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An argument that artificial contraceptives should be completely eliminated

December 1998 Harold O. Although Pope Paul was known to be a man with conservative and traditionalist inclinations, the pressure on him to concede on this point was intense. It was taken for granted that humans were reproducing themselves too rapidly for individual societies and the earth as a whole to sustain. In his preamble to Roe v. Wade five years later, Jus tice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.

The Pope threw a bomb of another kind to social engineers of Planned Parenthood and the hedonis tic practitioners of the Playboy philosophy: Humanae Vitae rei t erated the traditional Roman Catholic and general Christian conviction that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage and that artificial means must not be used to prevent concep tion.

It was not until 1930 at the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican bishops that any Christian body had ever explicitly authorized the use of contraceptives. It was only in the mid-1960s that two decisions of the Supreme Court explicitly authorized the distribution of birth control as a constitutional right, first to married couples Griswoldthen to everyone Baird.

While most Protestant leaders regarded artificial con tra cep tion with some misgivings, in the absence of a foundation in natural law they had not developed good and prin cipled arguments for dealing with it.

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To the extent that contraception was regar ded as a Catholic preoccupation Protestants tended to be tolerant of it. The Pope used the traditional natural law arguments of Catholicism against contraception, essentially maintaining that it is a violation of natural law to divert a function from its natural and presumably divinely intended use, in this case, to replace procrea tion with mere recreation.

This was a tactic that would not impress most Protestants, whose limited openness to natural law thinking was under direct assault from the eminent Karl Barth 1886-1968for whom, as for his fundamentalist detractors, only the Word, i. Since Scrip ture does not explicitly mention contraception, many Protestants were left speechless.

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Not a few passages of Scripture say that husband and wife should delight in one another without mentioning children e. Consequently, Protes tants who support contraception have regularly argued that it should be practiced with restraint, only within marriage, and for the purpose of spacing children, not of preventing them altogether.

The difficulty is that once it was established, the permissibility of contraception proved impos sible to control. After 1958 the birth control pill began to be available, and for the first time in human history sexual intercourse appeared to be possible without fear of pregnancy.

Medicine had also made progress against one of the other prudential impediments to sexual li cense, venereal disease. He is also editor of the Religion and Society Report. Budziszewski Humanae Vitae rests on two pillars. One is reverence for the purposes to which sex and marriage are ordained; the other is reverence for the human body, for its natural cadences and operations. To those who prefer to theorize at greater heights, the latter is especially scandalous.

For in the background of Humanae Vitae are not only the odorless and immaterial substances of will and thought and promise, but also the embodiment of those intangibles in flesh: Rightly so, for body and spirit are equally the concern of the adoring God, who by Creation fused them, by Incarnation assumed them, and by Pentecost infused them.

Artificial contraceptives should be eliminated from society

So deeply has God wrought His purposes upon the human body that it is not merely fruitful but rhythmic-providing not only for the bringing forth of children but for their spacing. To deprive an act of conjugal love of its potential to breed new life is not only irreverent but needless; rather than hindering nature, we have only to cooperate with it.

Discipline is difficult, but as experience confirms, the difficulties themselves are ordained to our many-fold good, and avoided only at peril. I am grateful to Paul VI for saying these things, and hope that I will not be blamed for remarking what also needs to be remarked: Though the encyclical letter is magisterial in the sense of being lordly, it is not magisterial in the sense of teaching well. It seems to lack the sense, which any discussion of natural law requires, of what must be done to make the self-evident evident, to make the intuitive available to intuition, to make what is plain in itself plain to us.

Their eyes dazzled by what technology can do, when they gaze upon human nature they see not a Design, but a canvass for their own designs.

Contraception: A Symposium

Because they can sever the causal link between sex and procreation, they suppose they have severed the link between sex and procreation. First the encyclical admonishes that artificial contraception will make it easier for people to rationalize sexual immorality.

When modern people hear this they are dumbfounded. If there is artificial contraception, how could any sex be immoral? For old nature the old rules were necessary; for new nature we have new ones. And so, of course, they have. The difficulty is that in order to object to the interference, one must believe in the mission.

Anyone who regards artificial contraception as morally indifferent has already rejected the mission. But not to worry: Once women become more like men, fertility rates will fall so rapidly that not even the most obtrusive commissar will think the growth of population a threat.

The nature of a thing, said Thomas Aquinas, is a purpose implanted in it by the Divine Art, that it be moved to a determinate end. Human nature is not an object to be manipulated, but a creation to be honored: The teleological link between sex and procreation persists even after the causal link is broken, for in the long run, to demand the gift of conjugal love without its accompanying fertility is to demand the impossible.

Paul VI was prophetic. Because in Humanae Vitae, he was right. In presenting his 1968 encyclical, Paul VI cautioned against four main problems that would arise if Church teaching on the regulation of births was ignored. Few would deny that the rates of abortion, divorce, family breakdown, wife and child abuse, venereal disease, and out of wedlock births have all massively increased since the mid-1960s.

Obviously, the birth control pill has not been the only factor in this unraveling. But it has played a major role. In fact, the cultural revolution since 1968, driven at least in part by transformed attitudes toward sex, would not have been possible or sustainable without easy access to reliable contraception.

Artificial contraceptives should be eliminated from society

In this, Paul VI was right. Three decades later, exactly as Paul VI suggested, contraception has released males-to a historically unprecedented degree-from responsibility for their sexual aggression. In the process, one of the stranger ironies of the contraception debate of the past generation has been this: Again, Paul VI was right.

Population control policies are now an accepted part of nearly every foreign aid discussion.

An argument that artificial contraceptives should be completely eliminated

The massive export of contraceptives, abortion, and sterilization by the developed world to developing countries-frequently as a prerequisite for aid dollars and often in direct contradiction to local moral traditions-is a thinly disguised form of population warfare and cultural reengineering.

Fourth, Pope Paul warned that contraception would mislead human beings into thinking they had unlimited dominion over their own bodies, relentlessly turning the human person into the object of his or her own intrusive power.

  • Discipline is difficult, but as experience confirms, the difficulties themselves are ordained to our many-fold good, and avoided only at peril;
  • The questions that confront ecologists and society in general concern the degree to which we should worry about argument is built are eliminated,;
  • Couples who practice it add no countermeasure to the conjugal act to stop it from attaining its natural end, but simply abstain from sex at certain times;
  • A couple who engage in periodic sexual abstention may deny the wife the satisfaction of her desires when they are at their peak, during the time of her ovulation.

Herein lies another irony: A man and a woman participate uniquely in the glory of God by their ability to cocreate new life with Him. At the heart of contraception, however, is the assumption that fertility is an infection that must be attacked and controlled, exactly as antibiotics attack bacteria. In this attitude, one can also see the organic link between contraception and abortion. If fertility can be misrepresented as an infection to be attacked, so too can new life. Once again, Paul VI was right.

In vitro fertilization, cloning, genetic manipulation, and embryo experimentation are all descendants of contraceptive technology. In fact, we have drastically and naively underestimated the effects of technology not only on external society, but on our own interior human identity. As author Neil Postman has observed, technological change is not additive but ecological. Contraceptive technology, precisely because of its impact on sexual intimacy, has subverted our understanding of the purpose of sexuality, fertility, and marriage itself.

It has detached them from the natural, organic identity of the human person and disrupted the ecology of human relationships. It has scrambled our vocabulary of love, just as pride scrambled the vocabulary of Babel. Now we deal daily with the consequences. American society is wracked with sexual identity and behavior dysfunctions, family collapse, and a general coarsening of attitudes toward the sanctity of human life. So what are we going to do about it?

  1. Indeed, we will suggest that, if anything, the encyclical understates the harmful results of this separation.
  2. It should be as widely distributed as possible.
  3. Wade five years later, Jus tice Harry A. Birth control essay examples 57 total results artificial contraceptives should be eliminated from society 1,435 words an argument against artificial contraceptive methods 1,439 words 3 pages the origin and history of birth control 1,205 words.

What I want to suggest is that if Paul VI was right about so many of the consequences deriving from contraception, it is because he was right about contraception itself. In seeking to become whole again as persons and as people of faith, we would do well to revisit Humanae Vitae with open hearts. Jesus said the truth would make us free. Humanae Vitae is filled with truth about our sexuality, our purpose as human beings, and the nature of married love.

Lived selflessly, it is a source of real joy. We impoverish ourselves and those we love by ignoring it. Chaput, a Capuchin Franciscan, is the Archbishop of Denver. Eric Chevlen One who goes out of his way and meddles in strife not his own, says the Proverb, is as one who pulls a dog by the ears. It is unlikely to be a beneficial experience for either party. A non-Catholic, and especially a Jew, must hesitate, therefore, before presuming to offer a critique of a papal encyclical.

Two aspects of the encyclical, however, invite me, indeed call me, to reply. More importantly, the encyclical is not based upon Christian doctrine, but explicitly on natural law.

Natural law theory has never been an important part of Jewish thinking. It is not simply that with the Written Law, the Oral Law, the Codes, the Commentaries, the Supercommentaries, and the Responsa, we have enough law to deal with already, thank you.

More importantly, Judaism stresses the fallibility of unfettered human moral reasoning. The Talmud is full of examples in which we are told that certain laws are made explicit because otherwise human reasoning would have led to error. True, we do not share the concern our Christian brothers have about the corrupting power that sin wields over a fallen mankind.

  • Likewise, contraceptive intercourse may sometimes be a fitting means by which husband and wife aim to nourish simultaneously the procreative and unitive purposes of their marriage;
  • While most Protestant leaders regarded artificial con tra cep tion with some misgivings, in the absence of a foundation in natural law they had not developed good and prin cipled arguments for dealing with it;
  • The Pope threw a bomb of another kind to social engineers of Planned Parenthood and the hedonis tic practitioners of the Playboy philosophy:

But we do stress the pernicious influence of self-interest in moral decision-making. The hazard of self-interest is greatest, because it is most insidious, when we think it influences us least. What moral insights can we achieve with natural law alone? Those raised in the Catholic tradition may think of the glorious systemization of Thomas Aquinas. Others may admire the noble code of the Stoics. But human reflection on nature and its inherent laws has far more often led to subjugation, exploitation, and rationalization than it has to the sort of justice for which John Paul II and others have spoken so passionately.

Even Aristotle concluded that natural law justified the subordination of slave to master, woman to man, and foreigner to Greek.