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home : opinion : perspectives

3/1/2012 9:00:00 AM
Pondering a pro-choice culture

When the birth control controversy reached fever pitch in 1920s England, noted English writer and commentator G.K. Chesterton weighed in on the issue.

Renowned for his wit and penetrating intellect, Chesterton offered some delightful quips on the subject - such as, "The only birth control is self-control," and, "With birth control, there are fewer births and no control."

In his powerful reflections, he simply underscored the need for temperance - one of the long-forgotten virtues which enables a human being to master his unruly sexual urges. To think otherwise would clearly imply that men and women are powerless to direct and control their urges.

If Chesterton were alive today, he would undoubtedly regard the solutions to today's vexing social issues as a change in behavior and not recourse to chemicals and mechanical gadgets which eliminate the need for self-discipline.

If Chesterton seems extremist or outdated, consider the view expressed by one of our nation's foremost social historians, Francis Fukuyuma, in his most recent book, "The Great Disruption." Puzzled by the high rates of illegitimacy and the large number of surgical abortions in our contraceptive culture, he writes: "If the effect of birth control is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, it is hard to explain why its advent should have been accompanied by an explosion of illegitimacy and a rise in the rate of abortions."

Many of the supporters of President Barack Obama's contraceptive mandate trumpet the results of national polling which suggests that the vast majority of child-bearing women use some form of contraception, including Catholics.

If such is the case - and I have no reason to believe it isn't true - then why are so many women in need of an abortion? Why must there be tens of thousands of abortions administered annually in our country if, as commonly reported, more than 90 percent of women in their child-bearing years are medicating their wombs?

For this reason alone, you can be certain that the contraceptive mandate is simply the first step in the president's overall political objective: to compel Catholic healthcare facilities to cover abortion, a reliable backup option for failed contraception, in their health insurance policies. Recall that in the year 2008, he promoted the "Freedom of Choice Act," which would, in effect, end a Church-based institution's right to protect the preborn child's most basic right: the right to life.

Needless to say, living in a highly-sexualized culture makes living a virtuous life very daunting. I certainly do not wish to underestimate the challenges facing all of us. Nevertheless, I am convinced that policies that ignore sound moral principles and the often pressing need for self-restraint in a technological society are, in the end, self-defeating.

Personal discipline is woefully lacking in America today. Consider the number who are obese and the ever-larger number of adults whose reading and writing skills are poor. Even our manner of dress, particularly among the young, is slovenly and very often immodest.

Be wary of "Obamacare" and be especially wary of those who support it. Remember the wolf in sheep's clothing!

(Father Yanas is pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Troy.)

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012
Article comment by: Walt Gartner

Thought Fr. Yanas had written a great article on our pro-choice culture until the last paragraph: ďBe wary of ďObamacareĒ and be especially wary of those who support it. Remember the wolf in sheep's clothing!" Inappropriate and unnecessary. Iím a supporter of Obamacare but certainly not of the abortion and contraception provisions. The law is definitely flawed and only a first step. The vested medical industry interests would not allow a law that provides real access to all Americans. Theyíve got too much to lose. While we have some of the best medicine in the world for some people, we pay more than any other country on a per person basis and get less. Maybe thatís what this culture is really about, the rich get it and the rest donít. Be careful, remember that Iím a wolf in sheepís clothing.

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