“To deny young adolescents access to medically necessary and proven care is essentially reproductive slavery.” Read more.
These words in an op-ed by Cathleen London, MD, were written in reaction to the news that the US Government had dropped its attempt to impose age restrictions on sale of “morning after” contraceptives. The author triumphantly closes her column by saying, “Finally, science trumps politics.”
The vast majority of parents in the US will not share Dr. London’s good feelings about this action. Despite the increasing evidence that secular thinking dominates the federal government, evidence of polls and votes reveals a populace whose values and convictions are rooted in a different worldview. Some parents may believe that children know best what they need, but most parents believe that children need guidance and instruction in order to learn right from wrong and to develop the character to choose right rather than wrong.
Dr. London’s words make it clear that she sees nothing wrong with adolescent children being sexually active, and she does not believe that parents have the right to know if a sexually active child fears being pregnant. Dr. London does not believe in the family the way most people believe in family. She does not believe in the role of parents in the upbringing of their children the way most people do. Clearly, she does not believe in the biblical admonitions to parents that they have the obligation to instruct and admonish and guide their children to a high standard of personal morality. She also clearly does not believe that a family is the sort of relationship the Bible teaches it to be.
Why do Christian parents object to this policy?
- Christian parents trying to teach abstinence feel that the public attitude makes it harder for them to teach their values. (They know that the world does not share their values, but they thought the government respected them. Now it seems that the government is deliberately making it hard for them.)
- Christian parents respect the natural consequence of sexual activity, and therefore they reject a practice that leads a child not to respect it. The “morning after” fix trivializes sexual activity.
- Christian parents want to teach children to respect the sexual union as God intended it. Easy availability of “morning after” contraception implies that unplanned pregnancy is a human inconvenience, not a blessing of God.
- Christian parents believe that fertilization is the beginning of human life – as would any scientist who knows that a fertilized human embryo will never produce anything but a human being. They want to teach their children to respect human life from the moment of conception.
- It is a fact that abstinence prevents pregnancy, but Christian parents teach abstinence in the context of biblical teaching about marriage and family. Diminishing sexual intercourse to the status of a recreational choice diminishes the meaning of marriage and family at the same time.
This is not a triumph of science over politics.
This is a triumph of secular worldview over Christian worldview. Since the secular worldview makes science the source of the “discovery” of moral standards, it can appear that this policy is a triumph of science, but the policy came into being through purely political processes. People with political views expressed their views for and against the policy. Science had no opinion.
Science never has an opinion.
Science is about what is and what isn’t – within the time/space frame of reference. Science is not about the value of a discovery; science is about the discovery.
Science discovers that a drug initiates a sequence of events that results in a lack of hospitality for the implantation of an embryo in the lining of the uterus. That is all science has to say about the drug. Science doesn’t care if the drug is used or not. Science doesn’t care if everyone can get the drug. Science doesn’t care about drug versus abstinence or about the age when sexual activity is appropriate or whether age has anything to do with the appropriateness of sexual activity. Science simply reveals that certain chemicals act in the human body in a certain way.
Politics speaks to a specific worldview. In fact, politics is the establishment of a worldview by force of law.
Secular worldview says that sex is natural, and that physical maturity that inspires and drives sexual activity appears simultaneously with the maturity of judgment to choose or not choose sex and to choose or not choose the drug. The secular worldview says that sexual activity is as natural and normal as eating, and that adults (anyone past puberty) only need to be sure that sexual activity is a mutual choice carried out safely. The moral boundaries people with other worldviews establish are not part of a secular worldview.
Christian worldview says that sex is natural, but that the physical maturity to engage in sexual activity may well develop before the emotional maturity to make good judgments about sexual activity. It also says that parents are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children and that parents must participate in the decisions children face when they are not mature enough to make those decisions on their own. Christian worldview sees sex as God’s gift for the creation of human life as well as for mutual joy and as the energy that fuels marriage and family. Therefore the Christian worldview does not support the trivialization of sex into a recreational choice.
The idea that the “morning after” drug is “proven” is an opinion based on a particular view of the science that produced the drug. Many, many drugs have been marketed as “proven safe and effective” only to prove otherwise in the real experience of users. The idea that it is “medically necessary” either means that pregnancy is a disease as undesirable as pneumonia, or it means that every physician faced with the “symptoms” of unprotected sex would consider it “necessary” to prescribe this drug. There is no evidence for either interpretation. It is a secular worldview that says the expectation that a woman carry an unplanned pregnancy to term is “reproductive slavery.” In fact, the secular worldview appears to say that human beings are powerless against sexual desire. That powerlessness implies slavery to the sex drive, a notion that millions of people, even non-Christians, reject. Certainly Muslim parents will strongly object to the political insistence on the availability of the drug for children, and they will almost certainly reject the idea that it is “medically necessary.” The most troubling element of this situation is the insistence of the government to create pressure to separate children from the guidance and influence of their parents.
Christian parents have the same job they always had – to teach their children to love and serve God in the midst of a hostile world. The “morning after” policy makes the job harder, but it never was easy. Rearing a child to live differently from the prevailing worldview is always hard. The first Christian parents contended with the worldview of the Roman Empire. The current US worldview is not really worse, despite its differences.
The real problem Christian parents have is their own equivocation with the world’s views. Christians who themselves adopt secular views and blend them with Christian views make it hard for themselves to keep their children within the boundaries of faith and life. The evidence of polls that ask self-identified Christians what they believe reveals that many people who call themselves Christians actually hold a worldview closer to secular thinking than to Christian. Many self-identified Christians do not believe that the Bible is either true or authoritative. Many self-identified Christians do not believe in abstinence. The notion that human life begins at conception will find opponents in any group that calls itself Christian. A parent who does not believe the Bible is actually God’s guide for faith and life will not likely teach a child to believe the Bible, either. Christians who do not believe Christian teaching make it harder for Christian parents who do believe Christian teaching to inculcate their children with the same values. They also fuel the cultural momentum against a Christian worldview.
Dr. London holds the view that science has triumphed over politics, and she believes that science is the proper arbiter of moral and social values. She is wrong. Science is a neutral engine of discovery and learning. The assignment of value and the imposing of political force upon any discovery comes from somewhere outside of science. In the case of the Plan B contraceptive, the value is assigned by people who agree with Dr. London’s worldview, but the values do not originate in science. They originate in people. Dr. London may want science to be the god from whom all values originate, but that is not the domain of science. To find the source of the political activism that has resulted in the Plan B policy, one must search among political activists.
The Plan B contraceptive is just one more factor in the political/cultural drive to overrun and suppress Christian influence in the public forum. Christians must not mistake government for the kingdom of God, but they must be sure they carry out their civic duty to participate in the public discussion of policy and law. For the moment, in this issue, the secular worldview prevails. It need not prevail in every issue at all times. The First Amendment still protects the right of people of all faiths to express and exercise their faith in public.