Posted on Aug 16, 2010
Don Lemon of CNN Weekend Primetime asked Dr. Sujatha Reddy, OB/GYN
Would you recommend this new emergency contraception to your patients?
You know, I would. I think it’s great that women have one more option if there is, you know, an unintended event that occurs, you have have one more option.
The new “emergency contraception,” just approved by the FDA, is EllaOne, a “morning-after” pill that is actually an abortifacient.
Other than cases of rape (including those involving date rape drugs), no woman is pregnant on account of an unintended event. If Reddy were recommending EllaOne just for those instances, I would still have significant problems with it, but I’ll let others write on that. She isn’t just recommending it for those cases, though; and what I want to draw your attention to here is the way she stated it. Reddy was apparently searching for some euphemism for unwanted pregnancy. She came up with a telling one: “unintended events.”
Undeniably the vast majority of pregnancies result from intended events. The man and the woman intend to remove their clothes and they intend to do the sort of thing that can make babies. To call it an unintended event is to dehumanize the participants, to count their actions on the same level as those of irrational beasts. Sure, there are “animal” passions involved—I’m very well aware of that, thank you. But that’s not all there is to it. Rational thinking may be stressed under the pressure of the moment, but it is not erased.
To treat it as unintended is both to brute-alize it and to trivialize it horribly. It could be so much more than that; it was intended to be.
I was in a news stand at the old John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California many years ago. A man dressed in what I call “California Creative” style (think Hollywood director) came up to me and directed my attention to a rack of magazines whose covers were mostly hidden: Playboy, Playmate, etc. He said I really ought to buy one. (Strange, but true.) I told him I wasn’t interested. He said, “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
I wish I had answered him better than I did, because I missed a real opportunity. What I said was, “No thanks, I’m happily married.” What I should have said was, “No, you don’t know what you’re missing! You don’t know what it’s like to be with a woman who loves you fully and forever, total commitment, with no regrets from past relationships, no hiding, no pretending. You don’t know what it’s like to give yourself to someone fully that way. You don’t know how empty your idea of sex really is!”
I had a different kind of encounter on this topic about six or seven years ago. I was teaching a group of teenagers in our church about moral purity. A girl about fourteen years old said, “Well, I don’t get what’s the big deal about just a kiss.” I couldn’t believe my ears. “What?!” I shot back. “Not a big deal? I’ve been married sixteen years now, and every kiss I’ve shared with my wife has been a big deal! I like that it’s a big deal! Why on earth would you want it not to be a big deal?”
It’s supposed to be a big deal, not an “unintended event.” Our culture has lost track of that. Intimacy between a man and woman has meaning just in proportion to the meaning invested in it; and there is only one investment with the capacity to carry that full meaning: the lifelong commitment we call marriage. Anything less is, well, less.
But that’s what we’ve come to expect. Since the 1960s sex has been openly exalted, yet its exaltation has become its emptying. What was intended as a glorious expression of deep commitment, joy, life, and oneness, has been reduced to “an unintended event” with “options.”
Those who purvey this drained-out version of sex commit a detestable and horrific crime against humanness, against life, joy, intimacy, and even genuine pleasure—a crime that has victimized an entire generation.
I grieve for those who don’t know what they’re missing.
Also posted at First Things: Evangel