Pro Life Blogs posts a message from the No Room for Contraception Campaign, arguing that abortion will only be defeated if the pro-life movement persuades Americans that contraception is wrong:
Silence or timidity on contraception is not the answer either. In an effort to appeal to the broadest range of people (and donors), some organizations refuse to address contraception. In the long run this only serves to preserve the culture of death by providing a supply of unborn children whose very creation stems from the contraceptive mentality and/or contraceptive failure. (Though there have been some lone voices in the desert, the movement as a whole has not addressed the issue.)
Part of the failure to address contraception stems from the “put out the fire” mentality – unborn children scheduled to die today won’t benefit from anything else but direct intervention. There is a point to this mentality – firefighters don’t sit around talking about how to prevent fires while watching a house burn, instead they put out the fire. But where this mentality falls short is that firefighters do give fire prevention classes when they aren’t fighting fires. The movement can do both, albeit with greater emphasis on the more urgent problem of abortion.
If the pro-life movement doesn't want to keep fighting the abortion battle in the trenches, and losing countless lives despite their best efforts, then it has to address the contraceptive mentality that has captured the hearts and minds of our nation. Until it does, the movement will always be fighting fires while never addressing the reason why these fires started in the first place....
It's time for a shift in strategy, and it's time to address the harms of contraception. Will this be addressed this upcoming weekend at the many conferences taking place prior to the March for Life? Sadly, the answer appears to be "no"...
This push to make contraception the central issue is a disastrous distraction from saving the lives of unborn children. While the same anti-child attitude may motivate some people to use contraception and to support abortion, many abortion opponents believe that the use of contraception to space or delay children is valid, but they would never abort a child who was conceived despite their contraceptive efforts.
Americans are noticing the amazing 4-D images of children and baby animals in the womb. Ultrasound scans and ultrasound stethescopes in crisis pregnancy centers are saving babies' lives. The age of viability is getting earlier and earlier. People are beginning to understand that abortion always stops a beating heart, and are more open than ever to laws that restrict or end abortion. This is not the time to shift the focus from the humanity of the unborn to a side-topic that not all pro-lifers are agreed on.
In fact, I'd say that this suggested strategy change from the No Room for Contraception movement came straight from the pit of Hell. Pro-abortion groups will be able to tell donors and voters that they've been right all along about the motives of pro-lifers -- they don't really care about the unborn, they just want to control what you do with your spouse in the privacy of your bedroom. Millions of unborn babies will die as new restrictions on abortion are defeated in legislatures and at the polls.
I appreciate the sound words of Scott Klusendorf, who said this in response to a question at an abortion debate on a college campus: "I am not here tonight to argue against any birth-control that does not take the life of a baby once it has begun." A pro-life activist heard that and expressed disappointment in Klusendorf that he wasn't 100% pro-life.
Klusendorf says it's a tactical error to talk about non-abortive birth control in the context of the abortion debate:
Our focus must be: What is the unborn?
Remember: Pro-abortionists do not want to defend killing human fetuses. Rather, they want to talk about why you want to invade people's privacy by taking away their condoms. Too often, pro-lifers take the bait and pay a heavy price.
We don't have to. We can win if we stay focused on abortion.
At a National Abortion Federation conference in 1996, Kathryn Kohlbert cautioned delegates that if the debate over partial-birth abortion is about what happens to the fetus, her side will get "creamed." She urged those present to stick to the abstract: "If the debate is whether or not the fetus feels pain, we lose. If the debate in the public arena is what’s the effect of anesthesia [on the fetus], we'll lose. If the debate is on whether or not women ought to be entitled to late abortion, we will probably lose. But if the debate is on the circumstances of individual women, and how the government shouldn’t be making those decisions, then I think we can win these fights."
It's not hard to see why Kohlbert is worried. For the first time in 26 years, the debate is about the abortion act itself and what it does to the fetus. "When someone holds up a model of a six-month-old fetus and a pair of surgical scissors, we say 'choice' and we lose," writes abortion advocate Naomi Wolf.
These quotes from Naomi Wolf and Kathryn Kohlbert are critical. The abortions rights people are conceding their weakest point and we should listen. In short, they are terrified of defending the act of abortion itself. Why, then, do some pro-lifers insist on letting our opponents off the hook by discussing contraception and natural family planning instead of abortion?
Klusendorf goes on to say that there's not even a theological reason to link the two issues. Catholic opposition to artificial birth control stands on a separate philosophical basis than opposition to abortion. It goes back again to the inseparability, in Catholic thinking, of the procreative and unitive purposes of sexual intercourse.
Church teaching, following the thinking of Thomas Aquinas, states that sex within marriage is both unitive and procreative. These two aspects of sex cannot be separated without compromising the structure of marital love. Put simply, each act of marital sex must be open (in principle) to the possibility of children. Hence, NABC is not wrong because it leads to an "abortion mentality" (after all, millions of Protestant pro-life advocates use NABC, but would never consider abortion), but because it results in a structural break in the act of marital love.
I'm not here to debate the merits of Aquinas’s argument (other then to say I respect many who defend it), but to point out that it stands or falls apart from abortion. Therefore, I think pro-life advocates should keep the two issues separate. If pro-life Christians think NABC immoral, they can make that case without linking it to abortion. (After all, why not simply cite a great thinker like Aquinas?) And they should do it when the topic for the evening is something other than abortion, especially in secular forums.
And about that contraceptive mentality: Before we blame the modern availability of contraception for the attitude that children are disposible, consider ancient practices like the exposure of unwanted infants which long predate the invention of birth control.