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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
by Susan Klemond
This article was first published at The Catholic Spirit May 1, 2018.
The economy and upper-level decision-making in the United States are built on delayed childbearing — a consequence of the sexual revolution and widespread promotion of contraceptives, said Jennifer Roback Morse in her April 26 talk at the University of St. Thomas.
As a result, power is concentrated among highly educated and disproportionately childless elites.
“The decision-makers in our culture — the people who occupy the higher echelons of the professions — are selectively more likely to be people who have postponed childbearing, people who are more likely to be in favor of contraception and abortion because that’s kind of how they got it done,” said Morse, founder and president of the Louisiana nonprofit the Ruth Institute.
The St. Paul event was sponsored by the Siena Symposium for Women, Family and Culture, and attended by about 200 students and other adults. After receiving the Siena Symposium’s 2018 Humanitarian Leadership Award, Morse presented “Recovering from the Sexual Revolution: ‘Humanae Vitae’ in 2018” in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter outlining Church teaching on the regulation of birth.
Morse also described other ramifications of what she called a “contraceptive ideology,” such as separating sexual intercourse from creating human life and its effects on women, children and families.
The Ruth Institute focuses on the impact that family breakdown has on children. An author and speaker, Morse was a spokeswoman for California’s 2008 Proposition 8 campaign defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, introduced Morse and presented her with the award. “She is at the forefront of helping people understand the ecosystem in which children, families and the broader society flourish,” he said.
The Siena Symposium was founded in 2003 as an interdisciplinary faculty group at the University of St. Thomas that seeks to develop the new feminism called for by St. John Paul II.
The contraception ideology creates a new layer of inequality in U.S. society, Morse said. While the overall contraception failure rate is 8 percent, birth control pills are much less effective for poor, young and unmarried women than their wealthier counterparts, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which collaborates with Planned Parenthood on research and policy regarding “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
Morse traced the social and legal history of contraceptives, noting that contraception ideology is totalitarian because the goal has always been controlling population through widespread promotion.
“Making contraceptive technology legally available has never been good enough for the true ideologues,” she said.
With billions of dollars in backing from top leaders, the sexual revolution’s promotion of unlimited sexual activity as a right through contraception ideology is one way it conflicts with children’s best interests, Morse said.
Julia Lindell, 17, attended the talk to learn more about what her faith teaches and how to defend it. A parishioner of St. Peter in Forest Lake, she said she is learning to recognize contraception ideology, including in her high school sex education classes.
“There’s a lot about how we’re being brainwashed,” said Lindell, who’ll graduate from Forest Lake High School this spring. “We don’t realize how much this is impacting us. We don’t realize it’s changing the way we’re thinking when we view the family and marriage culture.”
Friends recommended the talk to Andrew Ratelle, 30, a parishioner of Holy Family in St. Louis Park. He noted the net economic effect of contraception propaganda.
“All my friends, we’re all millennials and we’re seeing this fallout, and it’s generated a lot of resentment among people of our generation that are of any background, religious or non-religious,” he said. “They’ve suffered the effects of this propaganda and ideology that’s infected our culture.”
The sexual revolution — and contraception ideology — deny the human body, Morse said, adding that the false image of a society built around the idea that sex doesn’t make babies can’t naturally support and reproduce itself.
But, she said, “If you’re going to build a society around the idea that children come from sex, that children have rights, etc., you can do that. Nature will reinforce your view that sex makes babies on a fairly regular basis.”