fertility and can be between 95 and 98 percent effective, according to a 2002 study by the Institute for Reproductive Health. If couple’s choose to postpone pregnancy, they simply abstain from sex during times of fertility. It is not willfully anti-procreative; it does not split the dual purpose of sex.

According to Crisis Magazine, couples who practice NFP are estimated to have a divorce rate of less than 4 percent. This data comes from various figures compiled by the Couple to Couple League, an organization dedicated to teaching NFP. This estimated divorce rate is in stark contrast to the estimated 50 percent divorce rate in our country, one that widely accepts the use of contraception. Ironically, the divorce rate began to rise dramatically in the 1960s, the same time when the birth control was beginning to gain popularity. It makes one wonder whether or not contraception also negatively impacts marriage in society.

It is worth taking a critical look at the role of contraception in modern society. It seems as though contraception perpetuates the lack of openness of life that is also found in the abortion tragedy.

The purpose of this column is not to condemn anyone. Most people don’t realize how contraception and an anti-life mentality affect our society. This has been so embedded into our generation, that we do not even know any different. But if we don’t start looking at this modern phenomenon, then we could head for even greater problems.

Case in point: the depopulation of Europe. In the past few years, Europe has become increasingly depopulated.

Now, according to a report by the British Broadcast Company, European Union governments are encouraging people to have more children because every country in the European Union have Total Fertility Rates (births per woman) under 2.1, which is the replacement fertility rate.

The reason governments are becoming more concerned with depopulation is because of the economic consequences. The BBC reports that this concern comes with a shrinking working class. Some experts even claim that Europe is dying.

According to the United Nations Development Programme 2006 Human Development report, the United States has a TFR of 2.0.

I can only imagine that it’s because of this anti-life mentality that has been so ingrained into those of us in Western society. As philosopher and theologian Dr. Peter Koritansky has written, “Parenthood is both a gift and an immense responsibility” but [some] are so daunted by the responsibility that they refuse the gift.”

But let’s not refuse the gift. As I mentioned last week, being a parent means a lot of sacrifices. You don’t need to be a parent to see this. Just look at your own parents, I’m sure they made many sacrifices for you that you do not even know about. But do they regret it? Doubt it. Because when they look at you, there is no way they think that the responsibility that it took to raise you outweighs the gift that you are.

To become a culture of life, we must all open our hearts to the gift of life. If we don’t, we could be headed down the same road Europe is on.

Send comments to Lauren Walter at [email protected]