This article has been out for a few weeks now, but I thought it was worth sharing. The National Catholic Register posts a fascinating and insightful piece by Jennifer Fulwiler, a former staunch pro-choicer and atheist who came to accept Christ and eventually take a pro-life stance. She documents at length the views she originally held and her slow change – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – from her original convictions to her new beliefs.
There are many great segments, but as a life-long pro-lifer, I found her explanations to be a great insight into the mind of a, perhaps, average pro-choice advocate. It is easy to demonize the other side of any debate, and I believe pro-choicers are advancing truly horrific arguments, but I don’t think all of them have thought through the implications of their statements very well. You see an increasing thoughtfulness at work in Ms. Fulwiler’s life through the course of this article.
Of particular note is the difference between her former and current view of sex. From the article (click here to read the whole piece):
Sex could not have been more disconnected from the concept of creating life.
The message I’d heard loud and clear was that the purpose of sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten about altogether. This mindset laid the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being closed to the possibility to life by default, I thought of pregnancies that weren’t planned as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street: Something totally unpredictable, undeserved, that happened to people living normal lives.
For me, and for many others I knew, being pro-choice was actually motivated out of love: I didn’t want women to have to suffer with these unwanted pregnancies that were so totally out of their control. Because it was an inherent part of my worldview that everyone except people with hang-ups eventually has sex, and that sex is, under normal circumstances, only about the relationship between the two people involved, I got lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: To dehumanize the enemy. Babies had become the enemy because of their tendencies to pop up out of the blue and ruin everything; and just as societies are tempted to dehumanize the fellow human beings who are on the other side of the lines in wartime, so had I, and we as a society, dehumanized the enemy of sex.
I don’t share Ms. Fulwiler apparent views on all forms of contraception, but I do appreciate the broader sentiment at work here. Particularly a few paragraphs later, when she says:
I came to see that our culture’s widespread use and acceptance of contraception had led to this mentality toward sex being the default position. As a society, we’d come to take it for granted that we’re entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex — even when we’re in a state of being vehemently opposed to any new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies when we feel like we’d be unable to care for a baby had been removed from the cultural lexicon. Even if it would be a huge crisis to get pregnant, you have a right to have sex anyway, the cultural wisdom whispered.
If this were true — if it was indeed morally okay for people to have sex even when they felt that a baby would ruin their lives — then, in my mind, abortion had to be okay.
This view that we are all entitled to sex as some kind of human right outside of any broader responsibilities or entanglements (marriage, children, etc.) has done our society great harm. And I think the influence of this new cultural dogma on Fulwiler is probably commonplace in the pro-choice crowd. It’s an important dimension of the debate–a difference in presupposition that must be understood for conversations between individual pro-lifers and pro-choicers to make any progress. Please do take five minutes and read her article – it is excellent.
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