Earlier in the summer, I was vacationing at the beach with a dear family friend. As we lounged in the sunroom listening to waves break in the distance one early afternoon, she brought up her 16-year-old daughter, Sally. A few weeks’ prior, Sally and her boyfriend of three years (we’ll call him Mike) had broken up. Mike had just spent his first year away at college. Sally generally tells her mother (who is a bit of a gossip) very little, but her mother had gathered through Sally’s sisters that Mike had been unfaithful.
Sally’s mom expressed the situation to me as a “shame,” because a few weeks before the breakup, Sally had requested the birth-control pills that her mother had long touted as a possibility for each of her daughters. Now, between sips of pinot grigio, she hoped aloud that her daughter wouldn’t “go crazy” and sleep with too many people to make Mike jealous.
Since the breakup, Sally has begun making darker and more suggestive choices in fashion, makeup, and social media posting. She’s always been sassy, but her attitude has become detached and bitter with an air of rebellion. Even a casual observer would be able to detect a thinly veiled resentment toward her parents.
“It’ll probably just pass,” her mother says. “Same thing happened to me in high school.”
Growing up in the Deep South, most of my good friends (whose parents were Christians, Republicans, and leaders in the community) began taking “the pill” at 14 years old, no questions asked. Chelsea got a pimple? The pill will fix it. Tori has bad cramps? Take the pill. Julia can’t regulate her mood or appetite? Sounds like a job for the pill. Never mind that the pill can make you break out, worsen bodily pain and mood swings, and make you gain weight—and often did all of those things at once.
At some point, the pill became a rite of passage, an irrational tradition to which all upstanding WASPs adhered and one they perpetuated whether because of inertia or fear. The explanation was rarely that the pubescent girl was actually having sex—in fact, most didn’t start with that until years after beginning the pill. But the understanding was that eventually she would. And this little magic trick not only would insulate her from the adult consequences of her adult decisions, but, perhaps primarily, insulate her Baby Boomer parents from the social shaming a teen pregnancy would generate in their circles.
You know you’re a woman in American society when you are handed a tastefully designed compact dispenser of little white and blue pills that, as a panacea for all of your ailments, nullifies your natural function as a woman. You know you’re a woman in American society when people stop treating you like a girl and start treating you like a man. I don’t recall any such rite of passage for the boys in my life.
The issue of birth control cuts to the core of the diabolical disorientation of the family in the Western world. When your daughter, sister, wife, or girlfriend swallows that pill, not only does she ingest all the artificial hormones that increasingly are linked to breast cancer and strokes later in life, she ingests our society’s judgment of her worth. Whether she takes it with explicitly naughty plans like those of Sally, or for the diversionary purposes of my teenage peers a decade ago, she always absorbs all of the presuppositions that the pill represents. As the soul is more sensitive than the body, these presuppositions are what cause the most damage.
They deserve a good dismantling.
That Fertility Is an Illness
With the exception of the new transsexual mutilation procedures, fertility and pregnancy might be the only natural, healthy functions of the human body that are treated as illnesses by the medical community at large. If we were to compare the state of fertility to any other healthy capacity of the human body, and then consider how a doctor might cancel that healthy capacity according to patient preference, we begin to see what is certainly a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.
Imagine treating someone’s ability to run by cutting off their legs or giving them an immobility pill for the years during which they are at their physical peak. Imagine then still calling oneself a “healer” in light of this.
The original Hippocratic Oath reads:
. . . I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein . . .
Even if we, like the American Medical Association, dispense with the crystal clear pro-life promise at its core, the Hippocratic Oath’s primary “do no harm” principle stands firmly in opposition to the mass dispensation of birth control to women and girls.
Birth control is inherently harmful in that it disrupts something that is good and performing according to its nature: fertility in women. There are, of course, the long-term harmful and well-documented secondary health effects that come after years of taking the pill. But fundamentally, the pill cancels the primary, unique, and healthy function of the female body. By taking what is objectively good and terminating it, even temporarily, the pill is injurious and ultimately unjust by its very nature. For women, for whom fertility is the harbinger of their greatest power (child formation), a cancellation of fertility attacks their very essence and being. In essence, it changes a woman.
The pill is an affront to creation and an attack on the divine feminine. The materialists among us, having a retarded, antispiritual view of the human person, might accept that without any qualms. But the rest of us must not abide.
That Sex Is Merely a Matter of Science (and Science Rules)
The idea that fertility should be medicated comes from a more fundamental assumption that sex itself is a matter exclusively of science, and that a scientific view of the world, demystified of any objective, transcendent meaning, is the only valid worldview. By this way of thinking, the meaningful consequences of sex are limited to that which is measurable: the reproductive result.
When we regard it merely as a scientific matter, we anesthetize sex, scraping it clean of any emotional or spiritual bearing. The meaningful contributions of each participant in the act are limited to their sperm and egg cells. It becomes no different from any other animal act.
Science by its nature and by the scientific method atomizes the focus of its study. In order to understand things through science, we must break them apart and see them as sums of their parts—no more, no less. But when we start to view human beings this way, we lose sight of their essence. We lose sight of the whole,which is greater than the sum of its parts.
As such, a human being becomes as infinitely atomizable, malleable, and fungible as any one of his components. Of course, this is also the stance that the surgeons mutilating the genitals of people with gender dysphoria assume. A medical practice which views the human being as a whole person, one which would take the Hippocratic oath seriously, would not engage in such exploitation.
But this scientific worldview is mostly just a political cudgel—the same variety that the environmentalists take up for the sake of their cause. People do not actually live according to this trope that they spout. Most people act as if they believe that the human being is more than random bits and pieces thrown together. Most implicitly reject the scientific materialist worldview in their personal lives and would not deny that sexual contact is meaningful in a metaphysical way. But because we prefer to be free from judgment about that meaning, we prefer to pretend that there really is none. So at the regime level, this assumption becomes an organizing principle, and then it doesn’t matter how people approach the act individually. The new nihilism asserts itself and moves to infect who and whatever it can.
That Young People Are Incapable of Virtue
Boomers assume that because they were unable or unwilling to control their own urges and achieve for the sake of virtue, it is therefore beyond their children and grandchildren. This is projection from the generation that, in their teens, squandered the stable social systems into which they were born. These greedy self-adulators who robbed future generations of social capital and real capital by their risky behaviors and insatiable desire to be cool, cannot conceptualize that young people could be anything greater than the degenerate pleasure-seekers they once were and still aspire to be.
So rather than instructing Sally that her virginity was something to be cherished and reserved for the bonds of marriage, my friend, whom I love, operated on the assumption that virginity was something to be lost, helplessly, like a feather in the wind. When she handed her daughter the little brown bag of Lo Loestrin Fe, she handed her the keys to a door she never should have opened. But the priority for Sally’s mom wasn’t that Sally not go through that door; it was that Sally avoid the potentially embarrassing consequences of going through that door.
Ultimately, Sally can’t avoid the fact that she lost something important to her. But because her parents passively avoided a deep and difficult conversation about chastity, instead opting for a shallow and dishonest conversation about how to cheat fate, she does not have the language to understand where she went wrong. She lacks the wisdom to understand her pain. And this kind of pain, the pain of loss, makes women act out in ways that suggest they are searching for something to fill a void. Temporary comforts. Sally’s mother is right to worry.
The reason kids aren’t virtuous isn’t because they aren’t capable of virtue. It’s because they aren’t taught to be virtuous and aren’t expected to be—because the boomers assume they aren’t capable and resent it when they are.
Giving your daughter birth control because you believe she has no command over her behavior robs her of the opportunity to be strong. To annihilate the visible consequences of vice is to excuse vice, which is to arrest the spiritual development of young people. To arrest their development is to prevent them from knowing themselves, and to spark a vicious cycle of decadence and ignorance that may damage them for life.
That Babies, If Unwanted, Can and Should Be Avoided
This final presupposition, that unwanted babies should be avoided, is the most obvious conduit to abortion of them all. This belief system is encapsulated well by Abby Johnson’s term: “contraceptive mindset,” the precursor and a necessary companion to an infanticidal regime.
If one’s operating principle is that babies should be avoided when they are unwanted, then it’s not a far leap between preventing pregnancy and terminating pregnancy. The pill annihilates potential life. Abortion annihilates manifest life. So long as life is regarded as fundamentally optional in this way, abortion is never a bridge too far. There are no brakes.
And you’ll notice, abortion advocates talk about fetuses as if they were potential lives, not existing ones. They cover themselves with the language of contraception because it appeals to more people. It is a slippery slope. Deviants love to keep that slope lubricated.
“As long as you’re not killing anyone, be as sterile as you desire,” is not a sufficient political comeback to the abortion proposition. Abortion activists know this; they rely on the otherwise anti-abortion majority to remain bogged down by this contraceptive mentality, because that mentality forces them to compromise.
But this issue is one in which compromise is neither desirable nor possible. Moreover, to accept the terms of the contraceptive mentality is to concede that children are a net negative commodity. Birth control is an implicit attack on the beauty of life itself. By accepting the contraceptive mindset, one accepts the notion that reproduction is something less than a gift and a blessing. The acceptance of abortion logically follows.
Beyond the pill’s health effects (which are numerous) and its demographic results (which doom us), parents must begin to consider the demoralizing effects of internalizing the rejection of natural law. For many women, the pill is the gateway drug to Prozac. Many will cite a chemical imbalance as the sole reason for any mental health issue, but I suspect that the behaviors borne of trying to function in a consequence-free world have more to do with it.
Moms and Dads: You may avoid the economic and social inconvenience of an unexpected grandchild for those four short years of high school by succumbing to the siren song of the pill, but the doors you open for your daughter by doing so are far from morally neutral. They lead to paths well worn by the damned. Someone always pays the piper in the end.
The best you’ll get for your complacency is spiritual malaise. The worst you’ll get is a dead kid. If you love your daughter, stop giving her birth control.
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