A Matter of Intent

For some excellent commentary President Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame, see Anthony Esolen's post over at Mere Comments, available at http://merecomments.typepad.com/merecomments/2009/05/notre-madame-et-le-president.html

A brief excerpt:

Except in the case of rape, there are no "unintended pregnancies," none. There are plenty of women who do not want to be pregnant, and plenty of men who do not want them to be pregnant, but in all those cases the pregnancies are the results of intentional actions of a sort that have pregnancy as their perfectly natural and perfectly predictable consequence. Contraception does not change the nature of the act itself; indeed, it makes the actors more keenly aware that what they are doing is the sort of thing that makes babies, since otherwise they would not go so far out of their way (donning or inserting into the body uncomfortable devices, or flooding the system with pregnancy-mimicking hormones) to thwart the body's natural functions. The "problem" in the case of Sexual Roulette is not that the body fails, but that it succeeds.

So the pregnancies are the result of intention. The problem is that the children are not wanted, and that is a very different thing. For the question we should immediately ask is not, "How do we dispose of this child we do not want?" but "What is wrong with us that we do not want this child?"

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What we need, of course, is not to reduce "unintended pregnancies," but to grant children what we owe them, which is, at the minimum, a married mother and father. We want, in other words, to reduce unwed motherhood, not by killing the children, but by persuading people to get married before they start acting as if they were married.

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