On Abortion and Contraception

by Dr. David Allen

Also read what the early Church taught about abortion

White Last month I made the claim that abortion is not an appropriate topic for debate. We must not "debate" an absolute evil, for in so doing we already weaken our own position. I suggest two methods of closing off discussion --- one, with the clean, concise statement: "It is an abominable evil act to murder babies"; if the response comes, "But it is not a baby..." respond with "It is certainly not a park bench or a straw hat" and put the burden of proof on the twisted mind pretending that a fetus is not a baby.

Make them prove that bread dough is not bread. Two, when the stupid statement is made, "It is the woman's own body; she has the right to do with it as she pleases," ask first if she has the right to cut off her own left leg or if she should be stopped, and then say, "It is not her own body; the child has different genes, a different blood type and different fingerprints. Do you believe a host has the right to kill a guest sleeping under his roof?" Then make them vindicate Macbeth's murder of the sleeping King Duncan. End of discussion.

Move, then, the conversation to its real battlefield -- contraception -- and prepare to fight long and hard. This is the captured moral ground that must be reclaimed. First, reread Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae and have it dearly in mind. Begin the conversation by establishing first and foremost that abortion is merely the logical evil end of a contraception mentality, a mentality that is obsessively and sickly materialistic, naturalistic and egotistic. The first assault must be to assert the spiritual basis of the argument. The question of sexuality and procreation is a supernatural question, not a natural one.

Allow me to quote the great Catholic writer Flannery O'Connor in a letter written to a friend: "The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support 40 billion. I will rejoice the day when they say: This is right whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or be prepared for crowding..."

The insight focuses the issue: This is an "absolutely spiritual" concern and the Church's position is "fight." However many children may populate the earth, their first, basic right is to find love and serve their God, and no mere human being has the right to prevent those individual souls from finding their salvation or condemning them to eternal emptiness or preventing them from being born. When your opponent raises the specter of the overpopulated land or the masses of starving children and accuses you of not caring about the suffering multitudes that would result form the lack of availability of contraceptive devices, immediately move the argument back to the spiritual level by pointing out your Lord and His Church are the only avenue on earth that genuinely cares for the suffering and offers the possibility of eternal redemption through that suffering. To prevent those children from being born and never knowing suffering is to keep them deliberately away from eternity and the loving, healing, redeeming Cross of Christ.

Go on to point out that this argument has become an excuse for Americans to immerse themselves in selfish solipsism. Because there might be famine in the Sudan, Joe and Susie refrain from the natural and supernatural end of their marriage vows--the procreation of children. They sit by themselves in a four-bedroom house furnished to the top of fashion, with a two-car garage and a boat out back; they dress to the nines with the most stylish threads, and eat at all the chic new restaurants; they buy all the most modern conveniences and travel to Paris, Bermuda and Vancouver just to "get away"; then they give some bucks to the Feed the Children campaign and feel they are doing their part to make a better world. In fact, they are starving to death spiritually. They have a kind of spiritual anorexia nervosa. As the victim of anorexia refuses to eat because of a fear of fat, thus blocking a natural function and starving slowly to death, so the victims of contraception refuse to bear children because of the fear of overpopulation, thus blocking a natural and supernatural function and spiritually starving to death.

Or let us turn to a different eating disorder to further the argument -- bulimia. This is the disease where a person eats huge amounts of food for the sole purpose of pleasure in the consumption of Big Macs, pizza, Twinkies, milk shakes and Snickers, and then forces the stomach to vomit the food back up, denying to the body the nutrient value of the food, in essence, violating the whole purpose of eating -- nutrition. The contraception proponents do exactly the same thing. They view the function of copulation as purely pleasurable. By the use of contraceptive devices, they deny the natural function of the act, the creation of children, just as the bulimic denies the natural function of eating, nutrition. The users of contraception, by denying natural law, are starving physically. Our society has become very concerned about eating disorders and believes that the bulimic is a desperately sick individual who needs help, for in denying the need for food, the bulimic has inverted the natural order of eating whose end is nutrition for the body but whose means may be pleasurable as well.

They are committing suicide by starvation in an attempt to experience pleasure. Those who use contraception are also desperately sick; they have inverted the natural order of sexual union whose end is procreation but whose means may be pleasurable as well.

They are committing racial suicide and starving spiritually in an attempt to experience pleasure. We should be every bit as concerned for these sick individuals, who now, in the throes of their contraceptive pleasure-seeking frenzy, are killing any child they may happen to conceive and which may interfere with their continued limitless self-gratification. Let your opponent sort that one out and argue that one away. To support contraception is to support bulimia; to stop the bulimic is to stop the user of contraception.

And one last brutal argument that I apologize for, but that must finally be made. To willfully remove the possibility of fertility from the woman and the possibility of contraception from the sexual act is to make all such acts similar to homosexual acts. Women become "like men"; they can no longer conceive. Sex is pure pleasure minus the consequences. Promiscuity explodes, relationships collapse, genders lose definition. Heterosexual couples have taken on the worst aspects of sinful homosexual union and the results are evident everywhere in society. Say openly to your opponent, those who use contraception are becoming "mock homosexuals" with all the unpleasant and destructive results. Such a charge will shock any decent nature into a harsh and serious consideration of the contraception question; those decent folks will never again be free to pursue pleasure in that anti-natural and anti-supernatural way without being haunted by the accusation that they are degrading themselves in a manner they despise. It may be just the jolt their consciences need to set them back on the road to God's truth that they wandered mindlessly away from because the apple of pleasure smelled sweet and looked ripe, unaware that Satan was the power offering them that fruit.

Vigilate et orate.