Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Natural is superior ... unless it's not convenient.

I have argued repeatedly that the definition of "natural" childbirth is arbitrary and exists to convey approval of the things that the advocates like, and to convey disapproval and disdain for what they have not personally sanctioned. I have seen many arguments in response about the inherent superiority of natural functions and "what nature intended".

So here's my question:

If natural is "superior" when it comes to human reproduction, why is it acceptable to regulate fertility?

There is no doubt that regulating fertility is not natural. Nature "intends" for a woman to get pregnant as soon as possible after weaning a child, and to bear the maximum number of children she is physically capable of bearing. So why is it okay to ingest all sorts of chemicals, or to place technological devices inside the body or to surgically alter the body to interfere with this vital natural function?

Even "natural" family plannning is unnatural. Human ovulation is concealed. The fact that we now understand how the menstrual cycle works does not mean that it is "natural" to use this information to prevent conception.

Of course, it goes without saying that an abortion is completely unnatural.

So how is it that "natural" is superior, but it is perfectly acceptable to use drugs, devices and surgery to prevent pregnancy? I'll offer an answer: natural is "superior" for childbirth because that reflects the personal preferences of advocates, but it is not "superior" for fertility because that's simply not convenient for advocates.

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