It was my own fault, and you know I know better than to do this. But I did and here we are. Rachel Held Evans is, once again, moaning about Christian women being “shamed” for using contraception:
Never mind that for the first 19 centuries of Christian history, the church universally viewed contraception as a shameful act. We know better now, don’t we?
But we don’t. The vast majority of self-identified Christians who say access to contraception is integral to their own pro-life ethic completely ignore history and theology. Indeed, they appear to be wholly ignorant of it in their manner of advocacy and in their writing.
When was the last time you heard them mention the Comstock laws?
Acknowledge that the Anglican communion was the first Christian body to permit the use of contraception by married couples and then for only serious reasons?
Give any evidence that they’ve even read Humanae Vitae?
So this is my challenge to progressive Christians like Rachel Evans:
Before you defend access to contraception, study history. Study the Comstock laws and why Protestants led the fight for them. Take a look at Lambeth 1930 and the trajectory of Protestant bodies since then. Study Humanae Vitae, especially the four predictions Paul VI made about what a world that had embraced contraception would look like.
Lastly, consider the historic fact that the rise in demand for access to abortion follows the availability and use of contraception. If access to contraception lessens the need for abortion, why does the demand for abortion follow rather than precede access to contraception. Perhaps you should also read the decision and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
But mostly, read Humanae Vitae. Because I dont know how anyone can credibly claim to be prolife and still support access to contraception and claim to be a Christian after they’ve understood the encyclical’s prophetic nature. It’s not just for Catholics. It’s true, full stop.