Promiscuity requires abortion

Promiscuity requires abortion, and here is why. Consider what it means to raise a child. For the mother, this begins with bodily discomfort, sometimes extreme, some subtraction from her physical health and beauty, complete emotional involvement, and many sleepless nights to walk with a baby with colic or for simple breastfeeding. And that is just the first year. For the father, this implies a permanent commitment to the child's mother, sweat and hard work, sacrifice of sleep and time as well, constant attention to the child's character and education, and putting the child first, before friends or amusements. These commitments and sacrifices stretch to 25 years or more.

Now suppose someone gets drunk at a party and "hooks up" with someone afterwards in a hotel room, whose name he or she does not even know, shakes off the thing the next day, and then in a couple of weeks is told that, because of that event, he or she is now committed to making all of the sacrifices I just described.

We must all agree that this makes no sense. The effect does not match the cause. The context does not match the result. Something, therefore, has to give, and since, given bad habits and culture, it is very difficult to conclude immediately that the promiscuity is wrong and somehow needs to be "repented of" -- well then, it just "has to be the case," somehow, that abortion is an acceptable remedy -- either because there really is not a child yet (just a "clump of cells") and the incongruity can be stopped before it arises, or that a person has a "right" to define the universe as he wants (as Justice Kennedy asserted in Casey) and make this nonsense look like sense by negating that absurd commitment.

When A contradicts B, the contradiction may be addressed by either eliminating A or eliminating B. A 25-plus year commitment to another person contradicts the complete lack of commitment to this person shown in casual sex. Thus, if we hold onto the promiscuity, it is necessary to eliminate the child.

The MIT philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote an essay -- the most widely-read essay on abortion assigned, approvingly, at colleges -- where she argues that being pregnant is like waking up one morning and finding that you have been turned into a living dialysis machine, because during the night a stranger was hooked up to you month's long for kidney support: you'd be within your rights, she says, to disconnect the stranger, and similarly a pregnant woman is within her rights to "disconnect" the fetus.

Pro-life people have raised objections to the argument in vain. The unborn child is not a stranger, they say, but the mother's very son or daughter. That child is not merely "disconnected" from the mother but poisoned or dismembered. Except in cases of rape, they say, the woman gets pregnant as a result of her choice: the baby is not mysteriously inserted into her apart from her own actions. But these objections are all in vain if we presuppose, as a fundamental commitment, sexual promiscuity.

What Thompson and those who agree with her are especially loathe to grant is that the child is the result of the woman's choice. In a promiscuous culture, the first intuition to go is that sex is fundamentally a procreative act, that its very purpose is to beget children. If that is its purpose, then it is no more surprising that people who engage in sex should eventually get pregnant, despite their precautions, than that someone who builds a house under water might eventually face leaks.

But -- grasp this-- in a promiscuous culture it can look arbitrary that a child results from sex at all. One supposes, instead, that if people took reasonable precautions, like use a condom, then it would be perverse to hold them responsible if they conceive a child.

So, promiscuity requires abortion. And there is no mystery as to why the Supreme Court discovered a right to abortion about 10 years into the sexual revolution. Forget all the business about the "right to privacy," and so on, which is mere rationalization: freedom understood in that particular way makes no sense unless abortion makes sense.

I wish to place before you two implications. The first involves the culture of life. A Catholic's practice of the culture of life must go considerably deeper than opposition to abortion. It must extend to everything connected to the culture of promiscuity, which we should be adept to recognize now as one aspect taken by the culture of death. It must extend to the institutions we support, and to the media we watch for entertainment. For instance, if we would not watch a putative romantic comedy in which the romantic leads plot an abortion together, then we should similarly not watch a story which culminates in their hopping in bed. Supply in thought "abortion" whenever casual sex is celebrated in pictures or in song, and you will not be far from the mark. Be as much an enemy of the one as you are to the other.

A second involves the Catholic conception of social justice. If abortion is the primary violation of social justice in our society today, and if promiscuity makes abortion necessary, then it becomes an imperative of social justice to practice those virtues directly opposed to promiscuity, namely, modesty, chastity, and purity.

Michael Pakaluk is professor and chairman of philosophy at Ave Maria University and a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...