The Evils of Contraception?

With some of the recent discussion on the Catholic attitude towards contraception I have found myself reading more than I care to on the subject. I’ve never been against contraception and I don’t think I’ve ever been taught that it was wrong either, something I am pleased about.

In my reading of articles defending the Catholic position on contraception there is one word that has cropped up again and again. Evil. Contraception, it seems, has been called evil by everyone from ordained priests to enthusiastic bloggers. Evil is a very strong and emotive word and not at all appropriate to the use of contraception.

Evil is the wilful act of doing harm to someone or something with no empathy for the victim. Evil is flying planes into buildings and killing many hundreds of people. Evil is repeatedly subjecting young children to physical violence and worse. Evil is kidnapping and torturing people. Evil is many things and many people has done evil to others over the course of human history and if one was so inclined the list of evils done by man could be very long indeed.

However, one action that most certainly does not belong on that list is the use of contraception by consenting adults for the purposes of sexual pleasure. Disagree with what they do if you wish, call some of the acts sin if that seems appropriate, but evil it is not.

I can forgive misguided but well intentioned individuals calling it evil, but when a man of the cloth speaks out against contraception and calls it evil, then my heart sinks. This attitude displays a staggering inability to see context.

I am thankful that this peculiarity is not widespread throughout Christendom, however, the Catholic church is large enough and influential enough that it still has a major impact in less educated parts of the world.

Stepping further into the bizarre, I have seen contraception take the blame for the increase in STDs, single parent families and a general increase in casual bonking. Certainly easy access to contraception makes the latter very easy, and an increase in the latter will lead to an increase in the former two. The main reasons for these increases are the changes in social expectation. Single parents are not frowned upon in the way they once were, divorce is much easier to attain and is not stigmatised anymore. Single women who find themselves pregnant are not rushed into a quick marriage. Lets not forget that casual sex and openly sexual relationships between non married couples is now the norm.

There is so much social change over the past 50 years that anyone who tries to nail the sexually related ills of the world on contraception can only be blinkered by their own prejudices. Contraception is a product that has become popular due to increased demand for such a product. High contraception use is a symptom and result of greater demand for a reduction in the bonk / baby ratio. It is absolutely not the case that people suddenly found themselves with a glut of contraceptives and had to come up with ways to use them.