Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Contraception the Next Big Target?

The Chicago Tribune had an article this weekend by Judith Graham that indicates that the religious right is now broadening their focus on abortion to include opposition to contraception itself.

Emboldened by the anti-abortion movement’s success in restricting access to abortion, an increasingly vocal group of Christian conservatives is arguing that it’s time to mount a concerted attack on contraception.

Their voices were raised in Rosemont on Friday and Saturday at an unusual anti-abortion meeting that drew 250 people from around the nation to condemn artificial birth control. Experts at the gathering assailed contraception on the grounds that it devalues children, harms relationships between men and women, promotes sexual promiscuity and leads to falling birth rates, among social ills.

Even prominent Protestant leaders like Albert Mohler are recognizing this growing trend:

“Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else,” Joseph Scheidler, an anti-abortion veteran whose Pro-Life Action League sponsored the conference, said in an interview.

No one knows how many supporters Scheidler and his colleagues have, but conservative leaders are watching to see if the anti-contraception rhetoric gains traction.

Of special interest is how closely evangelical Christians are willing to align themselves with traditional Catholics on the issue. The Catholic Church long has opposed contraception, but evangelicals generally embraced its use–until recently, some argue.

“It is clear there is a major rethinking going on among evangelicals on this issue, especially among young people” disenchanted with the sexual revolution, said Rev. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “There is a real push back against the contraceptive culture now.”

Whether or not Mohler is right about young people, the sympathetic sentiments of a key leader in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination adds fuel to the debate.

Let’s also not lose sight of the broad religious right support for abstinence-only sex education, which is clearly tied in with anti-contraception views. Under Federal rules, in order to qualify for funding as an abstinence-only program a curriculum is forbidden to even mention contraception except to point out failure rates (usually vastly exaggerated at that).

The illogical thinking of some of these people is absolutely astounding:

“I think it’s great that more pro-life people are finally speaking up about it,” said Helen Mazur, 27, who flew in from Philadelphia with her husband for the conference, called “Contraception is Not the Answer.”

“It’s always been a touchy subject, but you have to stand strong on your beliefs. Contraception is the root cause of the explosion of the amount of abortions in the world,” Mazur said.

Wow. If you want to see an explosion in the number of abortions, all you have to do is ban contraception. Widespread availability of contraception absolutely reduces the number of abortions, as does comprehensive sex education. The Netherlands has the world’s most comprehensive sex education curriculum, offering contraception and pregnancy and STD testing not only freely but anonymously as well. The result: the rate of teen pregnancy in that country is 1/7th the rate of American teens, and so is the rate of abortions among teens.

And the illogic doesn’t stop there:

Another line of argument against contraception, that it harms relationships between men and women, is advanced by Janet Smith, professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

“When people use contraception, they’re not asking themselves, do I want a lifetime relationship with this person or would this person be a good parent,” Smith explains. “They’re simply hooking up, typically because of sex, and sliding into marriage.”

The result, Smith says, is disappointment and divorce.

For crying out loud, is this woman braindead? More people slide into marriage because they get pregnant than because they’re trying to prevent it. Using birth control helps avoid bad relationships brought on by “shotgun weddings”, relationships that are damaging for all involved. If you are not ready to have children, it is absolutely irreponsible not to use contraception. If these cretins have their way, the result will be the exact opposite of what they claim. It will be an explosion of unwanted pregnancies and abortions and a great deal more unhappy relationships.

I think if the religious right really decides to take up this fight, they’re going to lose public support in a serious way. While a lot of people have moral qualms about abortion, very few, even among Catholics, feel that way about birth control. The percentage of women who have used birth control at some point in their lives is over 90%, and I don’t think any sane person could view this as anything but healthy. Clearly, we are better off as a society with fewer unwanted pregnancies and with the ability to put off pregnancy until one is ready for the enormous challenge and commitment of being a parent. And as the Tribune article points out, over 90% of American support access to birth control.

Comments

  1. #1 Jim Ramsey
    September 25, 2006

    So if I understand this correctly, more unwanted children are what we need to enhance the value of children.

    I’m confused.

  2. #2 steve s
    September 25, 2006

    “Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else,” Joseph Scheidler, an anti-abortion veteran whose Pro-Life Action League sponsored the conference, said in an interview.

    Scheidler’s brother Tim later went on to explain that fire extinguishers were the root cause of fire trucks.

  3. #3 Sastra
    September 25, 2006

    The “contraception devalues children” argument is that birth control treats conception and pregnancy as if they were diseases, something bad that you have to avoid. This habit of thought is supposed to then spill over into how you feel about children in general and your children specifically.

    I once got into a very strange argument with a Catholic who felt that birth control was wrong even for married couples — and he was trying hard to argue this from a purely secular standpoint. He said that while choosing to hold off on having children you couldn’t afford was a right and moral choice, to then go on and have sex anyway corrupted the justness of your decision. He made the analogy that “it would be like a judge deciding a case correctly, and then taking money for that.” One should pay a price for the good one does — benefiting is crass.

    Sorry, try as I might, I just could not see the analogy or the problem. We eventually concluded that yes, it is very hard to make a case that contraception is morally wrong from a purely secular, rational starting point.

  4. #4 dogmeatIB
    September 25, 2006

    For some reason I keep early Monty Python…

    “Every sperm…”

    Bunch of loons.

  5. #5 Skemono
    September 25, 2006

    More people slide into marriage because they get pregnant than because they’re trying to prevent it.

    Not to mention those who believe in “saving themself for marriage” and so get married as early as possible so they can finally have sex.

  6. #6 Tyler DiPietro
    September 25, 2006

    Is there no end to the insanity of these people? I’m serious, seeing actual human beings who can actually believe these things is making suicide look tempting.

  7. #7 DuWayne
    September 25, 2006

    This is an issue that has been gaining a lot of traction over the last few years. With “conscience” clauses being enacted in many states to allow pharmicists not to fill scripts because of religious belief. These people are absolutely nuts and unfortunately, gaining momentum.

    Another big problem with sexual health is situations like this one. . .

    In short for those who don’t follow the link. This is the story of a woman who has 3 kids already with her partner. She cannot take hormonal birth control any more and the depo shot sent her to the ER. So she and her partner started using condom instead. Unfortunately they had one break. So she subsequently called around to ER’s (it broke on a friday night) trying to get a script for Plan B. She was repeatedly told she probably wouldn’t get a script for it because all the doctors that are willing to prescribe it have critera she didn’t meet – because she and her partner aren’t married.

    Absolute insanity.

  8. #8 qetzal
    September 25, 2006

    This could be a blessing in disguise.

    It’s one thing to try to restrict abortion. Lots people who aren’t religious fundamentalists and who do support abortion will still agree that that some limits are appropriate.

    But if the fundys seriously try to restrict access to condoms and birth control pills, I predict they will quickly encounter strong resistance from the majority of Americans. This could be a big political misstep by the fundys, and will hopefully remind most people why religion and government shouldn’t be mixed.

  9. #9 NJ
    September 25, 2006

    If these fruitcakes stay in power, count on a legal assault on Griswold. I know you’ve said in the past, Ed, that it’s safe, that there are too many people who would oppose overturning it, but it seems clear that these folks don’t inhabit the same reality we do, and that they won’t hesitate to grab that lance and charge that windmill…

  10. #10 C. Lathe
    September 25, 2006

    Maybe that’s the idea… making life so completely irrational for those that pay attention that they feel the need to take themselves out of the equation. Secular/religious dialectic… pshhh. They’re trying to kill us! :P

  11. #11 Kate
    September 25, 2006

    these stories infuriate me! I’m female and have a hormonal problem. I have too much testosterone and need to take estrogen to regulate that.

    here’s the fun and ironic bit. If I don’t keep taking estrogen pills (birth control pills) then I will never stand the chance of getting pregnant. My body simply would be too damaged and confused by the years of being out of whack.

    So idiots like those mentioned above are getting in the way of doctor/patient relationships by trying to prevent these things. That they are also getting in the way of a person taking responsibility for their sexual preferences is (imho) adding insult to injury.

    I really do like talking to wingnuts about this. They start the conversation saying that they’d deny me medical treatment… up until they find out that it’s the only way I could have children… then suddenly they’re whistling another tune entirely. I have a hard time determining what these people want…. from the sound of it they want people in loveless marriages, less joy in sex and more children in the bargain. How does that lead to a happy healthy society again? I’m a little lost…

  12. #12 Carter
    September 25, 2006

    “Clearly, we are better off as a society with fewer unwanted pregnancies and with the ability to put off pregnancy until one is ready for the enormous challenge and commitment of being a parent”

    It’s not clear at all. Out-of-wedlock births and single motherhood have increased with (some have argued because of) contraception and abortion becoming more available.

  13. #13 Kate
    September 25, 2006

    Carter, that study is at least 10 years out of date. Do you have more current information? Or are you saying that nothing in society has changed in the past ten years to merit further investigation?

  14. #14 The Ridger
    September 25, 2006

    It’s actually quite logical, if you accept their premise.

    A. Only people who don’t want kids use birth control.
    B. Because birth control fails a lot, these people get pregnant.
    C. They didn’t want a kid, so they have an abortion.
    D. If they didn’t have birth control, they wouldn’t have sex because, yes, they don’t want kids.

    See? It’s simple. No more birth control means people just won’t have sex if they don’t want a kid. And *that* means abortions will stop.

  15. #15 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    They start the conversation saying that they’d deny me medical treatment

    I love this. Honestly, these smug, judgmental pillocks who think that they should in some way have the right to withold legitimate medical help from people should be dragged out into the street and beaten to a bloody pulp in front of their family and friends. If you don’t want to administer medical care then don’t become a doctor.

    Conscience exemption, my arse. That’s a total cop out. If they won’t treat patients, sling them out.

  16. #16 Amy
    September 25, 2006

    Well, I have been trying to warn people of this movement for some time now and yes, it is growing. The more fudies homeschool and send their kids to christian schools the more stupid the next generation becomes. The fudies have even started Jesus camps to prepare their children for governmenal positions to push their ideaologies on the rest of the world. And that means women will suffer cuz thats what gawd wants, the bible says so! This is an all out war on women and us women need to start pushing back! I think another march for womens lives is needed, but one that exposes the bible and christians for what they really are…he-man woman-haters!

  17. #17 Joshua
    September 25, 2006

    “Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else.”

    Frank Black comes to mind here: “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”

    As for those confused about how stopping contraception and abortion is supposed to “increase the value of children”, it’s not. That’s just the talking point. The real goal is to outreproduce all those swarthy Mexican bastards filtering in across the border. Keep America white, and all that.

    Never forget who we’re actually dealing with here.

  18. #18 Kate
    September 25, 2006

    Matthew, in all honesty I haven’t encountered problems with any of the number of doctors I’ve gone to.

    Now if I had to list the right-wingers who have looked down their noses at me… well, let’s not go there…

  19. #19 MJ Memphis
    September 25, 2006

    “he-man woman-haters!”

    You give them too much credit. If they were “he-men” they wouldn’t be so threatened by female sexuality. Add in the usual dash of homophobia and, well, it isn’t a pretty picture.

    Maybe, to paraphrase the illustrious governor of California, a better term would be “girly-man woman-haters.”

  20. #20 Ed Brayton
    September 25, 2006

    I wrote:

    “Clearly, we are better off as a society with fewer unwanted pregnancies and with the ability to put off pregnancy until one is ready for the enormous challenge and commitment of being a parent”

    And Carter responded:

    It’s not clear at all. Out-of-wedlock births and single motherhood have increased with (some have argued because of) contraception and abortion becoming more available.

    I’m having a difficult time figuring out why you think that actually responds to what I said. I wasn’t talking about either single mothers or out of wedlock births, I was speaking of couples choosing to put off parenthood until they’re ready for it emotionally and financially, among other ways. Surely no one would dispute that this makes them better, more responsible parents and makes those families more stable and more likely to stay together.

  21. #21 Any
    September 25, 2006

    The ridger said:”See? It’s simple. No more birth control means people just won’t have sex if they don’t want a kid. And *that* means abortions will stop.”

    OK, now that is the most retarded thing I have ever heard! Sex is not a choice, it is an instint! There is a reason us humans can have sex when ever we want and not just seasonal. Our emotions are deeply connected to our sexuality. Sex is a way to release our emotional anxiaties and aslo a way to form deeply emotional bonds. If we were meant to only have sex for procreation we would be seasonal animals! And what makes you think that if people don’t want children then they don’t want a deeply emotional relationship with another person? I know lots of married people who don’t want children does that make their commitment less valid then those who do?

  22. #22 Russell Claus
    September 25, 2006

    I’m going to go home right now and have sex with my wife and use a condomn – simply out of protest, and by God no one is going to stop me!

  23. #23 Leni
    September 25, 2006

    Close Ridger- what will “stop” abortion is making it illegal. And then making contraception illegal too. So that the only women who get abortions are criminals who can then be jailed when caught. Or better yet they can be confined and forced to give birth, even if it might kill them, because that’s the way God intended it.

    In related news: fire bad.

  24. #24 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    Any – reread Ridger’s post, but this time turn on your Sarcasmograph and see if it registers.

  25. #25 any
    September 25, 2006

    “girly-man woman-haters.”
    I don’t know, that kinda sounds like a dig at females. Maybe..insecure little boy woman-haters?

  26. #26 Miguelito
    September 25, 2006

    I’m going to go home right now and have sex with my wife and use a condomn – simply out of protest, and by God no one is going to stop me!

    Well, from my experience with marriage, I would say that your wife might stop you.

  27. #27 any
    September 25, 2006

    Mathew Young said:”reread Ridger’s post, but this time turn on your Sarcasmograph and see if it registers.”

    I sure was hoping, but I thought I would vent just incase. lol

  28. #28 mark
    September 25, 2006

    The Religious Rightwing dwell in a Bizarro world, where down is up and goodbye is hello. An attack on contraception doesn’t surprise me. One of the whackos I know (who is connected to the Chalcedon Institute) has been arguing that America’s reproduction rate is too low. He also argues that immigration should be cut back drastically, because there are too many people around.
    Kinder, Kirche, Kuche!

  29. #29 Carter
    September 25, 2006

    I’m having a difficult time understanding why I’m not supposed to think you are referring to unwanted pregnancies and society as a whole when you specifically state you are.

    You also said: “If these cretins have their way, the result will be the exact opposite of what they claim. It will be an explosion of unwanted pregnancies and abortions” and “Widespread availability of contraception absolutely reduces the number of abortions, as does comprehensive sex education” but these sweeping generalizations are not supported by what actually happened as birth control became widely available. I’ve never seen any proof that comprehensive sex education has much of an effect, either (as if the only difference betweeen the US and the Nethelands was education), or that “shotgun weddings” are more damaging for children than single motherhood.

  30. #30 Raging Bee
    September 25, 2006

    …from the sound of it they want people in loveless marriages, less joy in sex and more children in the bargain. How does that lead to a happy healthy society again?

    By forcing everyone’s expectations down to what narrow-minded squinty-eyed fools can actually provide. Seriously. Many people in this camp (and on the far left as well) despise times of progress and prosperity: first, because people start wanting things for themselves, and start questioning the old fear-based order; and second, because the more choices people have, the more jealous they get of people who are happier than they are, and the more resentful they get when their own choices don’t bring them the mind-blowing bliss they had been led to expect.

  31. #31 kemibe
    September 25, 2006

    “There is a real push back against the contraceptive culture now.”

    This shit from Al Mohler is no different than the feeble bleatings of creationists who refer to evolution as “a theory in crisis.” It’s a reliable sign that they’re losing the fight and know it, and realize that blind rhetoric is their only recourse.

    How would one even assay such a “push-back” against “the contraceptive culture” anyway? Are condom sales and OCP prescriptions down? I don’t know, but I doubt it. And if they are, but this is not occuring in the content of less sex overall, then the necessary outcome of such a “push-back” would be an increase in birth rates, abortion rates, or both.

    My fervent wish for all of these people is to have them accidentally walk in on their teenage daughters being rummeled (consensually!) with furious but electrifying and screech-eliciting force by the football team’s star linebacker, who would of course be wearing not only but a huge grin but a condom or two. So much for God’s will and grace, ya ding-a-lings.

  32. #32 Raging Bee
    September 25, 2006

    Carter: just like the rest of the religious right, you deny seeing evidence after it was waved in front of your face. Do you really wish to deny that at least some women who don’t want kids will use birth control in order to avoid having to get an abortion? Every woman who makes this choice is, ipso facto, preventing abortions. QED. (That’s Latin for DUH.)

  33. #33 Bruce Wilson
    September 25, 2006

    Good call, Ed.

    This has been on the table for a long time now, and I think the anti-birth control elements of the Christian and religious right are both trying to rally thier base, pre-Nov. ’06 elections – for a GOTV effort – and also are laying the groundwork for legislative battles on the issue – probably more at the state level – to build for the ’08 election. My guess is that few in the movement expect quick gains and that the expectation is that the push to ban contraception will take years. But, the psuh has begun.

  34. #34 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    ‘Freakonomics’ also has a rather interesting bit on the direct correlation between legalised abortion and a dropping crime rate. I know this is just pop-economics for coffee tables, but perhaps we should cite it as irrefutable evidence that abortion should not only be legal, but compulsory. It could be integrated into the state lottery system.

    On a more serious note, people saying that contraception leads to abortion make me laugh. An abortion is the one thing that contraception is pretty much guaranteed not to lead to. It’s like suggesting that employing more firemen will lead to more fire-related deaths as people won’t take the threat as seriously anymore, now that they know they are protected.

    In fact it’s almost as good as claiming that atheism led to the Holocaust when the motto of the Nazi regime was the above-mentioned ‘Kinder, Kueche, Kirche’.

  35. #35 any
    September 25, 2006

    Carter said:”or that “shotgun weddings” are more damaging for children than single motherhood.”

    Why is it that fudies think that single mothering is the decline of society? Wheres the poof?

    Women have been successfully raising children by themselves since the begining of time. It was the rise of patriarchy(aka male bias religions) that destroyed the mother/infant bonds and has turn society on its head with its anti-female, anti-child, anti-sex and anti-pleasure policies.

  36. #36 Kate
    September 25, 2006

    Carter,

    I have now read the paper you presented as furthering your assertion. I am rather underwhelmed. You say that there is not enough attention paid to the fact that the Netherlands and the US are different countries. I would assert that taking statistics on birth control spanning from 1964-1984 will also not extrapolate into a parallel 22 years later.

    22 years is a very long time, in culture, in technology, in societal norms…

    I may not know all that much about the scientific method, but I realize that on an issue like this there should be more studies to show causation instead of mere corellation. It’s been 22 years after all… (10 since the policy paper was published). Can you please provide us with any of those studies?

    If not, letting religious wingnuts make decisions about my health based on their beliefs of my promiscuity is not simply offensive, it’s in violation of my rights, and you should be speaking out against it, not for it.

  37. #37 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    I thought they got off lightly for this little gem as well:

    leads to falling birth rates, among social ills.

    Wonderful. Given the incredible overpopulation of the planet a falling birthrate anywhere is a good thing you nasty little racists. What they presumably mean by this is that falling birth rates amongst club-footed, inbred, borderline retarded, nice white Christian folk are bad because then the darkies (who breed like rabbits – just can’t stop themselves – live like savages, those people, don’t you know) will increase in numbers and we may have to share a street with them. Oh the horror.

    Presumably the idea that falling birth rates in the first world will give somewhere for the people crammed into the overpopulated third world somewhere to go is about as appealing to these people as being gang-raped by a troupe of angry baboons before having a pineapple shoved up their arse, and being covered in honey, dressed in a tutu and suspended from a tree right outside a nest of angry wasps.

  38. #38 DragonScholar
    September 25, 2006

    The logic that contraception and sex education promotes abortion is on the same level of logic that supporting the troops means sending them to war unecessarily.

    This is basically what one gets when people decide on a faith first approach to policy – it’s what they WANT to believe, and therefore they can ignore any contradictory evidence.

    I do hope this helps the religious right crash and burn. I wonder how the companies that make $$$ off of contraceptives will react . . .

  39. #39 bybelknap
    September 25, 2006

    “being gang-raped by a troupe of angry baboons before having a pineapple shoved up their arse, and being covered in honey, dressed in a tutu and suspended from a tree right outside a nest of angry wasps.”

    That happened to me once! I do NOT recommend it. We’ll the bit with the pineapple was semi enjoyable in an odd way, but the rest of it? eurgh.

    I think you hit the thing squarely on it’s head. These people are very unhappy about people who are less white breeding in great huge filthy flocks with their smelly cooking and such. If they can justify a full quiver of arrows by wrapping it in some smarmy psuedo-christian moralistic rhetoric that will demonize libruls so much the better. Hate disguised as the culture of life is so much fun.

  40. #40 Coin
    September 25, 2006

    “Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else” — Joseph Scheidler, an anti-abortion veteran

    What, exactly, would have to be done to make this quote infamous?

    I could respect the “pro-life” movement despite disagreeing with them, if preventing abortion was really what they were about. But more and more it is becoming clear to me, with recent incidents regarding stem cells, contraception, and AIDS policy, that the “pro-life” movement is actually about something entirely different, and it is hiding behind the abortion issue as a way of promoting an entirely different (and occasionally entirely arbitrary) agenda.

    I also suspect that there are a great number of people who identify as “pro-life”, but would not identify with the “pro-life” movement if they really had a clear idea of what, exactly, it was promoting and doing. I wonder, how could the actions and motives of the “pro-life” movement could be made more clear to the people who support the movement but do not pay much attention to its actual behavior?

  41. #41 Uber
    September 25, 2006

    Contraception is the root cause of the explosion of the amount of abortions in the world,” Mazur said.

    That is perhaps the single dumbest thing I’ve read on the net in some time.

    Hasn’t the teen birth rate been going down for the past decade?

  42. #42 gary l. day
    September 25, 2006

    This poster Carter needs to do some homework, viewing the statistics from the Clinton era (of sainted memory). The Clinton administration made it a priority to disseminate thorough and complete sex education and birth control education. The result was the lowest abortion rate in decades. Oh, but I keep forgetting that facts have little impact on a conservative’s world.

  43. #43 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    Oh, but I keep forgetting that facts have little impact on a conservative’s world.

    Heresy! Heresy! Cease and desist immediately in the name of the Lord. Facts lead to Darwinism and Darwinism leads inextricably to the apocalypse! Away, away with your facts and your cold, hard, irrefutable evidence! Witch; bandicoot; burglar; liberal; scientist!

  44. #44 goddogtired
    September 25, 2006

    Their form of logic is impeckerable, to them: “If it makes me feel ‘pure’ and allows me to hector, even control, someone else’s life choices, it is good.”

    Xians are determined to find a perfect state of Unhappiness and have it declared Happiness, without anyone – even themselves – believing the change is more than in definition.

  45. #45 twincats
    September 25, 2006

    I think the best argument against the anti-contraceptive whackos is the fact that abstinence has never, in the entire recorded history of the human race, ever been proven to prevent SEX in any way, shape, or form; be it premariatal, extramarital, homosexual, (and etc.) let alone pregnancy or abortion!

    Birds do it
    Bees do it
    popes and priests in diocese do it…

  46. #46 Coin
    September 25, 2006

    Listen. There is one, and only one, 100% effective method of birth control. And that is homosexuality.

  47. #47 ebohlman
    September 25, 2006

    Hasn’t the teen birth rate been going down for the past decade?

    Actually, the US teen pregnancy rate has been going down for the last 49 years and is now at its lowest point since 1941 (which is when it was first measured). The decline became particularly steep in the last decade.

    All that said, the way the teen pregnancy rate is calculated really limits its usefullness; the cutoff age of 20 is a nice round number, but it doesn’t correspond to any sort of legal, developmental, or social milestone. It’s not at all clear why a pregnancy in a 19-year-old should be treated any differently than one in a 20-year-old. The big problem is that it lumps together pregnancies in 18-19-year-olds, all legal adults, mostly high-school graduates, and frequently married (and these account for about 2/3 of all “teen pregnancies”) and pregnancies in 10-17-year-olds (parenthood before adulthood, often resulting in interruption/termination of education, almost always leading to single motherhood). The two are really completely separate phenomena.

  48. #48 Jeff Keezel
    September 25, 2006

    Years ago the wife had our first child at a local, very nice, secular hospital with a popular birthing center. There was a very good Catholic hospital nearby.

    The running joke in that part of town was the secular hospital was where Richmond’s Catholics all came to have their LAST child – because the Catholic hospital wouldn’t perform tubal ligations.

    I think there should be a spotlight aimed at every mention of anti-contraception by every winger out there. Best thing that could happen to the pro-life movement…thekeez

  49. #49 David C. Brayton
    September 25, 2006

    In my college fraternity, there were three brothers that were heavily involved in their respective churches. They planned on staying virgins until their wedding nights.

    These three were the first three married from my fraternity and all were married because they had gotten their girlfriends (now wives) pregnant.

    Hmm…this is just one more reason I am cynic.

  50. #50 Matthew Young
    September 25, 2006

    These three were the first three married from my fraternity and all were married because they had gotten their girlfriends (now wives) pregnant.

    Bear in mind that in religious circles this was probably considered a good thing. Getting people married and breeding nice and early prevents such wicked practices as women developing any sort of career and fellas gadding about mounting the local fillies of an evening. The naughty sex bit was probably forgotten very, very fast in light of the greater good that had been accomlished.

  51. #51 cv
    September 25, 2006

    There is one way in which they might not be loonies. To an anti-choicer, contraceptive pills kill babies, because if they don’t prevent ovulation (and sometimes they do miss) then they prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Preventing implantation = abortion to them.

  52. #52 Ramsey Wilson
    September 25, 2006

    Raging Bee wrote:

    Do you really wish to deny that at least some women who don’t want kids will use birth control in order to avoid having to get an abortion? Every woman who makes this choice is, ipso facto, preventing abortions. QED. (That’s Latin for DUH.)

    I agree: “some women who don’t want kids will use birth control in order to avoid having an abortion.” But that doesn’t get you to “DUH” on the question of whether “widespread availability of contraception absolutely reduces the number of abortions.” Wouldn’t a sound analysis examine the other effects of the “widespread availability of contraception,” in particular the number of people who would have abstained from or delayed sexual intercourse absent easily available contraception?

  53. #53 Ed Brayton
    September 25, 2006

    Ramsey Wilson wrote:

    Wouldn’t a sound analysis examine the other effects of the “widespread availability of contraception,” in particular the number of people who would have abstained from or delayed sexual intercourse absent easily available contraception?

    What I don’t understand is why this is considered a good thing, even if it’s true. Even if we accept the notion that without contraception some people will just stop having sex, it’s more than outweighed by the reduction in unwanted pregnancies by those who continue having sex regardless of whether they have contraception. The problem is that this position is taken primarily by those who think that sex exists only for procreation, which I simply do not accept. Contraception allows couples to have sex while dramatically reducing the risk of pregnancy during those times when they do not want to get pregnant, and that is a very healthy thing for relationships. Bringing children into a relationship that is not well established or before the people involved are ready for the responsibility of having children is bad for everyone involved (especially the child). But to abstain from sex in that relationship also undermines the intimacy of the relationship because one of the primary reasons sex is so important is as an expression of intimacy between couples. Thus, contraception is absolutely a healthy thing for couples in relationships and a healthy thing for families.

  54. #54 RBH
    September 25, 2006

    gary l. day wrote

    Oh, but I keep forgetting that facts have little impact on a conservative’s world.

    Never forget that the wingnut brigade is populated with people like creationist Salvador Cordova, quoted in Nature as saying

    “The critical thinking and precision of science began to really affect my ability to just believe something without any tangible evidence,” he says.

  55. #55 Ramsey Wilson
    September 25, 2006

    Ed wrote:

    [There are people] who think that sex exists only for procreation, which I simply do not accept. . . . [O]ne of the primary reasons sex is so important is as an expression of intimacy between couples.

    Right on, Ed. I agree that sex is for the purpose of procreation and enhancing spousal intimacy.

    Ed wrote:

    Even if we accept the notion that without contraception some people will just stop having sex, it’s more than outweighed by the reduction in unwanted pregnancies by those who continue having sex regardless of whether they have contraception.

    I ask the following question only to suggest that you are making an assertion that cannot be supported on logic alone; it requires empirical investigation (which may have been conducted, for all I know): How do you know “it’s more than outweighed”?

  56. #56 Ed Brayton
    September 25, 2006

    Ramsey Wilson wrote:

    I ask the following question only to suggest that you are making an assertion that cannot be supported on logic alone; it requires empirical investigation (which may have been conducted, for all I know): How do you know “it’s more than outweighed”?

    Because that’s my judgement. And I’m not weighing numbers alone. Your argument assumed that if contraception were not available, people would stop having sex. Certainly we can agree that some will and some won’t. But one thing we absolutely know is that those who use contraception are far less likely to have an unwanted pregnancy than those who don’t use contraception. But I’m not merely addressing the quantitative question of whether no contraception or lots of contraception leads to more or less unwanted pregnancies. I also made a qualitative argument, or values laden argument, that the more you have people in relationships (note that I did not say marriages) abstain from sex because contraception is not available, the more you would damage those relationships as a result, or risk unwanted pregnancies, either of which is unhealthy for those relationships. And that’s without even bringing up the legal question, which is simply that neither you nor any majority no matter how large has the legitimate authority to tell consenting adults whether they can use birth control or not. Regardless of the cost benefit analysis based purely on the number of unwanted pregnancies, the no contraception position is outweighed by the moral and legal considerations in my view.

  57. #57 DuWayne
    September 25, 2006

    The problem is that this position is taken primarily by those who think that sex exists only for procreation, which I simply do not accept.

    I don’t think that is necessarily true. It certainly isn’t that simple. I know a lot of people who are anti-contraceptive, who believe passionately that sex is a very important part of keeping a marriage alive. Hell, my mom used to have something of that attitude – I think I helped change that attitude some – but she was, still is, to a certain extent apposed to public schools teaching contraception and the wide availability of condoms.

    I think far more prevelent is CV’s point – many of them see the pill as a form of abortion, especialy plan B. And they also see teaching a child about safe sex is the same as telling them to go ahead and do it. Instead they focus on what they really want – abstinence. Even though it’s quite likely that their child will be sexually active, they want to pretend that they can be better parents than those other parents whos kids do have sex. In reality they are really just playing the damned lottery – one that can lead to abortion, grandkids out of wedlock, unpleasant diseases – even ultimately, a very horrible death from HIV/AIDS. But they would much rather live in there damned stupid fantasy land where that happens to other people’s bloody kids.

    Keep in mind that their kids are the one that, if they do have sex, are for more likely to think that chanting “no baby, no baby,” over and over before they have sex it can help prevent pregnency. Or the ones who think if you use a douche after sex (which can in fact drive sperm further inside and increase the chance of pregnecy) your ok. Some even believe if they hold their breathe when they have an orgasm they are absolutely safe. And the last thing most of them are thinking about is venereal diseases – because those can only happento to other people – a concept they learn from their moronic parents.

    [in particular the number of people who would have abstained from or delayed sexual intercourse absent easily available contraception?

    Kids have been fooling around since time began, in nearly every culture – certainly the “christian” world of antiquity. The numbers may fluctuate a little bit from this period to that but I doubt by very much. It isn’t going to go away because you quote figures and statistics. And just remember that it could be your kid that ends up dying of AIDS because they don’t know anything about or have no access to condoms.

    Sorry if I come off a little too harsh but I watched my uncle die of AIDS and have several freinds in various stages of HIV/AIDS. Sure they have great drugs now to extend life, that’s great. But they are expensive and they have evil side effects. I know a couple of folks who often have to wear adult diapers to bed because of what the drugs do to the bowels. Ans some of the side effects are far more unpleasant and painfull. It’s not a lot of fun having to clean the vomit off a dear friend who passed out trying to sit up to get it into a bucket – and most don’t have someone around to take care of them, hell, my old roomie doesn’t even have me, or anyone else there to help anymore.

    I think abstinance can be great for a kid but it’s also highly unlikely. The least we can do is teach them to protect themselves when they do have sex. You could be saving their life.

  58. #58 Bill from Dover
    September 25, 2006

    Contraception is the root cause of the explosion of the amount of abortions in the world,” Mazur said.

    Don’t forger STDs and bad teeth.

  59. #59 Bill from Dover
    September 25, 2006

    Contraception is the root cause of the explosion of the amount of abortions in the world,” Mazur said.

    Don’t forget STDs and bad teeth.

  60. #60 twincats
    September 25, 2006

    Matthew Young said: “What they presumably mean by this is that falling birth rates amongst club-footed, inbred, borderline retarded, nice white Christian folk are bad because then the darkies (who breed like rabbits – just can’t stop themselves – live like savages, those people, don’t you know) will increase in numbers and we may have to share a street with them. Oh the horror.”

    This also explains why our current, misguided administration witholds AIDS relief funds to countries that promote condom use as a way to prevent AIDS until they agree to switch to ‘abstinence only’ education and quit handing out condoms.

  61. #61 Scott
    September 25, 2006

    Leaving out the contraception vs abortion rate debate, have you looked at the rate of out of wedlock pregnancies in the decades prior to the widespread acceptance of contraception to now? Have you looked at the divorce rates in the decades prior to its acceptance compared to the decades since. Consider the explosion of pornography and the objectification of women since the “sexual revolution”. While you are analyzing the way contraception transforms the act, it also has a much more significant change on attitudes.

    I’ll give yo this: I would classify modern contraception as one of the most transformative medical shifts of the 20th century. But I wouldn’t consider it all for the best.

    You also seem to have the opinion that married people just can not control their fertility without contraception. A very minor amount of abstinance (about a week per cycle) can often be all that is necessary. But in today’s culture, we can’t restrain ourselves.

    It’s amazing: we often look down upon overweight people as having no discipline or self control about their eating, but consider similar discipline in the sexual realm an unworthy goal. We also sometimes tease that those super skinny models “cheat” and induce their own gag reflex to gain those figures. But at the same time, we sterilize otherwise fertile acts.

    I know it may seem counterintuitive to your rational mind, but those Catholic marriages where both partners embrace the Catholic teaching tend to statistically have very high rates of marriage satisfaction and extremely low rates of divorce — in the low single digits of percent. Compare this with those who form their marriage ideals from television and Oprah.

  62. #62 Keanus
    September 25, 2006

    I read somewhere yesterday–maybe in the Tribune article on the fundies meeting on contraception–that something north of 90% of American women have used birth control in their lives. If that’s the case, then that means that the majority of virtually every segment–Christian fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, and virtually all other religions–have used contraception, ignoring what their “leaders” say. Given that, I suspect that any effort to seriously limit the availability of contraception would bring a revolt that would make Martin Luther King’s march on Washington back in the ’60′s look like a Sunday school picnic and George Bush would wind up singing soprano.

    Also with regard to the consequences of abstinence only versus comprehensive sex-ed the Wall Street Jouranl has a lengthy article July 22nd of this years about Bamberg and Allendale counties in South Carolina where Bamberg has provided comprehensive and Allendale abstinence only sex-ed for more than 20 years. The results are striking with the teen pregnancy and abortion rates being noticeably lower in Bamberg than in Allendale. And the presence of the comprehensive was entirely due to the unrelenting zeal of one woman who built a curriculum that starts in the fourth grade. And when she was banned from providing free condoms in the school, she got the local barber shop, laundromat and beauty salon (where the youths hung out) to stock them and hand them out when asked.

    And increasingly schools, after finding that abstinence sex-ed doesn’t work and that more than 80% of parents want comprehensive sex-ed, are opting out of federal funds for sex-ed. The fundies may have engineered a few victories in Washington but the country as a whole is moving the other way, Abstinence only simply doesn’t work

  63. #63 Tree
    September 25, 2006

    From Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, Third Edition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003:
    “Sexual power for many men involves not only sexual
    competence-the ability to have sex-but also sexual control. This means knowing when not to have sex, and putting sex in its place. Their aversion to what appear to be sexual aberrations-including misplaced gender roles, such as women assuming dominant positions in the public arena-are examples of sex out of control. To many men these phenomena also exemplify a wider form of social disorder: they are illustrations of the encroaching power of evil, demonstrations of the pervasiveness of the lack of moral values, and examples of how social definitions have become skewed. In The Turner Diaries, for instance, William Pierce spoke of what he called “Women’s lib” as being “a form of mass psychosis . . . promoted and encouraged by the System as a means of dividing our race against itself.”

    Tree: Anti-contraception is more about feelings of sexual humiliation because a Guy can’t get a job and buy a concubine/wife anymore. He’s been downsized, outsourced and those Girlz are going to college in greater numbers, no reason for any of them to take a second glance at Bubba. Never mind that it’s the Oligarchs who got tired of paying his daddy union wages, drove up the demand for cheap illegals and drove down his wages. No, the problem is them Uppity Wimmin, and the only way to take back manly self-respect is to keep them bare foot and pregnant.

    I think that Juergensmeyer’s explanation for Fundamentalist reactionism (whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist) as a manifestation of sexual humiliation is dead on. The Boyz are mad, not merely that they can’t get laid, but because they no longer have complete, society-approved mastery over a female. (And now you know why Westley became The Dread Pirate Roberts – he had no money for marriage – joke)

    Barefoot. Pregnant. Because it’s easier to keep them down on the farm than to fight against the aristocracy, safe in their gated communities.

  64. #64 DuWayne
    September 25, 2006

    Scott – The problem is that of the five ex-girlfreinds I have had who were Catholic, only one was interested in condoms – all of them were interested in sex. Unfortunately, when I was younger I wasn’t so adamant about condoms – you often aren’t at sixteen. So I had unsafe sex with two of them – thankfully without negative consequences. A little older and wiser, I refused to sleep with the other two – but I guarantee that others didn’t. Sure, some devout Catholic girls may obstain from sex, but those who don’t are less likely to use condoms, thus compounding their sin. Some of the smarter ones figure if your doing one you might as well do both but does that outweigh those who aren’t that bright?

  65. #65 Scott
    September 25, 2006

    DuWayne,
    4 “Catholic” girls who reject condoms but are interested in having sex are not advocating a Catholic viewpoint. And it certainly wasn’t both partners taking a Catholic view.

    Look, before I get categorized as an ignorant religious fundie, I should also mention that I don’t think these positions will change in our laws anytime soon. I find the mindset way too entrenched in our western culture.

    I just can’t find sufficient evidence that a wide embrace of contraception has proven to make out of wedlock conception rates go down, abortion go down, or families more stable. I don’t see it as the panacea that nearly every “those damn fundies” commenters here seem to. Don’t give me studies that all take place since contraception has been widespread. Show me that it’s statistically better than it was before it was so accepted. Show me that the Netherlands (bow our heads in homage to their superior culture) has higher marriage rates than they did a century ago and has a fertility rate to sustain their population.

  66. #66 Uber
    September 25, 2006

    Actually, the US teen pregnancy rate has been going down for the last 49 years and is now at its lowest point since 1941 (which is when it was first measured). The decline became particularly steep in the last decade.

    Thats what I thought.

    I know it may seem counterintuitive to your rational mind, but those Catholic marriages where both partners embrace the Catholic teaching tend to statistically have very high rates of marriage satisfaction and extremely low rates of divorce — in the low single digits of percent.

    This is simply an absolute bullshit statement. In the last Barna poll Catholics came out marginally better than the rest of the religions and well behind secular marriages. It was also thought that Catholics may have had the highest rate due to many not referring to their first marriage as a marriage due to the fantasy the church calls an annullment.

    I will mention I find the Catholic teaching on marriage/divorce absolutely irrational and immoral. It is a position that many language scholars and historians know is not correct in practice and one the church did not originally conduct. It is a 16th century construct. Of all their teachings it causes much real world harm.

    Leaving out the contraception vs abortion rate debate, have you looked at the rate of out of wedlock pregnancies in the decades prior to the widespread acceptance of contraception to now? Have you looked at the divorce rates in the decades prior to its acceptance compared to the decades since. Consider the explosion of pornography and the objectification of women since the “sexual revolution”.

    Pornography has existed long before the pill. It’s prevalence today has more to do with media than anything else. Besides your not getting anyone pregnant messing around to Jenna Jameson. The divorce rate is something I will never understand. It’s more important to have good marriages than a marriage. If it takes someone a few tries to get it right but he does eventually get it right that is better than staying in a marriage that sucks for all involved. There is no honor in staying married. There is alot of honor in having a good marriage.

    I also feel the focus on out of wedlock pregnancy is an argument that misses the point. Teen pregnancy has been going down since 1949. So where do you think it was before 1949?

    You also seem to have the opinion that married people just can not control their fertility without contraception. A very minor amount of abstinance (about a week per cycle) can often be all that is necessary.

    This is another clueless argument. If you abstain during the fertile period are you not willfully preventing a child from being born? So what is the real world difference between that and taking a pill to prevent the same? On all levels the anti-contraception argument is a loser.

  67. #67 Uber
    September 25, 2006

    I just can’t find sufficient evidence that a wide embrace of contraception has proven to make out of wedlock conception rates go down, abortion go down, or families more stable.

    Teen pregnancy has been going down since 1949. How much do you need? Families are the way families have always been. It seems to me your buying into the Norman Rockwell ideal that never really was a reality.

    Show me that it’s statistically better than it was before it was so accepted.

    What was better, society? I think our society is clearly better in virtually all areas than it was 100 years ago. We have less crime, a higher standard of living, and apparently all of this is happening while the sky falls.

    Show me that the Netherlands (bow our heads in homage to their superior culture) has higher marriage rates than they did a century ago and has a fertility rate to sustain their population.

    Our immigrants ensure our population. Who cares what the Netherlands marriages rate is? What they are doing creates a very productive and stable society. Why on Earth should we care about their marriage rate when their society is as productive as theirs is currently.

  68. #68 DuWayne
    September 25, 2006

    Scott said –
    4 “Catholic” girls who reject condoms but are interested in having sex are not advocating a Catholic viewpoint. And it certainly wasn’t both partners taking a Catholic view.

    I never said it was. What I said implied that some Catholic girls, interpret the Catholic viewpoint to mean it is bad to have sex out of wed-lock, but it is much worse if you use a condom. The view of the church is that contraception is sinful. That the view of the church on extra-marital sex is also sinful isn’t relevant – because regardless of the view of the church, catholic girls have extra-marital sex anyways. What concerns me is the ones who think that having sex with a condom makes it that much worse. And that is the same with those of other Christian faiths who tell their kids the same ridiculous crap. It is simply gambling with your childs life – period.

  69. #69 Scott
    September 25, 2006

    This is simply an absolute bullshit statement. In the last Barna poll Catholics came out marginally better than the rest of the religions and well behind secular marriages. It was also thought that Catholics may have had the highest rate due to many not referring to their first marriage as a marriage due to the fantasy the church calls an annullment.

    Note: I did not say just Catholic marriages. I said marriages where both spouse embrace the Catholic viewpoint. I fully acknowledge that most Catholic couples openly reject or are ignorant of the full Catholic teaching and indeed have a divorce rate that matches society as a whole.

    So what is the real world difference between that and taking a pill to prevent the same?

    If they’re so similar, why not abstain? Because they’re not. One says “make this act sterile”. “I want sex whenever the hell I want, no limits.” “My fertility is a curse but if I do this, I can work around it NOW.” The other recognizes the mutual fertility of the couple and just waits a short spell if they are not ready for a child. One rejects the body’s cycles and the other respects it. There are any number of reasons a couple might not have sex for a short spell. One might not be feeling well, one might be tired, etc. There are any number of circumstances. A married couple briefly postponing sex because they’re not ready to have a child is in full compliance with what the Catholic Church teaches. Catholic teaching has nothing against birth control, but it does object to contraception.

  70. #70 DuWayne
    September 25, 2006

    Scott – So what about Catholic kids and their sex lives? Regardless of whether they are “properly” interpreting the Catholic “viewpoint” or not – many have sex and at least some of them refuse to use birth control – in my quite limited expierience, four out of five refused to use condoms. What about them?

  71. #71 Scott
    September 25, 2006

    Our immigrants ensure our population. Who cares what the Netherlands marriages rate is? What they are doing creates a very productive and stable society. Why on Earth should we care about their marriage rate when their society is as productive as theirs is currently.

    I quote the Netherlands because they are often mentioned about what can occur with progressive contraception.

    I care about the marriage rate in a society. I care about productive societies too.

  72. #72 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    DuWayne,

    You seem to be thinking that I advocate a ban on contraception.

    I tend to think that with our current mindsets of ‘we can have sex without consequence’, such a move would be disastrous. It’s been pervasive in our movies, music, etc.

    My assertion was that having a contraceptive society is not “all that”. I don’t think that in the domain of unwanted pregnancies, abortion rates, stable marriages, respecting women, etc. things have improved that much since contraception’s embrace.

    Can someone link me to the study going back to 1949? I’d like to read the details. I keep seeing references to it but nothing I can really look at.

  73. #73 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    I said marriages where both spouse embrace the Catholic viewpoint.

    This would be true if both spouses have common ground on anything. It is certainly not restricted to the ‘catholic viewpoint’ and should not be credited as such. I’ve read the same about baptists, muslims, and even atheists.

    If they’re so similar, why not abstain? Because they’re not. One says “make this act sterile”. “I want sex whenever the hell I want, no limits.” “My fertility is a curse but if I do this, I can work around it NOW.” The other recognizes the mutual fertility of the couple and just waits a short spell if they are not ready for a child.

    That is a weak rationalization. Your still preventing a child from being born. Period. You are doing exactly the same thing and compounding it by preventing normal relations that are part of a human relationship.

    One rejects the body’s cycles and the other respects it.

    Thats just weak, I don’t want to be harsh but thats pretty stupid. BC doesn’t cause one to reject the bodies cycles nor have any lack of respect for it. You certianly can take BC and respect ones body. There simply is no rational reason not to guard against unwanted pregancy.

    There are any number of reasons a couple might not have sex for a short spell. One might not be feeling well, one might be tired, etc. There are any number of circumstances.

    These are bad analogies. They may feel this way and be on BC also. The point being abstaining for the express purpose of preventing a child from being born is no different than taking a pill to prevent as much in terms of a child being born.

    A married couple briefly postponing sex because they’re not ready to have a child is in full compliance with what the Catholic Church teaches. Catholic teaching has nothing against birth control, but it does object to contraception.

    Skipping a week so you don’t get pregnant is a form of birth control and you can’t tap dance around it. Why should a rational human being wish to be in compliance with a group of people who have such an irrational position?

  74. #74 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott- We keep posting at similiar times and I miss some ideas.

    tend to think that with our current mindsets of ‘we can have sex without consequence’, such a move would be disastrous

    don’t think that in the domain of unwanted pregnancies, abortion rates, stable marriages, respecting women, etc. things have improved that much since contraception’s embrace.

    I’m just wondering Scott when do you think it was that people did not have sex? BC didn’t start this trend. It was always there. Do you think women where respected when they couldn’t vote and where deemed chattle or 2nd class citizens to men?

    I care about the marriage rate in a society. I care about productive societies too

    They don’t go hand in hand. One can be a very productive society with any number of realationship forms. It has always been so. I think you are buying the myth of the’traditional’ family. It has never really existed.

  75. #75 DuWayne
    September 26, 2006

    Scott said –
    You seem to be thinking that I advocate a ban on contraception.

    No, I didn’t assume that. But based on your faith I assume you would teach your children, if you had any, that condoms are a sin if asked. Regardless of what else you say to that child, they now know that you and God say condoms are just wrong. I assume that you would embrace that philosophy and simply teach abstinence and hope your kid doesn’t have sex before marriage. If I am mistaken I apologize.

  76. #76 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    What concerns me is the ones who think that having sex with a condom makes it that much worse. And that is the same with those of other Christian faiths who tell their kids the same ridiculous crap. It is simply gambling with your childs life – period.

    It concerns me too that they would consider it worse. Nowhere were they taught “you shouldn’t have premarital sex, but if you do, please don’t use a condom.” If one is going to disregard the primary teaching, concerning yourself with the means is a waste of time.

    On an admittedly much more extreme example, this would be like saying “it’s a sin to kill a man, but if you do, don’t shoot him in the back, that’s a bigger sin”. You’d focus on the outright killing, not the means.

    Ah well, it’s getting late. Some of us have jobs to go to tomorrow…

  77. #77 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    I did not say just Catholic marriages. I said marriages where both spouse embrace the Catholic viewpoint. I fully acknowledge that most Catholic couples openly reject or are ignorant of the full Catholic teaching and indeed have a divorce rate that matches society as a whole.

    And one last- this has the smell of ‘The one true Scotsman’ fallacy.

  78. #78 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    If one is going to disregard the primary teaching, concerning yourself with the means is a waste of time.

    And therein lies the problem. The primary ‘teaching’ may be faulty. Especially if one doesn’t educate the person in what happens if they fail to lve up to the ideal and the effects in the real world not fantasy land.

    The problem with most dogmas is they deal with ideal scenarios and not reality. Hence when someone falls short the dogmas have no means of fixing the problem other than saying ‘you screwed up’. It is then that religion is it’s most ugly and unfeeling.

  79. #79 DuWayne
    September 26, 2006

    Scott said –
    . Nowhere were they taught “you shouldn’t have premarital sex, but if you do, please don’t use a condom.” If one is going to disregard the primary teaching, concerning yourself with the means is a waste of time.

    On an admittedly much more extreme example, this would be like saying “it’s a sin to kill a man, but if you do, don’t shoot him in the back, that’s a bigger sin”. You’d focus on the outright killing, not the means.

    But I am talking about kids, without real world expierience, who regardles of what else, have been told condoms are evil. It isn’t what they are told that matters but how they interpret it. Teens are not terribly rational sometimes, especialy when the hormones start kicking into high gear. Your argument is moderately convincing when talking about some adults and even some teens but by in large teens are capable of serious logical blunders. For a kid, no matter how often you tell them sin is sin, some, most even, try to rank them by severity – hell, a lot of adults do too. And the Catholic church encourages that thinking by passing out penance based on how much you sinned and how, since your last confession – it’s easy to see how a kid would feel it would be wrong to compound the sin by usig a condom to boot.

    Ah well, it’s getting late. Some of us have jobs to go to tomorrow…

    And for others of us who have to work tomorrow it’s not that late yet. . .

  80. #80 kemibe
    September 26, 2006

    Scott wrote:

    “It’s amazing: we often look down upon overweight people as having no discipline or self control about their eating, but consider similar discipline in the sexual realm an unworthy goal. We also sometimes tease that those super skinny models ‘cheat’ and induce their own gag reflex to gain those figures. But at the same time, we sterilize otherwise fertile acts.”

    I don’t see this analogy as at all applicable. While I don’t think it’s useful to make moral judgments about people who are gluttonous by whatever standard one selects, the fact remains that people who consistently take in too much food will ultimately gain weight and increase their risk of various health problems. But having sex per se — no matter how boisterously or how often — does not carry comparable risks (unless, I suppose, you count things such as chafing, sore adductor muscles and dehydration). In other words, there’s no good reason to expect people to exercise discipline when it comes to consensual sex (and again, I’m excluding obviously trivial counter-examples, e.g., being unable to refrain from jumping your HSV-positive, condomless boyfriend, calling in sick to work so you can screw all day, or nailing your wife on a crowded city bus).

  81. #81 SkookumPlanet
    September 26, 2006

    I have been playing catch-up with this thread all day long and give up.

    One last one. The ongoing discussion here about contraception – birthrates – abortions – single mothers – abstinence – societal good – out of wedlock – pornography – stable marriages – productive society – teen pregnancy rate – studies – respecting women – sin – ad nauseam is utter capitulation to the strategy, tactics, preshaped battlefield, and all the rules of engagement the Christofacists have developed. This is exactly what they have programmed to happen. It’s preordained defeat. It’s irrelevant and an intentional distraction from the fundamental issue here. In a modern, transcontinental democracy with hundreds of ethnicities, religions, and nationalities from every corner on earth, in a technoligized global economy, by what right, by what concept of democracy, by what conservative or libertarian or free market political analysis, is it desirable to criminalize the intimate, personal behavior and medical choices made between consenting adults, even [wake up people] husband and wife? These myriad, detailed, arcane threads of arguments are designed as attention magnets to dissipate the energy of the opposition while pulling their gaze in the opposite direction from where it needs to be. Rational debate on this issue will fail. See below. C’est finis.

    Kate
    Obviously, you count for nothing to these people. And what do they want? There are two groups involved. The evangelicals want to force everyone to live according to their precepts. This has been a sort of a natural energy well [I hope this is the right physics metaphor, I've no time to check] that religions gravitate toward throughout history. I know it’s difficult to accept that a large number of Americans actively want to eviscerate democracy, but it’s self-evident. My guess is this is a population that’s always had a poor, even infantile, understanding of U.S. history, world history and the development of democracy, etc. They are extremely dangerous, and after they do away with the rest of us, they’ll turn on each other until the last few most draconian…I mean, followers of the true religion, are left. Anyone remotely aware of world history knows these people have reached this endpoint over and over again around the globe.

    The other group, which I think are much more morally corrupt and border on being evil, are the far right. They’ve engineered the rise of these people, in order to produce enough votes to get political power. They actually have the smarts and education to understand the damage they are doing but they aren’t democrats either. They’re, more or less, Straussians which means, in their case, they can rationalize taking any action simply as a means to get and hold political power and run the nation on behalf of the incapable masses. As a quickie, I’ve seen “intellectual” Bill Kristol lie repeatedly, overtly or indirectly, simply to win arguments on yak-off programs. He’s an amoral SOB and only calculates what he can get away with. This crew designed and executed likely the biggest change in political culture in our history. We’re in the midst of it. 30 years ago, they decided to go after political power using the successful, world-dominating model most of them, especially the big funders, were familiar with — the modern American corporation.

    They created the world’s first modern, [ever?] sociopolitical corporation and are running it and pursuing their goals like CocaCola, Microsoft, and Exxon do. The rest of us had better understand this, realize the power, track record, and affinity for scientific knowledge of the psychomarketing approach they and these corporations utilize.

    We have to get into the same game and somewhere out there is a point when it will be too late to do so. I too often find myself concluding the left is consumed with proving themselves and their ideas right to the detriment of being political effective. Unconsciously. Many commenters here, I think, are grossly underestimating how possible it is for these two groups to accomplish such goals, just as the rise of the right was and continues to be underestimated and misplayed by the left.

    Soo… Kate, neither one of these groups has any interest in a “happy, healthy, society.” If they say they do, they are lying. It’s power, power, power. Imagine their interior life.

    [Here's another way of understanding that all these arguments from the religious anti-abortion, and of course anti-contraception, footsoldiers are completely bogus, political instruments. They refuse, absolutely refuse, to engage these questions in public as a moral issue. These moral crusaders refuse to even attempt to advocate, pledge, or otherwise assure the country they will use only slow but steady MORAL and ETHICAL argument and persuasion to change the way American's view and behave vis a vis these two issues. Instead, at an organized political level it's always, always an issue of state control of and the criminalize of individuals' behavior.

    Why is that? The far right ain't gonna get fundies into voting booths by mounting MORAL campaigns! That's a disconnect politically. Think it through. Criminalizing personal behavior, sexual behavior, porn, etc, can only be done VIA GOVERNMENT. Convince the fundies it's morally necessary to criminalize everything but their own views of proper behavior, and you create a long-term need for them to vote, and vote, and vote and vote, and vote. Voila, the Sraussians control it all.

    These Christofacists are intent on using state violence and involuntary surrender of individual physical liberty to force everyone to behave according to their code. And here's an example of the successful use of a psychomarketing technique -- of using a focus on the details of an issue and arguments to distract natural pattern recognition from larger implications, campaigns, and meta-discussion. And they get away with this virtually every time. There is no organized opposition campaigning on this obvious, highly negative core of these fundie campaigns. I don't think the left has any idea this is possible, desirable, or how to do it.]

    Coin and Uber, I wish you were right but that terminology has been overt and promulgated for years. Also this target, contraception, has been obvious for years. My point above is that this campaign will be impervious to logic and rationality and will succeed as an emotional campaign. Voters don’t operate logically and rationally. I don’t know what additional evidence will convince people of that. I also don’t know what additional evidence will convince people every single thing the fundies propose, talk about, and do should be treated as seriously as a loaded gun pointed at their heads. Because that’s exactly what it is.

    Matthew Young. Yup, another bogus issue. But this isn’t a cop out, it’s an issue manufactured as a marketing tool, just like stem cells. To illustrate the nation’s obliviousness to the power and methodologies of psychomarketing, where the hell are the nation’s physicians on this pharmacist issue? Physicians are ignoring the initial surrender of their control over prescribing medications! Unbelievable! Some states now allow pharmacists, not qualified AT ALL in diagnosis, to veto a physician’s diagnostic judgment. This is shameful, inexcusable dereliction by professional physician organizations. Imagine a town with three pharmacies that all refuse to fill specific medications! One more example of losing at the beginning by accepting the oppositions rules, i.e., focusing on their details and nothing else. This is as telling as the “Death Tax” — no one even gets what’s happening. This has absolutely nothing to do with the conscience of pharmacists. Zippo. Zero.

    Now, let’s use our imaginations. Once it’s established that one class of untrained-professionals can screw up modern biomedicine at will because they feel like it, there will be campaigns, profession by profession, item by item, moral prerogative by moral prerogative to give these Christofacists the ability to mold society through the ability to discriminate against anything based on conscience! “I can’t because my religion forbids helping [gays, sinners, prostitutes, non-Christians, science, Lutherans.....] Why isn’t this obvious? Watch. This pharmacist BS is a product launch. Yet, the rest of the nation is in some alternate reality.

    Amy, keep warning people. I hope I’ve made a case that this trajectory will be a disaster for more than just women, and even more than those Americans currently alive.

    Joshua, you’re right about the talking point, but you are desperately underestimating the scope, capability, and grandiose destination these people are headed towards. I don’t mean you’re wrong, just that they’ll blow by “outreproduceing Mexicans” so fast they’ll be five years beyond before you realize they’ve ticked that one off the list. It’s small potatoes.

    Any, “single mothering” is simply part of a tool for building tailored realities in the minds of Americans. This approach makes it possible, slowly, to change the way people perceive reality with them becoming aware of any manipulation. An example is “liberal”. This is how the far right has been slowing shifting America out from under the feet of the left. Unopposed.

    Bruce covers the bulk of what I do, but in a single breath.

    People. America. The left. The right is running rings around you while you are all arguing about which past mistakes are most important to make again next.

    Finally, I’d like to ask people to consider that the psychologizing and belittling of these people can be an extremely dangerous activity. [It's fun, I know.] The Straussian Cadre and the Christofacists are wiping the floor with all of us, flushing us down the toilet, and there is not a single, reasonable obstacle in front of them even capable of slowing them down. En masse these people are not buffoons but a disciplined army, led by a brilliant officer corps, that is methodically taking over control of America. The smart ones are pleased as punch to be laughed at. Ridicule is a distraction from the difficult work of just getting the opposition to think correctly about what’s happening, let alone to organize in a modern way and then begin to use the state-of-the-art knowledge and tools necessary to be effective.

    For those of you who haven’t read, or are unfamiliar with, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s highly recommended on this topic.

    The Straussian Cadre and the Christofacists will not crash and burn. They’ve already demonstrated great skill at pushing the envelope, using feedback mechanisms, and timely recalibration when going too far. The Cadre are the sociopolitical corporation’s management. The Christofacists are employees and consumers. There’s a Board of Directors and an
    R & D department and a marketing department. They fund basic research. They maintain a diverse, staged, exploratory stream of product development. They constantly consult with and hire the most talented area specialists of the persuasion industry. They’ve developed an extensive, innovative franchise system to distribute product. Lately we’re seeing the refinement of a kind of joint-venture plug-in capability with Exxon’s global-warming-skeptics campaign. My guess is that through co-investing/providing revenue you get to use it. This organization continues to apply the best practices of the modern American corporation.

    Compared to this, we got squat.
    .

  82. #82 Jim
    September 26, 2006

    “We got squat”?

    Nope. We got the most important thing of all on our side. Americans, no matter how overweight, uninformed, politically numb or scientifically ignorant anyone may believe them to be, like two things ALOT: 1) Getting drunk, 2) Fucking. And of course, many people do both.

    Do not mess with anyone’s access to either beer or sex. Although there might be short-term gains by those who would restrict access to either, they are doomed to failure. I welcome this new push by the fundies. As a matter of fact, I hope they push it even farther. Personally, I think a lot folks give the overtly religious a pass because they believe that such folks “mean well”. This sort of “dig out the remains of my brain with an ice cream scoop” craziness is just what the average guy on the street needs to see.

    Someone mentioned that the only sure-fire way to stop abortions is via 100% homosexual sex. I disagree. The only 100% effective solution is to give each newborn girl a full hysterectomy. There might be a few unintended consequences, but we’ll have saved their souls and future generations will thank us for it.

  83. #83 MJ Memphis
    September 26, 2006

    “There might be a few unintended consequences, but we’ll have saved their souls and future generations will thank us for it”

    Except that there wouldn’t be any future generations.

  84. #84 Nebogipfel
    September 26, 2006

    I know this is a bit of a me-too, but:

    Scott:

    But in today’s culture, we can’t restrain ourselves.

    Speak for yourself

    [Using contraceptives] says “make this act sterile”. “I want sex whenever the hell I want, no limits.” “My fertility is a curse but if I do this, I can work around it NOW.”

    Speak for yourself

    Catholic teaching has nothing against birth control, but it does object to contraception.

    This is like saying that Catholic teaching has nothing against people going swimming, but it does object to them getting wet.

  85. #85 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    This is like saying that Catholic teaching has nothing against people going swimming, but it does object to them getting wet.

    Nah, it’s more like saying that folks believe in weight control, but object to the use of vomitoriums to achieve it. We believe that there are means such as diet and exercise and moderation to achieve those goals and that they are in harmony with the way the body is made. Folks are mixing up the end goals (responsible birth regulation) with the means to get there.

    The conspiracies about the right wing amuse me though… esp SkookumPlanet’s tome. I have to go for now. I have to go get my newest “marching orders from the Pope”. *smirk*

  86. #86 Nebogipfel
    September 26, 2006

    Scott:

    We believe that there are means such as diet and exercise and moderation to achieve those goals and that they are in harmony with the way the body is made. Folks are mixing up the end goals (responsible birth regulation) with the means to get there.

    In what way is the use of a condom not “in harmony with the way the body is made”? Why does only having intercourse in the supposed “infertile period” not count as “contraception”?

  87. #87 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott-

    You have yet to make even a remotely substantial argument here.

    Folks are mixing up the end goals (responsible birth regulation) with the means to get there

    No they are not. The method you endorse does the exact same thing with more risk than BC.

    I have to go get my newest “marching orders from the Pope

    Some are leaders some are followers.

  88. #88 Matthew Young
    September 26, 2006

    Except that there wouldn’t be any future generations.

    Hey, well spotted. Do you see what he did there?

  89. #89 MJ Memphis
    September 26, 2006

    Well, since the rhythm method was alluded to earlier in the thread, I figured I would post a paper I read recently that makes the argument that it actually results in many fetal deaths.

    http://press.psprings.co.uk/jme/june/355_me13920.pdf

    In summary, the paper argues that intercourse during the supposed “infertile times” isn’t usually infertile because conception cannot occur in that timeframe, but rather because the fertilized eggs are less viable and less able to implant during those times- which is to say, it works in essentially the same way that the morning-after pill works. If confirmed (and the authors do point out that some of their assumptions are still speculative- though likely- at this point) it would mean a big lack of consistency for those who are pro-rhythm method but against the morning-after pill and/or other forms of contraception.

  90. #90 DuWayne
    September 26, 2006

    Scott said –
    We believe that there are means such as diet and exercise and moderation to achieve those goals and that they are in harmony with the way the body is made. Folks are mixing up the end goals (responsible birth regulation) with the means to get there.

    Sorry, but I see little difference between this and using condoms, except this is far more likely to end in pregnancy.

    I have to go get my newest “marching orders from the Pope”. *smirk*

    You seem to be saying this in jest, but I know Catholics who take their “marching orders” quite seriously. The most recent example is a friend who believed that ID should be taught along side evolution – right up until the moment she found out that this was contrary to the Vatican’s statement that it should not. After that, though she doesn’t understand why the Vatican said this, she changed her opinion to fit the Vatican statement. So, I’m glad to see you put the smirk in there, otherwise I wouldn’t have any clue that you were being sarcastic.

    I am still wondering about about the catholic kids I was talking about earlier. Or do you just think that kids should be expected to understand clearly, that if they do screw around, using a condom isn’t going to make it that much worse? Or maybe you think they just get what they deserve if they fool around and get HIV/AIDS? What if it were your kids we were talking about? Or do you live in the fantasy world that you are (or would be if you had kids) such a great parent that you can keep your kids from having sex? Any way you look at it you are gambling with kids lives.

  91. #91 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    We believe that there are means such as diet and exercise and moderation to achieve those goals and that they are in harmony with the way the body is made. Folks are mixing up the end goals (responsible birth regulation) with the means to get there.

    gah! this is exactly the problem I have… it’s not really about the end means for me. I don’t give a flying (explative deleted) about responsible birth regulation. I care that my body works the way other female bodies do, so that when eventually my biological clock starts ticking I will be able to do something about it (if I so choose).

    For me, this is about a medical condition that I have, and that my doctor is treating me for. The people who want to stop birth control are affecting my life and the 8% of pre-menopausal women (and 60% of post-menopausal women)who have conditions that can be treated with daily doses of estrogen. This isn’t about sex for us. It’s about treating medical conditions, and the more the sex-obsessed religious right tries to limit my options the louder I’m getting about it.

    Did you know that female teenage depression can be treated with estrogen? And while the odds of it making the teens more promiscuous haven’t been tracked, the facts of the matter are that testosterone makes a person “horny”, so balancing that out with estrogen actually reduces the sex-drive. In those teens with out of whack hormone levels, you’re likely reducing the odds of them being promiscuous if you give them the pill, as well as getting rid of their depression and possibly upping their self-esteem (it’s known to help reduce acne as well as thinning out body hair).

    There are medical reasons totally aside from birth control for prescribing an estrogen pill. And those who are so against it never acknowledge that fact. But they would limit my life and lifestyle with their narrow minded bigotry.

    If you really want to discuss things that are sexually out of “harmony with the way that a body is made”, protest viagra!

  92. #92 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Hi DuWayne,

    With my kids I do plan on presenting both aspects with pros and cons.

    Most of my defenses above were mainly trying to express that for married couples that would like to avoid contraception, there are reasonable means to regulate births with an effectiveness rate that matches or exceeds barrier or synthetic hormonal means. I also stated that those who do so often benefit from stronger marriages as marked by surveys and statistics. I am not desiring that we use the force of law to impose it on society. It’ll never happen… for many of the reasons Jim asserted above with a bit of humor. In our cultural mindset it would be disastrous.

  93. #93 Pierce R. Butler
    September 26, 2006

    It may be of some consolation that the Chicago Trib’s follow-up report [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0609240334sep24,1,3423926.story] has it that total attendance at this so-called pro-life conference came to only 250 people.

    At least one of them was quoted as recognizing that embracing this cause would create a backlash that would cost them their victory over legal abortion, which at present “we’re coming close to winning”.

  94. #94 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    oops… didn’t get the quote tags working right, the first paragraph above is a quote.

  95. #95 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Hi Kate,

    I understand that there are other reasons that synthetic hormones are prescribed.

    Viagra, as typically prescribed, is meant to be “restorative” therapy, bringing the body back to normal operation. For solely birth control purposes (not the other reasons you mention) the birth control pill treats a woman’s fertility as a problem. It’s not restoring anything, it’s stifling normal cycles.

  96. #96 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    I also stated that those who do so often benefit from stronger marriages as marked by surveys and statistics.

    Because they don’t use BC? What about the millions who use BC and have great marriages? Could it be that the method one uses has no bearing on the state of a marriage? I think most likely BC has nothing to do with the success rate whatsoever.

    It’s not restoring anything, it’s stifling normal cycles.

    It brings the cycle under the control of the individual.

    there are reasonable means to regulate births with an effectiveness rate that matches or exceeds barrier or synthetic hormonal means.

    If it matches or exceeds(which I doubt) than how is it any more acceptable outside of irrational dogma?

    When I see these folks having a number of adopted children being raised side by side with their own they may gain a measure of respect.

  97. #97 Jim
    September 26, 2006

    “Viagra, as typically prescribed, is meant to be “restorative” therapy, bringing the body back to normal operation.”

    That’s complete bullshit. Sorry bub, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Aging is a normal process and if Joey can’t get it up anymore because of it, there’s nothing “normal” about using Viagra. What you’ve presented is a typical male, ego-centered rationalization.

    And BTW, I’d love to hear about all of the “reasonable means to regulate births with an effectiveness rate that matches or exceeds barrier or synthetic hormonal means” that you referred to. I assume that these would include setting fire to one’s penis or excessive application of cyanoacrylate to the vulva.

    You crack me up.

  98. #98 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Because they don’t use BC? What about the millions who use BC and have great marriages? Could it be that the method one uses has no bearing on the state of a marriage? I think most likely BC has nothing to do with the success rate whatsoever.

    You think that. I’ve asserted that statistics show greater marital satisfaction on birth control based upon brief periodic abstinance. I guess we’ll have to disagree on that.

    It brings the cycle under the control of the individual.

    Yep, I don’t discount that. Now we have women using the pill as a means to suppress periods for many consecutive months. Yes, that’s control. I agree. I still assert that you are suppressing a healthy fertility cycle.

    If it matches or exceeds(which I doubt) than how is it any more acceptable outside of irrational dogma?

    Look, in poor poverty stricken Calcutta, the nuns there taught thousands of women how to track and account for their fertility. In a survey of over 14,000 of the poor women who received this training, the effectiveness rate was higher than the pill. So it can match. But again, don’t believe me if you’d rather.

    The dogma is not based on effectiveness rate. As I’ve stated before, it’s not the ends (birth regulation or control). It’s the means.

    Since I’ve beaten the weight control analogy to death… I want to provide for my family. I can bring home money via my honest engineering work or I can be an executive at Enron. Both put food on the table and pay the mortgage. But how you get that money matters. But if all you measure is “did I pay the mortgage”, then the two are equivalent.

  99. #99 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    And BTW, I’d love to hear about all of the “reasonable means to regulate births with an effectiveness rate that matches or exceeds barrier or synthetic hormonal means” that you referred to. I assume that these would include setting fire to one’s penis or excessive application of cyanoacrylate to the vulva.

    Modern methods of natural family planning (sometimes referred to as NFP) are as effective in controlling pregnancy as barrier and synthetic hormonal methods. I’m not referring to the “rhythm method” or “Vatican roulette”. As I’ve mentioned above, it typically requires about a week of abstinance per cycle. Unfortunately there’s this perception that approach is not achievable in real marriages or that it would hurt the marital relationship. Nearly every study or survey of NFP couples bears out that it is effective and does strengthen a marriage relationship.

  100. #100 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    Scott,

    my point with the viagra is that there *is* a medical purpose to it, but it’s being used as a sex aid by 90% of the men it’s perscribed to. And the religious right isn’t saying boo about it. From what you say, they aren’t saying anything about it because there is a legitimate medical purpose for that small fraction of males. It restores them to “normal” functionality.

    Which is exactly what the pill does for small numbers of females. In addition to hormone regulation, I know women who have had BC perscribed to limit excrutiatingly painful cramps, setting a normal and predictable cycle and to deal with anemia.

    Why would you deny the same (or greater!) percentage of women who benefit from BC when you wouldn’t deny the men the viagra? It makes no sense to me.

    My problem is that both sides aren’t being treated as equal, and that, more than anything, tells me that denying women access to BC is not a logical or even a moral position to be taking. It’s dogmatic and as unchanging as stone. It’s unfair, it’s unbalanced and it’s wrong.

    If you feel that the body should be in such a natural state that birth control pills should not be considered, what is your stance on antibiotics? on surgery? on c-sections? on vaccines? If you aren’t against all of the above, then I can’t understand where you are coming from on this. Literally cannot wrap my mind around it.

  101. #101 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    I’d also like to point out that if you supress your period for months at a time you are mis-using the pill (it can be done with shots), and your doctor should be able to notice on your annual check-up.

    And because of that, couples where the woman is on the pill will also go through “brief periodic abstinance”… at least the ones I know do…

  102. #102 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Kate and Jim,

    You both tend to be thinking that I’m against medical intervention. Or that I advocate a “let nature take it’s course” mantra. I’m not advocating that. Nor am I saying that a woman who needs synthetic hormones for other reasons should be denied them to restore her to proper function.

    When we get old, we almost always do what we can to restore ourselves to the function we had in our younger days. When we lose our vision, I don’t say “It’s God’s Will. Live with it” No, I say see a doctor, get it corrected. Glasses, contacts, laser surgury, whatever.

    If a woman needs medicine to get her levels back to normal, by all means, do so. If a man needs viagra to restore sexual relations with his wife, do so. If a ordinary healthy 25 year old has normal fertility cycles, what normal body function is the pill restoring? Do we in any way consider not ovulating for years on end to be normal, healthy function? But isn’t that what the pill proposes to do for you?

  103. #103 Matthew Young
    September 26, 2006

    Nearly every study or survey of NFP couples bears out that it is effective and does strengthen a marriage relationship.

    That’s telling lies using statistics. The sort of people who would opt for this method are going to be either the very religious or people with some sort of medical problem using current contraception, say inability to keep it up when using condoms, or a damaging hormonal reaction to the pill.

    Either of these groups are, you must admit, extremely likely to say that this method strengthens their relationship. Religious people would say that going out together and stamping on kittens ‘strengthened their relationship’ if they felt it was called for by the bible, and the other lot will just be grateful to be away from their previous problems.

    I would say that not being required to use this hare-brained contraception method has strengthened my own relationship immeasurably, but I would not be included in your data by definition.

  104. #104 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Hi Matthew,

    Yes, I would never advocate imposing on anyone unwilling, especially by force of law. I was only advocating it for a couple that was willing to try — a wife who is tired of popping pills to bypass her fertility or a husband who doesn’t like condoms or other barrier methods.

    What I had written earlier is that besides self reporting on marital satisfaction (which admittedly could have the biases you mention), couples practicing it have very low divorce rates. That metric tends to be less subjective.

    Measured as effective, low divorce rates, happy marriages, and yet nearly everything I write is treated to utter distain. No, it must be that Scott is brainwashed by the far right wing conspiracy. Must … suppress … alternative thought!

  105. #105 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    Scott,

    we are obviously on different sides of this question. as illustrated by your last question to me, to which the answer is “no, we’ve covered what the pill is doing for me, thanks for playing though”.

    I think that the whole thing boils down to intent. the religious right wants to limit access to birth control pills because they want to stop people who intend to control their own fertility cycles. However, they are approaching the matter in a way that allows them to assume the intent without actually asking, and instead they are content to imply that anyone using BC pills (either inside of, or outside of marriage) is a shameless hussy who can’t be trusted to know what’s good for herself.

    Your statements about what is natural are things that I can respect in the same way I can respect my vegan or vegitarian friends. The difference is that there isn’t a powerful lobby out there telling the world that I’m a bad person for eating meat and shouldn’t it be taken off the shelf so I don’t hurt my body with that harmful substance…

    In your own marriage please, be as “natural” as you and your wife care to be. but please remember that there are those of us who have our own motivations and reasons for what we do. I won’t ask you to get a tattoo as long as you don’t make me getting one illegal.

    (oh, and a note, according to the wikki, oral contraceptives are 0.16% on the pearl index, symptomathermal 0.8%, both very effective, but oral contraceptives are 80% more so than NFP)

  106. #106 kemibe
    September 26, 2006

    Scott:

    “I’ve beaten the weight control analogy to death…”

    The analogy was DOA. There are plenty of moralizing folks who are perfectly repulsed by the very sight of a fat person, especially one who happens to be eating. Still, there are valid medical reasons to suggest that people exercise a level of control over their food intake sufficient to prevent them from becoming markedly chubby. There is no medical reason — and hence ho objective one — to discourage people from fucking whether they want ot have kids or not.

    By the way, altough starvation is the only 100% effective method of preventing obesity, most people recommend less stringent interventions first.

  107. #107 Davis
    September 26, 2006

    Scott, I’ve read this whole thread and I can’t help but notice the question-begging (in the original sense) you’re engaging in. For example, you propose NFP as an alternative to the pill, so you obviously don’t have a problem with birth control, just with contraception. However, your statements against contraception seem to stand on some weak assumptions: first, the fallacy that natural=good, so that the “unnatural” hormone-regulation of the pill should be eschewed in favor of NFP. Second, your completely unsubstantiated assertion that the reason people won’t use NFP is because of some sort of “I want it now” attitude (which you further seem to suggest is modern — I find that incredibly difficult to believe, at least as far as sex is concerned).

    Correct me if I’m misinterpreting you, but both of these assumptions are incredibly weak (and seem to rely further on the assumption that people shouldn’t have sex except in the context of relationships).

  108. #108 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    What I had written earlier is that besides self reporting on marital satisfaction (which admittedly could have the biases you mention), couples practicing it have very low divorce rates. That metric tends to be less subjective.

    Your missing the point. Not getting divorced is simply not an indicator of anything other than getting divorced. It doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on the quality of an existing marriage itself. I agree with Matthew here. Couples ,who as you say, embrace the catholic dogma in this area would likely have the same result with or without BC. I think your committing a causation/correlation error or the studies you cite are doing so.

    Likewise there is no indication that individuals who use BC have any less fulfilling marriages than those who don’t. Barnas own studies show atheists have the lowest divorce rate and most marital satisfaction.

    So at best you have nothing but 2 people who believe the same enjoying a marriage. Which I applaud but it certainly doesn’t make a remote case against BC.

    Measured as effective, low divorce rates, happy marriages, and yet nearly everything I write is treated to utter distain.

    No it’s not. It just isn’t a strong argument. I’m sure your a good fellow. I just very much doubt the connection your trying vainly to make in your argument.

    (oh, and a note, according to the wikki, oral contraceptives are 0.16% on the pearl index, symptomathermal 0.8%, both very effective, but oral contraceptives are 80% more so than NFP)

    Thats about what I figured.

    In a survey of over 14,000 of the poor women who received this training, the effectiveness rate was higher than the pill.

    Forgive me if I would ask for a double blind study in this area and just not accept some catholic propaganda. It should be simple enough to produce the scientific results of such a huge undertaking.

  109. #109 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Hi Kate,

    If I haven’t emphasized it enough, I do respect your decision. I can’t speak for the religious right, but I know that the Catholic Church has no problem with the concept of being in control of your fertility. Believe me, I’ve seen those you mention who consider periodic abstinance to be “an abomination” as if I should recklessly just role the dice with every act. I can guarantee you that the Catholic Church does not advocate that.

    If you’re worried about a powerful lobby trying to restrict your access to BC, I’d put it on about the same level as worrying about PETA restricting your access to meat.

    Regarding effectiveness rates, I’ve seen it vary. Some talk about theoretical rates, real usage rates, etc. Having less than 1% failure is pretty darn good. I think it beats condoms. With NFP, there tends to be a bell curve. If you’re willing to add a little more margin to the abstinance, you can drive the effectiveness rates way up. But I think there are a lot of married couples who understand that pill, condom, or NFP, there is always a possibility. They make the tradeoffs.

    I think your analogy to vegans is a good one. I have coworkers who avoid meat, advocate the practice, but do not intend to force it on anyone. My feeling about contraceptive birth control is similar. I think that when you discuss sexuality, though, it’s like touching the third rail. There people get very obsessive about “don’t judge me!” I rarely see similar from vegans.

  110. #110 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Hi Kate,

    If I haven’t emphasized it enough, I do respect your decision. I can’t speak for the religious right, but I know that the Catholic Church has no problem with the concept of being in control of your fertility. Believe me, I’ve seen those you mention who consider periodic abstinance to be “an abomination” as if I should recklessly just role the dice with every act. I can guarantee you that the Catholic Church does not advocate that.

    If you’re worried about a powerful lobby trying to restrict your access to BC, I’d put it on about the same level as worrying about PETA restricting your access to meat.

    Regarding effectiveness rates, I’ve seen it vary. Some talk about theoretical rates, real usage rates, etc. Having less than 1% failure is pretty darn good. I think it beats condoms. With NFP, there tends to be a bell curve. If you’re willing to add a little more margin to the abstinance, you can drive the effectiveness rates way up. But I think there are a lot of married couples who understand that pill, condom, or NFP, there is always a possibility. They make the tradeoffs.

    I think your analogy to vegans is a good one. I have coworkers who avoid meat, advocate the practice, but do not intend to force it on anyone. My feeling about contraceptive birth control is similar. I think that when you discuss sexuality, though, it’s like touching the third rail. There people get very obsessive about “don’t judge me!” I rarely see similar from vegans.

  111. #111 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Sorry about the double post. Firefox went a bit crazy on me and reposted (a full seven minutes later).

    Hi Davis,

    No, I’m not a “natural=good” person. Most medicines are far from natural but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t good or therapeutic.

    Second, I don’t mean to imply that “I want it now” is a new desire. I do tend to think it is a new expectation of the sexual norm.

    Regarding your last assumption, I will admit that I believe sex should be within the context of committed relationships. It’s potential consequences (physical, emotional, etc) should not be taken lightly as if a contraceptive can make it consequence-free. This does not mean I bury my head and assume that many won’t try to make it so.

  112. #112 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Forgive me if I would ask for a double blind study in this area and just not accept some catholic propaganda. It should be simple enough to produce the scientific results of such a huge undertaking.

    In 1993, the British Medical Journal reported, “Indeed, a study of 19,843 poor women in India [practicing NFP to delay pregnancy] had a pregnancy rate approaching zero.”
    Those British medical journals… they are just extensions of the Vatican dontcha know!

    (British Medical Journal, Sept. 18, 1993, by R.E.J. Ryder.)

  113. #113 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    I believe this is the study, courtesy of Fertility UK.

  114. #114 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott-
    I don’t quite understand the smarmy sarcasm. I asked for a citation and you provided it. Thank you. It gave me something to read.

    study in Chile confirmed the importance of good initial natural family planning teaching; experienced teachers achieving a pregnancy rate of 4.7, inexperienced teachers achieving a rate of 16.8. Studies have underlined the importance of motivation, one international study finding a pregnancy rate of 4.13 in couples wishing to limit their families but a rate of 14.56 in couples wishing only to space their families. Studies suggest that methods combining several indicators of ovulation yield lower pregnancy rates

    So after reading this study it is clear that one can educate a group to prevent pregnancy. This is not the argument. Looking at the rates above it is clear that simply using BC is much more likely to reproduce favorable results on a consistent basis just do to the vagarities in the methods of education. It should also be mention that 1/2 of the couples in developed nations complained about the frequency of sexual relations.

    None of this seems to remotely argue against the use of BC when available.

  115. #115 argystokes
    September 26, 2006

    From Scott’s link:
    The largest natural family planning study combined effective teaching with high motivation and showed that natural family planning can be extremely effective in the Third World. The study was of 19,843 pre-dominantly poor women in Calcutta, 52% Hindu, 27% Muslim, and 21% Christian. Because of poverty motivation was high both among the users and among the well trained teachers of natural family planning. The failure rate was similar to that with the combined contraceptive pill – 0.2 pregnancy/100 women users yearly. The result suggests that poverty as the motivation can greatly improve the effectiveness of natural family planning. A similar result, however, was achieved in Germany in a study with a pregnancy rate of 0.8.

    But the actual study is never referenced. Presumably it is in the actual BMJ article, which I don’t have access to.

    The article received 4 comments in the subsequent edition of the BMJ (also which I can only see the titles). One of them: “Natural family planning. Review’s enthusiasm based on flawed evidence.” So could you provide the original study, rather than a review that has no references?

    Thanks,
    argystokes

  116. #116 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    It should also be mention that 1/2 of the couples in developed nations complained about the frequency of sexual relations.

    And if tomorrow I converted to be a vegan, I’m sure I’d miss having a good sirloin, at least at first.

    Last spring I traded in my daily commuter car from a V6 gasser to a 4 cylinder TDI diesel. While it does the job admirably, I sometimes miss the power characteristics of my V6.

    So yes, abstaining requires some discipline. Dieting and exercise requires some discipline.

    My advocacy has been, if you’re a committed couple, looking for an alternative to synthetic hormones or barriers, they exist and they work. I know several couples who have. While some women (as noted above) need synthetic hormones, there are some for whom the pill gives them side effects. Some don’t have access (poverty, insurance). I’m happy to know that there is something there available.

    Those studies have nothing to do with a moral argument for NFP. You just said my stats were bullsh*t. You asked for some studies. Can I ask again for the study going back to 1949 and also the atheist study?

  117. #117 Beer Baron
    September 26, 2006

    1) Contreception also prevents disease. But that shouldn’t stop the right wing nut jobs. Even if thier child does get AIDS or anything else from unprotected sex.
    2)Wow people are stupid when all they use as thier rational is religion. Use logic people. Or we will smack you till you do.

  118. #118 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Ahh, constructive criticism. Thanks.

    Hi argystokes,
    I’m not exactly sure what you were looking at. I did find some followup to the study’s criticisms here and some references here.

    Likely not to be exactly what you were looking for, but so far, all the counter statements haven’t been well backed up either.

  119. #119 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott-

    To be honest your analogies are terrible.

    Those studies have nothing to do with a moral argument for NFP. You just said my stats were bullsh*t. You asked for some studies.

    And I thanked you for it right above this post so I don’t quite get your stance here.

    Can I ask again for the study going back to 1949 and also the atheist study?

    I didn’t post on the 1949 study, I just piggybacked on another poster. But one can check the US governments stats on teen pregnancy and see how it has gone down quite remarkably over the past several decades.

    The atheist study was part of the Barna groups polling on religion and it’s effect on our society. The founder is an evangelical Christian and was stunned to find atheists/secular marriages have the lowest divorce rate and highest satisfaction. He has concluded that religious belief simply has no real effect on these matters. I’m sure if you google it you won’t have any trouble finding it or portions of it.

  120. #120 SkookumPlanet
    September 26, 2006

    Scott
    I’m confused by your parting shot. In which passage of mine do you think I’m refering to a right wing conspiracy? I may have mis-expressed myself, but I did not intend to speak in those terms. I never do. Nor do I think like that.

    Apart from my analysis, my comments about the right are roughly public record of common knowledge.

  121. #121 SkookumPlanet
    September 26, 2006

    Jim, I’ll take your point about beer, etc. There is much we got, but it was such an emphatic ending, I couldn’t resist.

  122. #122 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    I don’t find the objections very compelling but this comment is:

    “it is extremely unforgiving of imperfect use”, although he admitted that imperfect use was not very common.

    Thats what I thought as well. The difference was staggering. All told though the student doesn’t seem very conclusive as a method of BC and I would think more direct studies are needed to even begin the discussion seriously.

  123. #123 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Sorry SkookumPlanet,

    I guess it was the repeated use of the term “Christofacists”. Other used similar unloaded words.

    While I’ve had a lot of people saying “would you risk your children…”, I would bet my children that America’s contraception laws will not be overturned in my lifetime. As such I think a lot of this is creating a scare where there is none.

    Meanwhile I’ve said that there are alternatives and I hear “Use logic people. Or we will smack you till you do.”

  124. #124 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Christofacists

    I don’t use it but it does seem more and more fitting as time progresses doesn’t it. Lets hope it just stays a word.

  125. #125 MJ Memphis
    September 26, 2006

    “The founder is an evangelical Christian and was stunned to find atheists/secular marriages have the lowest divorce rate and highest satisfaction. He has concluded that religious belief simply has no real effect on these matters.”

    Hmm… wouldn’t that result actually suggest not that religion has no effect, but that religion (certain ones, anyway, I seem to recall Catholics doing pretty well in the same study) may actually have a negative effect on marriage?

  126. #126 SkookumPlanet
    September 26, 2006

    Christofacist is something that popped up toward the end and I backfilled it. It’s in honor of our president. He came up with such a powerful and accurate way of speaking about these things, I thought I’d show my admiration by spreading his wise concepts around.

  127. #127 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    but that religion (certain ones, anyway, I seem to recall Catholics doing pretty well in the same study)

    Catholics in the study where a little lower than some Protestant groups but it came with a caveat. Because of annulments many of the Catholics questioned don’t answer in the affirmative to having been married before. When the adjustment is made they emerged the same or slightly higher than Protestants.

    I’m not convinced religion mattered all that myself as results tend to be geographic in nature and factors such as poverty, education, and others likely matter more than religious affiliation.

  128. #128 SkookumPlanet
    September 26, 2006

    and Scott
    I don’t understand WHY there exists a desire to create laws forcing other people to stop using contraceptives. I spoke of criminalizing simply because it would be physically impossible to keep such medications out of the country, so the only way to stop people using them would be to put users somewhere they couldn’t get at the meds. Or am I missing something?

  129. #129 Jim
    September 26, 2006

    I will admit that I believe sex should be within the context of committed relationships.

    And thus, your argument stems from this belief. Whether you like it or not, many people disagree with this position, and therefore, what seems logical to you may not be logical to them. Further, I am somewhat annoyed at an undercurrent of what does/does not “strengthen” a marriage or relationship along with implications of what makes a good marriage or relationship. What I do or don’t do with my wife, when we do or don’t do it, and how and with or without what we do it is no one’s business but ours. Don’t hand me a line about “couples using technique X have better marriages” as if it’s a causal relationship, because it ISN’T. To imply otherwise will just make folks like me who have happy marriages without technique X say “Go eff yourself”.

    Finally, what is all this crap about “natural”? Homo sapiens is a tool maker. Why is a condom somehow less “natural” than a shovel? Or a particle accelerator? I will agree that a latex condom is less “natural” than a toadstool, but which one would you rather find next to a glass of wine? I can agree with you that no one should be forced to use any specific kind of contraceptive, but outside of that, I’m afraid you have some “issues”.

  130. #130 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    I don’t understand WHY there exists a desire to create laws forcing other people to stop using contraceptives. I spoke of criminalizing simply because it would be physically impossible to keep such medications out of the country, so the only way to stop people using them would be to put users somewhere they couldn’t get at the meds.

    I don’t either. At least here in the US, we have a broad base of beliefs to accomodate. Our old contraceptive laws weren’t put on the books by Catholics.

    On the flip side, we have some advocating forcing (by law) small pharmacies to carry this or that and not allowing them to exempt themselves. We can have vegetarian groceries, but not contraception free drug stores. Of what other medicines do we bind pharmacies? “You shall carry this or not operate.”

    I can’t get over how sensitive people have been about this. I’ve not made specific recommendations about what to do with the youth or sex outside of committed relationships, and yet there are so many noses out of joint. I “have some issues”.

    If you don’t think it’s effective, fine. If you don’t think it could, in general, help married relationships for those open to trying, fine. And people still have this hangup because the word “natural” is in the name. Natural simply refers to observing the natural signs use to make determinations of the timing. It has no “crunchy” implications like “it’s organic”. NFP users consider the method a tool to help them plan and control their fertility. Yes, we used our intellect (“Homo sapiens is a tool maker.”) to understand fertility and instead of shutting it down, we dealt with it from a different angle.

  131. #131 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    Scott,

    I respect your point of view, but I don’t believe that you, as a man, can really understand what is going on from my point of view.

    I *HAVE* been denied my perscription at a pharmacist until I spent a good twenty minutes arguing, loudly, with the (male) pharmacist and got the attention of the store manager who called in his boss to deal with me. I’m an out-spoken, in your face gal who knew that everything that the pharmacist believed about me and why I was filling that perscription was 100% wrong.

    I worry about what would happen to a teenager who wanted the perscription for whatever reason when faced with that belligerance. I wonder about someone who is timid. I wonder who will stand up to the pharmacist when they are getting the perscription for exactly the things that the pharmacist is against.

    Mostly I object to the belief that they have any right to limit my choices like that. But it is not over the top to believe that there are people who want to start legislating this. the rationale for limiting or outlawing plan B can be easily expanded to the birth control pill.

    But as I said, I have actually encountered this as an unwed female filling a perscription for estrogen. I’m not leaping at shadows here. I’m not the first story about this and I won’t be the last. Specifically because the right wing is DELIBERATLY galvinizing people against birth control, partially by spreading disinformation and trying to tap into the “right to life” movement’s zealotry.

    aside – the wikki stats were based on an index that assumes perfect implementation of the birth control method 100% of the time. Actual real-world pregnancies of all the BC methods are higher. But abstinence isn’t counted in the index as it isn’t something that can prevent pregnancy (resulting from sexual activity) implemented properly it prevents sexual activity itself.

  132. #132 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott I hate to keep saying it but your analogies are really weak.

    On the flip side, we have some advocating forcing (by law) small pharmacies to carry this or that and not allowing them to exempt themselves.

    Their job is to dispense medication as proscribed by a licensed physician. If they cannot do this then they should not choose this line of work. It’s not usually a drug store choosing not to stock the item but a pharmacist refusing to fill it.

    But here I agree with you. In a free market a private company should be able to choose what products they offer BUT if your an employee of said company that does offer them you need to make a decision before you work there and act on your irrational beliefs.

    I disagree with a pharmacy not carrying this item and it would be my wish that the free market would punish them for it.

    We can have vegetarian groceries, but not contraception free drug stores.

    Vegetarian groveries increase choice for the consumer by filling a niche market. Not offering BC to a public in which 90%+ prefer to use it is not only not free market it’s the antithesis of it from a business perspective. One is a positive then other intentionally removes options based on irrational ideas and limits the options of the consumer.

    Jim, I agree with much of your post.

  133. #133 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    NFP users consider the method a tool to help them plan and control their fertility. Yes, we used our intellect (“Homo sapiens is a tool maker.”) to understand fertility and instead of shutting it down, we dealt with it from a different angle.

    Then what is wrong with simply using a better more efficient tool?

    People used to marry at 13 and birth children soon thereafter. People wait much longer to marry now as we live much longer. Many choose not to marry at all. Hanging onto medieval(and prior) thinking is going to lead us no place.

    Kate I am very sorry you had to experience what in my view can only be called bigotry. If you chose to have sex why should this individual push his views onto your life?

    I don’t understand our species sometimes.

  134. #134 Kate
    September 26, 2006

    Thanks Uber,

    The really ironic thing was that at the time I wasn’t even sexually active. As I enjoy an argument when I know that I’m 100% in the right (who doesn’t?!) I actually had a good time yelling at him (once I got past my shocked silence and my “maybe he just didn’t understand what I was asking for” attempt at explaining things to him).

    I understand from friends who have gone to the same pharmacy that he was only there for another month and then was seen no more. I have no idea if I had any influence on that, but I’m betting that it was a black spot on his employment record either way.

  135. #135 Scott
    September 26, 2006

    Kate,

    I’m sorry you were treated so rudely. If the pharmacy offers the drug, they should not discriminate against you. If the employee is working against his/her employer’s wishes, they should be fired. If a small pharmacy opts not to stock something, let the market punish it for its close mindedness. I live in a pretty podunk town but we still have multiple pharmacies.

    Well, ladies and gents, I really must go. It’s been a spirited discussion and I appreciate hearing your feedback. It’s been a long time since I’ve been involved in such a long weblog thread as this, but I can’t keep posting followups forever. (and I topics like this they do tend to do that…) I’ve a touch of a cold I’m still trying to shake and need the rest. Consider it a win by forfeit, if you like. :-) I apologize if anyone took offense at anything snarky or smarmy I wrote in jest. I have an admittedly poor sense of humor. Take care and best wishes to you all. Thanks for the insights.

  136. #136 Uber
    September 26, 2006

    Scott-

    I enjoyed it as well. I wish you the best with your cold. I hate those things. Just don’t come to my pharmacy because we don’t dispense antibiotics. We’re Christian scientists and feel the need to let the immune system act in a natural way.

    Just kidding:-)

    I hope you feel better soon.

  137. #137 DuWayne
    September 26, 2006

    Scott said –
    If you’re worried about a powerful lobby trying to restrict your access to BC, I’d put it on about the same level as worrying about PETA restricting your access to meat.

    Atually, this is a hell of a lot more powerfull lobby than PETA, by any stretch of the mind. They use the supporters of organizations like the AFA and similar groups to push this agenda. They are not trying to criminalize it right now, instead they are simply pushing for “concience clauses” to allow pharmicists to refuse to fill scripts they find moraly wrong. They fought long and hard to keep the FDA from approving plan B for OTC distribution, thankfully in vain. They got an abstinance only policy attached to federal funds for public schools. They got the bush regime to require public health NGOs who use federal funds to stop talking about or distributing condoms in developeing countries – in spite of the monsterous spread of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

    Compared to that PETA has managed virtualy nothing. And there are righties out there who would love to see contraceptives criminalised. Just listen to Focus on the Family – listen to what Dobson and Co. have to say about it. They don’t see that they have won by a long shot, until they have turned back the clock by sixty some years they will not be happy.

  138. #138 DuWayne
    September 26, 2006

    Kate –

    I am sorry too, that you have these problems on occasion. Click my tag line – I am horrible at html – for a story certain to piss you off.

    I too am afraid of what a teen or even adults who aren’t so agressive might take from that sort of confrontation. The woman whom I linked to is far from being meek yet this is her reaction;

    I found that the more hospitals and clinics and doctors I called the more ashamed I became. Yep, you heard right. I was feeling ashamed at being such an unworthy dirty whore. Well, at least in the eyes of all these hospitals and doctors and clinics. I cried, then I sweated, then I cried some more, then I called some more.

    Now take a woman who is not as vocal and aggressive as the woman above (not as noticable from the above paragraph – need to read her blog to get that) and they could easily be to embarrased, ashamed and humiliated to try even once more. And that is what the evil bastards pushing this agenda want. They want them to give up and either stop having sex or just roll the dice and screw anyways.

    Being a single dad and a mentor for a couple kids at church from single parent families, I am learning that without a very firm, planned foundation – both, financialy and emotionaly, it is very hard to be a single parent. It is easier in so many regards to have two parents working together. Even when my childs mother and I were split up yet living together (not a very comfortable place to be) it was infinately easier than juggling my whole life around when I have him and when I don’t. It gets very hard to manage and not take out external stress out on him when I just can’t walk away for a few minutes to calm down. It work better when it’s planned and it works better with two.

    Add to that the danger of disease. As I mentioned, I watched my uncle die of AIDS. I have several friends dying of HIV/AIDS. I would love nothing more than to see this scourge wiped off the planet. To do that people need to be practicing safe sex. And there are other diseases, mostly treatable – yet unpleasant, out there too. And herpes, not a fatal but incurable disease increases the likelyhood of transmitting HIV. It seems like once a month I here of someone else in my community testing positive. I can’t help but get very angry when these people try to push this anti-contraceptive agenda. I am tired of hearing horror stories – I know three young ladies, under the age of seventeen, who have contracted HIV – one diagnosed 3 months after her fourteenth birthday. That is the reality these sanctamonious f&*ks are pushing – death and single parents – mostly moms.

    Done ranting.

  139. #139 Tree
    September 26, 2006

    Barefoot. Pregnant.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

    Or maybe you haven’t read “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

    Classic line: “Our first mistake was teaching them to read.”

    It has nothing to do with love, marriage or natural versus synthetic BC and especially has little to do with religion or spirituality.

    It has everything to do with Control.

  140. #140 Jim
    September 26, 2006

    People “have their nose out of joint” because that nose smells a religiously inspired agenda. While it has been stated that the chances of laws being passed to alter existing BC availability have a low probability of making it any time soon, I get the distinct impression that some folks wish this was not the case, in spite of any surface pleasantries.

  141. #141 Ramsey Wilson
    October 6, 2006

    Ed,

    In light of the discussion last week about the net effect of the widespread availability of contraception on the abortion rate, I think you might enjoy an essay by William Saletan in Sunday’s Washington Post.

    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901328.html)

    Saletan describes some evidence supporting the view that less access to contraception is correlated with higher abortion rates. Enjoy.

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