Peter Baklinski

Why the fight against abortion starts with opposing contraception

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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April 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life atheist from the Maritimes argued last week that the Catholic Church's teaching against contraception undermines its argument against abortion. But had he examined recent research on the matter as well as looked into the abortifacient mechanism built into mainstream contraceptives, he might have reached a different conclusion.

Jackson Doughart, a political theorist student at Queen’s University, wrote in the National Post on Wednesday that a “prohibition on contraceptives would doubtless result in many undesired pregnancies, and hence a greater number of candidates for abortion.”

The Catholic Church teaches that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of human life,” and thereby excludes “every action…to render procreation impossible”. The Church also teaches that a couple can naturally and morally postpone pregnancy by not having sex during the woman’s fertile period.

Doughart’s piece, titled The Vatican’s opposition to contraception undermines fight against abortion, was a response to a correspondent who had privately attempted to convince the atheist that the Church’s teaching against contraception “makes her position entirely consistent”. The correspondent, who held in high esteem Doughart’s secular defense for the right to life of the unborn, suggested that the defense could be tightened “if you found a way to reason to why [the unborn] face this plight in the first place”. 

In an attempt to shed light on the Church’s position, the unnamed correspondent wrote to Doughart: “Contraception closes the sexual act to the gift of life. Once a contracepting man and woman have allowed a contraceptive mentality to seep into them, they immediately view a newly created child as an inconvenience at best and as a hostile intruder at worst. For them, the only solution is to get rid of the baby through abortion. You see, contraception leads to the need for abortion.”

But Doughart called the claim “absurd” that “Sexual Act A, which is performed with contraception, is more likely to result in abortion than Sexual Act B, which is performed without.” 

Echoing the oft-used pro-contraception argument of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood Doughart concluded: “I don’t see how both a practicable and philosophically-defensible argument against contraception can be made by anyone who is genuinely interested in reducing abortion.” 

Abortion advocates link contraception to abortion

But adamant abortion advocates don’t agree with Doughart’s conclusion, pointing out that a link does indeed exist between contraception and demand for abortion. 

“Most abortions result from failed contraception,” admitted Joyce Arthur, founder and executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, earlier this year. 

Arthur’s statement parallels a prediction made in 1973 by Dr. Malcolm Potts, former medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, who said: “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.” 

What Arthur and Potts have perhaps unwittingly revealed is the massively lucrative ‘get rich quick’ scheme of the multi-billion dollar abortion industry: 1) encourage unrestricted sexual activity among young people, 2) promote the idea of “safe sex” without consequences especially through using contraception, 3) expect contraception to fail since every method, be it the condom, pill, intrauterine device, etc., has a startlingly dismal failure rate in real world usage, 4) provide abortions to women as a solution to their ‘unexpected problem’. 

Researchers have exposed this ingenious business plan of the abortion industry simply by following the money. They found that contraception is the gateway mechanism for increasing abortion. And abortion is where the profit is. 

Analysts have exposed the abortion-centered nature in the case of Planned Parenthood’s business model, finding in the organization’s own billion dollar financial reports that abortions account for more than half its income. 

Experts say contraception necessitates abortion

The United State’s highest court had no difficulty in seeing the causal link between contraception and abortion in a 1992 ruling that confirmed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that brought legal abortion to America. 

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court argued that in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception: “...for two decades of economic and social developments, [people] have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” 

What the Supreme Court pointed out is that in a contracepting society, abortion not only becomes a necessity, but it becomes the ultimate fail-safe method of birth control. In the mind of the court, contraception doesn’t lessen the need for abortion, but on the contrary, contraception precipitates abortion. 

One woman, writing at the pro-abortion website RHRealityCheck.com last year, expressed her bewilderment at the failure of her intrauterine device. Confirming the validity of what the Supreme Court said, she described the process that led her to “fix” the problem by having her baby aborted. 

“Something went wrong, but now there are steps to fix it,” wrote the woman who identified herself as NW. “Yes, I’m pregnant, but it’s a temporary state. I can see the day on the calendar when it won’t be true anymore.” 

“I go with Planned Parenthood,” writes NW. “I spend so much of my time defending them and giving money monthly, it seems only right to maintain my loyalty in my moment of need.” 

Dr. Dianne Irving, a bioethicist at Georgetown University and a former bench biochemist with the U.S. National Institute of Health, would have no trouble explaining NW’s series of choices that led to the demise of her growing baby. 

“Since it is ... a long-recognized and documented scientific fact that almost all so-called ‘contraceptives’ routinely fail at statistically significant rates resulting in ‘unplanned pregnancies’, is there any wonder that elective abortions are socially required in order to take care of such ‘accidents’?” Dr. Irving asked. 

“Thus abortion has become a ‘contraceptive’ in and of itself,” she said.

Dr. Janet Smith, a professor, author, and national speaker, agrees with Dr. Irving: "Contraception leads us to believe that sex can be a momentary encounter, not a life-long commitment. It has brought about the concept of 'accidental pregnancy.'" 

“The connection between contraception and abortion is primarily this: contraception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral characters that are likely to lead to abortion,” she wrote.  

Put differently, contraception radically changes the meaning and purpose of sex. Contraception turns the sexual act between a man and a woman that is biologically ordered towards the creation of a new life into a parody of the act, where a newly created life can suddenly be viewed as an uninvited and unwelcome guest. Abortion becomes the easy solution by which the parent permanently and violently disinvites the unwelcome guest. 

Sarah Nelson is one woman who discovered within her own heart that her acceptance of contraception instilled in her what she called a “spirit of abortion”. Sarah always considered herself to be pro-life, but she was also in favor of contraception. She had been raised among protestants who openly encouraged newly weds to contracept. 

“Rarely were children talked about in terms of ‘abundance and overflowing joy’, she said. Some of her mentors strongly suggested that couples should limit their family size “for the good of God”.

One day after praying for an end to abortion on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Sarah became aware of an anti-life mentality that had insidiously rooted itself deep within her. She saw that this mentality had prejudiced her against valuing new human life and that it was responsible for blocking her own desire one day to have children of her own. She realized that this mentality came from her uncritical acceptance of contraception. 

“I was not really open to having children, nor had I been encouraged to be so from my church leadership,” she said. “From this flowed the natural conclusion that contraception was fine. And if contraception was fine, then I could see how the logic worked that allowed abortion (God forbid) to be fine because it got rid of an ‘inconvenience,’” she said. 

“I was horrified as I suddenly and instantly knew the horrible truth: being closed to life through contraception actually leads to the reality and horror of abortion,” she said. 

Research suggests high contraception rates only increase abortion rates

Research backs up the causal link between contraception and abortion. 

A 2011 Spanish study found that as use of contraceptive methods increased in a sample of more than 2000 Spanish women (49.1% to 79.9%), the rate of abortion in the group doubled in the same period. 

The researchers were clearly puzzled by the findings of their 10-year study, calling it “interesting and paradoxical” that the large increase in elective abortions was associated with a remarkable increase in the number of women who used contraceptive methods. 

Research from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute showed in 2011 that a majority of abortions took place in America after contraception failure: “54 percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method [usually condom or the pill] during the month they became pregnant.”

The former Planned Parenthood associate also found that “[p]oor women’s high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having high — and increasing — rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned births (66 per 1,000).”

A 2012 Russian study found that while Russian women had the highest rate of contraceptive use when compared to surrounding countries, they also had the highest abortion rate. 

The researchers were clearly perplexed when they found “higher odds of modern contraception” led to a “higher level of abortion,” calling their findings “contradictory,” “unexpected,” and “paradoxical.”

Like the researchers in the Russian study, Swedish officials were baffled earlier this year by statistics showing a rise in the country’s abortion rate following the introduction of the abortifacient morning after pill. Despite sales in the pill having doubled between 2001 and 2012, the abortion rate approximately within the same period was seen to have increased from 18.4 to 20.9 per 1,000 women. 

“Our hope was that the pill would bring down the abortion rates,” said Catharina Zätterström, deputy chairwoman at the Swedish Association of Midwives. 

Mainstream contraceptives have killed millions

Doughart’s essential argument that contraception ought to make sense to “anyone who is genuinely interested in reducing abortion” appears logical at first glance, until it is pointed out that mainstream methods of contraception — such as the pill and IUD — act as an abortifacient to the newly created human being. In other words, contraceptive drugs destroy newly created human life in its zygote stage. 

The manufacturers of hormonal contraceptives write in their product monographs that if their product does not prevent ovulation, and if it does not sufficiently thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the ovum, then it ultimately changes the woman’s uterine wall to prevent implantation of a newly conceived human life. 

Experts call the death toll from hormonal contraceptives “staggering”. 

Dr. Bogomir Kuhar, a clinical and consultant pharmacist, estimated in 1996 that the total number of newly created human beings destroyed in the U.S. annually since 1973 by the use of oral contraceptives (the pill), contraceptive injections (Depo-Provera), contraceptive implants under the skin (Norplant), contraceptive devices inserted in the reproductive organs (IUD), ranged conservatively between 6.5 million and 11.6 million. Averaging this number and multiplying by the number of years between 1973 and now, a mind boggling 363.6 million newly created human beings have been aborted through the use of contraceptive drugs. 

Compared to the estimated 55 million abortions legally committed in the U.S. in the same time period, contraceptive drugs cause the destruction of more than 6 times the number of human beings. 

Professor Charles Rice, professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame Law School, called contraception the “defining evil of our time,” adding that its legitimization has inevitably lead to abortion and a host of other evils. 

In the final analysis, the strategy of promoting more contraceptive use to decrease abortion approaches the textbook definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. As research suggests, increasing contraception use to decrease abortion is like trying to extinguish a roaring conflagration with a liquid called gasoline. 

The real solution is suggested by the correspondent in Doughart’s piece, namely a “retooling of people’s minds”. Young people need to be educated about responsible sexual behavior. They must be educated to see marriage as the only appropriate context for sexual activity and that such activity is ordered to the union of the spouses and to the procreation of children. 

The notion of ‘accidental pregnancy’ that has been repeatedly pummeled into the minds of contraceptive users must be replaced by the notion that human life is a gift and that every person has something unique and unrepeatable to bring into the world. 

Only a titanic shift in the predominantly promiscuous and amoral attitudes and behaviors that characterize Western society’s understanding of sex will end the genocide of innocent human beings through abortion. Such a shift will not gain traction until contraception is recognized as a deadly cancer in human relationships and labeled as a great destroyer of peace. Anyone who is, as Doughart says, “genuinely interested in reducing abortion,” should not be afraid to trace a problem to its cause so as to find and implement a real and lasting solution. 

LifeSiteNews journalist Peter Baklinski has a B.A. in liberal arts and a masters in theology with a specialization on marriage and the family (STM). He is married to Erin. Together they have five children. 

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Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

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By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

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The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

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‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

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By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

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How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

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By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

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As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

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