“So what’s the matter with contraception?” Lots of folks, including a good number of Catholics, have been asking that question since Kathleen Sebelius dropped the bomb that all employers, businesses, schools, hospitals, and charities would have to buy free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients for their employees under ObamaCare.
So what’s the big deal? Well, it’s a good question. For the theologically inclined, read the prophetic encyclical by Pope Paul VI, which got everybody mad when it came out in July 1968. Pope Paul predicted the social and family breakdown that would follow if humanity embraced sexual liberation as true freedom.
The Church’s teaching on contraception isn’t just for Catholics. It’s for everyone to consider or ignore, to embrace or to reject. It’s based not only on Revelation, but on natural law — what Thomas Jefferson called “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” in the Declaration of Independence. That is to say, defy these laws and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will no longer have any grounds for defense — no “higher law” — save the good will of a tyrant.
For those inclined to the social sciences, the work of Dr. Patrick Fagan is indispensable for the study of the impact of contraception on society, beginning with the black family, the primary target of the American Birth Control League (later to change its name to Planned Parenthood) back in the 1930s. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1964 report “The Negro Family” and its breakdown analyzed the consequences, attributing the crisis to a number of other factors. But the impact of contraception on illegitimacy and abortion, and their combined impact on family breakdown, and, ultimately, on crime, education, poverty, and the workplace should be closely studied before it is dismissed out of hand on the grounds of liberty.
This is, as Scripture says, a “hard teaching.” But it is the Church’s teaching, for good or ill, and that’s what the brouhaha is all about. Tough to follow? No doubt about it — but so are the Ten Commandments.12:34 pm on February 26, 2012 Email Christopher Manion