Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the evils of vasectomies

Now that Perry has entered the race, we can focus on the issue that matters most--the moral difference between engaging in homosexual sex acts and having a vasectomy. Not that I've studied the issue in depth, but I think the standard argument for the immorality of homosexual sex acts is that those who have engaged in them have 'severed' the connection between sexual behavior and reproduction much in the way that Perry did when he had his father in law (yes, that's true!) perform a vasectomy on him. Here's a crucial excerpt from the Humanae Vitae on this topic (here):
Unlawful Birth Control Methods

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.


Eric said...

I think the typical Catholic response to the vasectomy issue (and infertility in general) is that procreation is still a POSSIBILITY because:

a. Sometimes vasectomies don't work but also
b. Sometimes God performs a 'miracle' for non-fertile couples (see: Abraham).

So I'm sure Perry could use some similarly silly line of reasoning to defend his vasectomy. But no gay couple could say the same, unless we extend the concept of a 'miracle' pretty far. I do find it interesting that, for the far-right pro-procreation crusaders, this candidate emerges with his stuff clipped. I didn't know that would fly in his circles...

Neil Sinhababu said...

As far as extending the concept of a 'miracle' goes, Eric, Catholics do believe that miracles as big as a lesbian couple conceiving have happened before (see: Mary). But maybe that's just a one-off thing.

Eric said...


Dangerous ground, that extension of a miracle. It might open the door for *gasp* homosexual relationships! But I think that one-off was due to Mary's participation in an appropriately traditional heterosexual relationship.