I don’t know about you all but as much as I love reality TV and reading way too much about people’s personal lives in magaiznes, I don’t actually want to know that much about anyone’s sex life. So I was interested in why so many different groups, Religious and political, have such strong opinions about the use of birth control. What makes these groups think that they should have sway in if people choose to use birth control? And really, why does anyone care what other people do in regards to birth control, really only people who really need to worry about it are the two people who are actually in the relationship. As I was thinking through these questions, I came to the conclusion that really differs depending on the group, as to why they have such strong feelings about the wide spread use of birth control.
Lets start with the The Black Nationalist Campaign against Birth Control. Their opposing to birth control actually makes a lot of since. As a group that has been extremely oppressed throughout American history, it makes complete since that they would be weary of the new Birth Control techniques that were coming out, like the pill. As we discussed in class, African Americans has been experiencing all kind of unwanted sterilization throughout history. The Tuskegee Experiments that we discussed in class are a perfect example of why these African Americans would be fearful, of any new “technology” that could reduce the amount of children people have, I don’t think it was unreasonable for them to assume that the pill would be used to oppression them. (If you don’t know about the Tuskegee Experiments I would suggest watching the video I hyperlinked, because it is a really significant moment of American history that we should all be aware of)
So I understand the The Black Nationalist Campaign against Birth Control view, but really interests me is the Catholic Church’s stance on this issue. In summery the Catholic Church believes that the purpose of sex is for reproduction, in the context of marriage. So if God wants you to have a baby, you will have a baby, and if he doesn’t then you won’t. Interestingly enough, I was discussing this very topic with my cousins last week and my fourteen year old cousin said “So God is their birth control?” which, essentially is how it is. But why do Catholics think this way? When I was reading Humanae Vitae I kept noticing the phrase “natural law” come up over and over again. I did a quick search through the article and found that the word “natural” appears over 2o times, so I am thinking that is the key to this. The idea I suppose is that artificial means of controlling reproduction, is just that, artificial aka not natural. This idea of “natural” get really interesting when it comes to other social issues. As you all probably know there is a big supreme court hearing is a big supreme court hearing going on in regards to prop 8 and other marriage equality issues, and if you have been on Facebook this week, you also have noticed that social media is all over this issue. Like everyone else, I have been reading all the things that both sides are posting, and what struck me was the amount of times that I have seen the word “natural” come up, on both sides. I am beginning to think that we as Americans have this idea that natural is good and that we should strive for that, of course the issue becomes that everyone kind of has a different idea of what “natural” is, thus lies the controversy.
The final group that I want to take a look at is not actually from the readings, rather, from a website that I stumbled upon a while ago, that deals with the issue of birth control. This organization, is called “1 flesh” and is geared toward college students, trying to convince them that using any kind contraception. Check out their website because it is super interesting in light of what we have been talking about. They aren’t officially affiliated with any religious group, but I will say that the way I found this website was from a Facebook friend who is very active in the Catholic Church. What I found to be the most interesting where some of their reasons for opposing contraception and birth control. They say that it decreases sexual pleasure (which is interesting because we read that the Catholic Church is not opposed to sexual pleasure for married people). They also claim that birth control is bad for our health, relationship and environment. Now looking through this website I must say some of their “facts” don’t seem all that plausible, but it IS interesting that this website and view point exists outside of a religious context. This website also talks about what “natural” sex is and isn’t.