When I return from an eight hour flight (from Paris and Rome this time) I do not usually laugh until my metabolism has readjusted itself with the aid of eight hours rest. But I nearly did (laugh) on Sunday (December 2nd). I had plugged in the kettle just to welcome myself back when my eye fell on a photo of the Cardinal in the Sunday Star. The accompanying story said that a Unitarian Minister, Rev. Raible stated in a sermon that he agreed with the Cardinal in his teaching on abortion but challenged His Eminence to change his teaching on the matter of contraception! That’s enough to make anybody laugh. Even a cardinal cannot change the traditional teaching of his Church – taught by pope after pope for over eight hundred years – and even a Unitarian minister should know that! But the “amusing” part is that the minister believes that if there was more contraception there would be less abortion.
No doubt the Cardinal’s teaching on the wrongness of contraception – like the Pope’s and my own! – is based on moral principles. But what is morally wrong is always practically damaging to humanity so I prefer to take a quick look at what I may term the “obvious and practical damage” which this vice has done to society and particularly to women.
1978 report on contraceptives
In 1978 the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Canada produced a report on Oral Contraceptives which lists eleven “serious adverse reactions” which can befall the user of oral contraceptives. They include, high blood pressure, blood clots to the eyes, lungs, abdominal organs and brain; non-fatal and fatal blood clots to the heart, liver tumors, gall bladder diseases and fetal liver malformations (twice the usual population risk) following the use of the pill. The report says that the pill has aged women by damaging their systems and that coronary artery disease in young women is a recent phenomenon. Among the “less serious” results of the use of the pill, the report lists mental depression; changes in kidney function, etc.
At the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Physicians and surgeons of Canada, Dr. Jacques Genest, Director of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal said in his paper, “It must not be forgotten that the most widely used contraceptives, such as the Pill and intrauterine devices, act mostly by producing abortion at a very early stage and not by preventing conception as was first thought.” And Rev. Raible wants these contraceptives to be used to prevent abortions!!
The Danish experiment
What has happened in Denmark over the past quarter of a century could be told of every other country which has succumbed to the myth that universal contraception will lead to an earthly paradise. If man “lived on bread alone” Denmark would be the ideal country in which to dwell. It is the wealthiest nation on the Continent of Europe; it has almost no poverty; it has cradle to grave care for all its citizens and its per capita income is probably one of the highest in Europe. Pornography was legalized in 1967. Sex education was made compulsory in schools in 1970. The children are taught all about the use of contraceptives and where to obtain them free of charge. Abortion on demand was legalized in 1973. Apart from the abortion on demand bit, Denmark would appear to be Rev. Raible’s ideal of how a modern country should be administered from the sexual point of view. But let’s take a glance at the results. According to official reports, forceable rape was increased 300%, veneral disease under twenty years of age has increased 250%, illegitimate pregnancy has doubled, the divorce rate has doubled and abortions have increased 500%. Only two things have declined during the past twenty years or so. The first is their birth rate which is at an all time low; the other is the age of the first intercourse – with a frightening increase in cervical cancer among young girls.
Some years ago the Professor of Preventative Medicine at the University of Illinois made an intensive study of the causes of Cervical Cancer – cancer of the uterus. Here is a summary of his findings. There were two key factors that distinguished the cancer victims from the non-cancer victims. Those with cancer of the cervix had 1) engaged in early sex and 2) engaged in sex with many partners. He found that beginning to have sexual relations under the age of 17 triples the risk of cancer of the womb and beginning sex relations between the ages of 17 and 20 doubles the risk. The research found that in order to minimize the risk of cancer of the uterus, women should start having sex later and stay with one man – did we ever hear that before!
The cancer risk of early promiscuity, according to Dr. Eugene Diamond, Professor of Pediatrics at Loyola University, is universally accepted in medical circles, it is virtually incontrovertible. And if there is one thing that has encouraged and increased teen-age promiscuity it is surely the easy access to contraceptives. Dr. Robert Kissinger of Harvard Medical School, predicts that adolescent promiscuity will lead to a whole generation of infertile women. Reporting to the American College of Surgeons and Physicians a few years ago, this same doctor made a very humble statement. He said, “About ten years ago I declared that the pill would not lead to promiscuity. Well, I was wrong. Anyone who treats patients for infertility must be alarmed at the marked increase over the last five years of virulent gonorrhea with infection of the tubes, tubal adhesions and probably permanent infertility.”
When Pope Paul VI published his famous Encyclical, Humane Vitae, he probably became a member of the “top ten” most unpopular people in the world. Not only did the non-Catholic world castigate him but many of his own priests, theologians and lay people cast stones. One of the priests who opposed the Pope was Father Arthur McNally. In 1976, as Editor of the Sign Magazine, Fr. McNally wrote as follows, “An army of theologians, psychologists and sociologists raised a great cry. Pastors and priests (myself included) read their impassioned criticisms and, convinced by their professional credentials, many of us conclude that the Pope must be wrong. When I look back over what I have written about birth control and how I have handled it in the confessional and in counseling, I’m not very proud of my record.” He is just one of many who have realized how wrong they were but do not have either the humility or the courage to admit their error.
I would like to conclude by “humbly” suggesting that it is not Cardinal Carter but Rev. Raible who needs to change his views on contraception!