Birth Control and Catholic Religion

Birth control is a highly controversial topic as it is a major debate on the feminist field, giving way to women’s choice, such as the Slut Shaming and Pro-life v. Pro-choice movements. It is mainly argued by feminists and liberals against groups like religious conservatives, such as those of the Catholic religion. Birth control is necessary in our society as it allows women to advance in their careers, decreases the unplanned pregnancy rate, and is the gateway to women’s power to decide their own lives.

CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Ginny Ehrlich, makes it her mission to ensure that “all women … have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to become pregnant” (NBC News 2), stated in her article on the NBC News website, titled “Birth Control Gives Women the Power to Decide.” In said article, she uses the standard rhetorical format to convince her audience that birth control is the main economic driver for women. She first brings up her rhetorical definition, that contraception is a “basic element of women’s health care” (NBC News 1) and expands upon this by explaining that it allows women to live their lives on their own terms. While this may be perceived as true, it is of her own judgement and is not proven in fact, hence her use of the word nearly as a weasler term to protect her claim from criticism.

She then creates a rhetorical analogy, comparing birth control to a game changer, as something very critical in the political and economical playing field, backing up this analogy with multiple facts and proof surrogates, such as rationalizing that “one-third of the wage gains women have achieved since the 1960s are the [direct] result of access to oral contraceptives” (NBC News 3), as if there were no other factors that could’ve affected the economic standing of women in their careers. She continues to use the word directly as if it was actually proven that birth control and contraception alone have led to her desired results in society, nothing more than a hasty generalization. While Ginny Ehrlich has a good argument in the general scheme of things, breaking it down to a more comprehensible portion shows how illogical her claims of judgement and opinion seem to be, her facts and studies being irrelevant and not a direct link to her conclusion that birth control is a key economic driver for women, but is however a gateway to women’s choice.

Former governor of Delaware, Jack Markell, also argues for birth control and contraception. He first informs his audience that “in 2014, Delaware had the highest percentage of unplanned pregnancies in the country,” (CNN 2) but now sees a “15% decrease in unplanned pregnancies among some of [the] most at-risk patients,” (CNN 3) due to the shortened waitlists for effective birth control and easier access to these forms of contraceptions for those of all socioeconomic statuses. His argument is stronger than that of Ginny Ehrlich’s, in that his facts are logical and can be linked to his conclusion that birth control will positively affect Delaware, as well as the rest of the country. However, though his argument is strong and logical, he also has a few fallacies in that he tries to appeal to his audience’s emotions rather than focus on the strength of his claims.

The emotion he tries to appeal to the most is guilt, as he guilts the current leaders of our country, stating that “contraceptive aches should be at the center … not sidelined as a ‘political’ issue” (CNN 2), portrayed with his use of quotations around the word political, downplaying the topic, as if what the current leaders are engaging in now is not politics. He also appeals to guilt in his conclusion, that these said leaders only focus on partisanship and bickering rather than taking responsibility and looking at what really works for the country and its people. Former Governor Markell also appeals to his audience’s emotions of pity and outrage, as he mentions the statistical evidence that proves that nearly half of all pregnancies in a given year are unplanned and five times more are unplanned for those of lower income. This is also expanded upon when he informs his audience that only 30% of subsidized health centers provide same-day contraception in the United States with as long as a 6 month waitlist. He writes that this is “unacceptable” (CNN 2), also appealing to his audience’s outrage.

On the other hand however, the main argument against birth control only seems to be that of religious conservatives. In many Christian sub-religions, contraception is “condemned as a barrier to God’s procreative purpose” (VeryWell Health 2) and is seen as unnatural. In many of these religions, contraception is viewed as a way to indulge in pleasures from a task that should be used only to procreate and continue the “natural order of the universe” (BBC 2) . It is anti-life to prevent the formation of a new human being and the “availability of contraceptives leads to promiscuity” (BBC 3), something that many Christian sub-religions see as a sin. However, there are also many Christian sub-religions that do accept contraceptives as a form of family planning, excluding that of Catholicism, the only sub-religion to ban contraceptives altogether, except that of abstinence. This also includes the fact that “approximately 90% of sexually active Catholic women of childbearing age use a birth control method forbidden by the church” (VeryWell Health 10), therefore the claim that religion is a major stop to the rise and acceptance of birth control is very weak. This also does not take into account that religion should not be a major dealbreaker in the the law of this country, as religion was explicitly stated to be separated from the government and allows for people to have their freedom of expression, individuality, and religion.

Therefore in conclusion, while Ginny Ehrlich’s argument was not very strong, due to her rhetoric and illogical claims, she did bring forth some valid points that birth control is helpful in family planning and allowing women the time to advance in their careers because of their choice of when to have children. Jack Markell helps back up her argument with the actual logical facts that lead to a clearer conclusion and create the backbone in favor of birth control, as it does significantly decrease the rate of unplanned pregnancies, proved in his own state of Delaware. The only major argument against birth control being that of religion, which should have no judgement in the law of government and is contradictory, as only one of many Christian sub-religions deny contraception as a sin, and some even accept it. Therefore, birth control is a necessary right for women in society as it allows women to advance in their careers, decreases the unplanned pregnancy rate, and is the gateway to women’s power to decide their own lives.