Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

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Thousands of men are so filled with guilt and shame by their involvement with pornography, that it is keeping them from fulfilling their duty to stand up for the weak and vulnerable.

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What the heck does porn have to do with abortion? (Hint: Everything)

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

Every time I, a full-time pro-life activist, write about pornography, there seems to be a few dozen people waiting to eagerly ask me the question: What does pornography have to do with abortion?

One reason for that question, of course, is that people are much less comfortable discussing an issue that they have almost inevitably been affected by, whether they’ve struggled with porn themselves or they know someone who has.

With some of the latest polling data indicating that 64-68% of young adult men and about 18% of women use pornography at least once every single week, and an additional 17% of men and another 30% of women use pornography 1-2 times every month, porn use in our culture has reached saturation point.

It is much easier to condemn practices that we ourselves have not been complicit in.

But even if there were no connection between abortion and pornography whatsoever, I would still write about pornography and I would still give presentations warning against it. Pornography is rapidly poisoning and rewiring the minds of millions upon millions of men and women, leaving a path of destruction in its wake that has had an impact on nearly every single family.

Porn and abortion: dehumanizing

That being said, there is a very significant commonality between abortion and pornography: Both systematically dehumanize a group of people, in one case pre-born children, in the other women (and to a lesser extent men.) In both cases, injustices result.

In the case of abortion, we have the government-funded decapitation, dismemberment, and disembowelment of tiny human beings. In the case of pornography, we have a culture that is becoming addicted to - and aroused by - the most grotesque and savage violence against women.

Thousands of men are so filled with guilt and shame by their involvement with pornography, that it is keeping them from fulfilling their duty to stand up for the weak and vulnerable. It is difficult to stand up for women and children during the day while visually victimizing and objectifying them at night on the screens of their computers or cell phones.

While much discussion rages about “rape culture” on university campuses, we are for the most part ignoring a rape culture that is emanating from the glowing screens of laptops, iPads, and smartphones. Scenes of the darkest depravity—from gang rapes to women being systematically humiliated and degraded in the most vile fashions—are rapidly becoming the most popular porn content on the Internet, with one major porn producer noting, “the future of American porn is pain.”

I’ve had to write numerous articles proving the thesis that porn creates and fuels rape culture, simply because so many people resist that fact. People want to believe that porn is fantasy, and that fantasy can’t be an injustice—even if that fantasy is becoming increasingly dark.

Sociologist and porn researcher Dr. Gail Dines disagrees, positing that a quick overview of the Internet’s most popular porn (one of the post popular categories involves women being violently penetrated in various ways by three or more men at the same time, often with the women gagging uncontrollably) shows that today’s popular porn essentially constitutes hatred against women and girls and revels in their physical destruction and the savage amputation of their dignity.

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One former porn star, Tanya Burleson, originally known as Jersey Jaxin, revealed: “Guys are punching you in the face. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending. You’re viewed as an object — not as a human with a spirit. People do drugs because they can’t deal with the way they’re being treated.”

Or, as former porn producer Donny Pauling told me recently, “The things the girls do on porn sets—we watched their souls die.”

Pornography has in millions of cases reduced women to the level of objects. And if our porn culture increasingly sees women as sex objects, how easy is it to see their pre-born children as “clumps of cells”?

If by night tens of millions of men are dehumanizing women on their laptops and smartphones, how much easier does it become to dehumanize the offspring in their wombs? If we can objectify the women we can see, how simple does it become to objectify the pre-born children we can’t see?

'Recreational' sex

And it goes further. Even many prominent feminists are now admitting that porn changes the way men view women, and changes the way they view sex. Specifically, many men have such a pornified view of intercourse that they now have the expectation of non-procreative sex. They want “recreational” sex, but have forgotten they do not have “recreational organs” but reproductive organs.

In fact, Fox News reported this week that porn companies are going underground or fleeing Los Angeles after new laws demanded that porn stars use condoms on set to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Porn viewers, one producer admitted, made it clear that they had no desire to see condoms in their fantasies.

Real sex, however, often results in the creation of new human beings. Abortion serves our culture’s desire to keep sex in the realm of delusional, porn-fueled recreation, without the inconvenience of children to spoil the turn-on.

Some of you may think that I’m exaggerating—but I’ve talked to many guys at pro-life displays who talked about “accidentally knocking someone up” and revealing that they “didn’t know how the pregnancy happened,” as if engaging in the act of reproduction wasn’t their first clue.

How can we possibly think that dehumanizing women through pornography won’t have an impact on the way we view children, especially “inconvenient” children? Consider just a few of the psychological results of sustained porn use cited by the anti-porn group Covenant Eyes:

An increasing belief that monogamy is not the natural state.

An increasing cynicism concerning true, self-sacrificing marital love.

An increasing belief that marriage is not something to aspire to, but rather is sexually confining.

An increasing disdain for family and raising children.

It creates extensive psychological problems for men, including becoming more controlling, highly introverted, narcissistic, dissociative and distractible.

With over 80% of men viewing porn regularly, we’re surprised that men are increasingly likely to pressure or even coerce women to have abortions? When children are no longer gifts but rather the irritating consequences of what was intended to be a sterile interaction, we can expect nothing less.

Shame

I’ll close with one final point, one final connection I’ve seen between pornography and abortion. I’ve come to believe that thousands of men are so filled with guilt and shame by their involvement with pornography, that it is keeping them from fulfilling their duty to stand up for the weak and vulnerable. It is keeping them from whole-heartedly engaging in movements like the pro-life movement, because it is difficult to stand up for women and children during the day while visually victimizing and objectifying them at night on the screens of their computers or cell phones.

I’ve had men admit this to me—that their porn addiction was holding them back from involvement in a cause that they believed in, or even felt passionate about. Porn was not just hurting them, it was also hurting those they could have been helping,

Greg Forster noted of this trend ominously in First Things Magazine: “Pornography’s rise to power represents an eruption of evil in truly demonic proportions, as if hell itself were conducting a D-Day operation and had won a beachhead from which to stage a larger invasion.” Pornography is systematically castrating men by the millions, preventing them from speaking out.

But I want to end with something I told a young man who asked me a solemn question: “I’ve been addicted to porn for years, but I’m just getting free. Why would the pro-life movement want someone like me?”

The answer to that is simple. All of us have committed sexual sin in one way or another, and none of us is above the other. But it goes deeper than that. People who know how to root out evil and fight their own demons gain skills and virtues that will be invaluable in helping us fight the cultural demons let loose by the Sexual Revolution.

People who know the true cost of objectifying human beings and have fought to dispel it from their lives and build the virtue to go on without their addictions know firsthand why this fight is important. So the answer to whether the pro-life movement wants those who have battled pornography?

You’re exactly who we need.

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Jonathon Van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.