Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The nature of birth control

A week or two ago I posted a link to an op-ed piece I wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer in response to a woman advocating lower birth control prices for low income or college women. Since the article was printed, several other letters to the editor and op-ed pieces have been printed. The letters to the editor have agreed with my response that chastity is the true answer.

However, there have been two longer "Your Voice" articles that have challenged my arguments. As I read the second one today, I couldn't help but marvel that both of these challenges were written by men. Today's writer expressed doubt that women are disrespected by the use of birth control. That's easy for him to say, I thought.

A few years ago I participated in a 1,300 mile pro-life walk in the Northeast. In Boston, I saw a young man holding a "Keep Abortion Legal" sign. Attached to his lapel was a little pin that said, "I (heart) pro-choice women." Really.

If a girl is taking birth control, then the guy knows that he most probably will not father a child, thus relieving a major consequence of pre-marital sex. The girl doesn't become a mother and the guy gets what he wants.

Pope John Paul II said the opposite of love is not hate but use. We can never use another person if we truly love them. To separate sex from its life-giving nature is to treat sex as a tool merely for pleasure. Ultimately this means we are using the other person to get what we want, instead of loving them as a fellow person.

I'm not saying all men have these bad intentions. In fact, I know many men who respect women more than they often respect themselves. In our culture, however, I believe we have attempted to make men feel that they are supposed to use women. Women seem to expect it, and men often think it's the role they are supposed to fulfill. On the contrary, men are called to protect and defend women. What's more, they are capable of doing so.

Promoting birth control continues the stereotype that men are only after sex. Women are simultaneously reduced to sexual objects. God created sex to be something so much more beautiful than a mechanism for pleasure. When looked at according to His plan, we can see that we deserve so much better than to be used. We were created to be loved.

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