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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Article on Conversion from Pro-Choice Atheist to Pro-Life Catholic

The Jesuit weekly magazine America has a great article entitled "A Sexual Revolution," written by a woman who was a pro-choice atheist and became a pro-life Catholic. (Hhhmmmm, I guess the Jesuits aren't all bad.) I found the second half of the article which discusses the link between the "contraceptive mentality" and abortion to be particularly good. An excerpt:
I came to see that our culture's widespread use and acceptance of contraception meant that the "contraceptive mentality" toward sex was now the default attitude. As a society, we had come to take it for granted that we are entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex even when we are opposed to the new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies if we see children as a burden had been removed from our cultural lexicon. Even if it would be a huge crisis to become pregnant, we had a right to have sex anyway. If this were true - if it were morally acceptable for people to have sex even when they believed that a new baby could ruin their lives - then abortion, as I saw things, had to be O.K.

Ideally I would have taken an objective look at when human life begins and based my views on that alone, but the lie was just too tempting. I did not want to hear too much about heartbeats or souls or brain activity. Terminating pregnancies simply had to be acceptable, because carrying a baby to term and becoming a parent is a huge deal, and society had made it very clear that sex was not a huge deal. As long as I accepted the premise that engaging in sex with a contraceptive mentality was morally acceptable, I could not bring myself to consider that abortion might not be acceptable. It seemed inhumane to make women deal with life-altering consequences for an act that was not supposed to have life-altering consequences.

Given my background, the Catholic idea that we are always to treat the sexual act with awe and respect, so much so that we should simply abstain if we are opposed to its life-giving potential, was a revolutionary message. Being able to consider honestly when life begins, to open my heart and mind to the wonder and dignity of even the tiniest of my fellow human beings, was not fully possible for me until I understood the nature of the act that creates these little lives in the first place.
The author is answering questions about her article today and tomorrow at America's blog, which should also be interesting.

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