Friday, April 20, 2012
A response to the convetional wisdom that more contraception leads to fewer pregnancies
The editorial page of the New York Times yesterday boldly proclaimed: New study shows dramatic drop in teenage pregnancies. I do not know the particulars of the study but I do disagree with the conclusions of the New York Times. Conventional wisdom states that if Comprehesive sex education programs involving access to contraception are made available to teenagers than we can reduce the number of unitended pregnancies and hence reduce abortions. This is a false premise. Let me explain. Remember the prophecy of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae where he stated that "contraception would lead to an increase in marital infidelity, a lowering of morality among young people, and a loss of respect for women by men, who would be free to treat women as mere objects of pleasure?" I cited the following statistics in one of my first blogposts but they need to be repeated again: "In what was called the demoralization of American society, a number of statistical indicators came together. in the 30 years 1960-1990, while the US population rose by 41%, there was a 560% increase in violent crime, 200% in teenage suicide, 200% rise in divorce, voer 400% rise in illegitimate births, 300% rise in children living in single-parent homes-producing in toto the significant fact that children formed the fastest growing segment of the criminal population. Up to 1920, the proportion of children born to single women in the United States was less than 3 percent, roughly where it had been throughout the history of the country...By the end of 1994 it (the illegitimacy rate) was 33% for the nation as a whole, 25% for whites, and 70% for blacks. In parts of Washington, capital of the richest nation in the world, it was as high as 90%." The above figures come from a Washington Weekly Standard article Aug 5, 1996. Consider the following paragraph from Fr Walter Schu, LC's book:"The Splendor of Love": "It has long been a standard argument by many people who oppose Paul VI's vision that two things were needed to reduce teenage pregnancy: sexual education and ready access to contraception. Just make contraceptives available to teens and teach them how to use them, and teen pregnance would be greatly reduced. As a result, abortions among teens would also decline. New research indicates that the opposity is ture. More sexual education and contraception have actually made the problem worse. A study published in the August 18, 200 British Journal of Medicine reveals that teens who consult with medical professionals about contraception actually have a higher rate of pregnancy than those who don't. 'The study found that 71% of 223 teen-age girls who became pregnant had discussed contraception with a health expert in the year before they became pregnant.' As to contraception's reducing the number of abortions, 'Studies show that over 80% of young women who have had abortions are contraceptively experienced.' That more abortions follow from contraception is not at all surprising. Dr Janet Smith, author of Why Humanae Vitae was right, states:'Most abortions are the result of unwanted pregnancies, most unwanted pregnancies are the result of sexual relationships outside of marriage, and most sexual relationships outside of marriage are facilitated by the availability of contraception. To turn this 'progression' around: contraception leads to more extra-marital sexual intercourse; more extra-maarital intercourse leads to more unwanted pregnancies; more unwanted pregnancies leads to more abortions.'" St Augustine is reported to have said, "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet!" He also said "Love, and do what you will.." after having fathered a child and gone through multiple mistresses. Is chastity education still possible? Yes. In the poorest counties of the world Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her sisters were able to teach the poor Natural Family Planning. For them another child could be a matter of life or death. The poor responded very generously. What about us? Do you want to be part of the Culture of Death that views young people as animals who can do nothing but have sexual relations? Or do you see young people as being given a God given dignity that enables them to live a moral life? Isn't it better to challenge them to be more than they can be or to just say "here, kid, we know you will make the wrong choices." Which view of the human person is more affirming, more loving, more challenging. The Catholic Church offers young people unchanging truth and they are responding very generously. My only hope is that adults formed into the image and likeness of the vision of Planned Parenthood instead of God, will have their hearts touched by the Gospel of Life, the only Gospel that offers healing and hope.