Monday, April 02, 2012

From Pro-Life to Pro-Open-to-Life

Twenty years ago, when pro-lifers spoke about the abortion issue, they treated the contraception issue as separate.

Big mistake.

More and more we are coming to the realization that both are linked.

And that there needs to be a discussion about “contraception”.

I put “contraception” in quotation marks, because contraception is just the symbol of the issue, it’s not the issue itself.

Contraception is the symbol of being closed to life.

From a moral standpoint, the use of contraception is intrinsically disordered. But one could use NFP, which is not intrinsically disordered, and achieve the same end, and it would still be a sin.

And on a collective scale, it would still result in abortions.

For this reason, we have to have a discussion about openness to life.

There are lots of people in favour of fetal rights who contracept. They don’t see the connection between sexuality and openness to life. They wouldn’t dream of killing their unborn child, but their lifestyles and their thinking are built on the idea of having children only when they want and under the desired circumstances.

If people who support our cause can’t see the problem with that, how do we expect to change the culture?

Because we’re going to have to design some means of communicating the truth of openness to life.

I don’t know how that’s going to happen. Our modern lives are all about autonomy and control. We perceive our personal dignity as wrapped up in the ability to make any decisions we want about any aspect of our lives. It’s easy enough to convince people if all they have to do is change their thought patterns. But once you are convinced that you need to be open to life, you have to radically change your lifestyle. You can’t just take a pill and pretend you will never get pregnant without planning it. That’s an illusion in any event, but a heck of a lot of people believe it and plan their lives around it. When you look into the future and think Gee, I might get pregnant in the next five, ten, or fifteen years-- the future looks a lot murkier and uncertain than if you think your IUD will get you through it.

This is something we have to tackle as a pro-life movement. Not only the morality part of it-- but the lifestyle part-- how do you convince people to change their lives so that being open to life isn’t some kind of moralistic burden, but actually a source of fulfillment and happiness?

If we don’t answer that question, we might be able to get fetal rights laws passed, but the Culture of Life necessary to enforce those laws will not take, and I guarantee that our victories will be short-lived because people will want to go back to being able to control everything about their lives. This is exactly what is going on right now in the Third World. As contraception is pushed more and more, as people become less and less open to life, abortions are becoming a perceived necessity, even though the Third World’s openness to life has been its strength. We have to find a way to turn the tide on this particular aspect of the Culture of Death.