Marriages today are in bad shape. What was once supposed to reflect the unending heavenly relationship between Jesus and the Church (Ephesians 5:32) now reflects the short hellish failed-relationship between two people whose children are so often caught in between.
If you were to examine a typical American person, you would discover the following pattern: this typical American lost his or her virginity in high school or most certainly in college. After having two or three sexual partners, he or she finds out after college that dates are harder to find. Finally, after finding someone and having regular sex once more, the two decide to move in with each other. After harassment from friends and realizing that they probably won’t find anyone better (or don’t feel like looking around again) the two decide to settle for each other and get married. This is what one moral theologian calls “sliding into marriage” as opposed to a courtship that leads to marriage. After some time the couple has children - some of which, if not all, were conceived “by accident” when their contraceptives failed. Afterwards the parents decide to get sterilized and one of them eventually commits adultery (often times with someone at work). The marriage then ends in divorce.
The above example sadly happens all the time. But what causes it?
A Stanford economics professor and demographer named Robert Michaels noticed that between 1960 and 1975, the divorce rate doubled. His studies showed that such a radical increase in divorce in such a short amount of time was due largely to the explosion of contraceptives during the same fifteen year period. Looking at the Catholics in America, in 1960 only 34% of Catholics were using contraceptives but by 1975 nearly 80% of Catholics were using contraceptives! But how is this connected to divorce? Michaels noticed that promiscuous sexual practices before marriage led to adultery in marriage and then divorce – but the increase in sexual promiscuity was caused by the “safety” of contraceptives. Just look at pregnancies outside of marriage: in 1960, 6% of US children were born out of wedlock; today 32% are born out of wedlock! That’s nearly six times what it was fifty years ago!
Perhaps some would argue that having babies outside of marriage is perfectly legitimate. Well, check out the statistics on poverty in relation to this matter. A child who lives with parents that have only been married once (to each other) is more than five times less likely to live in poverty than a child living with a single-mother. As a matter of fact, 68% of children living with a single unmarried parent live in poverty while around 40% of children living with a separated parent or unmarried parents cohabitating live in poverty! In other words, the best bet for raising children in a stable home is to bring that child into the world through a loving, lasting marriage. The problem is that only 28% of our children will experience this.
But let me restate the logic one more time: the explosion of contraceptives in the 1960s led to Americans acting in sexually promiscuous ways. This sexual promiscuity has led people into marriage unprepared for the commitment (and led a great many to adultery) and then eventually divorce.
But contraceptives have now also become the basis for our country’s toleration of abortion. In the case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, the Supreme Court said that: “In some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraceptives. For two decades of economic and social development’s people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that defined their views of themselves and their places in society in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” Thus abortion is defined as backup contraception.
The statistics show this as well. 81% of abortions in American are procured by women who are unmarried, divorced, separated, or widowed. The other 19% come largely from married women who have committed adultery, are getting in vitro fertilization (where several babies are made and all but one aborted), or are aborting children that have some sickness. What I’m saying here is that 81% of the women getting abortions are women that shouldn’t be engaging in acts that lead to having babies to begin with! But being that “abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraceptives” as the Supreme Court says, we must practice lust and not self-control. Contraceptives, however, sponsor the lust that drives babies to the abortionists.
Perhaps the most commonly used contraceptive today is the chemical contraceptive in patch or pill form. Many people are not aware of this, but the chemical contraceptive can do great damage to a woman’s body. The four most common complaints include: depression, irritability, weight gain, and reduced sex drive. Often times women taking the pill or patch are forced to take an anti-depressant that only helps kill a woman’s sex drive – thus the pill/patch with the anti-depressant makes a woman “free” to have sex but kills her sex drive and makes her feel like junk in the process!
But there’s more. Other side effects of the pill/patch include liver tumors, strokes, migraines, high blood pressure, and ovarian cysts and over 21 other potentially deadly side effects. When the chemical contraceptive was first tested, three women died! In a new patch released, seventeen women using it died of mysterious causes and lawsuits are on the way.
Dr. Janet Smith, a moral theologian, commented: “We live in a culture that is beginning to realize that it’s bad to put chemicals in the air and in the water supply and in the food, but we have women put it in their bodies day after day, month after month, year after year to stop something that is perfectly healthy.” This statement made me think of another oddity. The reproductive system is one of the body’s main systems – others, for example, being the circulatory system, skeletal system, and the endocrine system. No woman would ask her doctor to prevent one of these other systems from working but there is somehow nothing wrong with disabling her reproductive system! If anything, a doctor should only be able to use medicine in order to make the reproductive system work better, not worse! Contraception thus strikes me as anti-medicine!
There are, however, connections between contraceptives and the relationship between men and women (and men and men) that are played on a more instinctual level. Men and women are more attracted to each other when a woman is fertile (only a short period of the month) but the chemical contraceptive makes a woman infertile and this infertility can make men act bizarre. A Rutgers anthropologist professor named Lionel Tiger did a study on monkeys and contraceptives to see what relationship it could have to humans. He discovered that when the female monkeys mating with Austin, the dominant male of the group, were contracepting Austin began looking for new females! What’s more, when all the females began to use the contraceptive, the males began to act in “turbulent and confused” ways – they began to have sex with each other.
Another test was done by the professor in which successful “evolutionarily desirable” males and their failing “loser” counterpart males wore a t-shirt for a day. During that day the shirts soaked up pheromones released by the men. Afterwards the shirts were collected and contracepting and non-contracepting women were asked to judge which men were the best based off the smell of the shirt. Guess what? The contracepting women choose the losers! This partly because when a woman is pregnant her body is telling her to bond with the father of the child and not to look for other suitable men – but women using the chemical contraceptive have bodies that have been duped into thinking they are pregnant!
In the end, these tests thus seem to indicate a connection between the rise in homosexual behavior and event the rise in contracepting women wearing less and less in order to attract men who are “turbulent and confused” from the lack of fertile women in their presence. These men are more than likely to thus face addictions like masturbation and pornography (two addictions common with husbands whose wives use a chemical contraceptive).
I want to wrap this post up, but I don’t want the whole post to be simply about me being against something for, as a Catholic, I am very for that which is good and ordered to our relationship with God. Today the UN wants to spend $19 billion on contraceptives in third world countries. In India, however, for no cost 19,843 poverty-stricken, mostly illiterate Indian women had a pregnancy rate approaching zero because Mother Theresa’s nuns taught them Natural Family Planning – a program that is 100% natural, practically 100% effective, and absolutely free of charge. Think about the real medicine and health care that $19 billion could get the poor if we would just let people have non-contracepting natural marriages!
Natural Family Planning is not simply natural; it also sponsors the kind of communication between couples that marriage counselors dream of! When the couple is naturally drawn closer because of the woman’s fertility, the two have to sit down and discuss where their marriage is at and how having another child would affect them. In short, couples practicing Natural Family Planning have a seriously incredible relationship. Lastly, Natural Family Planning helps the couple in their relationship with God because they are conscious of the fact their union could bring about the creation of a new, immortal creature whose soul was created from nothing by God.
Of course, marriages are never an easy affair. But I would argue that couples that do not have sex before marriage, do not cohabitate with each other before marriage, and who do use Natural Family Planning during marriage will have a strong marriage that will last a lifetime. It will be the kind of marriage that can survive life’s many difficulties with the grace of God to see each challenge as a joy. As G.K. Chesterton wrote: “The fairy tales said that the prince and princess lived happily ever afterwards: and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other. [True] marriages are happy marriages; but there is no such thing as a contented marriage. The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis.”
Scripture tells us that Jesus, “for the sake of the joy that lay before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Contraceptives try to take the cross out of marriage but it only leaves us in slavery to sin and in the tomb of death without hope of the resurrection and the joy that follows.