Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mommy, where do babies come from?

I'm sure many of us remember asking this question to our parents and every adult remembers the answer, "Well, honey, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much..." Why is that talk so often uncomfortable for parents? Because it means it's time to have the "sex talk." Ever since we were young we knew: sex is where babies come from.

So why, as a society, have we forgotten this simple fact? In the last 40 years we have gradually created a great divide between sex and babies. It has occurred from two angles. With contraception, we have convinced ourselves that there is no need for sex to ever result in babies unless we want it to. With artificial reproductive technology we have convinced ourselves that babies can be created in a laboratory if we so desire instead being the natural result of a sexual union.

I think this divide between sex and babies is one factor why abortion is so prevalent in our society. Women and men are told that if they use "protection", they will not get pregnant. They trust this, because even though they learned, perhaps years earlier, where babies come from, they believe in the "proven" methods of contraception. So what happens when that trust is betrayed? They end up with an "unintended" pregnancy and often end up at the abortion clinic. Many people believe that if we distribute more contraception we will have less unintended pregnancies and less abortions, but I wholeheartedly disagree. According to the Guttmacher Institute's Facts on Induced Abortion, January 2011, "Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method the month they became pregnant." That is more than half. If you live your life convinced that you are "protected" from becoming pregnant, but otherwise engaging in behavior that science has proven leads to pregnancy, it is not surprising that when you become pregnant it can be difficult to see that new life as anything other than an unwanted intrusion into your world.

I am not claiming that sex is only for procreation, simply that you cannot separate the two. Sex is very good at creating babies. Even oral contraceptives, for instance, do not only try to prevent conception, because if so they would have a much higher failure rate than they already do. According to the manufacturers, birth control pills work in three ways, the first two attempt to prevent conception (fertilization), but the third way actually prevents implantation after conception has already occurred. Basically, it prevents the uterine lining from building up so in case conception does occur, it causes a very early miscarriage of the pregnancy. Too early for anyone to know that they were ever pregnant.

We need to restore the connection between sex and babies. We need to remind people of what they learned when they were young. There would be no such thing as unintended pregnancies if we better understood our bodies and appreciated the wonderful gift from God that new life is.