The importance of consequences.

There has been much to read in the news recently about pro-life efforts taking place in the US and around the world. One of the things that reading this news online provides is the opportunity to observe a bit of a ‘social barometer’ in reading the associated comments made by readers. Of course, the general leaning of the comments will depend on many things – where the article has been published, from where it has been linked etc… In any event, the comments themselves make for fascinating reading and provide interesting insight into why people believe the things that they do.

What struck me recently was that in the great majority of comments I read from the pro-choice side there was a seeming lack of understanding that sexual behavior would result in the possible outcome of pregnancy. Does this mean that I believe that those who favor abortion don’t understand the biomechanics of sexual behavior? No. I’m not saying that. But there seemed to be a lack of willingness to accept that actions have consequences.

The arguments presented repeatedly were based on the idea that one must┬áhave the right to abort their unborn child because it was their body etc… There are comments after comments about the Catholic Church being evil in its trying to control women and how dare they tell women they shouldn’t use artificial contraception. The list of arguments as to why women must have the right to do whatever they want must not be hindered by anyone.

What appeared to be missing in any of the logic provided was the basic and fundamental idea that if one is to engage in sexual activity, the possible outcome is the creation of a new life through pregnancy. Our fifth grade daughter’s class just had a four day session at school regarding ‘responsible social behavior’ and I know that schools across the United States offer these classes, so it would be hard to argue that women aren’t aware of this concept.

This isn’t an awareness issue, its an issue of whether or not we wish to accept, as a society, that our actions have consequences. We have given ourselves a false sense of security by believing that by using artificial birth control varying in effectiveness from 70% – 98% that we will be in that range of success and that the failure rates won’t apply to us. *We* are in control – or so we believe. As someone who practices Natural Family Planning, I tell people who question my sanity for that choice that the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP is 99% successful when practiced properly. I know, however, that the 99% is not 100% and that I could very well be the 1%. I am willing to accept that fact and understand that the only 100% method of birth control is abstinence.

Who are we kidding? Ourselves.

It has been reported that roughly 54% of women who seek abortions report that they were using some form of birth control at the time they conceived. The same study indicated that 46% were not using birth control – and of those, 33% thought they were at ‘low risk’ for pregnancy. So 54% believed that the ‘success rate’ of their method of birth control – though less than 100% actually was 100% for them.

Its as though we have forgotten or refused to believe that the 1% ‘failure’ rate of the most effective forms of birth control – or 30% ‘failure’ rate of some of the least effective forms – results in the ‘failure’ by producing a child. We have become so focused on numbers and statistics that we forget that the risk we take is the risk of of the gift of producing a new life.

At what point did we, as a society, lose sight of the consequences of our actions? Or, did we? We tell our children not to drink and drive because it might result in our getting in an accident and killing ourselves and/or others. We are even warning young people and even adults about the idea of driving just ‘slightly buzzed’. We tell our children not to do drugs because drugs alter our minds and result in lower productivity and that continued use may result in the possibility of addiction. In other words, we share with our children the consequences of a particular action. Why is it, then that we give our children the idea that sexual activity is okay and acceptable provided it is done ‘responsibly’ which involves the use of artificial contraception. Again, ‘responsibly’ doesn’t mean that its 100% fool-proof – and the ‘failure’ rate results in pregnancy.

In looking at the abstinence only success rates versus comprehensive sexual education I came across this quote:

Unlike smoking, which is always bad for you, sexual behavior is a basic human need which can be a positive experience — although it requires maturity and responsibility – Michael McGee, VP Education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America


The quote is absurd because it overlooks the idea that people smoke because it can be a ‘positive experience’ in how it makes you feel. The argument made by Mr. McGee is that ‘kids are already doing it so we better tell them how to be responsible about it’. Kids are already drinking underage and doing drugs too… so let’s just tell them its okay and hope that they are responsible about it? We all know how responsible the average 15 year old is right – especially when it comes to decisions that can vastly affect the direction of one’s life? I, too, was young once and recall that drinking and drugs are also ‘positive experiences’ for young people too. Sex isn’t ‘bad’ for you – he’s right. But he overlooks the most obvious and known consequence of all just as, it seems, the rest of society has in that intercourse was designed by nature to result in reproduction of the species.

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