But sooner or later the issue of contraception comes up--and that's where I find the biggest difference between passionately pro-life Catholics and passionate pro-lifers of other religious beliefs.
It's true that there are lots of Catholic "dissenters" from Humanae Vitae who try to claim that one can be a Catholic in good standing with the Church while demanding that the Church change her teachings on the intrinsic evil of contraception; I've run into lots of these people. But your passionately pro-life Catholics, or at least most of the ones I've met, tend to be faithful to the Church's teaching which opposes all artificial means of birth control as being inherently sinful and an attack against the dignity of the human person and the integrity of the family.
So it can be a bit jarring to be trading pro-life "war stories" with Protestant Christian or other pro-lifers and have one of them ask the question, "But what about contraception? If we're serious about ending abortion, don't we have to keep artificial birth control on the table of options?"
Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has issued a message which discusses the importance of accepting the Church's teachings on contraception:
Pope Benedict said technical responses to "the great human questions" such as life and death often seem to offer the easier solution.The truth is that once you seek to use technology to close completely any chance of a human life being called into creation by the marital act, you create the environment which makes it possible for abortion to flourish. It is the fact that couples seek to say "No!" when God and nature intend for them to be saying "Yes!" that creates the terrible disconnect between sex and procreation, the disconnect which leads to the objectification of the other, to seeing sex as a form of entertainment, and to the rise of sterile activity like that seen in homosexual activity.
"But in reality (a technical solution such as artificial contraception) obscures the underlying question concerning the meaning of human sexuality" and the need for couples to exercise "responsible control" over their sexual desires so that the expression of those desires may become expressions of self-giving, "personal love," he said.
When talking about love between two people, technical responses cannot replace "a maturation of freedom," the pope said.
Reason is not enough for understanding the true meaning of conjugal love, he said, as "the eyes of the heart" also are needed to grasp the demands of true love and "embrace the totality of the human being."
And this technological approach also creates the severance between procreation and sex, which allows such evils as IVF, discarded embryos, and the complete lack of respect for the innate dignity and humanity of children who are called into being not by their parents' loving embrace but divorced from it in a cold laboratory.
So opposition to abortion will always, in the end, become opposition to contraception. Nothing less than the embrace of God's beautiful plan for each of us, whether He calls us to have children or in His mysterious love does not allow us to be biological parents, will ever truly respect and protect the unborn human lives we seek to save.