Wednesday, August 13, 2003

My sister-in-law belongs to the local peace group. She met other members of the group while she was protesting the recent war in Iraq, and is an active participant. She called yesterday to give me a heads-up on what's going on with them. At a recent gathering, nearly everyone expressed support for abortion on demand. "Its so funny," she said, "All these people who are against killing can be pro-abortion." Later she said, "Sometimes they make good points." I could tell it bothered her a little.

We ended up discussing the difficulties she has, being both Catholic and Liberal. I wear different political labels than she and her friends do, but during our talk I realized that regardless of labels, being politically and socially aware means there is no list somewhere of all the "right" things to believe. We are confronted with an issue, and we each make up our minds about it. What I think is probably hardest is confronting the same issue over and over again as we get older and learn more. My sister-in-law is struggling with women's rights to abortion, and I've been struggling with the issue of contraception.

I made up my mind to side with the Catholic Church against artificial contraception several years ago, based on an understanding of what I believe marriage is designed to be: a union between two people who submit themselves to God. I believe that God is the Creator, and that a Christian couple is most correct when he gets to decide the size of their family. But that's where it stops being simple. When two people are having sex and they are not a married, Christian couple, they aren't leaving their reproductive decisions to God. Someone needs to make the decisions. Despite my convictions about artificial contraception, I can tell you from experience that the same rules don't easily apply to every situation.

Over fifteen years ago, as a high-school senior, I entered my first sexual relationship. I believed it was the wrong thing to do, but did it anyway. I didn't use artificial contraception, though: at some point, my boyfriend asked if he should "get something." My mother belatedly tried to get me on the pill. I would not hear it. I got embarrassed, told myself "It doesn't matter because I'm never going to do it again." Of course, I did. And of course, I got pregnant. I grew up; I learned to made practical decisions for myself for my daughter's sake. I know what it costs to become a mom at eighteen.

My talented, beautiful, and now teenaged daughter is _going places_. I want her to wait until she's married to have sex. I'd like to teach her what I believe about artificial contraception. However, I do not want her to get pregnant and then grow up! Thinking about that, I catch myself coming up with desperate schemes to gain control of the situation. But the truth is, I am unlikely to be nearby, let alone in control, when she faces an opportunity to have sex. What she does then is her choice. So, when we talk about chastity, I tell her what I want for her and why. I also tell her that whether I like her decision or not, I am on her side: if she does have sex before she is married, she needs to use protection and birth control-- and she can come to me to get it.

There's no simplifying this one. I have to live with making two choices on this issue, because my first responsibility is not to my principles, but to my family.

This weekend has been feature-heavy, light on content

I was reading about BlogSnob in Biz Stone's Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content and it got me started on a whole campaign of feature upgrades. I think I got it out of my system now.