Until a couple of years ago, I was militantly pro-choice. When I heard people make anti-abortion statements, it filled me with a white-hot anger that I could barely contain. Behind my views was a buried but unspoken sense that there was something inherently unfair about being a woman, and abortion was a key to maintaining any semblance of a level playing field in the world.
My peers and I were taught not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. We absorbed through cultural osmosis the idea that every normal person will have sex at some point in his or her life, and that the sexual act, by default, has no significance outside the relationship between the two people involved. In this worldview, when an unexpected pregnancy came up, it was seen as a sort of betrayal by the woman’s body.
Later, after her conversion, she “started to see the catastrophic mistake our society had made when we started believing that the life-giving potential of the sexual act could be safely forgotten about as long as people used contraception. It would be like saying that guns could be used as toys as long as there were blanks in the chamber. Teaching people to use something with tremendous power nonchalantly, as a casual plaything, had set women up for disaster.”
Our society, she argues, as disconnected the once shared conditions for consideration of two questions: When it it acceptable to have sex and when is it acceptable to have a baby. She makes this comparison:
Conditions under which it is acceptable to have sex:
- -If you’re in a stable relationship
- -If you feel emotionally ready
- -If you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases
- -If you have access to contraception
Conditions under which it is acceptable to have a baby:
- -If you can afford it
- -If you’ve finished your education
- -If you feel emotionally ready to parent a child
- -If your partner would make a good parent
- -If you’re ready for all the lifestyle changes that would be involved with parenthood
As long as those two lists do not match, we will live in a culture where abortion is common and where women are at war with their own bodies.
This is just another example, to me, of the Church as captive to the culture. Most American modes of Christianity no longer speaks out against socially acceptable sexual sin (like “responsible” pre-marital sex, living together) and as homosexuality becomes more and more socially acceptable, they will gradually accept that, as the ELCA has most recently. As long as it’s committed and monogamous, it will fulfill the conditions under which it is OK to have sex. And, babies have nothing to do with it.