Monday, February 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood Is Not Evil

recent tweet that I in turn retweeted got me flamed today, yet I thought the tweet made a valid point. I didn't think I had to provide my own commentary (which, given how talkative I am, could not be restricted to Twitter's 140 characters).

I blog about things that I have trouble accepting, because writing about such topics helps me figure out what I really think about a given issue. The more I think about Catholic doctrine and blog about them publicly, sometimes I find myself reconsidering some of my original (religious) beliefs; sometimes I realign myself with Catholic doctrine. After today, though, I have been goaded into actually supporting Planned Parenthood outright.

I haven't been teaching for very long, but I've been teaching teenagers and young adults long enough to recognize that merely (attempting to) teach abstinence by-and-large does not work. There are those who will abstain from premarital sex for a variety of reasons, including their religious beliefs, but most people won't. Instead of teaching that abstinence is the only way to avoid pregnancy, how about teaching other ways to prevent pregnancy? This includes teaching people about the various types of birth control.

The Catholic Church teaches that birth control should not be used, but this needs to be reconsidered too. I myself used the pill in the past, however, because I have a gynecological and endocrinological problem that would make having biological children impossible otherwise. (Not that I'm likely to be able to have my own children anyway, but goodness.) Medically legitimate reasons for using birth control are simply not discussed, nor to my mind even acknowledged. According to doctrine, I should not have taken those birth control pills, yet not doing so could have had led to other medical issues. These sorts of things are rarely a black-or-white issue; there are often other things to consider.

When it comes down to it, I recognize that there valid reasons to avoid a pregnancy even by those who would very much like a family later, and that one way to properly plan for a family such that children can be properly cared for and loved is by the use of birth control. More birth control = fewer unplanned/unwanted pregnancies = fewer abortions and/or children and families placed in impossibly difficult positions.

Today I severely pruned the list of folks I follow on Twitter and FaceBook, and made my Twitter account private, because one person has tried to browbeat various Catholic doctrinal points over the course of the past few days. I have tried to make it clear that my blogging openly about various issues with which I disagree is the best way for me to work my way through these issues (in teaching, we call it "writing to learn"); instead, I have been lambasted, had doctrine shoved down my throat, had it implied that as a Catholic I must agree with every single doctrinal point, and told that I should not be blogging publicly about any issue as such.

It is not that I would not care to discuss these issues; I don't mind being criticized; I don't even mind being told that I am wrong: It is that I do not wish to be harangued. I would gladly try to explain my points of view to those who would like to have a conversation about it; instead, I find that I can only be on the receiving end of some strong beliefs.

The ironic thing is, I still equate abortion with murder; I still think it should be illegal. But I also recognize the dangers in making abortion illegal, and I see that more harm than good could come from its illegality. I dislike pushing my religious beliefs on others; I have a strong aversion to having it done to me. 

1 comment:

  1. I understand and that is a doctrine that I have a difficult time with right now as well. When I first joined the church, I wasn't dating and had no prospects. Abstinence and birth control or lack thereof, was not a problem. Now I have a prospect. I'm 41 and he is 52 and neither of us really want to start over having more children. My son is in college and his three daughters are grown. While in general I agree with the church's teachings, life changes make it more difficult. Working in a school where a large number of girls are pregnant (and it is a heavily Catholic community), I think perhaps birth control should be revisited.