There’s much more than a budget at stake in this battle over Planned Parenthood. The horrifying abortion statistics and the hundreds of millions of dollars are certainly bad enough, but the choice before us as a nation goes much deeper than simply who gets federal funding. It is actually about us; it is about two radically, fundamentally different ideas about who and what we are as people.
In a nutshell: are we human beings or “sexual beings”?
Planned Parenthood knows that to maintain their bloody cash cow of abortion they have to win over the next generation of young people to their counterfeit idea of freedom and happiness (though they surely don’t believe it to be counterfeit) that says unconstrained sexuality is the pinnacle of life. The only antidote to their warped thinking is the truth of the dignity of the human person, real human freedom and happiness that is proclaimed by the Catholic Church.
The Church has a great deal to say about man’s sexuality and none of it is dismissive. The Church rightly understands that a person’s sexuality is an integral part of their identity and humanity – the key word being “humanity.” We are human beings with a sexual component to our nature.
More accurately, we are embodied souls! The distinction people want to draw between the body and the soul is a fantasy. Our eternal soul is what makes us human! “The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 364)
“The union of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body; i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” CCC 365
Our sexuality is an essential part of our humanity but it is not the summit of our lives. That is where Planned Parenthood starkly disagrees.
PP sees people as sexual beings, not human beings. To them the sexual nature is King. It rules over everything and must be served, rather than serving the good of the person. Their doctrine says unrestricted sex is required for happiness; the epitome of personal fulfillment is only found in sexual gratification.
From PP’s website come these insights into their thinking (emphasis mine):
“We are all sexual. We are sexual from the day we are born until the day we die. Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves as sexual beings.
Our sexuality includes:
- our bodies, including our sexual and reproductive anatomy
- our biological sex — male, female, or intersex
- our gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender
- our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
The ways we experience and express our sexuality include:
- our desires, thoughts, fantasies, sexual pleasure, sexual preferences, and sexual dysfunction
- our sexual behaviors — the ways we have sex including masturbation
Even though we spend our lifetimes as sexual beings, it’s normal to have many questions about sex and sexuality.
Many of us find that sexual pleasure is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
It helps us create connections to other people and it helps us enjoy our world.”
Only “sexual beings” would find sexual pleasure one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Human beings would say the most rewarding experiences are things like parenting, a loving marriage, professional and vocational service to others, serving God, honing their talents and skills, giving of themselves sacrificially for someone else, etc. It is not sex that helps us create connections to other people, but love, which seeks the good of the other person. It’s the practice of love, faith, patience, humility, temperance, and generosity that help us enjoy our world, and not sexual pleasure, which is merely self-seeking.
In the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s report “Stand and Deliver: Sex, health and young people in the 21st century” (by “young people” they mean anyone between age 10 – 24), they portray “comprehensive sexuality education” as the answer to nearly every societal problem all over the world. They state repeatedly that “young people are sexual beings.” Sexual empowerment is what will free young people from poverty and open the doors of opportunity, while ensuring they develop satisfying and pleasurable sexual lives.
Obviously, their curriculum of empowerment and fulfillment does not include the concept of chastity; nor does it say anything about selfless love. PP cannot comprehend that anyone would freely choose to live a virginal or chaste life or that such a life could bring immeasurable joy and satisfaction.
Chastity to them is a fetter of oppression and ignorance, since they insist it’s through sexual exploration that a person comes to know who they are. People are “sexual beings” so they must order their lives around their sexual desires. Abstinence is then absurd; the risks and consequences of sexual activity are unavoidable, and you needn’t even try to avoid them if you don’t want to.
For example: IPPF has a booklet – directed at young people living with HIV – called “Happy, Healthy and Hot.” (The twisted immorality of that title pains me to write.) It is replete with silhouette images of young people in a variety of embraces, including same-sex couples. The message of the booklet is clear: you can and should still have an unrestricted, active sex life while living with HIV. Pleasure is paramount.
“Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when and how to disclose their HIV status.” “Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”
“Young people living with HIV have the right to sexual pleasure.”
“Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body. Play with yourself! Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating.”
“Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice. If you want to have sex and think you might get drunk or high, plan ahead by bringing condoms and lube and putting them close to where you usually have sex. That way you won’t forget them in the heat of the moment.”
“Sometimes people choose not to have safer sex. If this is something you and your partner agree to, then it is your choice. It is not always possible to talk to your partner(s) about or to practice safer sex – for example, maybe you know that your partner will get angry or aggressive, or you don’t have access to condoms or a safe place to have sex.”
Let’s see if I can sum all that up: You are entitled to conceal the fact that you have an incurable, life-altering disease from any sex partner(s), and any law that compels you to inform your sex partner(s) violates your rights. You have the right to transmit the disease to your sex partner(s). Play with yourself! Pleasure is your right! Sex while drunk or high? Go for it! Just try to plan ahead and have condoms within reach. That should take care of everything. Got an aggressive or hot-tempered partner and you don’t dare ask him to use a condom because he might get perturbed? Have sex anyway and forget the “safe” part. Sexual pleasure comes first!
Is all of this really how we want to define ourselves and our sexual nature? Is there not more to us than self-centered, slavish, animal sexuality?
The Catechism offers a wealth of teaching on the beauty and dignity of the human person. Our male and female sexuality is to be embraced and cherished, for it is good and holy. It is highly integral to who we are. The tool by which we gain the proper understanding of our sexuality is chastity.
“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.” CCC 2337
“Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.” CCC 2344
“Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.” CCC 2345 “Chastity is the form of all the virtues. Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person. Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of the self.” CCC 2346
“Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint.” CCC 2339
We are not “sexual beings” as Planned Parenthood presents it. We are human beings – embodied souls – with a sexual aspect of our nature that is powerful and beautiful. By mastering our passions and respecting the inherent dignity of each human person, we find the true freedom that brings with it true happiness. If instead we enslave ourselves to sexual gratification, we degrade our humanity until we lose it altogether. The choice is ours.