A couple of weeks ago, there was some concern that I might have gone a bit too far in characterizing the “AIDS is not the enemy” rap of a prominent “abstinence-only” advocate. Like, maybe I read her wrong in flipping it to reveal an “AIDS is a victory” subtext. And I kinda hafta admit I was a little concerned that I’d done just that, and that maybe the statements of this activist merely sounded more extreme than they were. Maybe I was guilty of what so many people accuse progressives of doing: painting political “people of faith” as much more extremem than they actually are.
Ever since this contraceptive bandwagon started rolling along more than 40 years ago, the sales pitch has always been the same. America is told that women need to take charge of their lives. Women need to wear the pants in the family and put their careers ahead of everything. Women need to be on a pill regimen or use some kind of device so they can be free … from pregnancy.
… Headlines tell us that 12-year-old children should be vaccinated to protect them from sexually transmitted disease. Experts explain that the vast majority of young people are going to engage in sex before they graduate from high school, so we need to help them get on with their lives by providing sex instruction and birth control, and of course abortion for those times when mistakes occur.
… I also know that where there is life, there is hope; the hope for these young people resides with you, with me and with our dedication to spread the truth. Providing the facts about contraception and what it is really all about can save them. In the process we adults just might learn a thing or two ourselves.
I am heartened that some people care enough to be the voice of love that negates the devastating effects of the contraceptive culture. I am equally heartened by the fact that these people are planning a conference in the Chicago area next month to proclaim that contraception is not the answer. It may not be practical for you to go to Chicago, but if it is, it’s something you might consider. At the very least, check the Pro-Life Action League’s web site (www.ProLifeAction.org). The group is sharing some of this valuable information by teleconference. That’s one way to relax, listen, have a cup of coffee and reflect on how you can be part of the solution to this tragic problem instead of sitting in the bleachers while life passes you by.
The future is currently attending grade school and high school in your community. How are you going to make sure that this is a bright, zestful, family-oriented future? The first step is to understand — and then share — the simple message that contraception is not the answer.
And this after going on for a couple of paragraphs about the increase in STDs among teenagers, Davis blithely waves away contraception — which would include condoms, and not just the pill, but Davis seems less concerned about that than about the possibility that teenage girls might miss out on pregnancy, STDs and unintended pregnancies if they’re sexually active — when it’s been shown to reduce the risks of, well, all of that.
Note, I said reduce, not eliminate. I’m perfectly happy to admit that the only way to avoid all of the above is abstinence. But I also live in the real world, where people have pretty much continued to have sex no matter what, and I happen to think that it’s better if they’re able to make informed choices.
That’s probably because I also happen to think that no one deserves any of the above simply because they choose to be sexually active. Maybe it’s also because I don’t think of pregnancy, etc., as a “punishment from god” as a result of “sin.” It’s biology, plain and simple.
In The Sins of Scripture, which I just finished reading, Bishop Shelby Spong opens his section on contraception with two stories; that of the McCourt family from Angela’s Ashes and that of Andrea Yates, using both as an example of lives pushed to the breaking point by the unbendable edit to “be fruitful and multiply” and the absolute prohibition (by state and/or church) of birth control. Both were stories in which children were born into families where, as Spong put it, the state/church required the parents to basically choose “sexlessness and hell.” (Yup, apparently even married folks shouldn’t have non-procreative sex.) Both were stories in which those same children died (or were murdered) because the parents lacked the fiscal or psychological resources to handle the non-stop growth of their families.
Interestingly enough, in a later section on scriptures dealing with women, Spong notes that part of getting the heave-ho out of Eden was that pregnancy became painful (suggesting that it wasn’t before) and sex strictly procreative (as opposed to recreational and procreative) as a result of “the fall.” It doesn’t seem a far leap from there to suggest that Davis and others like her primarily oppose contraception and anything other than “abstinence-only” education, not because they don’t work when it comes to prevention, but precisely because they aid in the prevention of “god’s punishment” and thus allow people to “sin without consequence” when it comes to sexual activity.
In other words, the pill, the condom, the “morning after pill, the HPV vaccine, etc., don’t just get in the way of sperm and egg, or viruses and human bodies. They get in the way of divine retribution. That’s the biggest sin of all. And that’s why contraception and sex ed. are the enemies and AIDS, STDs, unintended pregnancies, etc., are not.