The 45th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae by Larry Plachno- In recent months we have seen an increase in information and reports from researchers, demographers and even the secular media on how our social problems, ideal family size and how we vote are interconnected with marriage, choice and fertility. Some of them are making reference to and quoting Humanae Vitae.

Humanae Vitae (Latin for Of Human Life) is an encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI. It was issued on July 25, 1968 and hence celebrates 45 years this year. Pope Paul VI was ignored and laughed at by many but today it is increasingly obvious that he was correct and his predictions were right on the mark.

Pope Paul VI spoke out against artificial methods of birth control and predicted that they would result in a “general lowering of moral standards” resulting from sex without consequences, would also reduce the stature of women and would lead to abuse of power by public authorities.

What contraception did do was to open Pandora’s Box and introduce choice to our society. Pregnancy, babies and children had been a gift from God but now became a “choice.” As one researcher put it, contraception broke the “iron triangle that previously linked sex, marriage and childbearing.” As a result, choice then spread to marriage, family, the family wage, abortion, homosexuality as well as numerous other areas. Here is what we are facing today.

• Marriage and Family – The people who are pro-choice on marriage worked to eliminate the family wage, which in turn eliminated families. Today, 67 percent of men and 57 percent of women in the prime childbearing years between 20 and 34 have never been married. More than half of voting age Americans are single. Hence, younger people with a family are now a minority group.

• U.S. Birthrate – The U.S. birthrate has been dropping alarmingly. It is now at the lowest level since 1920 when reliable data first became available. The lifetime average of 1.9 children per woman is below the replacement rate of 2.1 – the number of children needed to keep population level. As a result we now have a “top heavy” population with too many older and retired people and too few younger workers. We are also on the way to becoming an endangered species. If this lack of fertility were noted in any animal group, it would create a special effort by biologists to reverse this trend and bring back normal fertility levels.

• Abortion – In spite of declining birth rates, some people still support abortion as a choice. Depending on estimates, somewhere between 55 and 60 million babies have been lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade. And this in spite of the fact that couples are lined up willing to adopt.

• Child Disabilities – We are seeing an increase in disabilities and problems in newborns. Some people take chemicals to avoid getting pregnant when they are younger so they can concentrate on a career. Then, when they are older and their biological clock is running down, they take more chemicals to assist in getting pregnant. Both these chemicals and pregnancy in older years is not good for the babies. The average age of first time mothers rose from 21.5 years in 1970 to 25.4 years in 2010. It is better for both the children and the parents to have children while you are younger.

• Government Intervention – Pope Paul VI was even correct regarding government intervention. In spite of declining birth rates and our “top heavy” society of seniors, our government considers pregnancy, babies and children as evil and subsidizes contraception and abortion. Even our president condones partial birth abortion.

One might ask how Pope Paul VI knew that all of this was interconnected. The answer goes back 2,000 years. Jesus Christ came to our earth to suffer and die to atone for our sins. God is not only telling us that good and evil do exist but that some atonement is required for doing evil. Hence, a Christian is someone who evaluates his or her actions and decisions as good or evil and does not give in to choice. What is good and evil in regard to pregnancy, babies, children, abortion, marriage, family, selling drugs to kids and shooting a gun in a school?

Those who have done the research will tell you that we really do not have hundreds of social problems. We have one huge social problem variously known as selfishness, the pro-choice attitude or moral relativism. Our social problems are merely choice being applied to various actions or decisions.

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, all of this is now coming out in various research in both religious and secular venues.

Years of research into social problems has shown that the reports and statistics endorse the love of God and love of neighbor admonishments of Jesus Christ. When Christ told us to love our neighbor, he did not provide a list of exceptions that included marriage, family, children and abortion because he knew that everything is interconnected. Choice, like evil, is the opposite of good. How come we have not learned this yet?

NOTE: Many of our readers are familiar with the excellent writings of Larry Plachno which he has so graciously shared with us over the past years. Larry is a businessman and a parish respect life coordinator. You can read more of Larry’s wonderful work at



4 thoughts on “The 45th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

    • I just don’t like the last statement that “choice” is the opposite of good. You must be referring to what the pro-aborts have evolved that word to mean. God always gives us “choice.” It is our free will. It is a gift from God and so can not be considered evil in and of itself. We choose always, in every decision we make. It should be every individual’s goal though, to choose as God would have them do. There-in lies each individual’s challenge!

      EDITOR: Thanks for your comment. You’re right-choice is a beautiful word and the enemies of God have hijacked it.

  1. “The average age of first time mothers rose from 21.5 years in 1970 to 25.4 years in 2010. It is better for both the children and the parents to have children while you are younger.”

    Larry – didn’t you and your wife have a kid when you were in your mid-50’s?

    Also, is it opinion or fact that these birth control “chemicals” as you refer to them are what is causing the harm or could it be other choices? What comes to mind specifically is drug and alcohol abuse and other chemicals that manufacturers are putting into things we consume (crops, meats, soda pop, etc.)

  2. You’re right! Choice is the opposite of good.

    I used to hate it when I’d get into a discussion about Life Issues and someone with a different opinion would call me ‘anti-choice’. It seemed like an insult to me. Now I’m happy to agree. I AM anti-choice.

    When we grow up we learn the ‘facts of life’. The most important fact of life is that none of us can survive without other people’s support. Ultimately, no one is “viable”.

    Since everyone depends on others, it follows that other people are depending on you. Do I have a ‘choice’ about fulfilling my obligations to those who depend on me. Is it my ‘right’ to say, “it’s a burden to make the sacrifices I need to make in order to support you. So, tough luck for you! I’m free. I have ‘choice’! It’s up to me to decide whether or not to leave you ‘high and dry'”

    Every dog for himself, right? That’s what the Choice camp is pressing for — but they’re blind to their own insanity!!


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