Often missed is the link between the contraceptive mentality and the culture of death. It is only a materialist and physicalist view of humanity that can think along the lines of “contraception equals less unwanted pregnancies equals less abortions.” It works for math, but it does not work at the “human” level.
When Pope Paul VI penned Humanae Vitae, speaking, among other things, of how the use of contraceptives was the path to an increase in abortions, many mocked the idea. Aren’t abortions a method of ridding one of an unwanted child? Certainly, then, is not an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? If you prevent the seeds from being planted, are not there fewer weeds to pull?
It is sad, of course, that this line of thinking parallels the argument that contraception prevents abortions. We see the prevention of kids almost as we see the prevention of weeds. They are something to spoil the pretty little garden we’d like to create for ourselves. I dare to say that the Garden of Eden was more beautiful than anything we can create, and in God’s wisdom, His command was not “contracept” but “be fruitful and multiply.”
Of course, we are dealing here with the second level of abstraction. We are looking at math and measure, which is certainly appropriate with things of a purely material nature. However, when we get into the world of the human person, we err if we think we can, through modern reductionist tendencies, par the contraception/abortion mentality down to the purely materialistic.
We have therefore tried to put together an equation and neglected one of the factors. In this case, we forgot human nature, and we should not be surprised that the use of contraceptives has had rather a direct rather than inverse relationship with that of abortions.
It is written on the human heart to value life over matter; that the human is worth more than the inanimate object. But we watch an advertisement such as this Bayer Bayez commercial and see that, due to the contraceptive mentality, we clearly see a choice between the two as equal. Do I want a baby or a trip to Paris? (we could expand our topic by mentioning that most of the women in this commercial didn’t have on a wedding band, but we will leave that for another post)
In the Summa Theologica, I II Question 94 on the Natural Law, Article 6, St. Thomas tells us that
“There belong to the natural law… secondary precepts, [that] can be blotted out from the human heart, either by evil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessary conclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits, as among some men, theft, and even unnatural vices, as the Apostle states (Romans 1), were not esteemed sinful.”
Well, when the contraceptive mentality takes over an entire society and a generation is raised thinking it is normal, then “vicious customs and corrupt habits” cause the secondary precepts of the natural law to be blotted out of our hearts. And when this happens, we decide that we can “define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” (Planned Parenthood vs Casey).
The meaning becomes having what things we want. Things, as in diplomas, cars, human babies, trips to Paris; all particular, individual and equal choices, the decision left to the whim of the chooser. In fact, the choices that were once necessarily connected are disassociated. We no longer see marriage and pregnancy as likely cause and effect. In fact, we no longer see marriage and sex as necessary one to the other. We don’t even see “becoming pregnant” and “having a baby” as one thing that precedes the other. We can disconnect what God has joined. The law of Christ by His own words is “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.(Mark 10:9). And we, by the natural light of reason, can come to this conclusion on our own. Nevertheless, we have let technology, materialist reductionism, and vice decide that we can separate Marriage and Sexual Union, Sexual Union and Procreation, and therefore, we merely extend this to Procreation and the birth of a child.
The drastic increase in abortions in the very countries where there is a drastic increase in contraception has proven the mockers wrong. Pope Paul VI, therefore, was either a more intelligent anthropologist than his mockers, or he was a prophet. Let us not separate these two: I would venture to say he was both.