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Friday, July 25, 2008

Ending the Catholic Ban on Contraception

Catholic groups ask pope to end contraception ban

The Nonviolent Choice Directory is a nonsectarian service for people of all faiths and none. And so we defend the personal liberties of people who wish not to be sexually active or use contraceptives like we defend the liberties of those who do choose to engage in these practices. We also recognize that on many other fronts, the Catholic Church has been a real and welcome advocate for the oppressed.

That much said, we welcome the above news. The anticontraception stance of one of humanity's largest faiths has had profoundly negative consequences upon the human rights of life and bodily integrity. For one, how many abortions has it lead to?

4 comments:

Bill Samuel said...

The groups mentioned in the story are either pro-abortion or have no position on abortion. So this will not appear as a different view on being pro-life, but opposition to being pro-life at all.

Marysia said...

Bill,

Whatever the position on abortion of these groups, they are right on the mark about contraception. And groups like Catholics for a Free Choice do address the need for contraception as a means to reduce abortion.

Whether in intent and/or effect, the stance of these groups on contraception is one that will actually prevent/reduce abortions.

The contraception ban, on the other hand, does quite the opposite.

The letter to the Pope appears anti-prolife only because-- alas--contraception has been so conflated with abortion in so many minds on both "sides" of the abortion debate.

And there's something else going on here that is a real shame. As in "for shame." Among the 50 groups signing onto the letter, I do not recognize a *single* prolife organization.

Now, some of these groups I know for a fact to include prolife as well as prochoice members. And that's all for the good.

The shame lies in the fact that no prolife group as such signed on. Even though some 80% of prolifers (at least in the US) support contraception, and that number has got to include a lot of Catholics.

Many of whom faithfully, prayerfully practice contraception, in part as a means of avoiding what they call the "occasion of sin" to commit abortion.

Bill Samuel said...

There is one Pax Christi group, which nationally is officially pro-life, but this is a local group and some Pax Christi affiliates are openly pro-choice. I'm not sure of the Maine group.

The letter is written as a blast at the Catholic Church's primary explication of its pro-life stance. While the letter itself does not appear to take a stand on abortion, it will be viewed as an attack on the church's stand on abortion as well as contraception because of that and because of groups like Catholics for a Choice being among the signers - and apparently in fact the main organizer of the letter.

I don't see this effort as being helpful to a dialogue on contraception in the Catholic Church. Since it appears to be led by people who disagree with the Church on abortion, it will, I think, then to solidify the link between opposition to abortion and opposition to contraception.

Marysia said...

Bill, I am concerned too that the letter will be seen as evidence of that link.

And for that reason I have to wonder why the signatories are all evidently prochoice or abortion-neutral.

Either the sponsors did not think to reach out to Catholic prolifers who agree with them on contraception...as if such people did not exist, or were considered disposable, because they disagree on abortion.

And/or prolifers/prolife groups failed to stand up and be counted for this cause, despite its obvious value for abolishing abortion.

At the same time, it is valuable when people who identify as faithful members of the religion express their dissent on contraception. And for whatever reason, prolifers aren't exactly visible and audible on the forefront of this cause.

The Catholic, prolife feminist feminist theologian Sidney Callahan was standing up for women's right to contraception even before the Humanae Vitae encyclical banning contraception. But how many other Catholic prolifers have done this?

(With apologies to any Catholic, procontraception prolifers reading this...)