written by April Jaure
40 Days for Life starts today–another 40 days of focused and peaceful prayer around the clock outside North America’s abortion clinics and in eight other countries around the world. Tomorrow (September 26) is World Contraception Day–a day to celebrate and work for greater access to contraceptives.
Though they seem to be unrelated, these two events are closer than they may appear.
Many studies have shown that when contraceptive use increases, so does the rate of abortions (2011 Spanish study, 2012 Russian study, 2012 Swedish study). Even the research arm of Planned Parenthood (the Guttmacher Institute) acknowledged that over half of abortions that occur are performed on women who were using some form of contraceptive at the time she got pregnant.
Ready for Baby? Ready for Sex?
Jennifer Fulweiler, (www.conversiondiary.com and the National Catholic Register) wrote a piece a few years ago called “The Two Lists“. In it she describes the questions people ask themselves if they are ready for intercourse and if they are ready for a baby. To be ready for a baby people may consider:
- if they are financially ready for a child.
- if they are married;
- if they are ready for the lifestyle changes involved in having a child.
In order to be ready for sex, however, the list can look entirely different. They may consider:
- if they are in love and committed to the person,
- if they have access to contraception,
- if they feel emotionally ready,
- to some, the only thing consider is if both people want to have intercourse.
Questions of maturity, financial readiness, marriage, or even any sort of commitment whatsoever to one’s sexual partner need not necessarily enter into the decision-making process.
Fulweiler states that these two lists, if one is ready for sexual intimacy and if one is ready to be a parent, used to be identical, because of course sex leads to babies. Now that intercourse has been divorced from procreation, however, the two lists can look nothing like one another, which leaves people surprised and unprepared when, in fact, sex does lead to the conception of a new life.
Contraception = Every Child Will Be Wanted?
The irony is, though the motto of World Contraception Day is “Where every child will be wanted” the reality is that contraception leads to many children being conceived where they will not be wanted.
- Contraception allows people to have sex when it is not “safe” to have a child.
It is not safe to have a child if the relationship is not stable, if there is no relationship outside the sexual one, or if there is no trust between the partners. If it’s not ‘safe’ to have a child, it’s not ‘safe’ to have sex.
- Contraception creates a greater illusion of planning than is possible when it comes to the timing of pregnancies.
With the contraceptive attitude, If a baby begins to grow according to the parents’ ‘plan’ the baby is permissible, if not, then it is bad. This is reflected in the legal oddity where unborn babies are considered a baby if they are wanted by the mother, but “products of conception” and not a baby if they are not wanted.
- Many forms of contraception do not, in fact, prevent conception, but they only prevent implantation of the already-conceived baby into the womb of the mother.
All hormonal methods of birth control thin the woman’s uterine lining in case ovulation does occur, and the non-hormonal IUD always acts as an abortifacient. (See foot note 1)
40 Days for Life = Every Child Will Be Wanted!
Those of us who are Pro-Life also want a world “where every child will be wanted”, but not because every child comes on an arbitrary schedule decided on by someone else. Instead, the dignity that is inherent in every person conceived is recognized and valued. I know a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional home and always knew that she was not wanted. When she would hear the phrase, “Where every child will be a wanted child,” she always felt very hurt by the statement. She felt that people were insinuating that because she was not wanted, she had no right to be here or even to exist.
Children do not have value because they are wanted, but should be wanted because they have value. Even if a child is not wanted by his or her parents, the child is wanted by someone, as evidenced by the long waiting-lists of people wanting to adopt and by the hundreds of families willing to adopt a baby with Downs Syndrome in danger of abortion. We affirm that even if a person is not wanted, that person still has value, because our value does not come from the opinion that others have (not even the opinion of the parents), but because that person was planned and is wanted by God.
As 40 Days for Life begins again, may we all renew our commitment to celebrate the life of each child, born and unborn, and fully mourn each miscarriage, abortion, and infant or child loss and witness to the dignity and value of all life in our communities and in our world.
April Jaure is the Natural Family Planning Coordinator for Elizabeth Ministry International. She was the driving force behind the Ahaba Marriage Meter App. She likes to read biology textbooks, watch documentaries on astronomy and geology, unschool her children, pray, and live life with her mohawked hubby. Follow her passion for Women’s Issues (which are, in fact, EVERYONE’S issues) at http://www.myfemininemind.com/
1. Written by a pharmacist, a biostatistician, an environmental epidemiologist from the University of Pittsburgh, a technical consultant from Ohio State University, statistics from contraceptives manufacturers and federal agencies, and voluminous amounts of documented scientific research, the booklet Infant Homicides through Contraceptives describes how abortifacient contraceptives and devices function and estimates approximately how many early abortions they cause.