For me, it all started with the statement made by the Susan G. Komen Foundation when they retracted their plans to quit funding Planned Parenthood with the statement, "We apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives..."
My heart sank...
I was confused why, if the Foundation wasn't funding Planned Parenthood, that meant they weren't committed to saving women's lives. How was Planned Parenthood saving or helping my life? Planned Parenthood helps you do just that--plan your parenthood. They do this by providing contraception, abortions, or other procedures to prevent pregnancy. However, as Christopher West states in his book Good News About Sex and Marriage "...contraception was not invented to prevent pregnancy. There already existed a perfectly safe, infallibly reliable way of doing that; it's called abstinence. Upon deeper reflection, it becomes clear that contraception was invented to indulge sexual instinct."
That's not to say that all people who use birth control are sex-crazed loons. Please! We've been raised in a culture that tells us that to be responsible to society is to use birth control, or after you've had enough kids, get a vasectomy. Just take care of the problem, you know? We see it in our movies, magazines, TV shows, and now United States law....
The newest mandate about the new health care laws (making ALL the headlines these days) require providing women with birth control and other contraceptives as "preventative services for women." The other services on HHS’s list seek to prevent serious disease – breast cancer, lung cancer, AIDS.
We've been told that babies are a hardship, a disease. Male and female's power to create life is a force to be stunted. But, come on. Life is not a disease. My capacity to create life and nurture life in my womb is not a problem. You don't take medicine when you aren't sick, and my fertility is not a limitation that needs prevention.
Way back in 1951, Fulton Sheen wrote in his book Three to Get Married that "A wife who had a young tree planted in her garden would not go out each night with a scissors and cut off each new branch that might grow upon the root. She knows it is normal for a tree to sprout branches..." But we want to control when the "branches" sprout. It's a "woman's right" to have that control of her body.
But look at how we live. We seek to control EVERYTHING...our jobs, our friends, our family members, our security, etc. How many times have we been WRONG in situations? ...we thought we had control of something and didn't OR it didn't go our way and actually turned out for the better? Daily life is a constant reminder that we aren't in control. Every day in front of fourth graders is a reminder I can't control life. Contraception, too, is an illusion...we're in control, but really, we're afraid of what sex is--what it could lead to.
I've heard on several news reports that what's at risk are women's rights: "If I can't control this part of my body, and my future, I'm doomed or I can't succeed in the world domineered by men." Christopher West again speaks directly to this in his same book, "Contraception is actually opposed to women's equality. It seeks to turn her into someone God didn't make her to be--that is, the kind of person who can have sex without getting pregnant--in order to be 'equal' (read 'the same as') men."
Sex and its openness to creating life are inseparable--that's the whole point. There is a 100% way to assure ourselves of not getting pregnant which is to not have sex.
But this requires another kind of control almost scarier than birth control--SELF-control. And not being married, I have no room to talk on this abstinence during marriage thing. I'm VERY sure it's falls into the category of "easier said than done." But, I could talk about not being married and wanting to have sex!!! :) In all seriousness, I do have the experience of withholding from something I wanted so badly I thought I couldn't make it, and I did! The happiness and freedom in that moment! That I didn't become slave to my passions/desires! Talk about my right as a woman! My right is to be truly free!
I know plenty of couples who are married without using contraception who inspire me to live in a way that reduces nothing of my truest womanhood. If you want more information on responsibly planning a family that is still open to life in every way, see http://nfpandmore.org/ or I can refer you to a friend who advises couples specifically on this!
In the end, our rights as women aren't realized by taking something that reduces the greatest gift that makes us women. It's time to live life without the brakes and see what beauty becomes of it.
*Reason for this specific blog post: I'm a 28 year old girl living in the humble state of Indiana...but through this blog, I guess I do have a little voice. Mother Teresa encouraged us to do our best with the little corner of the world we have, and this might very well be mine! I wanted to respond in some way to all the news I've been hearing lately and the attacks on the Church's views on human sexuality. I hope that people in our world can see the fullness of their humanity without reducing it in any kind of fear! To truly LIVE TO THE FULLEST has always been what this blog (and my life) is about.
**There is plenty of literature on this topic of contraception, specifically the reasons behind why the Church teaches what it does. You can find the books I've referenced, or find something on your own to answer your questions. Also, this site is pretty full of stuff to read! http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/catholic-teaching/
***More information on the latest government laws that would require all health care plans to provide funds for contraception:
Bishop Dolan's Address
(We run the risk of saying, "Well, the Catholics believe that, and it's okay for them, but I need this!" In the end, the Catholic Church promotes a universal truth whose fruit lies in its moral opposition to contraception--and its proposal of life is for all, not just those who take "Catholic" as their religious faith.)
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, but the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.