a) Promoters of abortion have sold public opinion on the idea that prevention of abortion depends on contraception. But the habit of contraception engenders an abortion mentality: if the pill fails, one can easily turn to abortion to repair the "damage".
That fact is both recognized and entirely comprehensible. The contraceptive mentality, in effect, consists of totally separating, in human sexual relations, the unitive end, that is, the happiness of the spouses, and the procreative end, that is, the transmission of life. It results from the fact that, on the one hand, physical union is perceived as a good to be desired, and on the other, procreation is a risk to be avoided, or an evil to be ruled out.
The total separation of sexual union from fertility, through the use of contraception, is presented as the greatest victory of woman in search of liberation. Now we must take into account that contraception is of no interest unless it is totally certain. In the contraceptive mentality, this separation has to be as effective and certain as possible. Whence derive two consequences: first of all, the responsibility of sexual conduct and of its consequences - the transmission of life - is left to a technique; and secondly, in case of contraceptive failure, one turns to abortion to save the day.
b) However; the gravest fact that we must point out is that now, contraception is becoming more and more identified with abortion. Actually, many of the present pills have the ability to produce three distinct effects:
- The first is contraceptive: it prevents the fertilization of the ovum.
- The second is the effect of a barrier: by modifying the composition of the cervical mucus, the "contraceptive" substance prevents the spermatozoa from entering into the uterus and from there into the fallopian tube to meet the ovum.
- The third is anti-nesting (or "contragestive"): it induces a premature evacuation of the uterus, abortion.
The first two effects are preventive: they go to work beforehand by preventing contraception. The third is posterior, acting after the fact: it destroys the being conceived. But for evident physiological reasons only one of these effects is produced. Sometimes the pill acts a priori; sometimes it acts a posteriori. Either the conception has not taken place, and so the effect is preventive; or conception has taken place and the effect is antinidatory or "contragestive." In any case, we have no way of knowing exactly what takes place.
What results, from the moral point of view, is that the woman, not ever truly knowing what is going on within her, finds herself totally deprived of all moral responsibility, both as regards the fetus which she might have already conceived and as regards her spouse. Total effectiveness joined to the total ignorance in which she finds herself signals her total alienation: She is the object of a determined, ruthless chemical process.
c) In conclusion, one isn't logical when he asserts that he is for contraception and against abortion; since many of the drugs presented as contraceptive are also, if need be, abortifacient. It follows that, in order to get rid of the scourge of abortion, we must abandon contraception and promote the natural methods which favor responsible parenthood.
CBCP PASTORAL LETTER: "LOVE IS LIFE" (1990)