Achieving a Culture of Life through Social Justice

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Women hate being women because being a woman in the current world is a struggle against discrimination and poverty because of one’s gender.

One of my new year resolutions is to stop being judgemental. While I know we have a moral duty to preserve life, I will put myself in the shoes of most women who use contraception. Especially those who are struggling with poverty. Some of them are not even aware that some forms of contraception are abortifacient. They are trying to be responsible parents and make sense of life. Having been torn away from well structured formation systems, a number of Africans are not given moral formation in a relevant manner and as such find themselves lost. As a Roman Catholic I have been taught that the use of contraception is a sin so every woman who uses contraception is a sinner. Truth be told, a number of women, Christian and otherwise do use contraception. Why do they do it? For many women in the developing world, this boils down to poverty (majority of the world’s poor are women) and the inability to care for one’s children. In a patriarchal society, things are designed to work and operate in a way that puts into consideration the needs and make-up of the male. The woman cannot fit in unless she herself strives to become more like a man. It’s not just women who are affected. There is lot unemployment and poverty. With so much inequality and poverty, bringing up a family is a struggle. There is a need for social justice. Take the example of a woman with eight children who is struggling as it is and does not want to have more children that she cannot support? The Church tells her that she sins when she uses contraception and does not offer her support. Where is the social justice? What do you tell a woman who uses contraception because she knows if she conceives she might get fired or miss that promotion? She might not use natural family planning because she does not know about it or her husband will not agree to co-operate with her on the same. For many women contraception is the sensible alternative where poverty has persisted. Others might have other reasons like furthering careers but the impetus is almost the same, to have financial stability. We will march for life (me included) and implement pro-life laws until Jesus comes back but unless we address the problem of poverty and gender discrimination, not much will change. We cannot condemn women when we offer them no alternatives. It is time to put action into words.  We need many crisis pregnancy centres and maybe we need to be good Samaritans. More so, as a society we need to become more humane. We need to stop viewing pregnancy as a disease and stop victimising girls and women who get pregnant out of wedlock. They need our assistance. There is a need for research into natural family planning in order to find ways that make it more effective and useable for women. We must be at the forefront in this. We can churn out doctrines for only so long without looking into the needs of women. We should put our faith into action. Many are weak and perhaps we can focus on helping them. I ask myself, what Jesus would do if He found a poor woman with eight children using contraception. Would He condemn her and to what extent? I do not know. Perhaps He would be more inclined to severely condemn those who have exploited the poor for their own benefit and those of us who just stood by and took no action.


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