As tensions increase between the pro-choice and pro-life movements, it’s important to remember our objective. We must keep in mind not only that we are seeking life but also that we are following God’s law. There are four main issues in gynecology which directly contradicts God’s law. Abortion destroys a child’s right to life; contraception and sterilization hinders, if not destroys, God’s plan of true love between man and wife; and in vitro fertilization directly contradicts the natural law which God has set in place. As children of a Divine Author, everything we do must be in accord with the plan and the will of our Father. Yet, our brothers and sisters involved in the pro-choice movement do not understand, or deliberately ignore, the inherent evil which they are causing. We must find a way to gently dialogue with these people and to show them the effects, obvious and subtle, of these evils.
Sterilization, in vitro fertilization, contraception, and abortion all have obvious medical side effects. From infertility to other serious medical complications, these each have made a serious impact on the medical world, but they aren’t the only issues. After such operations, many families and individuals experience psychological side effects, which the medical field chooses to ignore. They view these problems as inconsequential to the matter at hand and willfully “turn a blind eye”. We will not.
Female sterilization seems to be a rising concern in today’s society. While more and more women are being sterilized without consent, some women are doing it willingly. The real shame in this, however, is that some of them regret the procedure after the damage has already been done (http://www.hli.org/resources/female-sterilization/). When they do regret this decision, some women can’t reverse the procedure and others turn to in vitro fertilization as the answer (http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(05)00314-8/fulltext). Sterilization has also been shown to have an effect on depression and anxiety in a person (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8968663). These issues alone need to be expressed carefully to those who opt for this form of contraception rather than ignored as a side effect.
In Vitro Fertilization
Of all of the issues in modern gynecology, in vitro fertilization is one of the least talked about. Many people know about the tragedy of the lost babies used in this procedure but most don’t realize the impact of this procedure on the minds of those involved. In vitro fertilization has an effect not only on the women and couples who use it, but also on the children who come from it. For some children, once they get older, they are left wondering who their father is and yet they can’t get access to the information. Some even “question aspects” of their conception (http://www.hli.org/2011/11/new-documentary-questions-morality-of-anonymous-sperm-donation-industry/). Still, many ignore the thoughts and feelings of these people and continue rallying for in vitro fertilization.
While “The Pill” has its own problems in terms of the effects it has on the environment and on the bodily well-being of a woman, it also has some serious effects on a woman’s mind (http://www.hli.org/resources/negative-effects-of-the-pill/). Because of the hormones and chemicals in “the pill”, it can cause women to be attracted to different men, then if they were off of it. A study even showed that women who were on “the pill” were attracted to men who are genetically similar to them while women who were not on “the pill” were attracted to men who are genetically dissimilar to them. This can cause major problems for when a woman gets married and then stops taking “the pill” because she may no longer be attracted to the man she married. This fact alone is rejected by pro-choicers as false and incorrect and yet the study still stands as true and reliable.
Many people think that men aren’t affected by abortion because they aren’t the ones who are physically affected by the procedure. However, this mentality is simply not true. Recent studies show that men feel guilty after their significant other has had an abortion and some even regret it (http://www.hli.org/resources/men-abortion/). Yet, the pro-choice media continue to ignore the minds of the men who have lost their opportunity for fatherhood.
Of all of these things, the psychological effects felt by women after an abortion seem to be the greatest. Many women experience what is known as Post- Abortion Syndrome (http://www.hli.org/2016/06/risks-of-abortion/), which some still ignore as an actual issue. The symptoms of this include PTSD-like effects such as hyperarousal, intrusion, and constriction (http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/list-of-major-psychological-sequelae-of-abortion). Again, many refuse to accept these issues as problems which need to be dealt with. Some even go so far as to claim that PAS not only doesn’t exist but also that it is made up by the pro-life effort simply to make abortion seem worse than it is (http://www.msmagazine.com/aug01/pas.html). Unfortunately, these claims minimize the real psychological effects of abortion and the poor women who are affected by them.
However, we are not totally lost. There are good clinics with good doctors and missionaries across the world are doing what they can to help. One man, in particular, Antun Lisec, recently travelled to the Ukraine to inform and discuss these issues not only with seminarians and other priests, but also with current secular gynecologists. He spent his time traveling from Luck to Rivne, Bogoljubi, Lviv, and Brjuhovici where he sought to inform seminarians about the difficulties at hand and also to seek the repentance of some modern gynecologists who are suffering because of the regret they have in their past actions. This isn’t the only time he has gone to the Ukraine to do this either. Mr. Lisec also went in 1992 to do the exact same thing. Because of his actions, many more people are informed about life issues and are more readily able to help.
At the end of the day, however, the real tragedy is that some women feel forced into contraception, abortion, and in vitro fertilization. Whether by parents, husbands, friends, or just societal standards, there are women who experience major psychological effects simply because of something someone else said or does to make them feel like abortion or contraception or in vitro fertilization are the only ways. They are the only way out, the only way to “fit it,” the only way to make life feel normal. But this simply isn’t the case. As pro-life missionaries, we seek to inform and counsel not only those who are affected by the tragedies mentioned above, but also the men and women who perform the operations so that they may realize the damage caused by their actions in following the pro-choice mindset. Finally, we need to make clear to a general populace, many of whom, unthinkingly follow a pro-choice mindset, of the full scope of the damage caused by their ignorance.