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By Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB | Father Habiger, a monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kan., is a former Benedictine College theologian. He is widely known for his series on EWTN and his service as president of Human Life International. He is a fulltime member of the NFP Outreach team of priests.
The reach for women’s votes makes a linkage of women’ health with contraception and abortion. Really? How can any one say that women’s health depends upon easy access to contraception, sterilization and abortion?
These methods of birth control facilitate a life style of convenience and pleasure, in contrast to the values of commitment and treasuring the gift of human life. But are they health care?
The opposite of health is sickness. Is a healthy fertility now a disease? Tell that to an infertile woman, or couple, who anxiously want to have a baby. Contraception is the only interference that medicine makes with a perfectly normal human organ.
Good health means that our bodies function the way they were designed. This means that a male is always fertile after passing through puberty. For a woman it means 40 some yeas of fertility after achieving puberty, with cycles of fertility and infertility. It is healthy and natural to be fertile. It is unhealthy and unnatural to be sterilized and infertile.
A healthy body demands good care: regular exercise, good diet and sufficient sleep. All this requires some self-discipline and understanding how our bodies function.
Since our sexual organs enable us to pass life on to the next generation, we need to respect them and realize that sex and babies go together. If we dismiss this obvious connection, then we should not express surprise with the results: 45% of babies now born to single moms without the benefit of a supporting husband; increasing levels of uncommitted, recreational sex (promiscuity) with increased STDs.
We should see the connection between contraception and a devastating 50% divorce rate. Contraception always carries with it a holding back, reservations, and a refusal to make the total personal gift of self to one’s spouse.
We should see the obvious (yet often denied) connection between contraception and abortion. If there is no high regard for the results of sex, which is a new human life, which embodies a person, then abortion is simply used as a backup for failed contraception. We talk about greater inclusion within the safety net of our concern for others. Why then do we attempt to exclude the youngest, and most vulnerable members, from that safety net of our compassion?
Contraception is already easily available to anyone who wants it. Why should the government force people to pay for it in insurance policies when this violates their values in conscience? Why does a law student, like Sandra Flukes, who will be earning a 6-digit salary, demand to have free contraception in her insurance coverage?
Let us be transparent and accountable here. The loudest proponents of contraception, sterilization and abortion are the providers of these products, and who profit from them.
If we want to return to strong marriages, and healthy, happy families, and healthy sex, then we will rediscover the basics of good relationships and good health. Don’t women want a strong marriage, healthy families, respect and commitment? You won’t find it by equating women’s health with contraception.