1. Risk Compensation
Did you know that sunscreen users have a higher incidence of skin cancer than non-users? Crazy, right? It’s because of the general principle called Risk Compensation; that when you feel more secure you engage in riskier behavior. People using sunscreen spend more time in the sun, and thus get skin cancer, because no sunscreen is a guaranteed protection. The same is absolutely true of the use of artificial contraception. You think you can’t get AIDS, herpes or – God forbid – a baby, so you have sex more often, and in riskier situations. And, since no contraception totally prevents S.T.Ds or pregnancies, contraception users have higher rates of pregnancies, abortions, and S.T.Ds. Which is the reason why, when we ship condoms over to third-world countries, the HIV rate gets worse. C’mon guuuuys…
Simply put, a contracepting couple is more likely to get divorced than a couple using some form of natural family planning. This can be attributed to all sorts of reasons. An openness to creating new life helps bring couples closer together. Women on the pill can’t find a man they are compatible partners with. But whatever the reason, the data is in. Those that use only NFP have a less than 0.2% chance of divorce. Compare that to the national average of 50% and you’ll understand what I’m talking about here.
3. Bad Sex
I mean, really? You’d think this one would have been enough to put an end to it. Not to be too much of a hormonal 18 year old or anything, but it would’ve worked for me. The pill – and any other chemical contraceptive – makes women rather bored with the whole sex thing, and men less attracted to women. Condoms are just embarrassing everyone. Maybe if sex was awesome, our ridiculous divorce rate would be lower.
4. Being a Jerk to Women
You ever noticed that the burden of contraception is entirely on women? Unless a married couple is using condoms every night of their life, then the lady is on a hormonal contraceptive. And thus she gets to risk any one of the long list of side effects – blood clots, strokes, breast cancer, nausea, breast tenderness, fluid retention, weight gain, acne, breakthrough bleeding, missed periods, headaches, depression, anxiety, other mood changes, and lower sexual desire – while the man gets infertile sex. I guess she might be taking one for the team, but what team? And even if she isn’t on the pill, every other birth control device, besides the notoriously ineffective condom, seems to be aimed at women, saying, “it is you who presents a danger, a risk, a problem that needs solving, your fertility that needs to be suppressed, your life and schedule that must change.” Thus we have patches and rings and shots and metals on strings and goodness knows what else, a whole array of weapons that take away a woman’s fertility, and it is women that pay.
There. My five reasons. I know, I know, bring on the com-box controversy. If I had to give a sixth reason it’d be this: Contraception is the single most divisive issue in the Church today. It threatens the very foundations of Catholicism because it denies the authority of the Church, saying “Yes, Peter is the rock. And yes, the Church is inspired by the Holy Spirit. And yes, Her teachings are therefore true. Except this one.” Except contraception. Because this teaching is simply not practical. We are effectively saying, in our widespread acceptance of contraception, that the Holy Spirit has left the Church, or the Church never had it. Because if our Church can just “get-it-wrong”, what is our Church but a human institution? And if our Church is simply a human institution, then what is the Eucharist? What is Reconciliation? What is Holy Matrimony?
Luckily, there is hope. The teachings the Church gives us would usher in such freedom, if only we would let them. NFP is practical, it’s just that no one realizes it moved beyond its stereotype of the prairie-dress, Catholic woman with nine kids. Creighton – that doesn’t even refer to itself as a method of NFP, as it’s trying to shake that label – is more effective than artificial contraception, with no side-effects. It can be used as effectively as the pill and far more effectively than the condom. It can help women get rid of PMS, completely cure them of infertility, and address a whole range of medical problems that the pill merely covers up. (She’s having heavy periods? Well gosh darn it, are we not scientists? Let’s get rid of her periods! She’s cured!) It is completely researched, peer-reviewed, and scientific.
So that’s that. Let me end by saying that I truly believe the majority of couples using contraception are trying to love each other as best they can. There is no “you are evil, we are good BS”. But I do believe the modern view contraception needs another, more critical, look, from all of us.