1flesh has added a philosophical argument for their beliefs since I last looked at their website a couple months ago.
Aristotle holds that all things strive to reach their natural end — their telos. Actions can be decided as contrary to the nature of an organism based on whether they hinder that organism on its way to this natural end….
The natural end of sex is both unity and procreation — love and new life. If this is denied, and it is claimed that sex is solely about making babies, there must likewise be a denial of the pleasure involved in sex, of the chemical exchange between man and woman that bonds them together, and of the testimony of human history, which has always linked the sexual act with the unity of persons.
If the converse is argued, and it is claimed that sex is solely about pleasure, one must contend with the shocking fact of what — precisely — leaves a man and enters a woman. One must deny the biology of the sexual act in order to claim that its natural end does not involve procreation — for every part of the action of sex speaks to this natural end. Women are their most attractive when they are fertile. Men are more attracted to ovulating women.
The truth seems self-evident then: The natural end of sex is both unity (pleasure) and procreation (babies). These things are inseparably intertwined.
To use artificial contraception is to remove the possibility of procreation from the act of sex. Thus sex with artificial contraception does not achieve its natural end. This is hardly contested. What is contested is whether or not this is a bad thing.
If an act does not achieve its natural end, that act is detrimental to the organism. For example, if the act of eating does not achieve its natural end of nourishment, the organism will starve….
Granted, human beings are fantastically complex organisms, but if what Aristotle says is true, and if the act of contraception prevents sex from achieving its natural end, then human beings must suffer as a result of the use of artificial contraception.
Oh, just admit you’re Catholic. Aristotle’s work had a huge influence on the development of Catholic philosophy. The concept of telos meshes very well with a belief in God and intelligent design. The creators of 1flesh are Catholic, but they’re studiously avoiding any mention of religion in their arguments. So instead they use Aristotle. I’m not saying they can’t use non-religious arguments to make their case, but avoiding Catholicism when it so clearly pervades their worldview is disingenuous. After all, they endorse the Creighton Method of fertility awareness, which was developed by the Pope Paul VI Institute.
No one denies that humans have sex both for pleasure and for procreation, although a great many people would like to skip the procreation part, and find it perfectly ethical to do so. The weird part of their argument is this: 1flesh advocates the use of fertility awareness to space pregnancies. This requires abstaining from sex when the woman is in the fertile period of her cycle, if the couple does not want to conceive. Doesn’t fertility awareness achieve the same decoupling of pleasure and procreation as other methods of contraception? The goal is still to avoid conception when you don’t want to conceive. And it’s not as if every incidence of intercourse will result in pregnancy, even if the couple isn’t using any method of contraception. Shouldn’t that mean that the telos of sex is not necessarily procreation? What about miscarriages? Is the fetus thwarting its own best end? What about women dying in childbirth? Do they not suffer as a result of the telos of sex?
Incidentally, Aristotle has a lot to say on reproduction itself. No wonder 1flesh likes him–he talks about semen a lot. (More on that later.)
This is really just because I’m feeling mischievous. From Aristotle’s On the Generation of Animals:
Some think that the female contributes semen in coition because the pleasure she experiences is sometimes similar to that of the male, and also is attended by a liquid discharge. But this discharge is not seminal; it is merely proper to the part concerned in each case, for there is a discharge from the uterus which occurs in some women but not in others. It is found in those who are fair-skinned and of a feminine type generally, but not in those who are dark and of a masculine appearance….
Now a boy is like a woman in form, and the woman is as it were an impotent male, for it is through a certain incapacity that the female is female, being incapable of concocting the nutriment in its last stage into semen (and this is either blood or that which is analogous to it in animals which are bloodless owing to the coldness of their nature)….
For the female is, as it were, a mutilated male, and the catamenia are semen, only not pure; for there is only one thing they have not in them, the principle of soul….