'Condoms everywhere': A look at contraception

In light of National Family Planning Awareness Week, a look at the state of contraception in America. Photo: Bryan Calabro - PicA partially opened package of birth control pills Photo by Bryan Calabro

FORT SMITH, Ark., July 26, 2013 ― This year’s Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week, a week-long celebration of the usefulness and proven reliability of NFP, is near its end. In light of it, now is a great time to reflect on the state of contraception in America.

Anyone who walks into a Department of Health health unit in Arkansas will quickly observe condoms in bins strewn over the receptionist counters. This might offend some people. The Fort Smith health unit and the state office were both contacted about the subject.

SEE RELATED: Does free contraception for all really improve society?

A state-level supervisor — who was only reached after multiple call transfers — did not divulge much information about the program and was reluctant to discuss it. At one point, after being asked about the method of distribution and whether or not she thinks it is a good idea, she blurted out, “Yes. We actually encourage that.” When pressed for clarification, she declined and promised to have a manager supply further information. No such information was ever provided.

The administrator of the individual health unit was more informative. He revealed that there is no law mandating the disbursement of condoms at reception desks. This means that the DOH, entirely on its own initiative and apparently without any sort of official citizen advisement, has simply decided to regularly budget taxpayer funds for them.

Another DOH source expressed his private concerns, saying, “It’s supposed to help combat STD infections, but it has been linked to what is called ‘risk compensation,’ which is basically the idea that, the more safe people feel, the more they put themselves at risk to compensate for it. The policy might actually be making things worse, though we can’t be sure about that. I, personally, think that we need to be careful to not have condoms everywhere.”

With that in mind, is contraception really the answer to the epidemic of sexually-transmitted diseases? Recently, the Democratic Party of Sebastian County hosted two ladies who think that it is. One of the speakers, when just gently pressed by the friendly audience about her work, quickly answered with the familiar, “Well, we pass out condoms.” The other accentuated that with, “A lot of condoms.”

SEE RELATED: Contraception battle: not a war on religion, but a war on women

Condoms occasionally fail, with varying failure rates in studies, according to Human Life International. And on the female side of things, birth control poses serious health risks. Birth control pills can cause cerebral hemorrhaging, liver tumors and gallbladder disease, among other things.

NFP carries no such risks. Taking this information into account, how is artificial contraception better than NFP or old-fashioned abstinence? And why are taxpayers, a good portion of whom find contraception untenable, being forced to pay for it? The situation in Arkansas is eerily reminiscent of the HHS mandate, which only really differs in its method of taxation, that has met fierce opposition from religious groups.

Perhaps the main reason for America’s sexual “revolution” and emphasis on “no consequences” artificial contraception is its media. This country is regularly bombarded by TV shows like “Skins” and songs like “Everybody F***s” that promote these things. Add to that a lack of real reporting by the news media, and you have the recipe for America’s current degradation.

But there is a bright light at the end of America’s long, dark tunnel: the ambitious pro-life movement.

SEE RELATED: Limbaugh, Fluke, and some serious questions about birth control

When asked for her take on the future, Julia Pritchett, a young pro-life activist from Arkansas, said, “In a world full of catchy slogans and short attention spans, the pro-life generation doesn’t want to waste its time on beliefs that aren’t worthwhile or on misinformation. We are focused on science and what it says about human life and our health.

“The truth about Natural Family Planning is that it is significantly healthier than contraception, yet equally or more effective. We have the truth on our side and so we don’t need smoke tactics or scare tactics: it speaks for itself. Everyone deserves what is best for their health, and every human person deserves to live. I’m confident that the pro-life movement will only grow stronger as more focus is put on the science and leading research available to us.”

Please pray that society returns to time-tested sexual norms, for the sake of this nation.

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Matthew Olson

Matthew Olson is a journalist in Fort Smith, Arkansas. His primary interests are theology, Church history, and ecumenism. He enjoys the thrill of politics, and always seeks to enlighten politics with Catholic principles. He writes for The Washington Times, Ignitum Today, and other outlets.


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