Why The Fight Over Contraceptives Is Stupid

We’ve had good economic news lately (although you wouldn’t know it by listening to Republicans). Now some good news on another issue. From Vox (“It’s official: teen births hit an all-time low in 2015“):

The article notes that sexual activity among teens is roughly the same (although there is some evidence that it has been declining recently). So what’s most likely going on? This:

The share of sexually active teens who used at least one type of birth control the last time they had sex rose from 78 percent in 2007 to 86 percent in 2012. More teens gravitated toward better types of birth control — like pills, IUDs, or implants — rather than relying on lower-quality birth control like condoms.

Sex education and contraceptives matter. Fighting over such things is beyond dumb.

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7 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  September 29, 2016

    What may not be obvious to some: if you’re opposed to abortion, contraceptives are your number one ally. The more unwanted pregnancies there are — and we can reasonably guess most teen pregnancies are unwanted — the more abortions there will be. If we’ve seen teen pregnancies drop by 40%, there has likely been a 40% drop in abortions as well. That is a hell of a lot more effecitve than the efforts to dismantle Roe v. Wade.

    If you want to keep trying to end Roe v. Wade, knock yourself out I guess. But if you are sincere about wanting to see fewer abortions, contraceptives and sex ed are the quickest way there.

    And, if you are opposed to all of the above — abortions, contraceptives, and sex ed — then what exactly are you for? Don’t tell me, just think about it for yourself, because you may not be in this for the reasons you thought you were.

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    • All great points. I want to say a couple of things in response. One is that there are religious leaders out there who don’t think people should practice artificial birth control of any kind. As you know, that is the official position of the Catholic Church, which also happens to be opposed to abortion. That contradiction, which you do a good job of highlighting, has not bothered even the current Pope, who gets a lot of credit for being rather advanced in his thinking. Not on that issue. Fortunately, even most Catholics, at least in America, ignore the Church’s teachings on contraception. In other places around the world, they don’t have the luxury of doing so in too many cases.

      Second, there are the conservative evangelicals in this country. Most of these folks are opposed to specific kinds of birth control methods because they, falsely, see them as abortifacients. And they really do seek the overturning of Roe v. Wade by a President Trump’s reactionary appointments to the Supreme Court. In fact, I would say that is one of the biggest practical reasons so many of them are flocking to a man who has no Christian character that they would ordinarily recognize and who would have nothing whatsoever to do with them, if it weren’t for this election. They need him and he has figured that out and has dangled the Supreme Court in front of them very effectively.

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      • King Beauregard

         /  September 29, 2016

        I can sort of respect the Catholic Church’s idiot opinions, in that they tend to start with core principles and follow them to their least practical conclusions. Like the Catholic Church is all about the sanctity of life, which is why they are typically opposed to war and in favor of charity … but when it comes to sex and babies, sanctity of life implies that creating life is a good thing, which kind of further implies the more life you create the better. The formal arguments are probably a lot more artful, but in very very broad strokes I think that’s it. There are certain ironies there of course, such as how a high population leads to poverty, but that’s irony rather than hypocrisy.

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        • I won’t argue whether the Church’s opinions deserve respect for at least being consistent, even though they are absolutely dumb in the case of contraception. What I will argue, and I think you would agree, is that they don’t deserve respect by virtue of them being offered by the Church. And that they deserve such respect, as far as I understand the matter, is what Catholics are supposed to believe, even though, thank God, so many ignore the opinions they are suppose to respect.

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          • King Beauregard

             /  September 30, 2016

            Agreed, I have little use for church teachings whose real-world impact is harmful; if you start at a position of respecting life and the end result is people suffering in poverty, either your logic took a left turn or you’re making absolutes out of relatives.

            I guess my respect for Catholic consistency is in contrast to, say, “literal” interpretations of the Bible that are obviously pick-and-choosy to the believer’s benefit. The Catholics don’t say that abortion is wrong AND ALSO it would be really really awesome to hold women in squalor to really drive home the point that they shouldn’t have been such whores, which is where American fundamentalism is right now. That is just malicious.

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  2. It’s odd that the evangelicals (and the Catholics) believe that life begins at conception and that abortion amounts to murder. Actually, according to the bible, life begins with the first breath – Genesis 2:7 (NKJV) And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

    Apparently their omniscient God didn’t know about conception. And since evangelicals believe the bible is inerrant, then they are bit hypocritical (surprise, surprise) imposing a biological truth over an intransigent belief.

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    • You make a great point, Herb. That is one of those passages that, in the context of abortion, conservative evangelicals tend not to interpret all that literally, whether consciously or unconsciously.

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