The Real "Culture of Death": Anti-Contraception

[Content Note: Reproductive rights.]

A phrase that floats around conservative Christian circle, especially Catholic ones, is "culture of death," typically used to describe a world in which abortion and contraception are safe, legal, and readily available. I've long found the phrase a contemptibly Orwellian one; speaking as a person with endometriosis, I'm personally very aware that contraception and abortion save lives.

But it's becoming increasingly clear that not only is that true for individuals, it's true for the human population as a whole. Concerns about population growth seem so 1970s; surely we solved that somewhere around the same time we discovered that polyester didn't have to be double-knit, right? Turns out, not so much:
If birthrates stay where they are, the population is expected to reach 11 billion by midcentury — akin to adding three Chinas.

Under either forecast, scientists say, living conditions are likely to be bleak for much of humanity. Water, food and arable land will be more scarce, cities more crowded and hunger more widespread.

On a planet with 11 billion people, however, all those problems will be worse.

The outcome hinges on the cumulative decisions of hundreds of millions of young people around the globe.

The relentless growth in population might seem paradoxical given that the world's average birthrate has been slowly falling for decades. Humanity's numbers continue to climb because of what scientists call population momentum.

So many people are now in their prime reproductive years — the result of unchecked fertility in decades past, coupled with reduced child mortality — that even modest rates of childbearing yield huge increases.
However you look at the pictures, however you look at the math, it's clear that we are in trouble, and slowing population growth is part of the key to sustainabilty. It's a complex problem with many variables. But one thing that is clearly Not Helping: the anti-contraception, anti-choice movement:
In the U.S., contraception has become entangled in acrimonious battles over abortion, causing some environmental and humanitarian groups to retreat from family planning initiatives....In a notable success, lobbyist Steven W. Mosher helped persuade the administration of President George W. Bush to withhold $34 million to $40 million a year over seven years from the U.N. Population Fund, the largest international donor to family planning programs.

U.S. foreign health aid should be spent saving lives, "not preventing them coming into being," Mosher said in an interview. Like some others in the antiabortion movement, he considers many forms of contraception "chemical abortion" because they prevent embryos from implanting in the womb.
The article details the heartbreaking struggles of poor men and women around the globe trying to access contraception, their needs often unmet because of falling funding from the United States.

So forgive me if I respond bluntly when the "culture of death" is used to describe the allegedly God-offending act of heterosexual people having sex while using contraception. I really don't have time for pompous theological pontificating, and neither does the human race. Because not only is this bullshit killing individuals, it's killing the planet.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus