50 years ago on July 25, 1968 a document went out to the whole world affirming the value of life, love, and marriage and warned of the impending problems if we as a society did not value these three things. What is this document? It’s the Encyclical Letter, Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), written by Pope Paul VI to the Catholic Church regarding the issue of contraception. In this letter, Pope Paul VI discusses why the Catholic Church is against contraception.
You might be thinking, “umm, Jen…. what does this have to do with life?” Glad you asked. You see, Pope Paul VI reminded people that life is sacred and the creating of that life is just as sacred. When a man and a woman create a life through the sexual act, they become co-creators with God. It is a beautiful and loving act in which a man and a woman give of themselves to the other fully and freely. But when we put a barrier between that act, the man and the woman are not giving themselves to the other fully and freely. The act becomes sterile and not life-giving. Thus, the man and the woman begin to use each other.
If you really think about it, why do we have abortion? Well, it starts with the devaluing of the sexual act. When we allow that act to become just about pleasure and about ourselves it ceases to be about giving yourself totally to the other. We have contraception because it allows for the man and the woman to continue to use each other freely without regard for the life that they could create. So, therefore, we have abortion because the man and woman that engaged in the sexual act do not value that new life they created. The sexual act becomes about pleasure and the life created becomes a consequence that needs to be “taken care of”.
Pope Paul VI seemed to be prophetic when he wrote about the societal dangers that could befall us if we allowed contraception to be accepted and normalized. He predicted contraception would:
- lead to greater “marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards”
- create a loss of respect for women by reducing “her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of [the man’s] own desires, no longer considering her as his partner”
- allow the government to “intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife”
50 years later, we now have an increase in divorce, a decrease in marriage, an increase in promiscuity, an increase in abortion, a decrease in respect for women, and the government trying to mandate contraception and abortion coverage. If we ever want to eradicate abortion and make it unthinkable we need to consider the roots of abortion. Contraception is at the root of abortion.
Last year, New Hampshire Right to Life added to our mission statement a list of life-destroying issues that we took a stand on. One of those listed was abortifacient contraception. Abortifacient contraception is contraception that makes the womb hostile to life and therefore has the potential to cause an abortion of a young embryo. It is correct that New Hampshire Right to Life opposes this form of contraception as it is a life issue. However, I challenge everyone to consider ALL contraception as being a life issue. With the continued use of contraception in our world, it allows for a greater disrespect toward women, an increase in sexual promiscuity, and an increase in abortion when the contraception fails to stop a new life from being created. We will never end abortion if contraception is not eradicated too.
On this 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, I recommend reading this beautiful letter. It’s not a Catholic letter. It’s a letter to the entire world. It’s a letter to the Pro-Life world. Let’s start to put sex and procreation back to where it belongs. And when that happens, abortion will become unthinkable.
President, NH Right to Life