Reproductive Rights: How to Not Help a Sister Out

I’ve often heard, “In order to “help” my sisters, I should support them in all of their Reproductive Right endeavors.” But what happens when giving a woman access to all of these things actually impedes her freedom?

Let me explain by way of an analogy. Let’s say I buy you a car for your birthday, but I don’ t teach you how to use the car. You sort of figure out how to drive, but you get in an accident. To remedy this, you ask me to build bumpers on the road, and walls near cliffs, to help you. This will allow you to drive the car as you see fit, and the barriers will keep you from driving off the road.

I oblige, and off you go.

Despite my assistance on the road, your car continues to be totally wrecked because you keep running into bumpers and walls. You’re driving the car, but you’re relying more on the barriers than your own ability, because I still haven’t taught you how to use the brakes.

If I had taught you how the car works – how to use the brakes, gas, blinker, what the lines on the road mean, etc. – you’d have been a lot better off. You could have driven the car well, avoiding flat tires, scrapes, banged up mirrors, and more, if I had just shown you how to operate this vehicle in the first place. Had I shown you how to use the car’s features appropriately, you would have been able to use the car to its full potential. You could have driven it down any road you wanted. You could have waited at the edge of the cliff, taking it all in (and maybe even listening to some cool music) as they built a bridge across it for your safety.

Instead, I let you recklessly go, hitting things, hurting others, and even hurting yourself. Maybe you’d have figured it out eventually, or maybe not. Either way, you and I both thought I was doing you a favor in building the walls and bumpers, but because you never actually learned how to use the car, or what the car was worth, you couldn’t really enjoy it.

The same is true with Reproductive Rights. Birth control, abortion, and contraception all say to women: “Hey, you don’t know how to operate yourself. Let’s put up walls, bumpers, and more, to prevent you from harming others and yourself.”

The reality is that as a woman, I have all these amazing built-in signs to show me how my body works. I have a brain that thinks and operates in such a way that I can make a choice to do, or not do, something. I don’t need someone to hold my hand and tell me that I have no control over myself. In order to be free, I need to understand myself, and choose to use the brakes, rather than a wall, to exercise that freedom. This is what caring for my sisters is really about: showing her what she was made for, has the power to do, and how to do it well.

Ladies, your body is made to do amazing things! And the wonderful gift that YOU are – body, heart, mind, and soul – is to be shared with someone equally wonderful. Letting you “drive” your heart and body all over the place, hurting yourself and others, doesn’t uplift your dignity, or the dignity of anyone else. It causes more pain and anguish.

Waiting on the edge of the cliff for the bridge to be built may seem like an eternity, just like waiting for the right guy to come along to marry us feels like an eternity of  saying “no” to sexual intimacy with others. But just like waiting for the security of the bridge before driving across the canyon is totally worth it (and actually saves our lives), so is waiting for the right man to lay down his life at the altar for you. It is worth putting on the brakes until he arrives. If we wait well, we won’t regret it, and we will possess our own selves, living authentic, true freedom in the process.

____________________

ash

Ashley Ackerman is first and foremost a daughter of God, and after that she works for His glory as a high school religion teacher, campus minster, speaker, and blogger. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned her master’s degree in Theology. You can read more of Ashley’s blog posts by visiting her personal blog, “A Heart Made for Grace” where she shares her musings on all things Catholic.

13 Comments

  1. Beautiful explaination.

    By Caryn Kuhlman | 7 months ago Reply
    • Hi Caryn,
      I can understand your dilemma with this. I’m so glad to to hear you know WHY you are having such horrible periods. The thing, birth control is a class one carcinogen meaning it’s the most dangerous thing you can consume more than likely causing you unwanted cancer later.
      Have you thought about having the endometriosis removed and maintaining it naturally?

      While being on the pill, you are allowing the endometriosis to continue to grow instead of getting down to the root of the problem for yourself.

      Also, birth control is an abortifacient meaning it can cause a chemical abortion without you even knowing it.

      Check out FEMMHealth.org. They’ve created an app with medical care with physicians that have been trained to help you get down to the root of the problem. It’s amazing! They have literally created the wheel all the way around.

      Be well 🙂
      Brittney

      By Brittney | 7 months ago Reply
  2. While the analogy you use is great when considering women who may ‘sleep around’ it does not work for many people who use birth control for purposes other than contraception.

    In my case I suffered horrific pain for around half of every month associated with endometriosis. I tried naturopathic methods, vitamins, dietary changes with none of it helping. Three doctors, all knowing I wasn’t keen on going on birth control suggested that I did. So I used my brain, along with my rationality and made the choice to go on the ‘pill’. While I still get some pain the severity and duration is not nearly as long, and I’m not left debilitated every second day. This allows me to live a fuller life. There is no way I could of got through the first year of my masters degree if I didn’t be go on the pill.

    Another point I would like to make is about family planning. Yes, I ‘ve looked into it. However NFP is not going to work for me, because I will be on the pill and therefore not having natural cycles. So when I get married in August I will be using the ‘pill’ as a contraceptive method. Because I can assure you that as a young couple setting up our lives, we want possibly up to ten years to ensure we are financially capable of raising a child/ren.

    My overall point is not every situation is the way you may imagine it in your head. People are entitled to make decisions for themselves, and form their own opinions. My opinion is that while sleeping around is not good, birth control has a place.

    By Samantha | 7 months ago Reply
    • Did you take a look at NaPro technologies? I see that recommended all the time for sufferers of endometriosis who wish to practice Fertility Awareness Methods (NFP). I have also been hearing there are significant break throughs as well. So hopefully some day there will be a non-hormonal/chemical treatment for it.

      By sarah | 7 months ago Reply
      • Thanks Sarah,
        I had never heard of this before. Maybe something to look into when I choose to come off the pill

        By Samantha | 7 months ago Reply
    • Samantha, thank you for your comment.

      The only response I would like to give is that those who take birth control for medicinal purposes are in a completely different position. A woman who takes birth control for a medical reason is taking it with the object and intention of living healthily; that is an entirely separate case and is treated as such.

      This post is meant to reference those who rely on birth control as means of avoiding pregnancy, rather than learning how their body operates, or how to exercise their freedom to say “no”. My hope was that the analogy and explanation of it was sufficient to make that point. I apologize if that was still unclear.

      Peace,

      Ashley

      By Ashley Ackerman | 7 months ago Reply
      • Hi Sarah,

        Thanks for replying.

        Basically when I get married I will be using the pill to avoid pregnancy. I do not believe that this makes me a bad person.

        While I don’t recommend or personally like the idea of sleeping around and /or having sex prior to marriage, some people choose to. This is their choice! And that needs to be respected.

        By Samantha | 7 months ago Reply
  3. Great article Ashley, love the way God has blessed you to write.

    By Sarah | 7 months ago Reply
  4. NFP doesn’t work for everybody, unless your definition of NFP in such cases is “Well, then don’t have sex at all!”. I have multiple health issues and my body a) can’t control its own temperature, b) does not produce any trackable cervical mucus and c) my hormones are out of control, which makes it impossible to determine ovulation, even when using fertility monitors. I would love to have biological children, but becoming pregnant would most likely kill both me and the baby. So until my health issues are under control, which may never be the case, I can’t risk NFP.

    Also, using colorful metaphors does not change the fact that you look down on women who choose contraception, because the poor little things aren’t as educated as you are and need your help. Did it ever cross your mind that not everyone who uses contraception sleeps around the neighborhood and hasn’t considered all options? Two people may look at the same facts and still have different opinions, and just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that they are ignorant or promiscuous. Your post is arrogant, judgmental and simply unchristian and because of your holier than thou attitude, which you might not even consciously be aware of, you won’t convince a single woman to consider other options.

    By Mari | 7 months ago Reply
    • Agree!
      My comment was stating more or less the same as yours, but was not approved. The online space should allow everyone to express their opinion. If not, why have a section for a rely? Thank you for posting.

      By Samantha | 7 months ago Reply
      • This makes me look silly. Just found my comment. Thanks for replying Ashley 🙂

        By Samantha | 7 months ago Reply
  5. Great metaphor. Very well written. God gives us guidelines towards a happy life, and it is wise to follow them.

    By Jenner Lubinsky | 7 months ago Reply
  6. I love this article and yes, it is a great analogy. Sadly, the devil does a wonderful job on those that don’t put their trust in God and lack faith. Those seduced by the seemingly-liberating culture of meaningless connections, confuse arguments and see evil where there is goodness, but that’s just the reality of our human condition. Those who have ears, let them hear.

    The ladies that are out there battling for their “freedom” are precisely the ones that look for their freedom in the way of loveless sex–but fail to find it. Men initially love that they are so conveniently protected by contraception because it means one less problem for them to have to deal with when they are done, but later, those same men bemoan the lack of quality women they encounter–women they want to marry.

    There are more and women that hate themselves because they don’t value their femininity. Ironically, they are not angry towards the men that never call again, or won’t offer a lifelong commitment. Instead, they lash out against people that want to help and protect them–and even God.

    However, with work like this chastity movement, education, and lots and lots of prayer, more and more people are realizing that sex is a wonderful, powerful and awesome gift from God and we should be grateful and cherish it!! (If your parents buy you a brand new car, would you take it to the nearest bar, drop the keys on the counter and let anyone do doughnuts on the parking lot with it)?

    Lord be with us.

    By Raquel | 7 months ago Reply

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