Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Life Issues Forum: Contraception and Abortion: The Ultimate Let-Down for Women
This edition of the Life Issues Forum is available in English and Spanish, and has been posted to our website.
The Life Issues Forum is a bi-weekly column by Pro-Life Secretariat staff addressing the latest issues on the culture of life. Columns may be reprinted as they appear here (in full and without alteration) without further permission.
The Pro-Life Secretariat
LIFE ISSUES FORUM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contraception and Abortion: The Ultimate Let-Down for Women
June 15, 2018
By Kimberly Baker
Over the past several decades, contraception and abortion
have had far-reaching effects in our culture, shaping attitudes on
sexual behavior on a massive scale. Contrary to the promises of freedom,
empowerment, or equality, contraception and abortion have led to a
greater degradation of women, especially in their relationships with
In 1968, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Blessed Pope Paul VI warned that:
"... a man who grows accustomed to
the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a
woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce
her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires,
no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with
care and affection" (HV 17).
As recent history has shown, the widespread availability of
contraception and abortion has allowed men to push previously respected
boundaries with women with greater insensitivity and impunity. Not only
has this impacted marital (extra-marital affairs, divorce, etc.) and
dating relationships, but, even more sadly, this has enabled male sexual
abusers and sex traffickers to hide their crimes, increasing the
suffering of their female victims.
The widespread promotion of contraception and abortion, in
enabling a hyper-sexualized culture, has unfairly put all women at risk,
whether or not they participate in the contraceptive mentality. The
lack of respect and sexual victimization of women by men has become
increasingly clear with the rise of the #MeToo movement and the increase
in rape culture on college campuses, as well as the prevalence of empty
relationships that lack depth or permanence. Women are rightly
expressing pain and outrage over increased objectification, disrespect,
and unsatisfying relationships with men.
A culture that promotes contraception and abortion falsely
teaches women that their freedom comes through unrestrained sexual
behavior. We can't help but see the irony of a culture that claims to
condemn sexual violence against women, yet continuously glamorizes it in
the entertainment industry.
Despite cries for female empowerment, women are expected to
suppress their natural biological functioning and place themselves into a
medicated state by using pills, chemicals, patches, and devices, as if
healthy fertility were a disease, in order to be sexually available to
men. Abortion is the last resort offered when contraception fails and a
woman feels abandoned and unsupported in her pregnancy. Sadly, she must
often face the potential psychological and bodily trauma in isolation
that may result from the procedure. The destruction of an innocent human
life and repression of the woman's own life-giving capacity doubly
harms the woman in very deep ways.
What would society look like if a woman were valued and
respected for precisely who she is--without pills and patches to alter
her body? What if her sexuality were seen as something precious and
potentially life-giving, rather than as a cheap opportunity for
Contraception and abortion promised more freedom and
empowerment for women, but both have eroded respect for women and
negatively impacted their relationships with men. If sex is not linked
to authentic married love and its life-giving dimensions, it degenerates
and becomes distorted, losing its original meaning and significance. A
woman should never have to compromise herself, her body, her fertility,
or her child through contraception and abortion to feel loved or
Amidst the devastation wrought by the sexual revolution,
women have an incredible opportunity to reshape the cultural
conversation and positively impact their relationships. Women can give a
powerful witness by rejecting the lies of contraception, preserving
their sacred gift of sexuality for marriage, and offering compassion,
care and support for other women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, so
that isolation and abortion never have to be the final answer.
USCCB, 3211 Fourth Street NE,Washington, DC 20017-1194
Kimberly Baker (photo)
is Programs and Projects Coordinator for the Secretariat of Pro-Life
Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on
the bishops' pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.