Birth Control—The Real Elephant in the Room, Part 1

Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect. Romans 12-2

Why is the Church teaching against contraception?

Why is the Church teaching against contraception?

Let’s be clear. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of any form of artificial birth control.

Contraception acts as an agent against human nature. It harms both a woman’s body and her psychological nature by treating God’s great gift of fertility as a defect to be corrected, thus harming relationships between men and women.

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI predicted that if contraception became widely available.

  • There would be a general lowering of morality.
  • There would be less respect for women.
  • There would be coercive control by governments over sexuality.
  • That we would start treating our bodies as machines.

Sound similar to the prophetic vision offered in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? Both of these texts are incredibly relevant to our times and to the issues surrounding the Church’s teachings on contraception.

Also relevant to this discussion is the recent #ThxBirthControl social media campaign aimed at shedding light on the negative effects of contraception. The campaign began on November 15th by an organization called Women Speak For Themselves.

Hormonal Birth Control (HBC)

Hormonal Birth Control (HBC)

The way the pill works is to trick a woman’s body into thinking that it is pregnant to prevent the release of eggs. In doing so, the women’s body is rendered infertile.

In an excellent talk on this subject “Contraception, Why Not?”, Janet Smith discusses several enlightening studies of the effects of HBC on men and women:

  • In one study researchers found that women are more attracted to men with scents that are very different from their own. This preference was lessened for women taking HBC. What does this mean? It means that it is natural for women to find future husbands that will result in children who are biologically diverse. However, contraception works to change our biology and the biology of our children.
  • Researchers have also found that contracepting females are less likely to choose an evolutionarily desirable male, defined as healthy, aggressive, and responsible. The researchers had contracepting females and non-contracepting females smell t-shirts that had been worn by these males, as well as by males who were unable to hold jobs. The females never met the males. Are you surprised to find out that the non-contracepting women were attracted to the evolutionarily desirable males, while the contracepting women chose the losers based solely on scent?
  • Studies have found that women who stop taking the pill are no longer attracted to the men they chose while their bodies were tricked into thinking they were pregnant. This may, in part, account for today’s high divorce rate.

Guys—this is for you too!

Guys—this is for you too!

If you are a male and are reading this blog post you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with me?” Believe me, it actually has a lot to do with you!

One of the unfortunate aspects of our culture is that many women these days are using HBC such as the pill. At any given time about 80 percent of Catholics are contracepting, leading many to conclude all Catholics have contracepted in some form at some time. This means that many of the women you come into contact with are likely using some form of HBC, even Catholics.

These days doctors prescribe HBC as if it is the miracle drug to combat all kinds of complaints. Unfortunately, the medical community is loath to accept scientifically-based fertility awareness methods (FAMs). Until that changes, men need to understand what they are up against.

Fertile women give off a smell called pheromones. These are chemical signals that are given off by the body. Pheromones subconsciously attract men to women when women are fertile. They’re part of God’s glorious plan to further the human race by encouraging men and women to procreate.

However, pheromones may trick men into thinking that plain women are more attractive, and that beautiful women are less attractive. Men produce more testosterone when they are around fertile women. Men are also more attracted to women when they are fertile, and women are more attracted to men when women are fertile. There have been several studies documenting these effects:

  • Men were asked to rate the attractiveness of pictures of supermodels. The researchers then placed something soaked in female fertile hormones in the same room with the men. The men then found pictures of average women to be more attractive than the models!
  • A study considering the effect of HBC on males found that male lemurs started spending less time with females after the females received doses of contraception.
  • In another study involving monkeys, males stopped having sex with females that were on HBC and chose other female monkeys to be sexual partners with. When all of the females in the tribe were on HBC the males stopped having sex with any of the females.
  • One study found that men gave more money to strippers when the women approached ovulation, and very little money if the strippers were on the pill.

Men need to be aware of these hidden signals they may be receiving. Consider the following questions to help you discern your knowledge of the effects of HBC in your life:

  • Are you being deceived by inaccurate hormonal information?
  • Are you reading a woman’s fertility signs correctly?
  • Has the person you are considering dating been contracepting?
  • If so, could this be skewing your compatibility?

Natural family planning (NFP) to the Rescue

Natural family planning (NFP) to the Rescue

Could the use of HBC be one of the reasons for the hyper-sexualization of our culture? Are infertile women more likely to dress immodestly to attract males? Could this information about HBC explain the fatherless homes, single-parent households, and the surge in the divorce rates?

I admit I don’t have answers to any of these questions, but I think Church is standing strong on its stance against contraception for very good reasons.

In my next post on this topic, we’ll talk about NFP as Holy Mother Church’s answer.