Joe Scheidler explains the urgency of confronting contraception if the pro-life movement is ever to stop abortion once and for all [Photo by JDJ]
Following more than a year of preparation and consultation with national pro-life leaders the Pro-Life Action League hosted “Contraception Is Not the Answer,” a national pro-life conference dedicated to exposing the myth that artificial birth control is good for society and is the solution to reducing abortions. Eight outstanding speakers addressed the topic of contraception from a variety of perspectives.
Over two-hundred-fifty people attended the two-day conference September 22 and 23 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, IL. The League’s national director, Joe Scheidler, opened the conference by explaining the absolute necessity of addressing the root issue of contraception if we are to have any hope of eradicating abortion. Eric Scheidler, the League’s Communications Director, served as Master of Ceremonies, introducing each speaker and facilitating the question period after each presentation.
Chastity versus Contraceptive Sex Ed
Libby Macke [Photo by JDJ]
Even abortion advocates now readily admit that abortion is not a positive choice, but their solution is invariably more “comprehensive” sex ed and greater access to contraception. The fallacies of such an approach were demonstrated with solid statistical evidence by Libby Gray Macke, Executive Director of Project Reality. Macke showed how effective abstinence-only programs are for high school students, helping them make good choices and avoid the heartache and serious problems that accompany pre-marital sex.
Allan Carlson [Photo by JDJ]
Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center based in Rockford, IL gave a fascinating presentation on the traditional Protestant rejection of birth control and their twentieth century about-face. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin took seriously God’s commandment to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” Calvin wrote that this is the only command given by God that remained the same after the Fall.
“Luther saw procreation as the very essence of human life,” said Carlson. Luther objected so strongly to the idea of avoiding children that he also rejected the Catholic Church’s tradition of priestly celibacy, believing that ministers should marry and have large families as an example to their flock. Carlson is hopeful that the increasing emphasis on family values among Evangelical Protestants will lead to a rediscovery of the Luther’s sense of family.
Priest Calls for Conversion of Heart
In his travels throughout the world, Fr. Tom Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, has seen firsthand the insidious claims of family planning programs that children are the cause of poverty and misery. Organizations like Planned Parenthood International and Marie Stopes indoctrinate people in third world countries with the notion that they would prosper like the West if they just had fewer children—a thinly veiled eugenics program. Fr. Euteneuer displayed some of the leaflets and posters the population controllers use that depict larger families as unhappy and shabbily clothed, while small families are smiling and well dressed.
Fr. Euteneuer [Photo by JDJ]
The average Kenyan does not think there is any population problem, but the government does because it is offered huge sums of money from the UNFPA to cut its population. Kenya is twice the size of the United Kingdom, and it has half the population. But nobody says the UK is overpopulated.
Human Life International combats the anti-life programs of population control groups. “The damage of natural disasters can be healed with money, time, human labor and perseverance, but the damage of a devastating anti-human ideology can only be healed with conversion of heart,” said Fr. Euteneuer.
Contraception Is an Insult to Women
Dr. Janet Smith, a theology professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, has been a leader in the anti-contraception movement for over two decades, reaching millions with her famous talk, “Contraception, Why Not?” In her talk at the League’s conference entitled “Hormones ‘R’ Us,” Dr. Smith focused on the impact of chemical contraceptives on women’s bodies, minds and relationships. She stressed that a woman who is on a chemical contraceptive is in a state of pseudo-pregnancy and does not experiencing normal phases of fertility even though she is in a fertile stage of life.
Janet Smith [Photo by JDJ]
“Contraception has radically changed our understanding of sexuality,” said Dr. Smith. “Contraception leads us to believe that sex can be a momentary encounter, not a life-long commitment. It has brought about the concept of ‘accidental pregnancy.'” Because the artificial chemicals alter the natural balance of hormones in a woman’s body, they affect the way she relates to men. Studies show that men are not attracted to a contracepting woman in the same way they would be attracted to a fertile woman.
Dr. Smith tracked the multiple side effects of the pill that are routinely dismissed by medical professionals, but which the popular press is recognizing more and more. “I’m sure every woman wants a pill that will give her more headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, weight gain, increased irritability and propensity to depression,” said Dr. Smith. “There’s something wrong with this picture.” Smith concluded, “The contraceptive pill is an insult to women. It denies the gift of fertility and treats it as an inconvenience and a health condition to be treated.”
The Perfect Family
During the conference luncheon, Damon Clarke Owens, director of New Jersey NFP, spoke on “The Perfect Family: How Contraception Affects Marriage and the Home.” He testified to his own change of heart on abstinence before marriage and the importance of valuing parenthood. He emphasized that the marital embrace is meant to express the total gift of self on which marriage is founded, but that contraception turns that expression into a lie because the partners are unwilling to share their fertility—the self-gift is incomplete.
Damon Owens [Photo by JDJ]
A family that values children and values parenting has a far greater likelihood of long-term success. “The Perfect Family is the family that perfects the person,” said Owens, but “contraception is a mortal assault on the marital love of spouses, the dignity of the person and the family that draws its life from that marital love.” It does not allow for the perfection of the person, but denies the unity and wholeness of sex, marriage, love and children.
Andrew Pollard, a demographer from Northampton, England, presented an in-depth study of population trends in the United States, and explored the alarming depopulation of the U.S. and Western Europe. He zeroed in on the small town of Poultney, Vermont, “population 3,500 and falling,” and Orange County, California, where the birth rate has dropped radically. He called the phenomenon “societal suicide,” and said the sudden drop in the birth rate with the introduction of the birth control pill in the early ’60’s caused a “virtual tsunami”—fewer female children growing up and giving birth to fewer children.
Andrew Pollard [Photo by JDJ]
The effect on the economy is already being felt as fewer workers pay into the pension programs of an aging population. Pollard said the scientists and politicians who see what is happening feel helpless to reverse the trend. People have become accustomed to the one or two-child family or the childless marriage without considering what that means to the future of society. The efforts of European governments to offer financial incentives to women willing to have another child aren’t working.
Pollard reported that America is beginning to look like dying Europe. He said a fertility rate of 2.1 is required to maintain a constant population, but only the states of Arizona and Utah are above that rate, and population has been falling in eighteen states, including New York. The only demographic trend that keeps the U. S. population growing is immigration. Abortion accounts for a portion of the falling population, but contraception and sterilization are the biggest culprits. Pollard praised the League for having the courage to bring this issue to the forefront.
The Decline of Males
The most controversial speaker at the conference was Professor Lionel Tiger, who holds the Charles Darwin Chair of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Frankly admitting that he does not share our religious beliefs or our goal of ending abortion, he nonetheless observed that from an anthropological perspective contraception has had a serious impact on the behavior of men. He declared, “It is almost impossible to overestimate the impact of contraception on human arrangements.”
Lionel Tiger [Photo by JDJ]
Tiger discussed a monkey experiment described in his book, Decline of Males, which dramatized unexpected consequences contraceptives have on male-female relations. Nine female monkeys in an isolated population were injected in different groupings with Depo-Provera, while the effects on the only male monkey, named Austin, were charted. When Austin’s “harem” of three females was injected with the drug, he Austin shifted his attentions to two non-contracepted females, but returned to the original group when the drugs wore off. When all of the females were injected with the contraceptive, Austin became agitated and aggressive. Tiger severely criticized the FDA for approving various drugs with only a cursory examination of their impact.
According to Tiger, the contraceptive pill has given reproductive control almost exclusively to women and has done away with the societal pressure on men to “do the right thing” in case of an unplanned pregnancy. He pointed out that the pill came into wide use in 1963—a cheap, effective, trouble-free contraceptive. “And what happened? Ten years later, Roe v. Wade. The entire scenario has driven men outside of the family structure—avoiding taking responsibility for a child they did not want to have and are not quite sure is their own.”
Contracepted Sex Is “Dumb”
Jennifer Roback Morse [Photo by JDJ]
The conference closed with a talk by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up World. Morse explained that she lost faith in the feminist movement’s false promises about contraception when she discovered that nature did not take her orders and that she could not control every aspect of her life. Morse calls married sex “smart sex” because it creates a permanent bond of relationship. In contrast, she says, contracepted sex is “dumb.”
“The promise of perfect contraception makes the hook-up culture possible,” says Morse. “But the reality of imperfect contraception is what makes the divorce and abortion culture inevitable.” According to Morse the contraceptive ideology says that all adults are entitled to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting.
Morse showed how that mentality was evident in the U.S. Supreme Court’s contraception rulings in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972). In Baird the court called marriage “an association of two individuals, each with a separate intellectual and emotional make-up” and declared that the “right to privacy” includes “the decision whether to bear or beget a child,” laying the groundwork for Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
Conference M.C. Eric Scheidler shares with the audience a prominent article in the Chicago Tribune on the conference (see related story) [Photo by JDJ]
Conference CDs Available
“Contraception Is Not The Answer” was an overwhelming success. Many participants said it was the best conference they had ever attended. For those who were unable to attend, CDs of the presentations are available from LCE Media. Each talk is $7 and the complete boxed set of eight talks is $49, plus shipping. To obtain CDs visit the online order form, or call LCE Media at 800-693-3884.