The Birds and the Bees (and the Pills and the Creams)
I recently spoke with a woman who teaches middle school children. For the sake of anonymity, I'll call her "Nancy." We somehow got onto the subject of teen pregnancy, and Nancy was proud to announce that teen pregnancy is at an all-time low this year. I told her that I felt confident it wasn't due to a sudden call to chastity, but rather the children were probably all using birth control and mating like jack rabbits without the results of the act. Nancy had a different theory. She felt fairly certain that the kids had turned to oral sex, and she believed that was a huge improvement -- a progress that was obvious by the drop in pregnancies. I was disgusted and expressed that, in my opinion, there was no advancement at all. She seemed perplexed. I asked: "How about if we tell kids that pre-marital sex is forbidden and that sex is an act of love between two married people. She looked at me like I was insane, and responded: "We can't change the world. This is a good start."
My how we've changed in America. I took a Civil Rights & Liberties course last semester where I learned of the Griswold v. Connecticut case which went before the Supreme Court in 1965. I was three years-old. Basically, a licensed physician and the executive director of Planned Parenthood were charged with giving contraception to a married couple. Go ahead - read that again. It seems the two violated a statute in Connecticut which stated that:
"Any person who use[d] any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception [would] be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned." Additionally, "Any person who assist[ed], abet[ted], counsel[ed], cause[d], hire[d] or command[ed] another to commit any offense [could] be prosecuted and punished as if he were the principal offender." Both the director and the doctor were found guilty "as accessories."
I'm no lawyer, but socially and morally I find this case intriguing. It's just hard to imagine that within my lifetime our society has gone from prohibiting married couples to use contraception to distributing condoms in schools. Planned Parenthood has become the go-to place for teens to get contraceptives, abortion pills, clinical abortions, condoms, and anything else that might come down the pike to give the green light to kids (much less married couples) to "enjoy" complete sexual “freedom” without the baggage of babies. In fact, Planned Parenthood's website lists today's legalities which now prohibit not contraception but abortion under the age of eighteen without a parent's consent. It's a legality which they painstakingly note might be bypassed, and they display the specific states which require no parental consent at all.
Look, I'm just as human as you. I am a married thirty years, and I have only two children. I'm not proud of the fact that I have used one form of contraception or another throughout the years. I had all of the same thoughts and remarks as you might have. I don't want more children. I can't afford more children. There's nothing wrong with two married people making a decision. It all seemed perfectly logical to me, and I didn’t bother to look any further than my own two cents for the answers. What the heck, society was right there cheering me on. I now know that I made those decisions out of ignorance. Rather than taking the time to ask real questions and listen unselfishly to the answers, I chose to look away and make my own rules. I was wrong. Very wrong.
When did sex become a sport or a hobby? It is a gift -- an intimate bond of the most holy sort -- the sort that produces a miracle. What else can you do with another person that can potentially bring forth a new human being? Yet we treat it as a game. And then we dehumanize ourselves to the point of non-intellectual beings who simply cannot withhold from the physical act, so we come up with every form of "gratification" we can think of to partake in that might not produce that little pestilence -- a baby. We completely destroy the sacred beauty of the union, so instead it becomes a pastime. We devalue and objectify ourselves in the process -- especially we women. Then we pray for miracles in life and are disappointed when we don’t receive them. But how many miracles did we circumvent with contraceptives?
Last week I went to a Catholic conference where most of the speakers were much more knowledgeable than I ever was. Many of them told of their large families of six or eight children. It was the first time in my life I realized the seriousness of my ignorant decision. I felt myself longing for what might have been if I did not interfere with nature and let God bless me with more children. I might have had the large family I long for especially during the holidays. My daughters would have been blessed with more siblings to support them in this difficult life. My husband might have had a son. I truly believe our marriage is blessed and gifted. Who knows what further blessings God wanted to bestow upon us and the world. My so-called freedom to choose was really no freedom at all. It was a lie fed to me by a selfish society. It Is my only regret in life.