Women, Sexual Asymmetry & Catholic Teaching
Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press), Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2012 Last revised: 25 Mar 2013
Date Written: November 13, 2012
Women and men are biologically and reproductively dissimilar. This sexual distinctiveness gives rise to a “sexual asymmetry” -- the fundamental reality that the potential consequences of sexual intercourse are far more immediate and serious for women than for men. Advocates of contraception and abortion have sought to cure sexual asymmetry by decoupling sex from procreation, relieving women from the consequences of sex, and thus equalizing the sexual experiences of men and women. But efforts to suppress or reject biological difference have not relieved women of the consequences of sex and the vulnerabilities of pregnancy, even as they have further relieved men. With reference to trends in sexual economics, I argue in this paper that secular feminist responses to biological difference have actually served to exacerbate sexual asymmetry. I then conclude by showing how Catholic teaching on abortion, sex, marriage -- and even contraception -- provides an authentically pro-woman cultural response.
Keywords: sexual equality, feminism, abortion, contraception, Catholic
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