Page through any glossy, women’s magazine and you’ll find more than one full page advertisement for birth control. They often feature young, attractive women grinning ear to ear over their birth-control-related lack of pregnancy.
Relatively benign ads for oral contraceptives have been the norm in magazines found on drugstore stands across the country, but steadily taking over their key advertising space are IUDs. For those not familiar with IUDs, or intrauterine devices, they are small contraceptive implants that work as long term, reversible birth control and can be implanted either into the uterus or in the forearm. IUDs have been deemed the most ‘effective’ form of birth control in recent years and they’ve succeeded in capturing the hearts of raging pro-choice feminists and Planned Parenthood. Though I morally object to the use of IUDs, the issue I present to you relates to their most recent advertising approach.
The full page ad for ‘Skyla’ reads “I’ve got plans, and right now this is my baby”. Below the text sits a girl who smiles fiercely while clutching her guitar — I mean her baby. If you haven’t seen one of these advertisements, I implore you to take a look because the comparisons are almost comical. They equate careers to babies, music to babies, sports to babies, and travel to babies. In reality these ads are not funny at all, but disturbing when viewed with a perceptive cultural lens.
One may truly think that it’s okay to make a direct comparison between a dream of traveling Europe with a boyfriend to having and raising a human being. However, it is not.
The thing is (and this is going to be hard for some to digest), your guitar, briefcase, and tennis raquet ARE NOT your baby. While those dreams and passions might be incredibly important to you, they will never replace the experience of bringing human life into the world and caring for that life.
No Church leader spoke more eloquently on the sanctity of human life than Pope John Paul II, and he addressed the core problem with these advertisements in his Evangelium Vitae Encyclical Letter. In it, Pope John Paul II argues again and again about the “incomparable worth of the human person”.
As a woman, I understand the desire and need to pursue things other than motherhood in my life. Travel, education, and building solid relationships are part of many women’s life plans — and that is wonderful. But trying to make the argument that your corporate climb is your ‘baby’ for the time being is futile.
Putting aside the fact that parenting is the most difficult job in the world, a human life has an inherent dignity that your startup tech company does not. Motherhood is quite literally what keeps society in tact and progressing, and is not the same as being head honcho at a law firm.
It’s okay to not be ready for kids or to want to build a career first or even to not want kids at all. It’s not okay to actively compare the things you see as preventing you from having kids to kids themselves, all the while proclaiming your entitlement to have sex whenever you want without recognition that sex leads to the conception of a new life. This type of thinking is a slippery slope.
Advertisements that repeatedly diminish the dignity of human beings subtly contribute to the culture of death we see in abortion, euthanasia, and violent crime. Just look at Planned Parenthood and their recent “fetal baby parts” scandal. For an organization with so much power to be so callous about the sale of human remains points to the overarching culture.
IUD advertisements are often shallow, evasive, and self-centered. But the Skyla ads take self-centered to a new level, a level which is clearly contributing to trivialization of human life. Again, your drum set, new job, or love interest is not equal to pregnancy or a child. And truthfully, if your attention is so focused on career, travel, and ‘passion’ that pregnancy just does not fit, maybe you should refrain from engaging in the act that is designed to result in pregnancy. Just a thought.