These past few days I’ve received and answered emails from the pregnant (or possibly pregnant) women in distress. I am struck by how deep the problem of abortion is. After conversations with numerous young women who are worried about a possible pregnancy, I am made so much more aware that the issue of abortion really stems from an over-sexualized, promiscuous society.
The answer to avoiding unwanted pregnancies at a young age is simple: abstinence. I know that option sounds horrifying and impossible to many young people, but it really is the only fool-proof solution to avoiding pregnancy when you are unprepared (please note that for older, married women, the situation is quite different…nonetheless in natural family planning, occasional abstinence and respect for the woman’s cycle are very important).
In talking to numerous pregnant women, I realize how difficult it is to advocate the pro-life message. Why? Because being pro-life begins with a mentality of sex as an act reserved for marriage. It also begins with an understanding that the sexual act should not be detached from procreation- though a child does not need to be desired in every sexual act, God makes it such that a child is always possible, and thus one must be willing to accept that possible outcome even if this is not what you want.
Another issue I find difficult to explain is the problem of contraception. Unfortunately, contraception heavily adds to a ‘pro-choice, children-destroy-your-life’ mentality. To make matters worse, contraception does not always work as intended. Sometimes, a woman on birth control pills may forget to take her pills, or the dose might not be strong enough for her body- so, what happens next? She continues on in ignorance until one day-surprise! She is pregnant.
I briefly want to cite a recent publication by the American Cancer Society which blatantly admits that use of oral contraceptives is a risk factor for breast cancer and cervical cancer. The Global Cancer Facts & Figures, 2nd edition states that “recent use of oral contraceptives” is a primary factor affecting breast cancer risk, whereas “long-term use of oral contraceptives” is associated with increased risk of cervical cancer. Hmmm…these are things to consider for all women using contraceptive pills or thinking about it.
In the end this post boils down to two important points: If you cannot envision having a child in the next year, perhaps you are not really ready for sexual relationships. On the other hand, if you are married, already have children, and are concerned about having another child, this may be a perfect time to learn to practice natural family planning. Work with your partner. These natural methods have been shown to work very well when used properly. And of course, understand that God may bless you with another child when you least expect it…that is part and parcel of engaging in life-giving acts!