Monday, March 2, 2009

Catholicism's Pro Life Paradox

With the just completed introduction of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Obama's nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, the neoconservative and pro life right are out in force and in full attack mode.

The issue is as always, Sibelius's pro choice record and her supposedly tight association with one Dr. Tiller, the neo con equivalent of Dr. Mengele. While there is real confusion on just what Tiller's association was with Gov. Sebelius,---The Governor's office states he was at a reception at the governors mansion in 2007 because he bought it in a charity auction, Operation Rescue defines the reception as given in his honor. There is no dispute that Dr. Tiller has his hands full with legal issues over late term abortions.

There is also no dispute abortions in Kansas have dropped by almost 10% while Sebelius has been in office. One would think that would at least merit some recognition if the pro life crowd really cared about reducing abortions and saving lives. Their real agenda is becoming clearer the longer President Obama is in office and I personally don't think it has anything to do with reducing abortions. It has everything to do with forcing pregnancy on women who don't want to be pregnant. Otherwise there wouldn't be the pro life paradox regarding birth control.

The Guttmacher institute, which both sides in this issue routinely cite, stated recently that access to birth control reduces abortions by nearly 40% in low income areas. That's a pretty staggering percentage. So why aren't pro lifer's on board with free access to birth control if they really care about reducing abortion? Because ultimately it's not about abortion, it's about sex and who gets to have it and who gets to pay for it.

Guttmacher also has some other interesting information. For instance, the countries whose legal system follows the pro life sexual agenda by limiting access to birth control and criminalizing abortion also have the world's highest rate of abortion and highest rates of over all poverty. The countries with the lowest rates of abortion have the easiest access to birth control and legal abortion. The same is true in states in the US. The lowest abortion rates are in the states with the most liberal abortion laws and easy access to birth control.

The pro life movement is not about reducing abortions. They are about forcing their vision of appropriate sexual behavior on society, and if women and their children get caught in impossible situations, it's their own fault. Here's the thinking of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

Feb 24: Tony Perkins, President of the formerly anti-abortion Family Research Council, admitted to the Associated Press that the organization's previously stated mission of saving the "unborn" had been ceded to other priorities. Perkins, who opposes preventing abortion through contraception, says, "The issue is whether taxpayers should fund, and thereby encourage, behavior that's risky and morally questionable," by which Perkins means having sex.

The trouble is that the Guttmacher Institute also calculates that for every tax payer dollar spent on birth control, four dollars are saved by tax payers in other medical and social welfare costs.

Perhaps this isn't a paradox at all. Perhaps it's only an incredible lack of integrity on the part of pro life groups. Perhaps abortion is only a way to keep their 'cultural' issues, which are all sexual, in the forefront of the political debate.

The other argument which is beginning to give me heartburn, is this insistence that birth control is really another form of genocide aimed at impoverished people and the darker races. This is coming from the same thinking which sees the West's prevalent use of birth control as a form of self inflicted white racial genocide. Birth control isn't about race or genocide, it's about empowering families, but especially women, with the means to control the number of children they can responsibly raise. Nobody benefits from birthing children mothers can't support, not the children and not society. Of course there are exceptions-- like the sex trade, illegal human slave factories, and war lords whose armies are composed of kidnapped children. Some of us consider those the real cultures of death.


  1. It occurred to me after reading this post, ALL of these condemnations are about female contraceptives. I have yet to see one comment directed toward men who have vasectomies.

    Admittedly, I do tend to see the world in a rather simplistic black and white way. However, reducing an equation to its ultimate simplicity can provide some really enlightening insights. For example:

    As I look over past articles, blogs and posts, one thing jumps out very clearly ... the Vatican condemnation and excommunication of women is swift and severe, of men ... almost non-existent (relative percentages).

    The issues that the Vatican most vociferously opposes are what would be considered metaphysically as issues of the feminine side. The ones they consistently ignore, ones of the masculine side.

    Do you suppose that perhaps, this has nothing to do with contraception, nothing to do with abortion, but everything to do with the deep seated hate that festers in the RCC leadership for women?

    As I see it, the Vatican position really has nothing to do with prolife or prochoice, but everything to do with antifemale. For example, the abortion issue only seems to surface in politically expeditious moments. It also seems to be directed at female politicans more often than male politicians. Otherwise, it is conspicuously absent in the Vatican agenda.

    Looking at Benedicts recent actions, one could easily make the case that part of his agenda is to reenslave the women in the church, subjugating them to the men.

    Perhaps all of the CRAP* is nothing more that a thinly and poorly disguised attempt to disempower women.

    Sometimes, the simplest answer is the right answer.

    New abbreviations:

    Geriatric old men espousing hate rhetoric. (Gomehrs)

    Catholic Right against Protestantism (CRAP)

  2. I have been reading more of Erich Fromm's The Heart of Man - His Genius for Good and Evil. It is packed with so much information about the heart of man. It is a book to study more than just to read.

    He might say that this is narcissism of man for himself and of hatred for the stranger, women. He has turned women into being a stranger, one to serve his every appetite. He is a man that has a mother problem which Fromm describes. They have a mother fixation problem and they want to return to the womb. Hence, the womb issues and the fixation of the comfort of mother's womb. It is a cure, or a safe place to thwart off the dangers of his own mental psychosis.

    The attacks are against women. It is all so verbally charged against women, as if men had nothing to do with unwanted pregnancy except to do whatever they want, narcissistically of course.

  3. I still go back to the different modes of thinking. Men are left brained and see things differently than women. They are more apt to do to things, than relate to things.

    JPII's ideas of complimentarity are really not complimentary but a codified system of who does what to what things and people. In this sense it fosters codependence, especially in men on the women or service people in their lives.

    The sexual revolution was as much about women becoming more balanced and left brained. Men haven't caught up yet to this notion of becoming more right brained. The younger generations seem to be getting it though. Or I could just be full of it.

  4. So, in a real sense Colleen, what you are saying is that men need to catch up to what the women are seeing and thinking from the right side of the brain. Instead of them shutting our view out they need to try to visualize what we see. That would come about if they listen to what women say they see.

    Younger men are listening and seeing, but the older are not?

  5. Excuse me, but I am listening, and regretably, as my doctor informed me recently, I'm not 27 anymore.

    I am as guilty of making broad sweeping generalization as anyone, and I am working of correcting that. It would have been more accurate to say that many/most of the older men are not. But there are a lot of us that are listening, a lot of us that are working through this as best we can. Unfortunately, those who are listening are typically not in the leadership positions in our society.

  6. Colleen, a beautiful meditation--your comments, in particular.

    I especially like your conclusion on what really constitutes the culture of death.

    And your statement about what being Catholic is all about.