Monday, February 4, 2019

Contraception, and the problem of Natural Law

a reflection about contraception and the concept of "Natural Law": by Martina Nicholson MD. 
I love the theology of my faith, but I have borne with the doctrine about contraception for almost half a century, out of respect for the pastoral concern that marriages be meaningful and supported, and that the blessing of children be recognized as one of the most important gifts of a benevolent God. But lately, I am beginning to come to the opinion that we have to accept that God is infinitely creative and immensely provident, in the ways of Creation. I think that the concept of "Natural Law" on which this doctrine is built, is too narrowly understood. The plethora of ways to BE in nature show us that just like in every other field of medicine, this area of sex and relationships should be governed by our minds, our cooperative intelligence, and our understanding of how we as individuals, couples, and families fit into the society and world around us. We must accept and use modern medical technology for problem-solving, and for dealing with issues which are the everyday concerns in our world. I learned something important from watching the movie about RBG (ON THE BASIS OF SEX). We can hope for better solutions, and we must apply them, using the skill and intelligence of the age, and we should also notice when progress in civilization has occurred. We have had 50 years to see that contraception not only works, but it has beneficial side-effects, like lowering the rates of cancer of the uterus and ovary. We also have had that same amount of time to see whether these tools can be used to strengthen and help real families in forming good family lives. The data shows clearly that the answer is yes. So we need to accept this, and HELP more women to get access to medical technology and care, and also to be educated to use the talents and strengths each woman has been given. The data coming from the Netherlands help us see that young women can be wise and sensible, and that the prevention of unintended pregnancy is reasonable and possible if we use the medical technological expertise at our disposal. I have had a lot of experience in helping women through pregnancy, and through the process of raising children. I do not believe that contraception has destabilized marriage. The strains and stresses we see in marriages are most often about the needs of the family for decent wages, housing, pensions, healthcare and education. Emotional immaturity and various addictions are also a big factor in the breakups of marriages. Recently I read an article which spoke about the serious problem of young men spending huge amounts of time watching pornography, since it is so available in cyberspace. This also is a big factor in destabilizing relationships, by teaching young men to think of women as sex objects instead of creative and intelligent subjects and potential partners. Tonight I was watching the film about the life of John Adams. There was a moment when he had to decide where he believed the law was most truly embodied, and he courageously decided to become an American, instead of remaining a loyal subject of the English king. This also was a teaching moment for me.

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