Catholic Church’s backwards logic

The feminist president of Chile helped to promote legislation that legalized the distribution of emergency contraception in her country. Reproductive freedom is very limited in Chile, where the age of sexual consent is 14 and 15% of all pregnancies are to girls under the age of 18. Access to EC is a big step in the right direction.

But here’s what the church had to say:

The influential Roman Catholic Church, however, has condemned distribution of the pill as a form of abortion that encourages promiscuity and intrudes on personal freedoms. In a statement, the national conference of bishops said the government’s actions are “reminiscent of public policies established in totalitarian regimes, by which the state aimed to regulate the intimate lives of its citizens.”

Wouldn’t limiting reproductive freedoms be more akin to regulating the intimate lives of citizens? Last I checked, giving women the widest variety of reproductive choices possible isn’t regulating their private lives; barring their access to contraception and throwing them in jail for having abortions sounds a little more regulatory to me.

Of course, it’s not only the church:

“When we are talking about girls between the ages of 14 and 18, parental consent is important,” said Senator Soledad Alvear, president of the Christian Democrats and Ms. Bachelet’s main rival for the alliance’s presidential nomination last year. “They can’t vote or drive a car or even buy cigarettes until they are 18,” she added.

Fair enough. But at 14, they can legally consent to sex — isn’t that a better standard by which to determine their ability to access contraceptives?

The concern about parental consent and totalitarian regimes seems a little misplaced in a country with an extremely high teen birth rate and laws which criminalize women for terminating pregnancies. One hallmark of totalitarian regimes is taking away freedom — not promoting reproductive rights. We’ve seen it everywhere from China to Rumania to Germany, and it’s the height of hypocrisy for the Church to shake its head at totalitarianism, and then support the exact policies that such regimes depend on.


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

10 comments for “Catholic Church’s backwards logic

  1. exangelena
    December 26, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    That is why I generally support higher age of consent laws (16+) – because basically if the law says it’s ok to have sex at X age, then it seems implicit that it’s also ok to have a baby at X (or maybe X+1) age. And in this country, you can’t drive in most states until 16, you can’t get a job until 16 or 18, you can’t apply for a credit card until 18, you’re generally expected to be in school until at least 16. In that article, if girls are considered too childish to vote, drive, smoke and take birth control – why are they deemed adult enough to have babies and expose themselves to STDs?

  2. December 26, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    Sounds like everybody’s favorite multi-trillion dollar religious institution is taking doublespeak lessons!

    Of course, spreading scientific misinformation to its African parishioners in the face of the AIDS epidemic is forgivable, but preventing a Holy Spirit-infused sperm from reaching its intended destination is gravely disturbing.

  3. December 27, 2006 at 6:41 am

    he influential Roman Catholic Church, however, has condemned distribution of the pill as a form of abortion that encourages promiscuity and intrudes on personal freedoms. In a statement, the national conference of bishops said the government’s actions are “reminiscent of public policies established in totalitarian regimes, by which the state aimed to regulate the intimate lives of its citizens.”

    I don’t get this at all. Surely no one is being forced to take the pill if they prefer not to? How is just making it available taking away anyone’s freedom or regulating their lives?

  4. Frumious B
    December 27, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Surely no one is being forced to take the pill if they prefer not to?

    Why yes, every female with a uterus has Plan B stuffed down her throat and her mouth held shut until she swallows. It’s a lot like pilling a cat or dog.

  5. December 27, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    I always love Catholics’ tortured theological arguments of freedom. It always sounds like a ridiculous nonsequitur when they whip out their “Freedom is obedience to God” nonsense in the middle of a secular debate about civil liberty.

    Sarah, you have to understand that the theological definition of “personal freedoms” has very little to do with personal freedoms and everything to do with what Catholics see as ‘fulfilling,’ namely praying and pumping out children. Because they think that unprotected sex is the zenith of bodily love, they also think that contraception is somehow limiting, and so they try to convince people that when they use protection, they’re actually hurting themselves and impinging on their own freedoms.

    Like I said, it’s pretty tortured logic.

  6. zuzu
    December 27, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    The concern about parental consent and totalitarian regimes seems a little misplaced in a country with an extremely high teen birth rate and laws which criminalize women for terminating pregnancies. One hallmark of totalitarian regimes is taking away freedom — not promoting reproductive rights. We’ve seen it everywhere from China to Rumania to Germany, and it’s the height of hypocrisy for the Church to shake its head at totalitarianism, and then support the exact policies that such regimes depend on.

    We’ve seen it in Chile, too.

    Methinks the average Chilean who lived through the Pinochet years has a pretty good idea of what a totalitarian regime is like. And it’s got nothing to do with making EC available.

    Considering that Michelle Bachelet was herself tortured by the Pinochet totalitarian regime, that statement just gets scummier and scummier the more I look at it.

  7. December 27, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    “When we are talking about girls between the ages of 14 and 18, parental consent is important,” said Senator Soledad Alvear, president of the Christian Democrats and Ms. Bachelet’s main rival for the alliance’s presidential nomination last year. “They can’t vote or drive a car or even buy cigarettes until they are 18,” she added.

    One would think that this argues the need for parental consent to have a baby much better than it argues the need for parental consent to take a pill.

    The influential Roman Catholic Church, however, has condemned distribution of the pill as a form of abortion that encourages promiscuity and intrudes on personal freedoms. In a statement, the national conference of bishops said the government’s actions are “reminiscent of public policies established in totalitarian regimes, by which the state aimed to regulate the intimate lives of its citizens.”

    What. Are. They. Smoking? The availability of something is somehow more intrusive to personal freedoms than the coersion caused by denial of it?

    *headdesk*

  8. evil fizz
    December 27, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    “When we are talking about girls between the ages of 14 and 18, parental consent is important,” said Senator Soledad Alvear, president of the Christian Democrats and Ms. Bachelet’s main rival for the alliance’s presidential nomination last year. “They can’t vote or drive a car or even buy cigarettes until they are 18,” she added.

    You know, they also can’t sign contracts, but clearly they should be entitled to make binding commitments for the next 18 years.

  9. Christopher
    December 27, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    The Catholic church is full of gargantuan idiots.

    That anybody takes these dipsticks seriously is… well, one of the best demonstrations of how religion harms people.

  10. kate
    December 27, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Oh the good ole catholic church, keeping the world backward and subjugated, as always, one country at a time.

    Isn’t it refreshing to see an institution that can stick to tradition for so long? After all, how many organizations can still pretend its 1322 AD and get taken seriously?

Comments are closed.