Ban Contraception?

Catholic Culture‘s Phil Lawler thinks it would be a great idea:

Catholic politicians [are] under a moral obligation to oppose contraception because they are obligated to serve the common good, and contraception violates the common good. The use of contraception is not merely a moral offense for Catholics, similar to eating meat on a Friday in Lent. As Pope Paul explained in Humanae Vitae, contraception is a violation of the natural law, harmful to anyone who engages in the practice. Contraceptives harm people (especially women) and harm our society. Catholic politicians – all politicians, actually – should look for opportunities to restrain the practice.

It would be interesting to find a single woman who agrees. But it’s always bracing to see a Christianist be consistent for a change. Ponnuru responds to Lawler:

I’m part of the small minority of Americans who agrees with nearly all of those words. They do not, however, establish that prohibition is the right policy.

There are many potential harms that we have good reasons not to seek to prohibit. … I think a faithful Catholic politician could reasonably conclude – because it is true – that there is not much that government can do to restrain contraception (there are few “opportunities”), let alone much sensible that government can do; and that in the case of many oral contraceptives, the restriction on over-the-counter sales in our society serves no useful purpose.

Meanwhile, Bouie considers how evangelicals’ views on contraception are shifting to the right:

At the moment, few evangelicals have joined conservative and traditional Catholics in opposing birth control. It has been an extreme position for evangelicals, limited to the far right wing of the movement. Indeed, in a 2009 poll by the National Association of Evangelicals, 90 percent of respondents said that they approve of contraception.

But the fight against the Obamacare contraception mandate has begun to transform the landscape of evangelical belief about hormonal birth control. Concerns over potential “abortifacients” like Plan B have led to concerns over the “pill” itself, and evangelical leaders like Albert Mohler have warned their followers against the “contraceptive mentality,” and encouraged them to “look closely at the Catholic moral argument” for guidance.

That is indeed a fascinating development. I don’t buy the Magisterium’s argument against contraception, believe it profoundly weakens the much more important case against abortion, and was a prime example of what is wrong with papal supremacy in the church. Pope Paul’s own commission came to the opposite conclusion, as have the vast majority of Catholics. But, look, I have no objection whatsoever to Christians who agree with Pope Paul actually living out the reality. The best approach if this is your view is to proclaim it by example, rather than enforce it imprudently by law.