May 9, 1991

Sex, Birth Control and Abortion

Any use whatever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.....

However we may pity the mother whose health and even life is imperiled by the performance of her natural duty, there yet remains no sufficient reason for condoning the direct murder of the innocent.

Pius XI Casti Connubii 1930

In my student days, I attended a lecture by the late great Alfred Kinsey. I remember him holding his hands in front of him and saying, "If you consider my right hand to represent the most highly sexed man, and my left hand to represent the sexually coldest man, the spectrum of sexuality would be about like this:" and he held his hands about a foot apart. "If you consider women, the spectrum would be like this:" and he held his hands as widely apart as possible. "In women, the spectrum of sexuality is so great, that the woman at one end of the spectrum can't even conceive of the existence of the woman at the other end." I am willing to take Kinsey's word for it. I have no choice at this time of my life.

This statement has some interesting implications where birth control is concerned. For a Roman Catholic woman at the low-sexuality end of the spectrum, the Vatican policy on birth control poses no particular problem: Just say NO! For a woman at the other end of the spectrum, saying "NO" could be a living hell; sort of like having lots of food in front of you and not being able to eat any of it.

The consequences of a woman not saying "NO", and not using birth control, usually is a new pregnancy as soon as the last infant is weaned, or sooner. For people living in poverty, that means malnutrition for mother and children, and sometimes starvation and early death.

Since Pope Paul is chaste, I wouldn't expect him to understand what a passionate woman feels. It makes his pronouncements about birth control, to the women of Mexico, ludicrous. The Vatican-approved "rhythm" method of birth control is facetiously referred to as Vatican Roulette, because of its unreliability. Part of that unreliability relates to desire during the "safe" period. The church's official stand on birth control is that it's all right to regulate pregnancy in marriage by abstinence or planned intercourse during the "safe periods". It's how you do it, not what you do, that matters. No sex or sex during safe periods is OK. Diaphragms, condoms or pills are sinful.

Idaho and Louisiana's legislature recently passed laws prohibiting abortion. Both governors vetoed them ostensibly because they didn't allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. I suspect that the real reason is related to VOTES.

Right to life indeed!! "It's a sin to kill a fetus!" its advocates claim. "The fetus is a human being and has a right to life." Of course, if the fetus has been conceived in incest or rape, it's perfectly all right to kill the little bastard. Bastards aren't really human.

I have no problem with people whose religious conviction is that killing a human being at any age is wrong. I don't share that conviction, but I do understand it and I have great respect for the motives of these people. What I do have a problem with is people who say that killing some human beings is sinful, while killing others is perfectly fine. Many "right to life" advocates believe in killing murderers. They believe that killing, when ordered to, in the military is OK. It's not honestly-held beliefs that bother me --it's hypocrisy! A similar hypocrisy existed in India, where all life, from ants to cows, was sacred --but a wife would be burned to death on her husband's funeral pyre.

Birth control has been practiced as far back as man has existed. Long before pills, condoms and diaphragms, the accepted method of birth control was infanticide --a fancy word for killing infants. It was usually done immediately at birth, before a woman had any opportunity to bond to the child. The method of disposing of the child varied with different cultures, from killing the child to putting it somewhere to allow it to die naturally. Killing was also used to dispose of deformed or otherwise inferior(female) children. All cultures now condemn this form of birth control, because there are so many better methods available; the most humane being the prevention of pregnancy.

Of course, if Roman Catholics practice birth control, there may not be as many Catholics in the next generation. With a celibate priesthood, birth control might make the difference between the church's survival and its extinction. Perhaps the church might consider simultaneously changing its stand on celibacy and birth control. This would keep it in competition in the struggle for religious survival.

I have no objection whatever to anything that Roman Catholics, or members of any religion, choose to do or not do. I object to attempt to force others to conform to The Vatican's particular morality. This attitude, that everyone must conform to Catholic morality , is a relic of the Dark Ages. It's a lot brighter now, thanks in part to the waning power of the church.

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