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The Two Lists: A Former Pro-Choice Atheist Reflects on Sex, Abortion and Anger
LifeSiteNews ^ | 1/28/10 | Jennifer Fulwiler

Posted on 01/28/2010 3:56:54 PM PST by wagglebee

January 28, 2010 (InsideCatholic.com) - Of all the things I remember about the Texas March for Life in Austin last January, the memory that stands out the most is the look on the faces of the counter-protesters who followed us along Congress Avenue and down to the capitol that frosty morning. When I glanced over to see the source of the epithets that were being screamed at us, I met the eyes of one young woman wearing a black bandana over the bottom half of her face. She happened to look over and meet my gaze, and in her eyes I saw one thing: hatred.
 
I was caught off guard when my gut response to her rage-filled glare was one of sympathy. In fact, I realized as she turned away to continue yelling angry pro-choice slogans that I knew the source of the rage behind her eyes and had even felt it recently.
 
Until a couple of years ago, I was militantly pro-choice. When I heard people make anti-abortion statements, it filled me with a white-hot anger that I could barely contain. Behind my views was a buried but unspoken sense that there was something inherently unfair about being a woman, and abortion was a key to maintaining any semblance of a level playing field in the world.
 
My peers and I were taught not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. We absorbed through cultural osmosis the idea that every normal person will have sex at some point in his or her life, and that the sexual act, by default, has no significance outside the relationship between the two people involved. In this worldview, when unexpected pregnancies came up, it was seen as a sort of betrayal by the woman's body. My friends and I lamented the awful position every woman was in: Unexpected pregnancies were like lightning strikes, and when one of these unpredictable events did occur, there were no good options for dealing with them. Abortion wasn't ideal -- even we acknowledged that it was a violating procedure that was hard on a woman's body -- but what choice did anyone have? To not have the option of terminating surprise pregnancies when they came up out of nowhere would mean being a slave to one's biology.
 
My staunch support of these views did not soften until a few years ago, when a religious conversion after a life of atheism led me to the Catholic Church. I began researching the ancient Judeo-Christian understanding of human sexuality, in which the sexual act is seen as being inextricably entwined with its potential for creating new human life. The more I considered this point of view, the more I questioned my long-held views. In fact, I started to see the catastrophic mistake our society had made when we started believing that the life-giving potential of the sexual act could be safely forgotten about as long as people use contraception. It would be like saying that guns could be used as toys as long as long as there are blanks in the chamber. Teaching people to use something with tremendous power nonchalantly, as a casual plaything, had set women up for disaster.
 
The gravity of this error became clear to me when I came across research that Time magazine published in 2007, citing data from the Guttmacher Institute that showed the most common reasons women have abortions. It immediately struck me that none of the factors on the list -- not feeling capable of parenting, not being able to afford a baby, not being in a relationship stable enough to raise a child -- were conditions that we encourage women to consider before engaging in sexual activity.
 
 
It was then that I could finally articulate the source of the anger I'd felt all these years. In every society, there are two critical lists: acceptable conditions for having a baby, and acceptable conditions for having sex. From time immemorial, the one thing that almost every society had in common is that their two lists matched up. It was only with the widespread acceptance of contraception in the middle of the 20th century, creating an upheaval in the public psyche in which sex and babies no longer went hand-in-hand, that the two lists began to diverge. And now, in 21st-century America, they look something like this:
 
Conditions under which it is acceptable to have sex:
 • If you're in a stable relationship
 • If you feel emotionally ready
 • If you're free of sexually transmitted diseases
 • If you have access to contraception

Conditions under which it is acceptable to have a baby:
 • If you can afford it
 • If you've finished your education
 • If you feel emotionally ready to parent a child
 • If your partner would make a good parent
 • If you're ready for all the lifestyle changes that would be involved with parenthood

As long as those two lists do not match, we will live in a culture where abortion is common and where women are at war with their own bodies.
 
Considering the disparity between the two lists made me begin to see the level of damage that contraception and the mentality it produces have done to women as individuals and as a group. I thought of the several friends whom I'd helped procure abortions, how each was scared and caught off guard, overwhelmed with a feeling of "I never signed up for a pregnancy," angry at a faceless enemy. They had followed all of society's rules, yet still ended up in a gut-wrenching position. We hated the anti-abortion zealots because we thought they tried to take away women's freedom; what we didn't understand is that women's freedom had already been taken, when society bought the lie that sex is primarily about bonding and pleasure, and that its life-giving potential is tangential and optional.
 
In an article published by the Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, John A. Ross estimates that a woman using contraception with a 1 percent risk of failure has a 70 percent chance of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy over the course of 10 years. Guttmacher also reports that more than half of women seeking abortions were using a contraceptive method when they got pregnant. As soon as we as a society accepted contraception, a large-scale game of Russian roulette began, with women and their unexpected children as the players with the guns to their heads.
 
Austin's March for Life was this past Saturday; I wonder if the girl with the black bandana was there again this year. I wish I could offer to buy her a cup of coffee and tell her that I think she's right to sense that something deeply unfair is afoot in our society, and that nothing less than women's freedom is at stake.

(Note: This article reprinted with permission from www.insidecatholic.com. Jennifer Fulwiler is the author of ConversionDiary.com, where she writes about her experiences with Catholicism after a life of atheism.)



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abortion; convert; epiphany; moralabsolutes; proaborts; prolife; spiritualjourney
e hated the anti-abortion zealots because we thought they tried to take away women's freedom; what we didn't understand is that women's freedom had already been taken, when society bought the lie that sex is primarily about bonding and pleasure, and that its life-giving potential is tangential and optional.

Perfectly stated!

1 posted on 01/28/2010 3:56:54 PM PST by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser

Pro-Life Ping


2 posted on 01/28/2010 3:57:36 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; 69ConvertibleFirebird; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or DirtyHarryY2K to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


3 posted on 01/28/2010 3:58:16 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee
that a woman using contraception with a 1 percent risk of failure has a 70 percent chance of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy over the course of 10 years. Guttmacher also reports that more than half of women seeking abortions were using a contraceptive method when they got pregnant.

Worth repeating

4 posted on 01/28/2010 4:03:08 PM PST by Tribune7 (I am Sam Alito)
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To: wagglebee
"In high school sex education class, we learned not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies" --Jennifer Fulwiler, from A Sexual Revolution

5 posted on 01/28/2010 4:05:35 PM PST by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: wagglebee

frank peretti covered this a decade ago in a novel entitled, “Prophet.”


6 posted on 01/28/2010 4:07:26 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (governance is not sovereignty [paraphrasing Bishop Fulton Sheen].)
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To: wagglebee

Well-stated.

My dad said his dad gave him one line’s worth of sex ed: If she’s good enough to sleep with she’s good enough to marry.

My dad married his high school sweetheart and (so far) has had 58 years of married life and 12 children with her. I don’t think it even occurred to him to separate sex, marriage, and having children. They were all one package, and so far the same has held true for all his children and grandchildren. He’s in a nursing home and can hardly think of his family without crying for joy at how blessed he’s been. When my Mom has to leave him there to go back home they kiss like they were still high school sweethearts; it tears her apart to not have him home.

That’s not the cheap stuff people fling around every day. That’s the real gold. I pray there will still be people with that kind of love, commitment, and understanding of God’s plan for my children to spend a life with.


7 posted on 01/28/2010 4:24:55 PM PST by butterdezillion
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To: butterdezillion

Thank you for sharing that beautiful story. I pray the same thing for my children daily. God bless you all!


8 posted on 01/28/2010 4:32:27 PM PST by daisy mae for the usa
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To: butterdezillion

Thanks for the excellent post!


9 posted on 01/28/2010 4:34:55 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: butterdezillion

Wow! Thank you for sharing. Your family is truly blessed to have such an example to follow. I’ve been married to my sweetheart for almost 19 years. I pray we have many, many more.


10 posted on 01/28/2010 4:56:15 PM PST by Millicent_Hornswaggle (Retired US Marine wife)
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To: butterdezillion

Beautiful story of your parents who have lived their lives in the kind of relationship that God intended a man and woman to share. Such love, stability, and commitment bless the generations to come and truly glorify God.


11 posted on 01/28/2010 5:00:46 PM PST by Faith (Natural born citizen and willing to prove it.)
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To: wagglebee

Sure is uplifting to read your good news threads!!!


12 posted on 01/28/2010 5:10:59 PM PST by little jeremiah (Asato Ma Sad Gamaya Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya)
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To: wagglebee

This is an excellent find. Thanks for posting.


13 posted on 01/28/2010 5:22:50 PM PST by constitutiongirl ("Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal."---Leo Tolstoy)
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle

We know we are greatly blessed. Things weren’t always a bed of roses, but God’s grace was always there to see us through and we definitely learned that He is faithful and can give us strength and love when we have none of our own left to give.

Our 18th anniversary is in June. I think I’m more deeply in love with him now than I’ve ever been. My two oldest sisters have lost their husbands. My oldest in a farm accident less than two months after they were married, both of them well into their 40’s. And my second-oldest sister just buried her husband in October after a 5-year battle with brain cancer. I can still hear him laughing when I think of him. He was a gracious, quiet, Godly man.

Our first child was stillborn at 42 weeks. We still don’t know what went wrong. Went in to have labor induced and she died during the monitoring. But ever since then we don’t say good-bye without also saying, “I love you”. Especially if we’re mad at each other. Life is truly such a gift. And such a miracle.

I really hurt for the people who haven’t yet learned how precious life and enduring, faithful love are. We have indeed been greatly blessed.


14 posted on 01/28/2010 5:28:47 PM PST by butterdezillion
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To: wagglebee

mark


15 posted on 01/28/2010 5:34:10 PM PST by Ladysmith ("A community organizer can't bitch when communities organize." Rush Limbaugh)
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To: wagglebee

mark


16 posted on 01/28/2010 5:37:52 PM PST by Ladysmith ("A community organizer can't bitch when communities organize." Rush Limbaugh)
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To: wagglebee; netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


17 posted on 01/29/2010 3:49:05 PM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: wagglebee

Conditions under which it is acceptable to have sex:
• If you’re in a stable relationship
• If you feel emotionally ready
• If you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases
• If you have access to contraception

________________________________

She’s cleaned this up a lot, unless “stable relationship” means “I know his name” and “emotionally ready” means “dead drunk.”


18 posted on 01/29/2010 4:30:10 PM PST by Tax-chick (Thou hast well drunken, man - who's the fool now?)
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To: SirKit

Pro-Life ping!


19 posted on 01/29/2010 7:50:08 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: the invisib1e hand

Have read two of Perretti’s novels. Gut-wrenching — and it is happening.


20 posted on 01/29/2010 8:02:28 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: wagglebee

Thanks for this. People who sincerely want the truth DO find it.


21 posted on 01/30/2010 6:18:26 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified Decartes))
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To: butterdezillion

Your father was right.I feel the same way myself.Something else that sickens me is that it is now acceptable to have kids out of wedlock. If she’s good enough to knock up she’s good enough to marry!


22 posted on 01/30/2010 10:13:06 AM PST by POWERSBOOTHEFAN (Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord,For His Name Alone Is Exaulted)
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