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Pillar

Sexuality & Family

The second pillar of a decent society is the institution of the family, which is built upon the comprehensive sexual union of man and woman. No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.

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Constant supervision thwarts a child’s ability to develop important qualities such as resourcefulness, self-awareness, and perseverance. But independence with a strong inner compass, a compass that is oriented toward the safety and trustworthiness of healthy family relationships, helps children eventually carry that attached compass away from home and eventually calibrate it for themselves.
Risks are essential to human flourishing. By taking measured risks—to our sanity, our financial stability, our perceived safety—we explore the limits of our ability to withstand discomfort, a posture that then allows us to care for others. In this way, well-ordered risk-taking is fundamentally others-oriented.
The belief that childrearing is prohibitively expensive could be understood as a fruit of our collapsing civil society. Some people today don’t even consider that extended family, neighbors, churches, and other little platoons can, at least theoretically, provide real support to parents. They fall into believing that the only places to turn for help are the market and the state. Parents without community support then shift more burden onto themselves.
The public bioethics conversations of the twenty-first century will be much more nuanced and complicated than the abortion debate of the last fifty years. If we want to speak thoughtfully about how these and other technologies are shaping our future, we will need to move beyond a reductionist approach to human dignity.
In spite of all the difficulties they told me—“my body is shot,” “I’ve taken second best in my career, ” but “gosh, I would have one more.” What is this thing, that you could drag yourself through all this hardship and still want one more?
The friendship of husband and wife is founded on an attraction or thrill, but that thrill has roots in the goodness of the other spouse. It should grow into a series of actions that make both spouses better, that cement their delight in each other’s good in a life of mutual beneficence and sacrifice.
The new Alabama IVF provider immunity law, recently praised by former President Trump, will have pernicious national consequences on parents’ rights to hold IVF providers accountable and will negatively affect Republican unity over pro-life issues.
Demographer Lyman Stone projects that, on the current course, as many as one in three young adults in the United States might never marry and as many as one in four will never have kids. That’s a lot of kinless Americans. Given the importance of marriage and family for what Jefferson called “the pursuit of happiness,” this would be a tragedy. So let’s find new ways to make it easier and more appealing for young adults to get married.
I won’t resort to the “be yourself!” platitude or argue that anyone should unleash the waterworks on a first date. However, I will suggest that the relationships (particularly romantic ones) that alleviate despondency cannot be cultivated while adhering to manifestos and maintaining derogatory views of the opposite sex. And that applies to both women and men. 
What should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind is the question, “How does all this technological tinkering affect the kids?” We are only beginning to be able to answer that question.
Inviting people into joy, both then and now, means also inviting others into possible pain. We must embrace the joys with the sorrows to lead full, rich lives as human beings.
The parallel to vital conflict cases is clear: do not too quickly assume that death is inevitable. Do not too quickly assume that active rather than passive harm needs to be inflicted, even as a side effect.
AntiFems face a dilemma. On one hand, they want to affirm, protect, and promote the distinctiveness of women. On the other hand, they oppose what at present seems like the only viable strategy for achieving that end, the recovery and extension of an authentic feminism. 
The early women’s rights advocates sought to challenge, accompany, encourage, and support their sisters in the pursuit of the good life, in choosing good and rejecting evil. They sought to help them understand that they did not have to be the slaves of necessity, but that they could virtuously choose to undertake difficult but worthwhile endeavors, including the hardships of motherhood.
Chastity is a way of being more holistically directed toward our happiness regardless of the desires and attractions we experience.
Our bodies cause great inconvenience. Nothing about menstruation, ovulation, or having children is convenient, after all. But it’s the way we were created, and there are better ways to respond to the sexual asymmetry of men and women. What are we losing out on if we suppress it?
To assign is to flail and thrash about as we try to exert control over the uncontrollable. But to wait in the ultrasound office or in the delivery room to find out, to then share with others in this first discovery of our child’s identity, to delight equally in male and female, is to recover our fundamental vulnerability to the gifts given to us.
Until everyone, including Byrne, sees that the point of gender ideology is to change our understanding of human being, our arguments and clarifications will ultimately be impotent.
Feminism has never been a phrase without its detractors—many men in the 1800s very much did see women as “skin and bones.” But today, Catholics seem to be split over the virtues and vices of the word “feminist” more than ever before.
Barnes repeatedly emphasizes the many parents or clinic employees who had tried to sound the alarm but whose warnings were ignored by clinic authorities. But Barnes is loath to draw any firm conclusions from these stories. Her cautious wording and frequent qualifiers undermine some of the book’s most important points and questions. 
Writer Rachel Lu recently penned an essay in these pages that engages my book as an example of what she calls “anti-feminist” work. Lu draws some surprising conclusions about my book that, I think, are not representative of my work. She makes four overarching points to which I would like to respond.
If Ms. Cox is unwilling to parent a disabled child, she should terminate her parental rights upon birth, giving others the chance to show charity to a small but greatly treasured life. To hold that child’s hand as he or she drew a final breath would be to sit on hallowed ground.
In reality, the initial question of “Should we reject feminism?” is reductive to the point of making little sense. It invites no clear “yes” or “no” answer because the term “feminism” has no clear and consistent definition, and “feminism’s” effects have been both good and bad in ways that are now deeply intertwined. 

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