Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Don't Lecture Me on my Vasectomy

I had a hockey game last weekend, and one of my teammates was telling a few of us on the bench that he and his wife had just had their first baby. After some high-fives and congratulations, another teammate joked about how after his first child he gave himself the best Christmas present he ever received—-a vasectomy.

Certainly this bothered me, and I made some quick pro-children comment before we all hopped the boards for a line change. But the teammate who just had the new daughter is Catholic, perhaps only nominally, and I really wanted to say something more to him. I really hoped to find some way of turning the conventional wisdom on its head. Mainly, I was interested in finding a polemic against surgical contraceptive procedures that is not too overtly Catholic--something you could easily explain over a few beers with neighbors, co-workers, teammates, Protestant friends, etc., who do not understand and/or follow the teachings of the Church in these matters.

Below is the core of the argument. Please critique/add/flesh-out/etc.


The whole idea seems-- to use a highly technical medical term-- bass-ackwards. An unhealthy person goes to a physician when something is NOT working properly, in hopes the physician can make it work properly again. In the case of a vasectomy and other such procedures, a perfectly healthy person goes to a physician in hopes the physician can make something that IS working properly NOT work properly anymore.

Why would a healthy person go to the doctor to get unhealthy? We wouldn't do this with any other aspect of our health. "Hey, Doc, my digestive system seems to be working perfectly fine. Got any suggestions?" Or, "my immune system is in perfect health, Doc. What should I do?" Yet many people go into a doctor's office basically saying, "Well, it seems my reproductive system is working just like it's supposed to. You gotta help me, Doctor!"

Something just doesn’t seem right to me about that…


Certainly, there is nothing new in this argument-- it's Natural Law 101, and all contraception is meant to frustrate normal, healthy reproductive processes. But unfortunately, the modern mind is not too well aquainted with Natural Law-- and so I want to work something out that can be the beginning of a dialogue.


Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

That rocks Frank. It's not just philosophers who tend to be skeptical about the future, so perhaps an appeal to that might help. What I have in mind is something like this:

"I know they can sometimes be reversed, but aren't you concerned that you might regret it after it's too late. I mean, after all, when I was younger I thought of kids of a burden, but now I realize what a blast they are."

This has the ring of prudence and maturity about it and could plant doubts while clearly identifying yourself as pro-kid.

Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:06:00 PM  
Blogger oxi_b said...

I agree with Trent. Sometimes people think they want only one child, but then they change their mind. Can you be sure that you will always have your child? May be it's a little pessimistic, but children get sick, children die, too. Your child is given to you, but you don't know for how long. One lady, my good friend, once told me about her third child: now our two older children are gone, and he is still with us, it would be lonely without him (other people advised her abortion when she found herself pregnant with her third child. They were in a very hard financial situation. Now they hew a nice big apartment, but their two younger children are gone).
Sometimes your spouse dies, you get married again, and you want to have more children.
There are many different events that may happen and may change your view, I listed the most tragic ones. I am sure it is possible to come up with something more positive.

People change, and they change their mind, they change their views. He may want to have more children later. It does not seem prudent to do irreversible changes, to deprive yourself from more possibilities and more choices in the future.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:46:00 PM  

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