There was a time, long before I was born, when sex and the life-giving power of procreation were inexorably connected. Sex was procreation; and procreation was sex. That was the time long before the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s, when the ideal, not always lived up to, was that a husband and a wife refrained from sex until they were married. Sex was a sacred act only to be engaged in within marriage. Sex was tied to the sanctity of marriage, and also the sanctity of life. Many people today will look back on that time as archaic, ignorant, repressive, and anti-woman.
Today, in our more “enlightened” time, sex has been turned into a pure act of pleasure, a form of entertainment, and physical fulfillment. Treating another human being as a piece of flesh for our own gratification has become normalized, and in many cases glorified. You don’t have to look any further than widespread proliferation of pornography across the internet, the sexualization of our children, and the “hook up culture” on college campuses to understand that we are teaching our society to treat others like objects. Even the heavy-handed creation of awkward and intrusive standards to ensure consent, has turned sexual activity into a business transaction between two dispassionate parties further separating the love, the romance, and the humanity of the two people involved.
Scientific advancements such as, birth control, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy have further separated the sexual act from the life-giving power of procreation. We now live in a time where people can compartmentalize their sexual life from there parental life, where in the past the two were unescapably connected. Some will argue that this is a good thing. That the advancements of birth control have allowed people to take control of their lives, because it has prevented countless unwanted pregnancies from occurring, and to a very narrow perspective, that is absolutely true, but currently in America, there are over 3 million unwanted pregnancies every year, and that is not a failure of birth control, or a failure of everyone to properly use birth control, it is a direct result of the seismic shift in our cultural attitudes toward sex and procreation as a consequence of the propagation of birth control.
The concept of “unwanted pregnancy” underscores this troubling shift in attitude toward life and sex. Sex is no longer about procreation; sex is about pleasure, about individual fulfillment. The awesome life-giving power that sex gives human beings has become marginalized, and in many cases demonized. Former President Barack Obama, in his support of abortion rights, once said, if his daughters “make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.” Think about the moral bankruptcy of that statement. The ability to give another human being life is not seen as a miraculous power that should be revered and treated with its due respect, it is now seen as a punishment if it did not time up with Barack Obama’s daughters’ life-calendars.
It is this type of thinking which leads us to the modern-day American atrocity of abortion. It is only when we separate sex from procreation, from that life giving power, and we start seeing a baby not as a gift from God, or a miraculous occurrence, but as a punishment, will we be willing to systematically murder these babies in the womb at the rate of 800,000 per year, and not think twice about it. Our current cultural ethos is to maximize pleasure, and minimize responsibility, and if we have to resort to killing to maintain this dynamic, so be it.
Back in those arcane oppressive days when sex and procreation were closely connected, and sex was an activity meant for within a marriage, were we able to value not only the life-giving power of sex but also the life that sex produces to the point that we would rarely ever consider killing the baby within the womb because the baby was valued as a gift, as a miracle, as something beyond ourselves, because even the woman who carries and delivers the baby, did nothing to earn or create the life-giving power that she possesses. This is not to minimize the arduousness of pregnancy, and the pain of childbirth, but to simply state that the power to create life is given, not earned. Yet we have come to a point in our society where that power is taken for granted and treated as a game. So, if the act that produces life has been trivialized, then the life that is produced becomes trivial, meaningless, easily discarded.
Since 1973, Americans have chosen to kill 10 times more babies in the womb than Hitler killed Jews in his death camps, three times more than the Russians that Stalin killed, and twice as many as the Chinese dissidents that Mao killed.
It is understandable and natural for a woman to want to have control over her body, and make her own “medical” decisions, but whether abortion is deemed legal or illegal by the Supreme Court in their upcoming ruling, should be completely irrelevant because in a decent, moral society that values life, it would only be a rare individual who would choose to kill her own baby. But the extreme cultural shift of separating sex from parenthood, has led us to the point where we have rendered the life we create as so valueless to the point that killing the baby in an abortion becomes a viable option.
Not only have we separated sex from procreation and parenthood, we have also separated sex from love, and once love is removed from intimacy, love is not connected to the product our intimacy. This is not to say that there weren’t people who removed love from sex, and sex from procreation prior to the “sexual revolution”, but we had never come to a place where that ideology was legitimized by the larger culture and promoted throughout society. When all these things become disconnected from each other, it is inevitable that the problems we are experiencing throughout our society today manifest themselves because that disconnection removes love, and value, and meaning from our very lives, and we are rendered as mere physical beings with no inherent value beyond our physical bodies.
We now live in a disposable society, where the products we buy come with built-in obsolescence, and everything is replaced every year to the newer, the faster, the shinier, the improved version. And human beings have become mere commodities in this disposable society, spouses are traded in for younger models; there are things called “boy toys” and “trophy wives”; and children’s lives became reflections of their parents’ accomplishments. In our new digital age human beings are no longer even flesh and blood; we have become data to be mined; our lives have been distilled down into a series of “zeroes” and “ones”. We have become simultaneously the consumer, and the consumed, used and disposed of.
This is why over 100,000 people can die of drug overdoses in our country, and no one really cares. This is why we can have a 44% increase in violent crime and murder in our major cities, and there is no outcry. This is why when our cities become overrun with the homeless who are either mentally ill or addicted to drugs, we sit idly by when all these people not only live, but also die on the streets.
Our cultural selfishness gets exposed when the one crisis that ignites the population as a whole to act has been COVID-19, which can affect potentially everyone, so the country is willing to go to great extremes to combat that threat because it threatens themselves, while the horrors and tragedy of drugs, intercity violent crime, homelessness, and even the atrocity of abortion is essentially ignored because it only threatens certain parts of the population that the most vocal are not part of.
When our fellow man is dying or being killed, we collectively do not care to do anything about it because it doesn’t affect us, but when a virus arises that has a 1% chance of killing us, the country comes to a complete halt. Kids living in the inner city, drug addicts, the homeless, and a baby in the womb, all have less of a chance of surviving their life circumstances than we do of Covid, but we spend infinitely more time and resources combatting Covid than helping those more at risk.
We’ve been taught in our culture through our acceptance of atrocities like abortion that our fellow human being is not inherently valuable so their suffering which does not touch us, or cannot be exploited for selfish political purposes, can be completely ignored. Yet we do a masterful job of shrouding our selfishness and narcissism in a convenient self-serving philanthropy where we risk and sacrifice very little for some ambiguous cause and are heralded as saints and martyrs. The women who march for their right to kill their own babies so they can continue their self-absorbed lifestyles are treated as freedom fighters. They fight for the right to have an abortion on the grounds that they have the right to control what happens to their body but choosing to have an abortion denies another person the right to control what happens their bodies. So, exercising the right to abortion denies the basis for the very right to have an abortion.
We will finally become the country we were destined to be when abortion is safe and legal, and our collective society values life to the point that no one would ever consider to choose to have an abortion, but sadly we are the exact opposite, and we scratch our heads wondering why there is so much pain and suffering in our society, not realizing that the root cause of the that suffering is based in how we as a society value life, and to determine that we need not look any further than the 800,000 babies we kill in the womb each year.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.