Responses to "The Pill at 40" - Philadelphia Inquirer May 9, 2000
Letters to the Editor
I find ironic the examples that Dr. Jose A. Bufill uses to support his condemnation of the Pill: abortion, teenage pregnancy, unwed mothers, fatherless families (Commentary, May 2). All situations that could have been avoided by use of the pill.
There is no denying divorce rates and the deterioration of the family, but there are so many other causes to point to: greed, materialism, lack of proper preparation and education, poverty, the impossibility of providing for a family without two full-time wage earners, and so many other evils and problems of modern society.
Yes, the pill allows the possibility of less responsible sexual behavior but, more important, it allows the possibility of more responsible sexual behavior. As with most advances in knowledge and technology, the doors are open to both good and bad choices. The answer is not to rid ourselves of these advances, but to assure a moral formation that empowers people to make responsible choices.
Thank you for Dr. Jose A. Bufill's excellent discussion of the social effects of contraception (Commentary, May 2). In a society that for decades has taken it for granted that contraception is a very good thing, it is refreshing to see a clear, intelligent discussion of contraception's destructive power.
More than 30 years ago, Pope Paul VI predicted several disastrous results of the widespread use and acceptance of contraception. He was widely ridiculed at the time. The intervening years have proved him right in every particular. Yet many voices still promote contraception as a solution to the problems it helped cause.
There are very few people today who have the courage and clear thinking to stand against severing the link between sex and procreation. Thank you for letting us hear from one of them.
I was astounded to read in Dr. Jose A. Bufill's commentary (Inquirer, May2) that contraception, particularly oral contraception, "corrupts authentic human sexuality, damaging family life at its root," and that sex without the possibility of conception "becomes mechanical and quickly ages." Personally, I find myself much more able to bond with my husband when we can appreciate intimate moments for their own sake, and not have to worry about unwanted outcomes.
The doctor has obviously never had to live with the fear of yet another unwanted pregnancy that his family could not afford; never had to live with the consequences of the damage that a string of pregnancies can do to a woman's body. For many families of modest or poor means, contraception allows the parents the luxury and joy of welcoming their children instead of agonizing over how to feed another mouth and clothe another growing body. Those kinds of fears and worries do nothing to improve the quality of a couple's intimate life.
The Pill has saved the lives and health of countless women, and allowed many more to appreciate loving their mates instead of viewing "their wifely duty" with anxiety and fear. How is this a bad thing?
Vicki Hain Poorman
Thank you for running the commentary about the pill by Jose A. Bufill (Inquirer, May 2). Thank you, Dr. Bufill, for addressing that topic so perceptively. May I add that pills are no longer only taking on the role of contraceptives, but are now more and more able to halt life after conception has taken place. Surely you will hear many negative responses to this commentary from people whose highest values are love of money, self-indulgence, and easier and easier abortions.
If there is love between the married couple, taking the pill does not damage this tie (Commentary, May 2). Having babies does not keep a marriage together unless the love is there. Doing away with the pill will not put love back into a relationship. Giving people freedom to plan their own lives does not corrupt. Dictating ideologies to people against their wills is corrupting.
Kudos to The Inquirer for the commentary by Dr. Jose A. Bufill. I think he is right on about that little pill that has changed the course of history for many women and marriage in general. Bravo to you for the courage to include this article.
Mary E. Daly
Family Life Educational Foundation
The world is overpopulated; people in Africa are starving because there is no family planning. India and China have penalties for families with more than two children. Far better to use the oral contraceptive than to beget unwanted children (Commentary, May 2). Family and social values can be instilled in our children despite the existence of the pill or any other technique to prevent conception. Parents who limit the number of children they have love them with the same zeal as the parents who do not practice birth control. Family values and family planning are not mutually exclusive!