Skip to comments.Reflections: Natural family planning vs sexism
Posted on 05/24/2002 1:08:28 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Reflections: Natural family planning vs sexism
By Lucy OConnell
The contraceptive mentality is inherently sexist. Its fundamental premise is that a womans fertility is a problem, not a privilege, and that women will only find liberation when they have obliterated from themselves an intrinsic part of themselves.
It is worth reminding ourselves that contraceptives are not medicine, because female fertility is not a disease.
The Pill, for instance, works by damaging a normal body, not by healing a damaged body.
Therefore, to promote the Pill as a positive, normal or necessary part of a womans life is to cast normal female fertility in the role of sickness, and self-induced sterility in the role of health.
This is an inversion of the truth which does not argue a respect for women.
The contraceptive attitude to the female body is this: every female body is fundamentally flawed, because it can have babies, and this gets in the way of a normal life, rather than being a part of normal life.
This is why teenagers learn that chastity is abnormal, and contraception is necessary because the female body is good for sex, but not so good when it comes to complications like babies.
Whats your life worth if you cant sleep with a man? The contraceptive mentality answers: Nothing.
It assumes that it is better to teach a girl how to damage her own body in the name of freedom than to teach a boy to be chaste.
The contraception industry feeds upon sexism, simply because men and women who love every aspect of the human body, including its creativity, dont buy contraceptives.
You cant sell a condom to a man who accepts a womans fertility or his own potential fatherhood enough to include that creative power in his sexual act.
You cant sell injections, jellies, or bits of wire and metal to women who are willing to wait for the man who loves the whole woman, including her capacity to bear his child.
In other words, no one who likes women the way they actually are uses contraceptives.
Natural family planning (NFP)* represents a positive alternative to contraception, rather than a dubious substitute for it.
NFP allows a couple to decide when they will have sex, so that neither the womans body, nor the sex act itself, is damaged by this decision.
Contraception, however, claims to allow us to decide when we will be fertile, which cannot, in fact, be done without a violence to the body or the marriage act.
NFP enables us to promote the healthy, chaste and natural womans body as a part of any relationship, rather than the damaged, contraceptive body as envisaged by the magnates of a sexist industry.
Similarly, NFP enables us to respect the creative power of the marriage act, rather than suggesting that we regret this power of our bodies.
One final point: those of us who are single or childless, and who find the contraceptive mentality repugnant, should not limit our attempts to reshape this mentality to education or protest.
As a part of a community called to bear one anothers burdens, it is important for us to make ourselves available to friends, family or neighbours with children who may be grateful for a helping hand.
A talk given or a speech made is helpful, but a nappy changed or a baby bathed is more helpful still.
Lucy OConnell, a recent graduate of Sydney University, is a member of the university chaplaincy team.
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