Those of us who defend Church teaching on human sexuality often focus on the immorality of contraception: condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, birth control pills, birth control patches, birth control rings, birth control sponges, birth control implants, birth control injections, IUDs… and whatever other contraceptives I am forgetting (I am sure scientists are working on more ways to thwart fertility as we speak).
But we don\’t often discuss sterilization, specifically, vasectomies and tubal ligations.
When my husband and I were newly married, we planned for two children but would not rule out a third. Turns out, we liked the first two so much that I talked him into number three. We made sure they came in quick succession though, so that we could be free to \”have fun and travel in our forties\”.
After our third was born, it was time to get serious about getting sterile, and my husband and I agreed that he would get a vasectomy. I joked to friends that I surely wouldn\’t be the one getting sterilized because \”it was against my religion [Catholic] but not his [agnostic Jew]!\” As a lapsed Catholic at the time, I thought that was pretty clever.
But a funny thing happened on the way to our \”planned barrenhood\”: We both had profound conversions of heart. And one of the easiest things to see when we took off the secular blinders was the immorality of surgical sterilization. What once seemed responsible now seemed perverse.
Think about what surgical sterilization is: It\’s the deliberate mutilation of healthy organs.
Even from a secular standpoint, the very concept should be repellent: Paying a doctor (a healer!) to cut up, burn, disconnect, or otherwise destroy healthy organs, for the express purpose of destroying their normal, healthy functioning. In other words, there is nothing wrong with Jane\’s reproductive organs; in fact, they are working as designed (this is called \”health\”). But Jane will pay someone to go in and surgically mutilate her organs so that they don\’t work as they are intended to work.
A secular person can discern with the use of human reason that this concept is disordered.
What an irony that we call this getting \”fixed\” when we\’re literally getting broken.
Now, this is a bit more painful, but let\’s look at it from a Christian standpoint: We know that our bodies are \”fearfully and wonderfully made\” by the Lord, and that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. The gift and blessing of fertility is mind-boggling in its goodness. In giving us the gift and blessing of our fertility, God has designed us to bring forth His children, who are made to live in Heaven with Him for all eternity. What an unfathomable honor! And yet instead of being awestruck with gratitude or even trembling in reverence for the gift and blessing of fertility, most Christians see no problem with taking this most precious gift and destroying it without a thought. (As one now regretful Christian told me, \”I had a tubal without batting an eye.\”)
Please understand, I don\’t think that most Christians consciously intend to throw the gift of fertility back in God\’s face when they sterilize themselves, and I would never weigh in on the culpability of any individual. Our culture long ago replaced the Judeo-Christian view of sexuality with the Planned Parenthood view, so the confusion is understandable, if tragic.
But if we step back and give it a moment\’s thought, the truth should hit each Christian like a ton of bricks. God did not make a mistake when He designed our bodies. His design for our bodies, and for bringing His children to life, was perfect and deliberate. To reject it, to take a healthy body and willfully destroy its most incredible function, should be unthinkable.
If it ain\’t broke, don\’t get \”fixed\”.