Contraception and the Manipulation of Language

Individual Americans have enjoyed more personal freedom, individual rights, and collective liberty than most, if not all, other civilizations in history. Yet we are living in a time when freedom, rights, and liberty have been so thoroughly redefined and distorted that we struggle to communicate with each other. A faithful Catholic uses the same words as a secular progressive, but the meanings of the words we use are often different. We may as well be speaking a different language. Words like freedom, gender, identity, and healthcare are defined differently by progressives. Meanwhile, public relations firms and marketing professionals spend untold hours coming up with the perfect way to pitch the product and ideology of their client. Arguments are carefully framed to make sure all dissent sounds politically incorrect. The redefinitions are now being used to eliminate religious freedom, virtue, and the most basic building blocks of civilization: marriage and family.

Redefinitions have led to new laws regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, known as SOGI laws. Once adopted, SOGI laws are used to make public sacrifices out of dissenters such as Jack Phillips, Melissa and Aaron Klein, and Barronelle Stutzman. The intent is to send a warning to all who may dissent: comply or suffer the consequences. Brendan Eich suffered the consequences and he was not even dissenting; he was simply donating money to promote California’s constitutional amendment to define marriage as an institution in which one man is married to one woman. If the LGBT activists win the cases currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, it will take a century or more before the country can return to just laws. Many question whether the United States has another century.

Eich, Stutzman, Phillips, and the Kleins are the victims we know about. There are many anonymous victims as well. Their parents dress them in clothing which conflicts with their biological sex or give them hormone treatments to arrest their physical development, so they have time to decide which “gender” they want to be for the rest of their lives. We have victims of abortion as abortion workers laugh about the baby parts through which they sort, selecting which organs can be sold for scientific experimentation. Then there is the silent agony of the mothers who suffer deep regret for their abortions. How many people are ritually euthanized in their hospital beds in the name of economy and sympathy? Then there are our co-workers and colleagues who feel they must remain silent for fear of losing their jobs after Brendan Eich was publicly shamed into resigning.

How did things get so bad? There has always been a battle between good and evil, but just looking over the past 100 years in the United States, we can see a blueprint that comes right out of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and through the Frankfurt School of pre-WWII Germany. It was through these sources that came the “Long March,” which is Cultural Marxism’s way of overthrowing Western Civilization. Lenin’s style of Marxism required violence, oppression, and state-controlled propaganda. Gramsci’s Cultural Marxism simply required persistence, patience, and carefully manipulated definitions of existing words and phrases. Russia’s Marxism was a messy and violent process whereas the “Long March” of Cultural Marxism in America was accompanied by kind smiles, songs about sexual freedom, the aroma of marijuana, and the ringing of cash registers. We can blame those who introduced the Long March to the U.S., but in the end, we must simply accept the blame ourselves. We stood dumbfounded as Satan assaulted our culture and then our families, through six blatant attacks within the last 100 years. The first attack was artificial contraception, followed by no-fault divorce, abortion, hedonism and consumerism, same-sex “marriage,” and pornography. I do not think it is a coincidence that technology, from television to the internet to the smartphone, has played an increasingly significant role in these attacks.

Since this July we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, we’ll focus on the first attack: artificial contraception.

You may know Margaret Sanger as the founder of Planned Parenthood, the abortion powerhouse, but her initial focus was artificial contraception. Sanger traveled the world trying to sell birth control to anyone who would listen. However, as she was scheming for the legalization of oral contraception in the U.S. from the 1920s into the 1960s, she kept running into a scientific roadblock. At that time, the medical and scientific fields agreed that pregnancy (and therefore, life) began at fertilization. Fertilization happens when a sperm unites with the egg. At that point, the two become one. The new life is called a zygote, a.k.a. a fetus, a.k.a. a baby. It is at fertilization that the new life form receives its own DNA and the sex of the child is determined.

Medical and scientific professionals knew that oral contraception would not prevent the fertilization of the egg on many occasions. When the pill fails to prevent ovulation, it can prevent the fertilized egg (now a distinct human being) from implanting into the wall of the uterus and therefore, the human life dies. Until the late 1950s, doctors, scientists, and others knew that to legalize the pill was to legalize abortion. Because of this, whenever Sanger and her supporters would promote artificial contraception, knowledgeable people knew they were talking about an abortion pill, and they almost always rejected contraception.

All this began to change in the late 1950s when some medical professionals began to say that life begins at implantation. A new definition of conception was in the making. Implantation occurs approximately five to seven days after fertilization. By 1960, the FDA had approved an oral contraception, an effort largely funded by Margaret Sanger and her supporters. As usual, changes in culture happen in small increments, but the legalization of contraception for married women was to be one of the most significant increments in the cultural change of the United States. A little change in a definition made this possible.

The floodgates opened in 1965 through word games in the courtroom and the medical field. First, the U.S. Supreme Court entered its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, declaring birth control legal via prescription for married women. According to the Supreme Court, the right to birth control was found somewhere in the “penumbras” of the Bill of Rights. Are we to believe that the woman’s right to privacy was hiding in the shadows of the Bill of Rights for 184 years until five judges discovered it? The Supreme Court thought so. And if you wanted to advocate for the right to life, you were declared a nosy, foolish, religious fanatic who wanted to control women. Those words had a chilling effect on people who disagreed with the Supreme Court. Word games are not always fun.

Due to the Equal Protection Clause, the Griswold Court knew that by legalizing contraception for married women they were laying the foundation for legalization of contraception for all women. This occurred in 1972, in Eisenstadt v. Baird.

On the heels of the Griswold decision, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued a bulletin redefining the term “conception.” The bulletin stated that conception occurred upon “the implantation of a fertilized ovum,” instead of fertilization. One wonders if the projected revenue generated by the legalized pill had anything to do with the new definition.

Regardless of laws and definitions, reality tells us that artificial contraception does not always prevent fertilization and frequently results in full-term pregnancy. The Guttmacher Institute says that over 50 percent of women who have an abortion report using contraception during the month they became pregnant. The U.S. has approximately 1.5 million unplanned pregnancies per year in which the woman was using some form of artificial contraception. The Shriver Report says that approximately 43 percent of these women choose to abort their child. Many doctors and abortion advocates believe that the ultimate backup plan for failed contraception is induced abortion, not adoption.

Remember those silent victims of the LGBT craze I mentioned earlier? Contraception has many millions more silent victims each year: women diagnosed with blood clots, those who wonder if their infertility or cancer is related to their use of hormonal contraception, and all those five to seven-day old humans who have their own DNA and sex, but die due to their inability to implant in the uterine wall. Contraception’s failure to prevent fertilization can result in an abortion long before anyone knows about the pregnancy. Contraception, including IUD’sDepo-ProveraOrtho Evra, etc., commonly acts as an abortifacient (a drug or device which causes an abortion).

As of 2018, there have been over 60 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade. But this only counts the abortions we know about after implantation. How many millions, if not billions of abortions have taken place because the artificial contraception did not prevent fertilization? This is not an easy question to consider, due to the widespread use of the pill among Christians, including Catholics, sometimes prescribed by Catholic doctors and distributed by Catholic pharmacists.

Scientific knowledge didn’t change in 1965, nor did human biology. Advocates of contraception changed the way they talked about it, and doctors and judges simply changed their minds. America has had to cope with the change in the definitions and verbiage. Most of us coped by going along with the word game. We simply used artificial contraception without wondering if we were aborting our child. After all, intelligent doctors and unelected judges told us not to worry about it. If anything happens without our knowledge, it is as if it never happened.

As faithful Catholics, we need to be more knowledgeable about the history of the legalization of contraception and we need to recognize that artificial contraception is the largest killer of human life in the United States. We need to teach this to our children, and we need to help our contemporaries understand this as well. Regardless of the word games, reasonable people do not want to kill people, much less their own children.

Bob Sullivan

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Bob Sullivan and his wife Carmen are the parents of five daughters. They live in Hastings, Nebraska, where they attend St. Cecilia Catholic Church. When he’s not practicing law, Bob writes and speaks about faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. He writes a column for the Southern Nebraska Register and has had several articles appear in Catholic Answers Magazine. He blogs at www.bsullivan.org and www.thosecatholicmen.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@BobSullivan87) and Facebook (bob.sullivan.10004).

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