Does Contraception Reduce the Abortion Rate? (Rebuttal Part 3)

The Holy Internet demands writers present the truth in 500 words or less, with a picture for every 100 words. But when considering Libby Anne’s recent claim – that if pro-lifers were really interested in saving the lives of unborn children, they would promote the use of contraception — I’m afraid I cannot abide by such a limit. Allow me to reduce my pageviews by 75% and say it: The reality of the contraception/abortion link is not conducive to short posts. We will march like the dead through the marshes of peer-reviewed studies, and will come out having discovered one of the most dangerous, most suppressed truths in existence. So please:

Libby Anne’s argument is brief, but poignant:

But if banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates, what does? Why do some countries have low abortion rates while others have much higher rates? The answer, I found, was simple.

Both the lowest and highest subregional abortion rates are in Europe, where abortion is generally legal under broad grounds. In Western Europe, the rate is 12 per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Europe it is 43. The discrepancy in rates between the two regions reflects relatively low contraceptive use in Eastern Europe, as well as a high degree of reliance on methods with relatively high user failure rates, such as the condom, withdrawal and the rhythm method.

As I sat there in the student union reading over my lunch, I found that making birth control widespread and easily accessible is actually the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate.

It goes like this: Lots of contraception in Western Europe: Low abortion rate. Less contraception in Eastern Europe: High abortion rate. Contraception lowers the abortion rate.

I’d love to leave it at that, but if life were so simple we wouldn’t have existential angst. So let’s take another look.

Abortion Culture

Eastern Europe has what is referred to in academia as an “abortion culture”. In the Soviet Union (roughly the same area we now refer to as Eastern Europe) abortion for any reason was legalized by Stalin in 1920, long before it was legalized anywhere else. It was banned in 1936 in an effort to increase population growth, then re-legalized in 1955.

Where we’re talking.

In his 2002 article published in Studies in Family Planning, Victor Agadjanian makes the point that in the Soviet Union “soon after it was re-legalized in 1955, abortion became the main form of birth control, available on request and free of charge…Little ideological or moral opposition to abortion existed.” This cannot be said of the vast majority of countries, and certainly not of Western Europe.

The difference in both area’s legalizations of abortion is crucial. The vast majority of Eastern Europe had legalized abortion before modern contraception. The vast majority of Western Europe had legalized abortion after modern contraception, between 1973-1980. The problem with claiming that Eastern Europe’s high abortion rate is caused by a lack of contraceptive methods is this: Eastern Europe used and does use abortion as its primary method of family planning.

As the study “Family Planning and Induced Abortion in Post-Soviet Russia of the Early 1990s: Unmet Needs in Information Supply” indicates of Russia:

Induced abortion remains possibly the most common and effective means of family planning in Russia. Russian society and the public health system have adapted to the provision of induced abortion as the primary method of family planning. Therefore, Russia can be defined as having a stable abortion culture. Induced abortion is still the primary and often the only method of reducing fertility in many regions.

And as the Agadjanian study confirms:

Despite the decline in the use of abortion, the procedure has remained a well-entrenched part of local reproductive culture and practices largely because of the inertia of the Soviet tradition of unlimited reliance on abortion and because of the insufficient supply and high cost of contraceptives. Also, as anecdotal evidence suggests, gynecologists in Kazakhstan are often reluctant to encourage contraceptive use because the charges that they exact (even if illegally) for abortion services constitute an important part of their incomes.

Eastern Europe’s high abortion rate is not merely the result of their lack of contraception. Eastern Europe’s high abortion rate is largely a result of their “abortion culture”, a culture in which little opposition to abortion exists, and in which abortion is engrained as the primary method of family planning. For the Guttmacher institute (and yes, Anne’s source is the same Guttmacher factsheet) to compare the two regions without any mention of their vastly different historical and cultural take on abortion is unexamined babble at best. But Planned Parenthood isn’t donating millions of dollars to their old research arm to tell the truth, and certainly not to take confounding factors into account. God forbid.

So, given that the evidence she uses is faulty, Libby Anne’s claim is moot. If that’s all you wanted know, cease reading. But there’s more to this question of whether contraception reduces abortion rates, and I will address it now.

Decreasing Abortion Rates in Eastern Europe

Though the direct comparison of Eastern and Western Europe is a silly one, there are countries in which the introduction of modern contraception has lead to a decrease in abortions. The Agadjanian study refers to the fact that, while the abortion culture still exists, and while the Eastern abortion rate is still incredibly high, abortion rates have been declining in recent years, associated with a higher use of contraception.

And he’s not alone. The Guttmacher review “Relationships Between Contraception and Abortion: A Review of the Evidence” looked at the abortion rates in several countries after the introduction of modern contraception, and determined that contraception reduces abortion rates, and in countries where it doesn’t, “after fertility levels stabilized…contraceptive use continued to increase and abortion rates fell.” This implies that contraception will eventually reduce the abortion rate in those countries as well.

Ignoring other possible factors involved in the decrease, such as government incentives for birth, here’s the problem: 4 of the 7 countries the The Guttmacher Institute cites to make the claim that contraception reduces overall abortion rates are ex-Soviet countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bulgaria. If you understood why it was illogical to directly compare the abortion rates of Eastern and Western Europe, you’ll understand why it is likewise illogical to use ex-Soviet countries to make the blanket statement that “contraception reduces the abortion rate.”

As we’ve already determined, abortion is used as the primary method of family planning in countries like Kazakhstan. To give contraception to a country that relies exclusively on abortion to family plan will reduce the abortion rate insofar as that country is offered another method of family planning. This is not true of the majority of the world. (Remember, most countries legalized contraception before they legalized abortion. Most countries did not have an abortion culture that viewed abortion as the primary method of family planning when contraception was introduced.)

So the previously bold statement that “contraception reduces abortion rates” must be reconfigured to reflect the truth. Contraception reduces abortion rates primarily in regions that already use abortion as a primary method of family planning, and thus already have extremely high abortion rates. Contraception does not get rid of the abortion culture. Indeed, the countries Guttmacher cites still have some of the highest abortion rates in the world. (And, as they now undergo the double hit of contraception and abortion, as well as emigration, they are undergoing crippling population decline, as pointed out by the Time article Nobody Home: The Countries Where Population is on the Decline.)

We should be suspicious when an institution like the Guttmacher Institute uses  abortion cultures to claim that contraception reduces abortion rates, as these represent a minority. What about countries that aren’t?

Non-abortion-culture Countries

An honest look at the data shows that in virtually every country that increased the use of contraception, there was a simultaneous increase in that country’s abortion rate. In England (Rise in contraceptive usesimultaneous rise in abortions), France (Rise in contraceptive usesimultaneous rise in abortions), Australia, (Rise in contraceptive usesimultaneous rise in abortions), Portugal (Whose abortion rate only began to rise after 1999, after oral contraceptive methods were made widely available), Canada (Whose abortion rate only began to rise after the legalization of oral contraceptives in 1969), and, as the Guttmacher Institute shows, Singapore, Cuba, Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Korea, to name a few.

And of course, we saw this rise in the land of the free and home of the brave. Contraceptive devices gained popularity throughout the 1900′s, and were “legalized” in 1965. The widespread proliferation of contraceptive devices followed. The abortion rate began to creep up at this same time, after 1965, from 0.02 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 1965 to 16.33 in 1973, when abortion was legalized.

Now before the inevitable screams of “correlation does not equal causation!” commence, let’s dive a little deeper. It is true that correlation is not causation, but what many of the Internet-trained forget — myself included — is the obvious truth that correlation does not rule out causation. In fact, if there is strong correlation and a logical reason for causation, correlation does imply some degree of causation, though there may be many other factors involved. So is there a logical reason for the increased use of contraceptives to be correlated with the increased abortion rate between 1965 and 1973?

Yes. As Guttmacher researcher Stanley Henshaw noted in his review “Unintended Pregnancy in the United States“, “contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers”. The CDC has consistently reported that the majority of abortions are performed on women who were using contraception at the time of their last menstrual cycle, that is, at the time they conceived. If contraceptive users are more motivated to have abortions than non-contraceptive users, then it is not ridiculous to posit that the increased use of contraception in the USA was a major factor in the simultaneous increase in abortions.

This seems like common sense to me. The use of contraception is the attempt to have sex while avoiding having children. To conceive a child despite using contraception means that that attempt has failed. If the attempt fails, then that newly created human life naturally represents a failure. The contraceptive mentality — a mentality I believe can exist whether or not one uses specifically uses contraceptive devices while having sex – carries over into pregnancy. If I want to avoid a child while having sex, chances are I will want to avoid a child when my partner becomes pregnant. This is not to say that all couples who use contraception will always abort. Of course not! This is merely to say that the contraceptive mentality leads to a temptation to abortion, and where there is temptation there is failure, and where there is failure, the stats reflect it.

It is, after all, because of contraception that abortion remains legal in this country. In the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which confirmed the legalization of abortion, it was stated that:

[I]n some critical respects, the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception[...]For two decades of economic and social developments, [people] have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

Here’s what important to consider when looking at countries without an abortion culture. While the increased availability and use of contraception may contribute to decreases in the abortion rate from time to time — as I believe it has — to take these events and claim that “contraception reduces abortion rates” is painfully optimistic, and utterly misses the overall picture. It is no victory for contraception if it partially reduces a problem it has created in the first place. If the establishment of a contraceptive mentality did indeed lead to a need for abortion, and thus an overall increase in abortion, then we can only laud contraception for decreasing abortion rates if it brings abortion rates back to where they were before the widespread use of contraception.

The Guttmacher Institute claims that in non abortion-culture countries, “after fertility levels stabilized…contraceptive use continued to increase and abortion rates fell.” They do not mention that these abortion rates fell and stabilized at rate far higher than the abortion rate before the introduction of contraception.

(Funnily enough, this was seen in Turkey, one of the three countries the Guttmacher Institute cites to support their claims that weren’t Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bulgaria. In the study The Role of Contraceptive Changes in the Decline of Induced Abortion in Turkey – which Guttmacher cites – it is shown that in 1983, when contraception laws were first liberalized, abortion ended 12.1% of all pregnancies. As contraceptive used increased, the abortion rate increased, until 1988, when abortion ended 23.6% of pregnancies. Thanks to the improved use and availability of contraception, the rate then began to decrease, until, by 1998, abortion ended 15.7% of all pregnancies. Here the abortion rate dipped, rose, and leveled, and by 2007, abortion ended 17.0% of all pregnancies in Turkey, representing an overall increase in abortion.)

Allow me to summarize: Contraception has been shown to decrease abortion rates primarily in countries with already high abortion rates. These represent a minority of countries. Contraception has been shown to increase abortion rates primarily in countries with already low abortion rates. These represent a majority of countries. Contraception has been shown to slightly reduce abortion rates after its initial increase of abortion rates, but has never been shown to reduce abortion rates back to pre-contraception levels. This is my claim. I have no doubt that there’s a lot more to say, given the incredible amount of studies I haven’t seen. But as far as I can tell, this is a claim far closer to the truth than the oft-repeated, always unexamined “Contraception reduces abortion rates”.

I don’t like thinking contraception hasn’t helped our world — it’s quite possibly the most unpopular conclusion a modern man can come to. I understand that Libby Anne ditched the pro-life movement over the issue of contraception, I really do. But if our goal is to end the destruction of human life that is abortion, we cannot advocate the use of contraception. We must advocate something far better, that is, the practice of effective, natural methods of family planning that embrace fertility instead of suppressing it, and work against the contraceptive mentality. We’ll have to appreciate sex as powerful, life-changing, and awesome, and develop within ourselves love for the child, not a constant rejection. If we want to lower abortion rates, we cannot rely on artificial technologies forever failing us. We need love.

If you’re still here, you’re a hero. Good job.

  • Amanda

    Thank you for continuing to write these responses. I have enjoyed them all. You bring up very good evidence to fight Libby Anne’s arguments. I just wish more people had the sense to see it this way. Keep up the good work. Will there be a Part 4?

  • Cal-J

    And now all we need to do is disappear for a week, come back and see the hundreds of comments, mostly of people calling each other ignorant and stupid. Where’s that popcorn?!

  • Vision_From_Afar

    I think you’re missing the critical point that contraceptives are a developing technology, and are becoming increasingly efficient and error-proof. It’s entirely logical, as you point out, that the increase in contraception use has created a culture of “sex without a baby”, and that abortion would logically follow in the majority of cases where the contraception fails.

    That argument falls apart, however, if we allow contraception to continue to improve as it has done. Newer and more efficient technologies for contraception are being developed every day, since we are all fully aware of the potential for failure with both the condom and the pill. With widespread, cheap access to these increasingly efficient contraceptives, I think the trend will dip below original abortion rates and stay lower, perhaps approaching the desired almost non-existant status wished by everyone.

    Advocating religious stoicism continues to fail when applied. Let contraception continue to progress, and you’ll get your drop in abortion rate. Continue to dig in your heels, and you’re never see you’re in a tug-of-war with yourself.

    • enness

      Your link is to the IUD. I did look at it. I don’t see 100% effectiveness there, and I wonder at what point the industry will call diminishing returns. But let’s say you are right, which you could be. We still have a gi-normous STD problem that an IUD isn’t going to solve. That is outside the scope of this post though.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The only thing sure about allowing contraception to continue to improve, is cultures that use contraceptives becoming extinct.

    • Mrs. N.

      What are you talking about? Highly efficient contraceptives (≤1% perfect use failure) have been available for YEARS, at least over a decade, which was when I came of age to care about those things. Access has only increased with the cheap prices of generics. Yet, there are still considerably high numbers of abortions and unintended pregnancies.

      You say things “continue to improve” but you don’t offer any evidence to support the notion that any contraceptive– especially when the “typical use” standard is applied– is going to reach a point where, with such a large population, there won’t be a significant number of unintended pregnancies. Consider that we’ve been developing vaccines for HUNDREDS of years and are nowhere near perfect efficiency (for many of the same reasons contraceptives won’t ever reach that theoretical value either.)

      Even if someone were to erroneously equate “religious stoicism” with abstinence-only education (???), what is the alternative to this “religious stoicism”? Letting our values degrade just to gain popularity? To think, I used to believe that was something only high school girls did…

  • Obliged_Cornball

    My attention span is indeed heroic, but only when I’m interested in the topic. Thanks again for holding me through (not with silly .gifs, but with coherent writing). Anyway, down to business:

    “Now before the inevitable screams of ‘correlation does not equal causation!’ commence, let’s dive a little deeper. It is true that correlation is not causation, but what many of the Internet-trained forget — myself included — is the obvious truth that correlation does not rule out causation. In fact, if there is strong correlation and a logical reason for causation, correlation does imply some degree of causation, though there may be many other factors involved. So is there a logical reason for the increased use of contraceptives to be correlated with the increased abortion rate between 1965 and 1973?

    Yes. As Guttmacher researcher Stanley Henshaw noted in his review ‘Unintended Pregnancy in the United States’, ‘contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers’. The CDC has consistently reported that the majority of abortions are performed on women who were using contraception at the time of their last menstrual cycle, that is, at the time they conceived. If contraceptive users are more motivated to have abortions than non-contraceptive users, then it is not ridiculous to posit that the increased use of contraception in the USA was a major factor in the simultaneous increase in abortions.

    This seems like common sense to me. The use of contraception is the attempt to have sex while avoiding having children. To conceive a child despite using contraception means that that attempt has failed. If the attempt fails, then that newly created human life naturally represents a failure. The contraceptive mentality — a mentality I believe can exist whether or not one uses specifically uses contraceptive devices while having sex – carries over into pregnancy. If I want to avoid a child while having sex, chances are I will want to avoid a child when my partner becomes pregnant. This is not to say that all couples who use contraception will always abort. Of course not! This is merely to say that the contraceptive mentality leads to a temptation to abortion, and where there is temptation there is failure, and where there is failure, the stats reflect it.”

    Of particular interest to me is the claim that “contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers,” as I think you and I interpret it differently. You use this to account for the correlation between contraception and abortion, but you’re neglecting the fact that this too is merely correlation. If I ask “but *why* are contraceptive users more motivated to prevent births?” you might be correct in attributing it to a “contraceptive mentality.” But it would be a large inductive leap to claim that using contraception had *induced* such a mentality in people. In fact, it could very well be possible that people who wish to prevent birth are merely more likely to gravitate toward contraception. If this were the case, then removing access to contraception wouldn’t necessarily decrease abortion rates.

    Allow me to elaborate clumsily:
    Let A = the use of contraception,
    Let B = abortion rates,
    & Let C = a “contraceptive mentality,” i.e. a resistance among people of childbearing age to actually having children.

    It would be illogical to suggest that B caused A & C, but both C and A are viable starting points for a causal explanation. Your favored explanation seems to me to be (A → C) & (C → B), therefore A → C. Yet I could just as easily claim that C → (A & B), seeing as that abortion can serve as a means of contraception. It gets even more complicated when you allow a recursive scenario where C → A → C etc. I haven’t ruled your explanation out yet, but disentangling multiple-variable scenarios is hard enough with rigorous statistical measures. While introducing “common sense” into the mix *can* be legitimate, it often leads to scenarios like the one above, where there are multiple viable explanations for intervariable relationships. I agree that Libby Anne’s explanation is insufficient, but I fear we must go even deeper than your explanation as well.

    • Obliged_Cornball

      Damn it, Disqus needs a quote feature.

    • McG

      Hi Obliged_Cornball,

      I agree, to use your abbreviations, that it is more likely that C –> (A&B) then A –> C –> B. However, I also agree with Marc that, for people truly committed to life, as Libby claims to be, we would have to agree that by far the better strategy is building a culture that rejects contraception and abortion, and embraces life and all of the elements Marc mentioned in part 2 that help (wealth creation, adoption, good healthcare, etc.). In short, the best strategy is the pro-life approach. To settle for widespread use of contraception, simply because “everyone is going to do it anyway”, is at best settling for a mediocre and insufficient achievement of the stated goal, and at worst, condoning the immorality and missing the opportunity to call everyone to a “still more excellent way”. Parallels can be drawn to sex education without development of a proper view of sexuality — approaches that yield to “they’re going to do it anyway” are insufficient.

      Pax.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      In fact I’d go so far as to claim C->A->B. The real problem is C, A & B are just symptoms of the basic problem.

      But you are equally correct that quite often (and I’m only exaggerating a bit here) that we can expand the problem to include:

      Let D=actual intercourse
      Let E=oxytocin addiction (addiction to human orgasm)

      So that:
      C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->B->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->B->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->B->C->A->D->E->C->A->D->E->B

      If you count, that’s 14 acts of sex, 4 of which resulted in abortions due to failure of contraception, all because the contraceptive mentality allowed for irresponsible sex.

      This is exaggerated because quite often, it’s in the tens of sex acts (>20) for each abortion, but the mentality is the same. Contraception leads to addiction to orgasm, and that’s the reason why none of the nones want to give this up.

  • Anon

    The Johnston website of course tracks only the number of legal abortions. I’ve found sources which suggest much higher numbers of net abortions prior to 1970. Not to mention that the trickling increase could be seen to be due to various states legalizing abortions prior to Roe vs. Wade.

    Isn’t it kind of misleading to treat the Johnston numbers as numbers of net abortions? Why do you treat them as such?

    • Anon

      Also, re Canada — 1969 was the same year abortions were initially legalized. That might explain the increase in abortion rate, no?

      • Reluctant Liberal

        I was expecting it would be something like that. Yes, if abortion is legalized at the same time contraception is legalized, of course abortion rates will climb initially.

        • Anon

          The other annoying thing is that the 1960s are only a landmark for oral contraceptive pills — condoms, diaphragms and sterilization were all available prior to the period Mark emphasizes in most nations. And laws pertaining to the restriction were typically relaxed in the 1930s.

          The fact is, Mark is pretty clearly omitting data to make his causal claim look stronger. This is fairly dishonest.

          • Anon

            By most nations, I meant most of the nations Mark referenced — the US, UK and Canada all relaxed regulations on contraception in the 1930s.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Yes, it was only in the 1960s that men succeeding in sloughing primary contraceptive responsibility on to women. There was some guy back then – blanking on his name – who used to distribute free condoms to unmarried women who came to heart him. This was shortly after Griswold said it was legal for married couples to use contraceptives. Planned Parenthood objected to this obvious male ploy to make women more sexually available to men. (This was the reason cited at the time.)

            One of the pleasures of getting old is recalling when things were different.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      One can always track the numbers by state for those states where it was legal.

  • Mark Kaschak

    Contraception decreases risk by 85%. Contraception increases risk-takers by 1000%+. You do the math. No, really…please do it. Because I can’t.

    • Anon

      So we can just make up percentages out of thin air now? Good to know!

      • Tom

        The Guttmacher Institute apparently did. See Marc’s Rebuttal Part 2 and this: http://marysaggies.blogspot.ca/2007/10/guttmacher-stats.html

        • Anon

          Aww, someone has adopted my handle! This should be fun!

          • Tom

            Haha, I’m not sure when you adopted the “Tom” handle, but I have been using it when I commented on and off this year.

          • Anon

            Maybe disqus is broken with the volume — I’m only seeing a string of Anon’s.

          • Tom

            Oh, I see what you mean. That’s all I”m seeing as well, if that helps.

          • Anon

            Well, in any case, Mark doesn’t really demonstrate that Guttmacher is making things up with no basis — if you’re referring to the estimates, its based off of data. That said, best save this discussion for that rebuttal.

            The other blog you link to doesn’t really help — while it’s an anonymous statisticians remarks, I think I’m going to trust the Lancet (independent from Guttmacher) and peer review on this one. If the methodology was seriously flawed, that’s grounds to press the Lancet for a retraction.

          • Tom

            The author of the blog post posted the information of the statistician later on, if that helps.

          • Cal-J

            Slight side note, RE the conversation as of six comments up: Disqus loads comments automatically and re-loads old names based on Parent post identities.

            Just reload the page and it should be fine.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Lancet was well paid for the publication, why should they retract?

          • Anon

            You have no idea how publication works, do you?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Lancet is a medical journal. The peer reviewers were unlikely to have been statisticians. Errors of inference are a common as dirt.

  • Nes

    I think I’m with cornball on this one. Although I agree with your last post that contraception doesn’t really change the root problem, namely, an understanding of sex oriented towards selflessness and family, I think Anne’s argument that contraception use reduces abortion rate stands.

    Even if there is an “abortion mentality” in Eastern Europe, Anne’s point would be that that mentality needs to be altered by “educating” the people about contraception. If, by a certain kind of propaganda, their social mentality shifted, it stands to reason that the abortion rate would indeed be lower because less women would become pregnant.

    However, you raise an interesting point when you bring into the discussion “mentalities”. We do need to include ideological leanings when discussing statistics, and sadly a majority of research conducted on such cases are strictly Marxist in nature – that is – oriented towards the material .

    If you are going to argue against contraception, I fear it is going to have to be on different grounds than your argument against abortion. That’s not to say that these two things aren’t deeply interconnected, but there is an infinite gulf between the problem of contraception (keeping a conception from happening) and abortion (killing the human after conception has occurred).

    Let me be clear, I don’t think this gives any more “credence” to Anne’s point. Abortion is harmful because it eradicates the life of an individual. Contraception is harmful because it twists the way in which the individual is conceived. Ultimately, both eradicate the subject by transforming it into object. This, of course, is more meta-level philosophical/theological stuff which apparently bores a lot of folks – nevertheless – my point here is that I don’t think you can dismantle Anne’s argument in one fell-swoop.

    Unfortunately, her simple narrative needs a complex rebuttle, and one that involves different arguments for different components. Cheers, and thanks for the ongoing discussion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcjohnpaul Marc Barnes

      I absolutely agree:

      “Even if there is an “abortion mentality” in Eastern Europe, Anne’s point would be that that mentality needs to be altered by “educating” the people about contraception. If, by a certain kind of propaganda, their social mentality shifted, it stands to reason that the abortion rate would indeed be lower because less women would become pregnant.”

      And that’s my point. As I said, “Contraception reduces abortion rates primarily in regions that already use abortion as a primary method of family planning, and thus already have extremely high abortion rates.”

      My point is simply that this limited effectiveness of contraception cannot be used to make the blanket claim that “Contraception reduces abortions”.

      You’re right, there is a philosophical component here, and NO argument can be dismantled in one fell swoop. But we do not need to buy overarching, blanket statements. Nor does the pro-life movement need to be lambasted as ridiculous for its growing discontentment with contraception.

      • Anon

        “My point is simply that this limited effectiveness of contraception cannot be used to make the blanket claim that “Contraception reduces abortions”.”

        Of course, Libby Anne argues for this in at least one other her way in her article, and you wouldn’t want to omit that, right Marc?

  • Anon

    “So, given that the evidence she uses is faulty, Libby Anne’s claim is moot.”

    But, don’t you approvingly quote Guttmacher on the following point?

    “…inertia of the Soviet tradition of unlimited reliance on abortion and because of the insufficient supply and high cost of contraceptives.”

    Which is pretty much Libby Anne’s point? Since contraceptives weren’t/aren’t widely available, abortion is more likely to be used as a method of family planning?

    • McG

      Libby Anne and Guttmacher oversimplify the situation. As Marc says, the Soviet situation is not applicable to the rest of the world, nor the United States, so it is dubious to say that contraception will lower rates of abortion here.

      Marc, and the pro-life movement in general, claim that the best way to achieve the common goal of reducing abortions and protecting life is building a culture of life. This includes setting up the law as an enshrinement of the pro-life moral position, as well as addressing all of the issues that motivate women to an abortion (lack of adoption, lack of support, lack of care, lack of wealth, etc.).

      Basically, Libby’s point was that the pro-life movement was being hypocritical, and Marc’s point is that it actually isn’t.

    • McG

      Libby Anne and Guttmacher oversimplify the situation. As Marc says, the Soviet situation is not applicable to the rest of the world, nor the United States, so it is dubious to say that contraception will lower rates of abortion here.

      Marc, and the pro-life movement in general, claim that the best way to achieve the common goal of reducing abortions and protecting life is building a culture of life. This includes setting up the law as an enshrinement of the pro-life moral position, as well as addressing all of the issues that motivate women to an abortion (lack of adoption, lack of support, lack of care, lack of wealth, etc.).

      Basically, Libby’s point was that the pro-life movement was being hypocritical, and Marc’s point is that it actually isn’t.

      • Anon

        McG,

        “Libby Anne and Guttmacher oversimplify the situation.”

        I’m not entirely sure how, in fact, Marc and Libby Anne seem to be in perfect agreement at this point.

        “As Marc says, the Soviet situation is not applicable to the rest of the world, nor the United States, so it is dubious to say that contraception will lower rates of abortion here.”

        Well of course! The US has relatively accessible contraception, attempts by certain parts of the culture notwithstanding, and so is in a different state than previous parts of the Soviet Union. The relative gains might not be the same, but this does nothing to rebut Libby Anne’s point!

        “Marc, and the pro-life movement in general, claim that the best way to achieve the common goal of reducing abortions and protecting life is building a culture of life.”

        I generally disagree with this. But I should note you make no arguments here. I also think it’s clear that a “culture of life” as envisioned by folks like Marc is genuinely not the sort of culture I’d want to live in, and not one that is intellectually defensible either.

        “This includes setting up the law as an enshrinement of the pro-life moral position, as well as addressing all of the issues that motivate women to an abortion (lack of adoption, lack of support, lack of care, lack of wealth, etc.).”

        Establishing the law in this manner is genuinely against the establishment of a just society.

        “Basically, Libby’s point was that the pro-life movement was being hypocritical, and Marc’s point is that it actually isn’t.”

        Libby’s charge that the movement is hypocritical is built on a bit more than the comparison with Eastern Europe.

  • JethroElfman

    Don’t worry, we all understand that brevity isn’t one of the hallmarks of a good blog, including this one. It’s why blogs are so much better than Facebook both for the writer and readers. Thanks for a good post.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dhstewart21 Derrick Stewart

    Marc,

    Great job! I think you’re spot on with the research an analysis, even if it might need more discussion. But, more importantly, I think your conclusion is perfect. We need encourage a paradigm that embraces human sexuality and fertility with honesty.

    It’s not so much legalized abortion that is the problem: it’s the cultural attitude that treats sex–the most important, powerful, meaningful instance of human interaction–as a pastime. It’s our hobby (look at our TV shows!). And this attitude is utterly destructive to human happiness!

  • Bill S

    Where do they get the statistics for abortions between 1965 and 1973 if abortion was illegal?

    • Anon

      In the US various states legalized abortion prior to Roe V. Wade

  • TheodoreSeeber

    My argument against contraception has very little to do with abortion, and everything to do with respect for men and women as separate genders.
    Rape is defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as getting sexual pleasure from damaging another person’s sexual intimacy- or chastity. I would argue that contraception, first and foremost, by perverting the sexual act into something done ONLY for pleasure, is therefore a form of rape.

    • Anon

      So, Catholics have a completely different understanding of the meaning of the word “rape” from the rest of the English speaking world? Congratulations on helping to make Catholicism seem even more out of touch with reality!

      • TheodoreSeeber

        It is more that the rest of the English Speaking World is out of touch with reality. Except it’s not. Radical feminists *also* share this understanding of the word rape, which is why “Date rape” (consensual rape, sometimes under the influence of intoxicants) and “Statutory Rape” (rape of a child) are very real things despite the consent of the victim and are codified into law.

        I simply take them to their logical, reasonable conclusion- that any violation of a person’s sexual intimacy is rape. And sometimes, yes means no and no means no and until you’ve put a ring on that finger *and* intend to make sex last 18-25 years, with the result of creating another functional citizen, then you’d better hold off.

        • Anon

          I’m not sure if you’re using radical feminist in a manner that’s consonant with the way feminists use the term. In particular, a radical feminist is a theorist who has a particular way of theorizing about the nature of power, gender, and oppression. Here’s a rough start: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Radical_feminism#Radical_feminism.2C_the_branch

          Could you cite a theorist or two here? I’m curious as to which feminists your thinking about.

          “…which is why “Date rape” (consensual rape, sometimes under the influence of intoxicants) and “Statutory Rape” (rape of a child) are very real things despite the consent of the victim and are codified into law.”

          Consent can’t be given under the influence of intoxicants. And minors cannot legally give consent either. So they are very real things, which do in fact violate consent.

          “I simply take them to their logical, reasonable conclusion- that any violation of a person’s sexual intimacy is rape”

          So we can toss aside terms like sexual harassment and assault? This doesn’t seem like a logical conclusion — it seems like you’re stretching things to fit with your initial definition.

          “And sometimes, yes means no and no means no and until you’ve put a ring on that finger *and* intend to make sex last 18-25 years, with the result of creating another functional citizen, then you’d better hold off.”

          Is this supposed to follow from your argument that rape is any violation of sexual intimacy? Because I really don’t see how.

          Also I can be sexually intimate in a totally consensual manner in short term relationships, in relationships outside of marriage, and despite being infertile, or in a same sex relationship.

          It’s a shame you have such a limited imagination.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I was thinking Andrea Dworkian’s “all sex is rape” and “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”. But to attack the actual meat and limit my response somewhat to ACTUAL reality and what Catholics believe is reality, instead of just the pipe dreams of hedonists who want to reduce all politics to basically pimp-whore relationships:

            “So we can toss aside terms like sexual harassment and assault?”

            The teaching on this subject is CCC 2331-2400 inclusive. Both sexual harassment and assault are also violations of sexual integrity.

            Basically, the only form of consent the Church recognizes is marriage for the purpose of producing children in front of witnesses (formal consent, the result of which, to paraphrase the theologian Kimberly Hahn, is “a love so materially real that 9 months later you have to give it a name”). ALL other forms of consent- sexual harassment, assault, contraception, one night stands, same sex attraction, adult-child relationships, intoxication, etc- are considered NOT CONSENT.

            “Is this supposed to follow from your argument that rape is any violation of sexual intimacy? Because I really don’t see how.”

            Because you don’t understand either Chastity nor the meaning of the term “sexual intimacy” I suspect.

            True sexual intimacy lasts 18-25 years because intercourse is just the beginning, and it doesn’t end until the child has moved out of the house and is a successful adult. Sexual intimacy done right is for procreation and results in a functioning new adult member of the species homosapiens. Anything else is sexual intimacy done wrong.

            “Also I can be sexually intimate in a totally consensual manner in short term relationships,”

            By definition (short term relationship) that isn’t enough time to raise the children that result from authentic sexuality, and thus, is perverted sex.

            ” in relationships outside of marriage”

            Also wrong because without a mother AND a father, you can’t raise a functioning adult citizen worthy of civilization.

            “despite being infertile”

            Infertility is something I also struggle with, but the key is being open to life *regardless* and not just causing pain willy-nilly for the fun of it.

            ” in a same sex relationship”

            Also wrong, because same sex relationships just injure people (44x the AIDS rate of non-same-sex relationships alone, according to the CDC) and do not result in anything actually good (like, new human beings).

            “It’s a shame you have such a limited imagination.”

            It’s a shame you’re an insane pervert.

          • Anon

            “I was thinking Andrea Dworkian’s “all sex is rape” and “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”"

            To think that Dworkin is defining rape in the same way that you are would be a grave mistake. Dworkin argues (poorly in the opinion of many feminists) that the nature of heterosexual sex, the way we engage and conceptualize in it, is inherently tied to oppressive social structures. She contends that it’s not possible for men and woman to engage in intercourse in our society without there being a coercive power differential, which inhibits the ability to freely consent. I should note that you didn’t rebut my claims regarding date rape and statutory rape, and that consent is still a crucial part of defining these terms. So, I don’t think radical feminists define rape in the same way you do.

            “True sexual intimacy lasts 18-25 years because intercourse is just the beginning, and it doesn’t end until the child has moved out of the house and is a successful adult. Sexual intimacy done right is for procreation and results in a functioning new adult member of the species homosapiens. Anything else is sexual intimacy done wrong.”

            So you’re begging the question here too? This follows if you really get what sexual intimacy is about! Ah if only I understood all the private terms you Catholics have.

            “Also wrong because without a mother AND a father, you can’t raise a functioning adult citizen worthy of civilization.”

            So there can’t be anyone who was raised in a single parent home who is a functioning successful adult? Pretty strict requirements here, and one that is pretty out of touch with reality.

            “Infertility is something I also struggle with, but the key is being open to life *regardless* and not just causing pain willy-nilly for the fun of it.”

            Question begging yet again! Both on the “open-to-life” requirement, and the “just causing pain willy-nilly” component. Assuming your conclusions must be awfully nice.

            “Also wrong, because same sex relationships just injure people (44x the AIDS rate of non-same-sex relationships alone, according to the CDC) and do not result in anything actually good (like, new human beings).”

            No mention of the base rate, and even if it was more likely, it doesn’t follow that every same-sex encounter just “injures” people. And new human beings isn’t the only “actually good thing” that could possibly result from sex, you know, unless your assuming that sex requires that new human beings be created.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “Dworkin argues (poorly in the opinion of many feminists) that the nature of heterosexual sex, the way we engage and conceptualize in it, is inherently tied to oppressive social structures”

            And thus the argument of “consent” is utterly meaningless. Thanks for playing and proving that you can’t think.

            “. I should note that you didn’t rebut my claims regarding date rape and statutory rape, and that consent is still a crucial part of defining these terms. ”

            Ok, here’s your rebuttal- the case of a 14 year old girl with precocious puberty who claims she is 21 and consents to sex.

            Did she consent or didn’t she?

            You are guilty of date rape if you guess wrong.

            “So you’re begging the question here too? This follows if you really get what sexual intimacy is about! Ah if only I understood all the private terms you Catholics have.”

            No, it’s private terms that YOU have. The Catholic terms have been the universal definition for about 2000 years now.

            Which gets us back to the meaning of the word CATHOLIC.

            “So there can’t be anyone who was raised in a single parent home who is a functioning successful adult?”

            The need for therapy in such a situation proves that there can be no person raised in a single parent home who is a functioning adult. Neglect is the automatic result.

            “Pretty strict requirements here, and one that is pretty out of touch with reality.”

            Are you claiming that a single parent, who works, isn’t forced to put their children into daycare and neglect parental duties? Are you *seriously* claiming that there is no difference between the sexes that brings unique points of view to a child’s upbringing?

            The entire body of evidence of 10,000 years worth of civilization is against you.

            “Question begging yet again! Both on the “open-to-life” requirement, and the “just causing pain willy-nilly” component. Assuming your conclusions must be awfully nice.”

            I don’t assume my conclusions- I have 10,000 years worth of empirical data to back them up. All YOU have is people bribed to come to predetermined conclusions, like George Weinberg did.

            “No mention of the base rate, and even if it was more likely, it doesn’t follow that every same-sex encounter just “injures” people.”

            It’s obvious from the data, but hey, don’t bother looking up data that disagrees with your foregone conclusions. You might endanger that bribe from NAMBLA that is paying you to blog.

            “And new human beings isn’t the only “actually good thing” that could possibly result from sex, you know, unless your assuming that sex requires that new human beings be created.”

            Of course sex done properly requires that new human beings be created. It’s the only reason for the behavior to begin with. EVERYTHING else- pair bonding, oxytocin, the emotion of love when done correctly- is designed for just one thing: to perpetuate the species.

            Thanks for proving you don’t know what sex is. No wonder you’re just an insane rapist.

          • Anon

            “And thus the argument of “consent” is utterly meaningless. Thanks for playing and proving that you can’t think.”

            Um, no. Dworkin thinks that genuine consent is impossible given the social construction of gender. It is possible, in a loose sense to have intercourse apart from gender, but that would require completely restructuring society.

            “Ok, here’s your rebuttal- the case of a 14 year old girl with precocious puberty who claims she is 21 and consents to sex.”

            See above. This case is confused. It doesn’t establish that statutory rape didn’t occur — as a minor the girl cannot consent.

            The rest of your comment is a bit of a breakdown. You know nothing about me — how on earth does it follow that I’m a rapist, being bribed by NAMBLA, or even a blogger? Believe it or not, I’m not any of those things Theodore.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            In other words, you’re too stupid to know that “consent” just reduces the whole argument to *SUBJECTIVE* rather than *OBJECTIVE* terms, and thus removes it from reason at all.

            Thanks for playing and tell your handlers that they failed and you’re returning their bribe money.

          • Anon

            What do you mean by subjective here? It’s not at all clear that consent is subjective, at least in any problematic sense.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I mean that whether it was consent or not depends on point of view- that one man’s consent, is another woman’s lack of consent (or rather, that there is insufficient information to prevent deception).

            Where if you go with rape being taking sexual pleasure while not intending to create life, and thus damaging the sexual intimacy and dignity of another human being, that’s quite clear. Just as if you restrict consent down to a single religious ritual it’s quite easy to prove consent or not.

            Objective truth. As opposed to subjective moral relativism. It’s the difference between authentic ethics and mere hedonism.

          • Anon

            “I mean that whether it was consent or not depends on point of view- that one man’s consent, is another woman’s lack of consent (or rather, that there is insufficient information to prevent deception).”

            Obviously not true — whether someone is consenting or not is purely a matter of their own psychology. And if they aren’t willing, then they’re not willing. Whether they are willing or not has nothing to do with outside perceivers.

            And how do we determine if someone is consenting? We’ll we ask first if they’re of sound mind, and then we ask them. Minors cannot consent, because they’re not of sound mind with respect to the situation.

            Sounds objective, doesn’t it?

          • Deacon Tom

            Consent is indeed dependent on the eyes of the beholder. Hhere are some quotes from the Nambla web site:

            “To explain man/boy love today, one must first explain what it is
            not: It is not what you view on television or read in newspapers. It’s
            not what you hear on Oprah or Geraldo, nor is it the propaganda put out by police and politicians.It’s the love of a man for a boy, and of a boy for a man. Enjoyable,consensual, beautiful.”

            “Q: Why do you oppose
            age-of-consent laws?

            A: Opposing age-of-consent laws is not our
            only focus; it is one part of our broader criticism of North
            American social and legal practices. We believe that these
            laws do great harm to people and relationships that do not deserve to feel the crushing weight of the heavy hand of the law. Just as important, age-of-consent laws do not adequately protect young people. They have often been applied arbitrarily and unjustly, and have long been used to terrorize gay
            males. Gay youth in particular have been targets of extreme
            persecution through the selective application of age-of-consent laws.”

          • Anon

            The fact that there is disagreement about something is not good evidence that it is “in the eyes of the beholder”. After all, were that general principle true, you’d have to concede that ethics is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, there’s widespread disagreement about global warming and evolution amongst non-specialists, but that doesn’t make either thing subjective.

            But I take it you dont’ believe that, right Deacon Tom? Disagreement doesn’t imply subjectivity?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Until you realize that “minor” has been differently defined now and then. In much of medieval Europe, the age of consent was 12 (women) and 14 (men). An ancient Roman son never reached the age of consent so long as his father was alive. (And daughters did not even have personal names!)

            When I was growing up it was 21; now it is 18. Suppose, Adam propositions Betsy at age 18 and she agrees, but on the way to view his etchings the State legislature raises the age of consent to 21. Has consent been given? What in the competence of Betsy has been changed by an act of the legislature?

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Well, Catholic theology, following Aquinas, taught that a husband could rape his wife long before the feminists caught up with it. The criterion was that he “approached his wife as he would another woman,” i.e., as simply a recepticle for his pleasure. In modern terms, he treats his wife as a “sex object.”

        In Italian in Dante’s time, “rape” included smooth-talking seduction.

        Not sure what you find foolish or out of touch about these principles.

  • Deacon Tom

    Libby Anne’s comments about the link between sex and babies is very revealing: “[n]ow we have the technology to separate sex and procreation and there is no reason outside of religious dogma why we shouldn’t separate the two. The idea that sex needs to have “consequences” is based in socially constructed beliefs about sex, not in any sort of universal absolute.” Beginning with the Lambeth conference of the 1930s, modern culture has continued down the slippery slope of sex unconnected to procreation. We are certainly reaping what we sow, with many advocates for having sex with anyone or any thing, unconcerned about the procreative nature of sex between a man and a woman present because of our essential biology.(for believers, designed by our Creator). We don’t need to be concerned about family structure, the current hook-up culture, infidelity, broken marriages, AIDS, other STDs, sex with children (NAMBLA), homosex, or autosex–we can have orgasms with any creature, object or orifice we choose, and we can create and destroy children in the womb or laboratory, at our whim! We shouldn’t be bothered by any religious dogmas or “socially constructed beliefs.” Folks, this is the end result of atheism–no moral concern for the unborn and a philosophy that dumbs down something as awesome and powerful as sex into the singular pursuit of short-lived and risky personal pleasure.

    • Anon

      “We don’t need to be concerned about family structure, the current hook-up culture, infidelity, broken marriages, AIDS, other STDs, sex with children (NAMBLA), homosex, or autosex–we can have orgasms with any creature, object or orifice we choose, and we can create and destroy children in the womb or laboratory, at our whim!”

      This is so ridiculously out of touch with any secular thought on sexual ethics that I can only assume you are a troll.

      • Deacon Tom

        “This is so ridiculously out of touch with any secular thought on sexual ethics..” Oh really? Just look around. I don’t know where you get your sexual ethics from, or what they are. But I see folks advocating for sex “when I want it and how I want it” accompanied by the montra of “use contraception and condoms”—- and all will be well we are told. Look up Hanna Rosen’s article in an October “The Atlantic” championing how women need to be “savvy headhunters” in the hookup culture. Perhaps this is a secular thought on sexual ethics that you may have missed. Unfortunately this approach has indeed led to much of the ills described. Separating “sex” from procreation was a watershed.

        • Anon

          Generally speaking, I read the work of ethicists. You know, philosophers who have studied the question, and written PhDs, papers and books on the matter. There’s a fairly large body of literature on this matter, and most secular ethicists agree that consent provides a fairly easy ground for drawing a line with respect to who, or what we have sex with.

          • Deacon Tom

            Well there we have it! The answer. Contraceptives in attempting to prevent pregnancy when sex is between a man and a woman (abortion when contraception fails), condoms in attempting to prevent disease, and consent of the participants. What a wonderful world we find ourselves by following these rubrics. By the way, how does a “what” (an animal?, an object?) consent to sex? Or were you agreeing you believe you can consent to have sex with any “what” you desire?

          • Anon

            “Well there we have it! The answer.”

            The answer as to what?

            “Contraceptives in attempting to prevent pregnancy when sex is between a man and a woman (abortion when contraception fails), condoms in attempting to prevent disease, and consent of the participants. What a wonderful world we find ourselves by following these rubrics.”

            Part of the picture, to be sure, but not the whole story. In any case, this is getting off topic.

            “By the way, how does a “what” (an animal?, an object?) consent to sex? Or were you agreeing you believe you can consent to have sex with any “what” you desire?”

            I think it’s fairly clear that I was disagreeing with Deacon Tom’s picture of secular sexual ethics, and that I was doing so on the grounds that the capability of providing consent provides us with means for ruling out sexual practices involving minors and animals, since neither can provide consent.

            Still, this is getting off topic from Marc’s post, and it should be easy enough for you to find articles on secular sexual ethics that don’t argue for the ridiculous “anything goes” picture sketched by Deacon Tom.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Except the word “consent” doesn’t mean anything other than “she said yes! She really said yes! I know she says she was underage now, but she told me she was 21!”

          • Anon

            That’s not what legal consent means Theodore. Depending on your jurisdiction, consent is purely voluntary agreement. Saying yes, in and of itself, does not imply consent. Since, you know, you can be coerced or drugged into saying yes.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            And that’s why you *can’t* rely upon consent for deciding if a case was rape or not- because legal consent and common consent are two entirely different things. It makes the word meaningless.

          • Anon

            It doesn’t make the word meaningless in the slightest. It’s perfectly clear in the legal cases. The common notion of consent (agreement) is consonant with the legal notion — it’s just that minors are judged to be incapable of consenting with respect to certain situations.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            This isn’t about legality, this is about Objective Truth. Obviously the law is mythological and irrational in the extreme. Might as well be fundamentalist Christianity- or for that matter, materialism.

          • Anon

            Whether or not someone is guilty of breaking the law, is well, a matter of objective truth.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            As you have proven, though, the law isn’t objective enough to follow, and is entirely disconnected from the observable reality that cuts across all cultures, all generations.

          • Anon

            “As you have proven, though, the law isn’t objective enough to follow”

            I don’t think I’ve done this at all — it’s perfectly possible to follow the law, your asinine example included.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            You don’t have enough data to decide consent. Your definition actively *creates* harm by separating sex from procreation (which has been proven for more than a thousand years now to always create harm). Your law is what is asinine, as is your ability to actually reason.

          • Anon

            I’m not sure what you mean by data. Consent is decided by will of the individual. It’s easy enough to determine consent by consulting with the individual. In some cases, people are not capable of consent. Due to age, whether or not they were drugged etc.

            “Your definition actively *creates* harm by separating sex from procreation (which has been proven for more than a thousand years now to always create harm).”

            Assertions don’t make things so.

            “Your law is what is asinine, as is your ability to actually reason.”

            The law, is, well, pretty standard criminal law between North America and the UK. So, if it’s asinine, well, you’re free to leave.

            Ability to reason aside, do we agree that it’s possible to follow the law?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “I’m not sure what you mean by data. Consent is decided by will of the individual. It’s easy enough to determine consent by consulting with the individual.”

            No it isn’t. The individual may be lying. The individual may be deceived The individual may be impaired or intoxicated.

            Consulting the individual is the absolute *worst* way to find out consent.

            “. In some cases, people are not capable of consent. Due to age, whether or not they were drugged etc.”

            And in those cases consultation is worthless, isn’t it?

            “Assertions don’t make things so.”

            It isn’t an assertion, it’s a fact.

            “The law, is, well, pretty standard criminal law between North America and the UK.”

            And as you’ve proven above, is worthless for actually determining Truth.

            “Ability to reason aside, do we agree that it’s possible to follow the law?”

            Not as long as the law is based on something as unprovable as the “will of the individual”, no.

          • Anon

            “Consulting the individual is the absolute *worst* way to find out consent.”

            Right… you obviously don’t work in medicine. Asking the individual, or those legally responsible for them is the *standard* for consent.

            “And in those cases consultation is worthless, isn’t it?”

            Congratulations on misunderstanding the point in the most spectacular fashion.

            If someone is a minor, in the eyes of the law they are incapable of providing consent. So, people should, to some extent, be aware of the ages of the people they’re talking to, and eventually having sex with. You can ask about these things too — it’s not hard. And if they’ve engaged in an elaborate deception, you’re not criminally responsible.

            Similarly, don’t provide people with enough alcohol or drug them before sex, and you can avoid breaking the law.

            “And as you’ve proven above, is worthless for actually determining Truth.”

            More assumptions! The law is part of the truth — things aren’t less real because they’re social, or don’t form a completely black and white system, and that doesn’t make it any less objective.

            Though I imagine you already have a pretty biased picture of “Truth” since only people I see capitalizing truth are those with a pretty big metaphysical axe to grind.

            In any case, I think you’re being willfully obtuse if you think it’s impossible to follow the law of the land with respect to rape. After all, that’d make you a rapist.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “Right… you obviously don’t work in medicine. Asking the individual, or those legally responsible for them is the *standard* for consent.”

            As I remember by HIPPA rules, a signed form on file is required. Do you require a signed contract before sex?

            Funny, Catholicism does. Witnessed and verified.

            “If someone is a minor, in the eyes of the law they are incapable of providing consent. So, people should, to some extent, be aware of the ages of the people they’re talking to, and eventually having sex with. ”

            And I contend that in certain cases, that is completely impossible to “be aware of the ages of the people they’re talking to”. IDs can be faked, fraud can occur. Happens ALL THE TIME.

            “You can ask about these things too — it’s not hard.”

            And they can lie about them too, it’s not hard.

            “And if they’ve engaged in an elaborate deception, you’re not criminally responsible.”

            I didn’t ask if you were criminally responsible. I asked if you were factually negligent. Totally different thing. It’s the difference between actual reality and the fantasy you’ve created to basically make women more available for sex.

            “:Similarly, don’t provide people with enough alcohol or drug them before sex, and you can avoid breaking the law.”

            Who ever said that the person having sex, provided either the alcohol or the drugs?

            Seems to me you’re having a problem with the difference between LEGAL and ACTUAL realities. Especially since, in common law countries, the first is fictional.

            “More assumptions! The law is part of the truth ”

            You have just got done showing that it isn’t.

            ” things aren’t less real because they’re social, or don’t form a completely black and white system, and that doesn’t make it any less objective.”

            Objective systems are always black and white, and factual- as opposed to fictional.

            Not all social systems have your inability to tell the truth.

            “Though I imagine you already have a pretty biased picture of “Truth” since only people I see capitalizing truth are those with a pretty big metaphysical axe to grind.”

            Oh yes. It’s the difference between REALITY and MAKING THINGS UP ON A WHIM. Or, as most people call it, LYING.

            “In any case, I think you’re being willfully obtuse if you think it’s impossible to follow the law of the land with respect to rape. After all, that’d make you a rapist.”

            Yep. It did for a while. Until I learned the difference between fact and fiction.

          • Anon

            Theodore, your final comment is honestly one of the most bizarre things I’ve read all day.

            A signature is merely a written statement of consent — do you think no-one has ever signed for a Catholic wedding under coercion? If so, than you are hopelessly naive, and signatures have no special immunity to coercion and deception.

            And this:

            “Seems to me you’re having a problem with the difference between LEGAL and ACTUAL realities. Especially since, in common law countries, the first is fictional.”

            …Is just an assertion, Would you go up to a police officer and say,

            “Hey, you can’t ticket me! Traffic laws are just fictional?”

            Seriously, is that what you’re saying? If so, your grasp of the notion of fiction is pretty tenuous. In any case, discussing metaphysics with someone who is as prone to using words in a private sense as you are would be fruitless without a medium better suited to long form discussion.

            However, you clearly seem to think that it’s impossible to avoid committing statutory rape. You offered unqualified assent in your final three sentences at the end of your previous comment. So I’d like to focus on why this is a bizarre, and erroneous belief to have.

            It is clearly possible to avoid committing statutory rape in North America, as after all, it’s not to difficult to find people who have avoided having sex until the age of majority. Your argument against this possibility seems to be based on the 14 year old girl case — you contend that it’s possible that your deceived, and so you can’t be sure you’re following the law.

            This is obviously a bad argument. First of all, such deception isn’t always possible — there are people that I know from certain contexts, and have enough confirmation from having met their families that I know their age. One way to be sure to follow the law is to have sex only with people who couldn’t be deceiving you as you have enough background information to confirm their age independent of consulting them — consult with friends, family, coworkers etc.

            The threshold for possibility is pretty low — but in no way does your case establish that following statutory rape laws is impossible, since well, counter examples are pretty much everywhere.

            As an aside — this is the first time you’ve used the term “factually negligent” in discussion with me. I presume you have some technical meaning in mind — it’s poor argumentative form to have some private technical term in mind, and not share its meaning.

            And one final thing — the final third of your post is terribly incoherent. Social systems don’t make assertions, they don’t tell truth/lie. Also by claiming that the law is part of the truth, I was intending to claim that legal reality has just as much claim to reality as any other part.

            I don’t think anything I’ve said or done has demonstrated anything contrary to that point. You keep on insisting that I have, but that doesn’t make it the case. All I’ve seen are assertions on your part, and claims that I’ve demonstrated it. In no way have I done so, and unless you can clearly lay out how it can be demonstrated, I have no reason to take you seriously as an interlocutor.

          • RockyMissouri

            Are you a member of the Westboro Baptist Church…?

          • IgtheistMorgan

            Libby Ann has the upper hand! One always suspects the enforced-pregnancy crowd, those extremists.

          • Karen

            I’m a lawyer. There is no jurisdiction in the US where simple assent equals consent. Genuine consent requires capacity, which means the person consenting has to be at least 17, in some places 16, for sex and 18 for a contract. Animals and people who have been adjudicated to lack mental capacity cannot give consent.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            And thus, the difference between what we teach kids for casual sexual hookups (“Yes means yes and no means no”) and the law.

            I’d call it entrapment, but you should never attribute to malice what is explainable by stupidity.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            A dynamic, interacting, non-linear system has outputs (consequences) that were neither intended nor anticipated by its advocates due to the interactions of its various components. This is especially true when the consequences are temporally delayed relative to the inputs. That way, one can even deny there is a connection! (In some primitive societies – it has been said – members had not made a connection between copulation in January and birth in September.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            The problem with that is consent isn’t always consent, such as with a 14 year old girl with precocious puberty who claims to be 21.

          • Anon

            This doesn’t demonstrate a case where someone is consenting/non-consenting. If the girl claims to be 21, she is deceiving someone into believing that she’s consenting. She cannot legally consent in such a case. The deception, of course, may sufficient to prevent mens rhea from being established.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            ” If the girl claims to be 21, she is deceiving someone into believing that she’s consenting.”

            If deception is possible, then consent is meaningless, since it’s impossible to avoid breaking the law.

            “The deception, of course, may sufficient to prevent mens rhea from being established.”

            Doesn’t matter. He’ll STILL have done harm with his actions, regardless of whether the law catches up to him or not.

            Which brings us back to the point of taking sexual pleasure in damaging somebody else’s dignity. Even when that someone consents, harm is still done, intentionally.

          • Anon

            “If deception is possible, then consent is meaningless, since it’s impossible to avoid breaking the law.”

            This is mistaken. It’s definitely possible to avoid breaking the law with respect to statutory rape. Many people do so.

            “Doesn’t matter. He’ll STILL have done harm with his actions, regardless of whether the law catches up to him or not.”

            In order to be found guilty in many criminal codes, you have to demonstrate intent to break the law. I’m no lawyer, but it seems fair to say that if you were deceived, then you had no intent to break the law.

            So, you’re still utterly wrong.

            “Even when that someone consents, harm is still done, intentionally.”

            Not in every case.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “This is mistaken. It’s definitely possible to avoid breaking the law with respect to statutory rape. Many people do so.”

            Yes, but only by adopting the idea that consent alone doesn’t define rape- because consent isn’t a criteria you can use to avoid breaking the law.

            “In order to be found guilty in many criminal codes, you have to demonstrate intent to break the law. I’m no lawyer, but it seems fair to say that if you were deceived, then you had no intent to break the law.”

            And yet, since you didn’t intend to marry the girl and provide for her for the rest of her life, you still committed rape- REGARDLESS of whether or not the law agrees that you did.

          • Anon

            “Yes, but only by adopting the idea that consent alone doesn’t define rape- because consent isn’t a criteria you can use to avoid breaking the law.”

            Yes, it is a criteria you can use to avoid breaking the law. I have no idea how you think it isn’t. Someone says “No I don’t want to have sex with you” you don’t have sex with them, and you don’t get charged with rape. Pretty straightforward.

            “And yet, since you didn’t intend to marry the girl and provide for her for the rest of her life, you still committed rape- REGARDLESS of whether or not the law agrees that you did.”

            Obviously, by your absurd definition of rape, you would call it rape. But it doesn’t make the individual guilty of a crime, if they have been acquitted. Not entirely sure why this is relevant.

            Congratulations on one of the biggest derails I’ve seen in a long time though.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Funny, I thought it was a great description of what you were teaching in the rape thread.

        • Anon

          Well, you thought wrong. You’ll want to reread my remarks regarding statutory rape and date rape if you’re confused here.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Looks like no confusion at all. You just haven’t thought through all the possibilities inherent in the word “consent” and you’re perfectly for both date rape and statutory rape as long as the woman says “yes”.

            You are basically just another hedonist with no ethical or moral depth at all beyond the third edition of the DSM, and a communist sympathizer trying to destroy the heterosexual family and replace it with your daycare-raised brainwashed children.

            Your agenda of reductionism is as transparent as a plate glass window.

          • L.

            My daycare-raised brainwashed children are smarter than your homeschooled & equally brainwashed children! (Sorry, just had to say that.)

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Of course you had to say that. Such behaviors are symptomatic.

  • ted

    Make a distinction between Poland and what you call “Eastern Europe”. Poland now has some of the lowest abortion rates!
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_abo-health-abortions

    • Karen

      How many Polish women travel to Austria or Germany to get abortions? Poland also has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, so unless Poles are all celibate or perfect users of contraception, they are getting abortions somewhere.

      • Olivia

        This is certainly one of the more ignorant comments I have read today. You are making a correlation between low birth rates and abortions, in POLAND. Meaning, I assume form the above comment that the birth rates are so low because women in Poland are flocking out of the country to get secret abortions or some other such nonsense. Truth is, Abortion is still something that shocks the majority of Poles. Shocks them and saddens them. One of the few places in the world that still is sickened by the thought, and will publicly and very openly tell you so, across all age groups and genders. And one of the few places in the world where every woman I have met knows what NFP is. Whether they use it or not, I have no idea. Is it possible that there are just some women out there, perhaps all in one country (gasp!) that choose to not have recreational sex and rely on contraception and abortion as backups?

        • olivia

          some interesting stats about Poland. particularly the one about the “wanted” and “unwanted” pregnancies and the “type of contraception used”… note that when studies say Rhythm, they are, I assume, referring to NFP . I also assume that they are grouping NFP in with contraception when asking if women use something to prevent pregnancy or “use contraception.” (which means half of the “contraception” used in Poland in 2011 was actually NFP)T

          hey also have the highest percentage of “mistimed” babies and yet, no “unwanted” babies. Doesn’t point to abortion to me. (study is 10 years old)

          http://www.prb.org/Articles/2001/MostEuropeanWomenUseContraceptives.aspx

      • MichelleMarie

        You’re right – as a Pole, I can tell you that many Polish families have 2 to 3 children, and many simple have one. I myself come from a family of three.

        As a strongly Catholic country (someone once said “in Poland even the Atheists are Catholic”), it does follow that Poles are more strongly against abortion (legalized by the hated Communist government).

        So how come each Polish family doesn’t have a squalling family of 12? They are more informed about natural family planning.

        My mom said she learned the Billings method from a book, already very popular in the 70′s. It was and still is a very common knowledge over there.

        We were timed like clockwork. By what? Natural family planning, specifically the Billings method – NOT the rhythm method.

        Incidentally, please do not make statements about cultures you do not understand.

  • RockyMissouri

    This is an absurdity beyond absurdities, to me….and makes utter sense… Preventing pregnancy prevents abortions…! This is pro human standpoint…. To condone a belief that encourages people to have baby after baby after baby is WRONG….and seems immoral.

    • MichelleMarie

      Did you read the article?

      • RockyMissouri

        This isn’t rocket science….. Preventing pregnancies reduces abortions…… period.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          And preventing marriage reduces divorces? Preventing dinners reduces obesity? Gosh, if none of us had any money, it would reduce muggings! Fortunately, we have just voted to ensure that will be the case.

          • RockyMissouri

            How does it threaten you for someone to use birth control, or Planned Parenthood…..? How CAN it harm you, or threaten you in ANY WAY…………?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            I was commenting on the poor logic in the statement “Preventing pregnancies reduces abortions” by providing other examples of simple thinking.

            Planned Parenthood wanted to kill my granddaughter. That threat enough? They also made uncalled for racial remarks to a friend of my daughter.

            As for birth control itself, if one insists on a consequentialist philosophy, the 20th century welfare state is built on 19th century demographics, so any successful contraceptive program threatens the bedrock of modern liberalism. It can lead to implosive demographic collapse, as in Russia and elsewhere and a concomitant inability to maintain the civilization.

            Also, to quote Darwin: “Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means.” Unless you are one of those Darwin-deniers.

          • RockyMissouri

            How on earth ….and WHY, would Planned Parenthood want to kill your granddaughter…? Talk about poor logic…. Love Darwin….but SERIOUSLY… Overpopulation, like overfishing, overgrazing, over hunting species to near-extermination, is REAL. Time to adjust our mindsets, and adapt ourselves to the 21st century…

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            a) By aborting her, of course. When her mother refused to consider it, they threw her out, saying, “So youre one of those. Why not go to some church and see if they’ll help you.” So she did, and they did.

            b) Overpopulation is a notion from an anti-socialist tract by an English parson, Malthus. It has never actually happened. There is always some other factor, like civil war, barbarian invasion, drought, or potato blight. Many institutions, like neighborhood clinics, require a certain population density within the catchment area to remain viable. That is why one finds more such clinics in densely populated countries like the Netherlands than in underpopulated ones like Bangla Desh.

            c) Even so, the modern welfare state depends on maintaining the 19th century demographics on which it was founded. So modern liberalism is also threatened by the population implosion. The future belongs to those who have one.

          • RockyMissouri

            Abortions are legal in this country …. I can only imagine the agony of going through an abortion ……I can’t imagine that a woman goes through that decision lightly…and I would never condemn her for it. You need to research some history…Bangladesh is one of the most highly, and densely populated countries IN THE WORLD…

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            I didn’t say abortion was illegal. It was asked how PP affected me personally, since in today’s Triumph of the Will being personally affected is all that matters. My answer was that PP tried to persuade a woman to have my granddaughter killed in the womb. This would have deprived me of a granddaughter and the local high school choir of a fine soprano voice. However, I also contend that the collapse of Western liberal civilization would also affect me personally.

            Her mother had gone there on the supposition that they did pregnancy counseling and was treated disrespectfully when she refused to consider abortion. (Small wonder, that being their profit leader.) That is, they condemned her for choosing differently than how they wanted her to choose.

            Bangla Desh is not as densely populated as Manhattan or Holland. Macao, Hong Kong, and Singapore as also more densely populated. But then, being filled with those “little brown brothers” whose population Sanger wished to control, they would also have been in her cross-hairs. It’s technology, not people, that matters.

          • tank54

            This sounds laughably fictitious. PP counsels their patients on all their options when they are faced with an unintended pregnancy and with contraception (this would include Fertility Awareness Methods http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/fertility-awareness-4217.html). If this is true, then name names. Which clinic, which doctor? Did your daughter say anything to the staff such as “I’ can’t believe I’m here next to all you babykillers!” Did she go up to other women in the clinic waiting room and start telling them not to murder their babies?. Because then I can see her being asked to leave, and rightfully so.

            I highly doubt that you 1) either have a daughter or 2) that you have a granddaughter. If either of those two do happen to be true and you haven’t just made them up to prove a point against PP, then my guess is that you didn’t exactly raise your daughter in an environment where sexuality was something you were open to discussing with her. Abortion was never a real option for her and she told you this story just to appease your religious views.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Alas, it is not fictitious. New Brunswick NJ about 18 years ago. The other incident, in which the PP personnel made snide, as-if-she-were -not-standing-there comments about “those people” who could not “control their urges” when black girl came in for contraceptives was in Perth Amboy NJ.

            Interesting that your first impulse is baseless accusations of falsehood. The young woman in question would not have made such statements as you have imagined inside your head, since her whole point was to reject all such teaching. She just wasn’t down with killing her baby.

          • tank54

            Anyone can google the locations of a PP clinic. Name a name.

            If I had a daughter and she had been treated in such a fashion, I would have marched down to that clinic and found out who said what. It’s interesting you didn’t think to ask that of her.

            If you went with your daughter to the PP clinic, and can remember all these details about her experience at PP 18 years ago, surely you can remember the doctor/counselor responsible for treating her in such a horrible way. I’m sure you mentioned this person’s name to members of your family, your church, your right-to-life movement.

            Oh…wait. You didn’t go with her? You didn’t support your daughter at this difficult time? And this is all information you’ve received second or third hand? No wonder your story sounds fishy. I doubt you have actually ever been inside a PP clinic, nor have you spoken to anyone directly affiliated with PP. The anti-choice movement constantly accuses PP of charges of racism, which is also why the second story sounds baseless. Also the fact that you refer to your daughter as “the mother” and “the young woman in question” as opposed to “my daughter [Anna]” also seems rhetorically off.

            Unless your granddaughter is adopted, in which case, you seem to be too far removed from the circumstances of her conception/birth to accurately represent what happened in that clinic (or, indeed, if the birth mother ever really went to PP to begin with). If she was adopted, chances are that the birth mother was under a significant amount of stress and she could have said anything or was projecting her own feelings of judgment/inadequacy as a mother onto the PP staff.

            PP provides in-depth counseling on abortion, adoption and parenting.http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/adoption-21520.htm; http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/parenting-21521.htm; http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/thinking-about-abortion-21519.htm.

            How convenient that this all happened 18 years ago before widespread access to internet and when this could have been a valuable resource to your daughter. At least it’s now available to your granddaughter.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            You are in denial and employing the usual tactics to convince yourself that since it could never have happened in theory, it obviously did not happen in fact. The question asked was how PP could ever have impacted me personally, and I answered with two incidents that occurred to people I knew. Rather than suppose that not all personnel in a large organization may be racially sensitive, or that some personnel may be over-zealous in pushing the product, you respond by projecting your mythos onto events of which you have no knowledge, based on daisy chains of tendentious inferences from casual blog comments.

            (Why on earth would you suppose that had my wife confronted the staffer in question it would have done anyone any good? The purpose was to secure assistance, not to strike a moral pose, nor to raise the consiousness of the PP staffer. She would have been unmoved in any event and it would have simply reinforced her prejudiced imagery of “those people.”)

            Yet you did not penetrate the text deeply enough to note that these encounters were not presented as typical; simply as the only two occasions on which PP intersected with my family. It may well be that in white-bread areas they have eschewed the original eugenics program.

            The main difficulty, aside from those moral questions that no longer seem to bother folks since the Triumph of the Will, is the ineluctible statistical reality that it undermines the entire basis of the modern welfare state and hence the well-being of those dependent on such programs. But you may not conceive of that as sufficiently personal.

          • tank54

            Yeah, we’ll see. If I find out tomorrow that the new brunswick, nj center didn’t have a license to perform abortions 18 years ago, then we’ll know who’s really in denial.

            The New Brunswick center only opened when PP Mounmouth County and PP League of Middlesex merged into PP Central NJ — when PPCNJ opened seven clinics between 1994-1995. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/greater-northern-nj/central-1980-2009-38732.htm.

            If the New Brunswick Center opened in 1995, then we know your 18 year old granddaughter was born under very different circumstances than the one you’re claiming here.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Either that or we’ll learn the difference between “refer” and “perform” or between an “office” and a “clinic.” Or even learn that New Brunswick is the County Seat of Middlesex Co.

          • tank54

            Precisely. You’re claiming that your daughter was almost forced to have an abortion at the New Brunswick Center 18 years ago and when she bravely defied them she was subsequently “kicked out.” But the validity of any of this will be seriously compromised if it turns out the New Brunswick Center didn’t actually perform abortions 18 years ago, as they don’t today. Or was she forced to endure their “referral” – you’ve changed your story so many times, it’s hard to keep track.

            They open at 11:30. We’ll know soon.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Nope. We’ll only learn what we already know: that you will not entertain data contrary to your prior beliefs. Were you to say simply that the people involved in the two incidents recounted are not typical of personnel in the business, I would happily agree, sc. arg.

            The only thing that has changed is the interpretation you have placed upon my otherwise simple reminiscence. The story remains the same. There was no imputation of “force.” That was your invention. There was no suggestion the abortion would have been performed in the office. Again, that was your imagination. (My cardiologist does not implant stents in his office, either. But to demonstrate this does not prove he has never implanted stents.) The staffer was solely interested in counseling an abortion – who knows where that abortion might have been performed? – and when my daughter expressed no interest in that option she was rather rudely asked to leave. So the answer to how PP operations could possibly harm me personally still comes down to that they wanted to kill my granddaughter.

            (And in the other case, that a young black girl was gratuitously insulted by white staffers in Perth Amboy.
            And in the broader case, that they are undermining the viability of the liberal welfare state.)

          • tank54

            Update: No abortions performed at the Brooklyn Center, either now or 18 years ago. Surprise surpise.

            I’ll guess we’ll just call you “Triumph of the Lie.”

            “Planned Parenthood wanted to kill my granddaughter.” Those were your exact words. And those words suggest force because people don’t generally kill in gentle, unforced ways, now, do they? You suggested an immediate urgency to PP’s desire to destroy your granddaughter, that your daughter would have lost her baby had she not left that clinic.

            Now you’re saying “Planned Parenthood wanted to refer my daughter to an abortion service that would have possibly killed my granddaughter had she thought over her options and decided to go.” Little less dramatic, isn’t it? Also, a little less true. And, again, you seem to know it was a ‘staffer’ involved but yet you did not accompany your daughter to the clinic, so all of this is still heresy; you have no idea what was actually said in that room. All you are going on is the word of your daughter (who, I’m assuming, wasn’t exactly thrilled to be pregnant and probably was not ready to be a parent if she was contemplating abortion/adoption in the first place. I’m guessing you weren’t exactly happy with her at this time in her life and she probably figured it might help to make PP the bad guy in this story as it takes her own sexual transgression out of the picture, doesn’t it?). Amazing the details you seem to recall and seem to conveniently not know or forget. Also loved how you placed all the parental responsibility in this situation on your wife.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            a) Brooklyn?

            b) Nope. It happened, no matter your denial based on theory.

            c) “people don’t generally kill in gentle, unforced ways, now, do they?” You were implying force against my daughter. It was my granddaughter they wanted to kill.

            d) heresy?

            e) “who, I’m assuming, wasn’t exactly thrilled…” Amazing the scenarios one can concoct if one simply assumes all sorts of things. You have a theory, and facts must be bent (or invented) to fit the theory, we suppose. You do not know my daughter, if you think you have captured her thinking, as for example what she was or was not contemplating.

            f) Hey, they wouldn’t let me in the delivery room, either. All women: mother, daughter, grandmother, doctor, and nurse. What has that to do with anything? Or are you simply trying to shift the topic?

          • tank54

            Excuse me, New Brunswick.

            And the decision to terminate the pregnancy began and ended with your daughter, not Planned Parenthood. PP could not have gone through with its dastardly deeds without the consent of your daughter. They did “not want to kill your granddaughter”; it’s not like they grabbed your pregnant daughter off the street, forced her into their clinic and then held her down as they performed an abortion. Your daughter made an appointment and went to PP of her own free will; if anyone wanted to “kill your granddaughter,” it was your daughter.

            You are the one who is projecting a rabidly anti-choice mythos onto PP so your daughter — who had premarital sex and an unplanned pregnancy — can remain the perfect victim in your estimation.

            And please explain to me why your daughter needed to go to PP in the first place if she was already so overjoyed to become a mother, or why she needed to discuss all of her options with a known abortion provider if she already knew abortion was not an option and she would choose to parent. Again, your facts just don’t line up and everything you say in support of your campaign against PP is just heresy.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            So if someone urges an assassination on Joe, he is not culpable as long as it is Joe who pulls the trigger? Interesting. They were wanting her to have an abortion. How is that different from wanting to kill my granddaughter?

            “a known abortion provider.” At least a little honesty. Thank you. But she had bought into the pravda that PP provided a full range of services and was not simply an abortion mill. She went there intending to get advice and perhaps pre-natal care. Little did she know.

            You can badmouth my daughter all you like, but it doesn’t change who she is. Nice misdirection, though.

            “everything you say in support of your campaign against PP is just heresy.”

            Heresy against which orthodoxy? Against the original doctrine of eugenics? I don’t think she told them that part.

            What “campaign”? The question was asked how PP could possibly hurt me personally. I gave several examples: proposing to abort my granddaughter; making racist remarks about my daughter’s friend; and the undermining of the liberal welfare state on which so many of us have become dependent.

            I’m curious why you didn’t respond “Not all of them are like that!” since anyone familiar with human diversity knows that there must be some who are like that.

          • tank54

            I don’t know who Joe is, but I’m guessing he’s not pregnant. Come up with another comparison.

            And I’m not the one badmouthing your daughter — you are. You’re the one suggesting she is a would-be baby killer because she chose, deliberately, to go to PP.

            And PP DOES advise on all options — I have friends who have absolutely been counseled on all their options at PP when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. I have used them for services such as contraception and breast cancer screenings. So they are not “abortion mills”; only 3% of their services go to abortions; the other 97% of services goes to contraception, breast cancer screenings, STD and STI screenings, and male health services such as screenings for testicular cancer and prostate cancer (so they wouldn’t have turned you away at the door).http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-planned-parenthood-actually-does/2011/04/06/AFhBPa2C_blog.html. So rage all you want against them; doesn’t change the fact that you are wrong.

            In fact, the only establishments I know that refuse to counsel women on all their options when facing an unwanted pregnancy are Crisis Pregnancy Centers, places that are often by the Catholic church and other anti-woman organizations, which spread flat-out lies about the supposed complications of abortion in order to scare women out of having them performed. Many of these establishments are insidious enough to set up shop right across from Planned Parenthoods and other abortion providers. Maybe you should go volunteer for them, I sure you’d be right at home. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/abortion-religion-pregnancy-centers_n_1446506.html

            But at least the next time you lie about this, you’ll at least take the time to look up whether the ‘murderous’ abortion clinic you’re discussing does, in fact, perform abortions.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            “Joe” is simply a placeholder name and was chosen precisely to distance the analysis so that you could see the form of the argument without being biased by your predetermined conclusions. You will recall that this was your contention that if A urges B to do something and B does so under A’s guidance and instruction that A incurs no blame. I just wondered whether this was a principled stand or one adopted simply to let one corporation off the hook.

            No. I have said explicitly on several occasions that she was only looking for guidance. The person she spoke to immediately urged abortion (“When do you want to schedule the abortion?”) When she said that was never her intention, the person reacted in a hostile manner. (“So, you’re one of those….”) The irony is that she was not actually one of those. Only you are saying she went there with that intention.

            Recently, there was a call-in of people asking for breast-cancer screening, and most found that to get such screening they would have to go to entirely independent breast cancer screening centers. Whatever services performed by PP amount to little more than googling.

            It is well-known that by the Pareto Principle a small percentage of a company’s product line accounts for a high percentage of its revenues. If 12% of customers (after eliminating duplications) are for abortions, that can account for 37% of the company’s income.

            “All options” is a nice way of saying that one of the options is to kill someone.

          • tank54

            Well, I had a breast cancer screening there and it was much more affordable than having it done through my normal well-woman exam. I’d like to see evidence of this mythical “call-in” as well as evidence of 37% figure (and please, use a source that isn’t catholiclifebabies.com or some other such nonsense).

            Here’s the thing: saying that PP is responsible for murdering thousands of babies every year is like saying that McDonald’s is responsible for obesity. You are leaving out the very important fact that someone has to CHOOSE to have an abortion just as someone has to CHOOSE to eat a big mac every day. Ostensibly, abortion was a choice your daughter was willing to entertain, or she wouldn’t have gone to PP — why didn’t she just go to her church first if that was what she wanted?

            And, again, if you know the exact words that this staffer used 18 years ago, then how do you not know her name? I’m sure you daughter must remember the name of the person who would have murdered her baby. Unless this never happened. Which seems very likely. Because, again, how can this staffer asked her when to “schedule an abortion” when the Brunswick Center has never PERFORMED ABORTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE. This is like arguing that you daughter went to a dentist and they tried schedule a colonoscopy for her. They only provide referrals and even if your daughter got a referral (which apparently she didn’t because she went to her church instead), she would have had to have called and schedule an abortion herself.

  • June-Marie

    1) How can a system which depends on women NOT having sex at a time when she frequently most desires it, be in any sense ‘natural’ ?

    2) How about men not interfering in women’s reproductive health except when asked ?

    3) But if they must intefer, then, quid pro quo, let me sugest a solution to the whole problem, which is for all men to get a vasectomy at puberty. And let women, as women are the ones most immediately affected by pregnancy, be the ones to draft such a ‘vasectomy law’ into effect. (Ask yourself, honestly, how that idea makes you feel.)

    4) NO woman wants an abortion. Abortion is ALWAYS a last resort. Any woman given the choice between reliable, affordable contraception, and abortion will choose contraception. By what possible right will you deny her that choice ? This is the real issue here, not the stats, but the ongoing determination by funamentalists of all persuasions (Taliban no less than right wing Christians) to control women’s lives.

    5) It is hardly short of obscene to be arguing the toss between high abortion/low contraception rates when women, real live women, are having to deal with real live issues like aids, how to feed their children, how to keep their marriage together, how to deal with yet another unwanted pregnancy, and the rest.

    6) And finally: even if you can browbeat Christian women into obedience, what about the rest of us ? The ones who just want to have fun but most certainly DON’T want an abortion: by what possible right will you deny us contraception ?

    • Mrs. N.

      1) It is perfectly “natural” to be selfish, use people, hurt those who hurt you, etc. Just because an inclination exists in nature does not mean that it needs to be acted upon to be in accord with nature, since our nature includes higher ethics and reasoning skills we use to rise above our base instincts.

      2) How about women stop thinking that possessing a vagina makes or breaks an argument?

      3) One cannot force medical treatment on another person, but society can regulate the medical treatments you seek.

      4) All contraception has a failure rate. If women would accept that failure rate and not KILL a child when it does, it would not be as big of an issue (still an ethical issue and not something those with an ethical objection to such should subsidize, but of lesser importance). But they don’t– when a woman decides she wants to screw without consequences, she has already fixed herself against a child. Even the smallest child is a person. THAT’S why we care. Incidentally, being in an NFP relationship and knowing many who are, if anyone is “controlled” by the Catholic position, its the men!

      5) Straw men arguments. I think it’s obscene that women value forcing others to pay for their “fun” without consequences than letting Catholics adhere to their religious precepts, but that doesn’t in and of itself invalidate the arguments for it. (The arguments do that for themselves.)

      6) Who exactly is “denying” you contraception? I’m not seeing anyone advocating the immediate re-illegalization of contraception, only the murder of children in utero that results from contraceptive failure. Saying your “fun” is immoral, unethical, bad for self and society, etc. is not denying you that choice. (Christians also maintain that gluttony, avarice, pride, sloth, wrath, and envy are immoral, too, incidentally.) Not subsidizing your “fun” doesn’t deny you that fun.

      6a) By what right should women demand that others use their money to pay for their completely optional, self-serving “fun”?

      It’s nice to know how easily you deride women who don’t accept your “ethics”. I am Catholic. I got my higher education and career. I am HAPPY with my life… particularly my sex life. Even after 10 years together (and soon to be 2 kids), I know I’m wanted and treasured and I WANT to have sex with my husband. Everyone else in my “50 shades of Grey” demographic… yeah, not so much. You can continue to deride christians and delude yourself into thinking that you’re so far beyond silly things like ethics and purpose. As for me, I’ll take my happy “browbeaten” Christian life over your fleeting, meaningless “fun”.

      • Kira

        I guess you’re one of those who
        still isn’t quite sure what an abortion actually is, so for your
        information and future reference: An “abortion” does NOT refer to the
        process during which a woman has reckless sex, gets pregnant, carries
        the pregnancy to term, endures excruciating labour, and then violently
        murders this baby, or “child” as you and your followers always refer to
        them. It’s the removal of an embryo, or if the process is delayed too
        long due to ignorant interferers like YOU, a fetus. It is the decision a
        woman makes that will affect her for the rest of her life, and no one
        else. It is no way related to you or any thing you believe or think,
        thus you have absolutely no say in the matter.

        Also, read this WHO publication before you ever say anything on this topic again:

        http://www.who.int/reproductiv

        You have to realize that women — that is, real, actual, living,
        breathing, conscious, productive PEOPLE are dying every single day
        because of botched abortion attempts. Whether you would like to come to
        terms with it or not, the FACT is that women WILL NOT carry to term a
        pregnancy they do not want to have. Whether they were raped, have a
        defective fetus growing inside of them, are at risk because of their
        pregnancy, or in rare cases, just don’t want the pregnancy, it is solely
        and ONLY their decision whether or not they will bring another life
        into this world. Regardless of your preaching and interference,
        abortions will keep happening. The ONLY ethical, moral position on this
        issue is to make necessary abortions safe, accessible, and accepted.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      1) How can a system which depends on women NOT having sex at a time when
      she frequently most desires it, be in any sense ‘natural’ ?

      Because “natural” does not mean “surrendering to every whim of appetite.” It means directed toward the end of the nature of a thing. Hence, a falling rock exhibits natural motion while a rock flung by a protester exhibits unnatural motion. You may be confusing it with “material.”

      As for the rest, it’s that Darwinian thing. After a sufficient number of generations there will be no one less to whom such values can be taught. The root problem is that we have learned to regard pregnancy as a disease and children as a tumor. Given that attitude toward fellow human beings, the rest more or less follows.

    • Barabbas

      1) Seriously? I’m a man and I have desires to have sex quite frequently and with numerous women. I refrain, however, as I am deeply committed to my relationship. There is a difference between what is “natural” and what is pure animal instinct.

      2) One of the biggest things that differentiates us from common bacteria is that we reproduce sexually (meaning, two partners must come together to share genetic material). Unless you are bacteria, your “reproductive health” somewhere, at some point, involved a man. If you don’t want men to interfere, you can simply choose not to share genetic material with them. It really is that easy.

      3) Men could just as easily say “how about women just get all of their tubes tied”, but that is totally aside from the point. The idea of being forcibly deprived of one’s ability to reproduce is totally different from forcing people to accept responsibility for their actions.

      4) Nobody is denying women the right to choose contraception. However, sex is a voluntary act. Kind of like driving a car. If you get drunk and kill someone in a motor accident, you ARE held accountable. Similarly, if you get drunk and get pregnant, you SHOULD be held accountable (That is equally applicable to both parties).

      5) Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that men don’t have to worry about AIDS, how to feed their children, how to keep marriages together, and how to deal with pregnancies. It’s clear that you have very little respect for men. These issues are equally applicable to both genders, thank you very much.

      6) See, that’s your problem. You “just want to have fun”, but don’t want to accept responsibility. There is nothing wrong with fun, but you better be prepared for the worst if and when things don’t go according to plan.

  • Emily U

    The positive correlations between abortion rate and contraceptive usage are very interesting. I’d never seen that data before. However, I think Marc has not explained the correlation at all.

    He writes,

    “If contraceptive users are more motivated to have abortions than non-contraceptive users, then it is not ridiculous to posit that the increased use of contraception in the USA was a major factor in the simultaneous increase in abortions.”

    and

    “It is no victory for contraception if it partially reduces a problem it has created in the first place.”

    Huh? Clearly abortion existed before modern methods of contraception, so how could contraception possibly create the abortion problem? It is ridiculous to posit that increased contraception use in the USA was a causative factor in increased abortion rate in the USA. How about the increased abortion rate came about because of the increased AVAILABILITY (read: legality) of abortion, which was roughly contemporary with the “legalization” of contraception. Marc has shown no evidence that contraception is a causative factor for more abortions in the USA.

    Also, do Catholics really believe that the rhythm method/withdrawal is not contraception? It’s still an attempt to prevent pregnancy, right? Whether by low-tech (abstinence/withdrawal), medium-tech (condom) or high-tech (hormone therapy) means, preventing pregnancy while still being sexually active is contraception, is it not?

    Also, as a married mother who is a user of contraceptives, I’m a little offended at the notion that I have a “contraceptive mentality” which is a constant rejection of a child. Preventing pregnancies I’m not physically, financially, or emotionally ready for does not mean I am a rejector of children, it means I’m doing the best thing I can for the kids I already have.

    • Marissa C

      I’m lazy so I copied and pasted from elsewhere, but this is the difference:

      Link:http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/sexuality-contraception/birth-control-and-nfp-whats-the-difference/

      “NFP does not separate sex from responsibility. The act of
      intercourse has a twofold meaning: sharing of love and giving of life.
      Married persons who perform this act must accept both sides of the coin.
      While not every marital act will result in a child, it must
      nevertheless be open to the possibility of life. The act will be “open”
      to life as long as the spouses do nothing to “close” it. Here’s the
      difference between artificial birth control and NFP. In the first case,
      one does something (takes a pill, uses a condom, etc.) to deliberately
      “close” the life-giving power of sexual intercourse. In NFP, however, no
      such step is taken. The spouses do not act against their fertility.
      They do not reject the link between the two meanings of sex (love and
      life). They simply follow the natural patterns of the body’s fertility
      and infertility — patterns placed there by God Himself. In the fertile
      days of a woman’s cycle, if there are serious reasons to avoid
      pregnancy, the couple respectfully steps back from the act of
      intercourse. In using birth control devices, however, they attack the
      meaning of the act — they do the action of intercourse and then undo
      part of it. In NFP, instead, they simply choose at times not to do the
      action in the first place.”

      • joe

        Planning to not engage in sexual intercourse at certain times of the month IS acting against fertility. I think you need to take some courses in logic.

        • olivia

          No, it’s not. Two people not having sex is not acting against fertility. The only way that avoiding sex could be acting against fertility is if human beings were born and lived constantly having sexual intercourse and then, to avoid pregnancy, forced themselves to part. And this, as we all know, is not the case. Avoiding fertile times is just, for lack of a better phrase, “being normal.” you know, walking around, getting a burger, drinking a coke. My children do this all the time and they are not “acting against fertility.”Now, it is possible for two people to avoid the fertile periods, and just hang out on the couch out of selfish reasons, and then their attitude is not much better than popping a pill.

    • Barabbas

      Widespread availability, acceptance, and use of contraceptives has created a culture of promiscuity. Sex is a recreational activity in the minds of today’s youth (I should know seeing as I’m a sexually active twenty-something). The consequences of recreational sex are played down by the media and society in general. As a result, young people are more inclined to have sex without considering the risks associated with it. When things inevitably don’t go according to plan, young people are more likely to abort because they did not plan accordingly and are not prepared to raise a child.
      It is like they enter into a contract without reading the fine print. “But wait, I thought sex was just supposed to be a fun weekend activity?!” they whine, “Nobody told me that it could change my life!”

      The rhythm method and withdrawl are both considered forms of conceptions, though they have a relatively high chance of failure.

      Personally, I see nothing wrong with a married couple using contraceptives so long as they are willing to accept the consequences should a pregnancy result. The “contraceptive mentality” is more applicable to those who do not even consider a potential conception before engaging in sex.

  • LL

    I’m probably wasting my time pointing this out to the other commenters, as well as the author, but it’s fascinating that you’re all MEN. When you guys are able to get pregnant, then you’ll have the right to opine on the use of contraception (& that includes the guy w/the gold throne in his elevator who wears a big hat) & the right to abortion. The rest of it is arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Get over your fetish about women’s sex lives, guys. We have them & we enjoy them, & that’s not going to change.

    • Sweetpea

      Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking. So many men commenting on things that they will never experience and will never have to worry about.

      • Barabbas

        Just because a man doesn’t physically birth the child doesn’t mean he doesn’t “experience” a pregnancy. From a different perspective, granted, but the child is equally his (and thus, equally his responsibility). Unless, of course, you have found a way to somehow conceive on your own. By all means then, yes, it is YOUR child and yours alone.
        Until then, men get a say in the relationship. To claim otherwise is to undermine the very humanity of 1/2 of the world’s population.

    • Alex

      Right- why should men care? It’s only the lives of our children on the line when abortion is cheap and legal. No big deal.

    • Tom

      Ok, fair enough. If men can’t talk about abortion, then women can’t talk about beer, video games, porn, testicular cancer, etc. Oh, and the government should give men free beer because otherwise we don’t have “access” to it. Sound fair enough?

      Seriously, are people still using this stupid argument? You know what this is? It’s sexism, plain and simple. It’s saying “This is women’s business, stay out of it”. I’m sorry if I seem irritated, but this grinds my gears like nothing else. It’s like saying “Well, you can’t opine about how bad slavery in the U.S. was because you’re not black”. Come off it. This is a terrible, stupid argument, and you know it.

      • ihateeverything

        DUDE so much logic fail up in here. Please research standpoint theory, maybe take an epistemology class, and then come back here and say that everyone is equally entitled to talk about issues when these issues don’t affect social groups the same way. And for the love of god, don’t try to make beer-and-birth-control-are-like-the-same-thing jokes. They just make you sound like a bitter (white) man.

        • Tom

          I did do some light research here. From what I’ve gathered, it seems the main crux of it is that “Unless you’re in that group, you can’t know what you’re talking about”. This, to me, seems silly. Many theorists themselves say there are limited sources of proof for it.
          However, that’s also beside the point. Abortion affects all humans, male and female, black and white, etc. This makes it a human rights issue, not a gender issue or even a health issue. To exclude fully half of the population from holding an opinion on a matter simply because “They can’t know what it’s like” seems not only sexist but silly. It’s like saying only men can talk about testicular cancer because women “Can’t know what it’s like” to have testes. Obviously, this seems absurd. Yet, this is exactly what some women say about abortion and contraception (Side note: Clearly, contraception isn’t only a women’s issue. Women can’t get pregnant on their own. “It takes two to tango” as the saying goes.).

        • MichelleMarie

          It’s generally a bad idea to exclude the other gender completely from having a say in the other gender’s “issues”. That’s like the “Alpha” males over in manosphere land saying, “men have these incredibly powerful sexual drives that women don’t understand, that they need to have sex with as many different women as possible with an utter disregard to the consequences and how many people they hurt / cheat on / emotionally ransack / infect with diseases, and women don’t have any say in the matter whatsoever because they don’t have penises and don’t understand. They also need to use pornography until their marriages are loveless and dead because, hey – it’s a man’s thing”.

          Rubbish. What men do affects women (i.e. don’t tell me porn, male sluttery, etc. haven’t negatively affected women as a whole), and what women do affects men – so yes, abortion is very much a man’s issue as well. Yes, no man will ever understand what it’s like to be pregnant with the possibility of being a mother. But no woman will ever truly understand what it’s like to almost be a father (and not being able to decide whether their child will live or die).

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          “Standpoint theory”? Makes it sound all scientificalistic and stuff. Used to call it ‘bias,’ but who knew?

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          You know, the abolitionists of slavery were told that they couldn’t understand the situation of slaveowners and slaves. Thank God that didn’t stop them from decrying the very real evil of slavery.

    • Mrs. N.

      What a sexist thing to say! Abortion as a philosophical question or as a scientific question causality is WITHOUT GENDER. Yes, men cannot understand the emotional weight (which I’ve experienced) the possibility or occurrence of an unintended pregnancy has on the one who has to carry the child, which is why they should never judge the woman. But that wasn’t the argument being made!

      The only women who so bitchily dismiss the arguments against abortion just because they are presented by men prove themselves to be complete sexists, completely incapable of making a cogent argument on its merits and have to resort to invoking their chromosomes. Way to earn respect for the female mind! >:(

    • Indeed

      Chickadee,

      When you ladies are able to get pregnant without help from a Y chromosome or any male doctors, we’ll lose our right to opine on the use of contraception and the defense of the lives of our children from abortion.

      Until then, we reserve the right to jail persons who commit assault on our innocent children.

      And because all human beings are our brothers and sisters, we reserve the right to jail persons who commit assault on other people’s innocent children.

      Any human being who is so aloof from the well-being of children that he wouldn’t lift a finger to defend their lives when they’re at their most helpless is a moral coward. Until and unless he or she repents that cowardice and becomes a real man or a real woman, he or she is unfit to lick-shine a chimpanzee’s boots.

      • kira

        I guess you’re one of those who still isn’t quite sure what an abortion actually is, so for your information and future reference: An “abortion” does NOT refer to the process during which a woman has reckless sex, gets pregnant, carries the pregnancy to term, endures excruciating labour, and then violently murders this baby, or “child” as you and your followers always refer to them. It’s the removal of an embryo, or if the process is delayed too long due to ignorant interferers like YOU, a fetus. It is the decision a woman makes that will affect her for the rest of her life, and no one else. It is no way related to you or any thing you believe or think, thus you have absolutely no say in the matter.

        Also, read this WHO publication before you ever say anything on this topic again:

        http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/9789241501118/en/

        You have to realize that women — that is, real, actual, living, breathing, conscious, productive PEOPLE are dying every single day because of botched abortion attempts. Whether you would like to come to terms with it or not, the FACT is that women WILL NOT carry to term a pregnancy they do not want to have. Whether they were raped, have a defective fetus growing inside of them, are at risk because of their pregnancy, or in rare cases, just don’t want the pregnancy, it is solely and ONLY their decision whether or not they will bring another life into this world. Regardless of your preaching and interference, abortions will keep happening. The ONLY ethical, moral position on this issue is to make necessary abortions safe, accessible, and accepted.

        • Dan

          I think women should have the right to choose to have sex. why should we be allowing men to take advantage of women? by giving them contraception and abortions men are now allowed to have as much sex with women as they want with out the “threat” of a child. It like porn, women are being encouraged – by men – to give up their dignity and bodies for THEIR pleasure.

    • bcarpe

      As long as the people being killed can’t speak for themselves, I will speak for them.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Then you would not object were we to restrict voting on tax laws to only those individuals who paid actual taxes?

      Most people who bring up the “angels on pinheads” thingie are unable to cite when and where that was actually debated and what, if anything, it might have meant to those who debated it. (It would have been far more pedagogical than an essay on “what I did on my summer vacation.”) But education back then was far more focused on logic and reason than on feeling good about oneself.

      The answer is actually fairly obvious, actually.

  • http://twitter.com/soxfan17881 Don S.

    “Christians” aren’t against contraception. The Catholic Church is against contraception. The Extreme Right is against contraception. Conservatives are against FREE contraception. Most Christians use contraception of one sort or another.

  • Micaela

    Marc, thanks for taking the time to research this. I look forward to checking out all your sources when I have a minute. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you that this is absolute gold.

    I’m not sure why I even bother reading the comments. Lots of fallacious arguments and negativity. But you, my friend, are spot on.

  • http://twitter.com/byzcathwife priest’s wife

    Using contraception encourages one to engage in risky, non-monogamous behavior. It follows that abortion (and the ‘need for it’) will increase. I might just be an old married woman- but how about respect and monogamy?

  • LF

    the only place that I can think of where contraception
    should be banned, is in a perfect world. in a perfect world there would be true
    love for all, no affairs, no impulsive teenagers, no disease/syndromes…
    basically there would be no need for contraception. BUT we live in this world.
    the one where uneventful situations occur.

    So with that said, i personally do not side with the idea of
    aborting a pregnancy, but who are we to make that decision for somebody else?
    There are so many unfortunate circumstances that we can run into where
    acceptations need to be made… you can think of those exceptions (rape, drinking
    while pregnant…). The real question is what does not qualify as an exception?

    Honestly, I do not know.
    Maybe a wealthy couple with a solid marriage? WHO IS TO JUSTIFY!?

    The decision must come from what the individual believes. It
    is ultimately up to the female when it comes down to it. I am not saying the
    male’s opinion should not be considered, (it should) I am saying it is her body
    first but others (man) will be affected.

    One more thought… a woman has three options; to give birth
    and keep, abort, or give birth and put the baby up for adoption. Cant forget
    about adoption because when done right,
    it is the most responsible thing to do and is an ultimate symbol of love. (I
    know, I ended up ok)

  • LF

    the only place that I can think of where contraception
    should be banned, is in a perfect world. in a perfect world there would be true
    love for all, no affairs, no impulsive teenagers, no disease/syndromes…
    basically there would be no need for contraception. BUT we live in this world.
    the one where uneventful situations occur.

    So with that said, i personally do not side with the idea of
    aborting a pregnancy, but who are we to make that decision for somebody else?
    There are so many unfortunate circumstances that we can run into where
    acceptations need to be made… you can think of those exceptions (rape, drinking
    while pregnant…). The real question is what does not qualify as an exception?

    Honestly, I do not know.
    Maybe a wealthy couple with a solid marriage? WHO IS TO JUSTIFY!?

    The decision must come from what the individual believes. It
    is ultimately up to the female when it comes down to it. I am not saying the
    male’s opinion should not be considered, (it should) I am saying it is her body
    first but others (man) will be affected.

    One more thought… a woman has three options; to give birth
    and keep, abort, or give birth and put the baby up for adoption. Cant forget
    about adoption because when done right,
    it is the most responsible thing to do and is an ultimate symbol of love. (I
    know, I ended up ok)

    • ariofrio

      I agree that there are many unfortunate circumstances where a couple might have a difficult time without an abortion. (Incidentally, 1% of abortions happen because of rape or incest, and 3% of abortions happen because of a danger to the mother’s life.)

      But hear me out for a second. The fetus inside the mother’s womb is a living organism: it is growing, it has its own genes, etc. It is a human organism (what else would the offspring of two humans be?) Does it make sense to say that there are some human organisms that are not people?

      If not, then the fetus is a person, who deserves the right to live. No matter how it was conceived, or whether the parents are able to support it, the fetus would have to be treated in the same way a newborn baby would be treated. And then 97% of abortions should be illegal.

      • kira

        Did you just pull those figures out of your ass? You know what else is “a living organism: it is growing, it has its own genes, etc.” , a “human organism” if you will? A WOMAN. Does she have no say in the matter? Looks at these figures:

        http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.pdf

        And this report:

        http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/9789241501118/en/

        before you say anything on this topic. You are personally responsible for the horrible death of thousands of living, breathing, actual, real, women worldwide as a result of your anti-woman activism. I hope you sleep well.

        • ariofrio

          You can find the figures I quoted here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

          Granted, while only 3% of abortions happen primarily because of physical health reasons affecting the mother, 8% of abortions occur with one of the reasons being the health of the mother. Sorry about that inaccuracy.

          Kira, in the USA, 650 women die each year “as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications” (http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/MaternalInfantHealth/Pregnancy-relatedMortality.htm#). In the USA, 1.2 million abortions are performed every year (http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/abortion.html). This is 1 out of 5 pregnancies.

          Worldwide, 292,000 women die each year from pregnancy or delivery (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/). Worldwide, 40 million abortions are performed each year (http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/abortion.html).

          I don’t think that the fetus is more valuable than its mother. If the life of the woman is in danger, then it should be legal for her to choose one way or the other. But as the initial figures show, more than 90% of abortions happen because of reasons not involving the health of the mother.

          Maternal deaths are a tragedy. Three hundred thousand mothers dying is one too many. But when I argue that the unborn are human beings, like you and me, forty million human beings killed is one too many.

          If you’re willing to discuss the subject, my next question is: do you think the fetus is less human in some sense than the mother? If so, why?

        • ariofrio

          Kira, I don’t want back-alley abortions either. I am not pushing to make abortion illegal while so many women still believe abortions are an acceptable choice. That would greatly decrease the death of fetuses but possibly increase the death of women.

          I used figures from here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf. After reading the article more carefully, it turns out that between 4% and 12% of abortions are done because of threats to the life of the mother. (The data doesn’t differentiate between threats to the life of the mother and threats to the health of the mother.) Less than 1.5% of abortions are done after rape or incest. Sorry about being somewhat inaccurate.

          Does it make sense to say that some human organisms are not people? If not, then, do you support abortion-choice in the other 88% of cases? Why?

  • McG

    Hey Marc, if you’re looking for material to respond to her discussion of the recent article vindicating Obama as somehow being the pro-life champion, I invite you to take a look at this preliminary analysis from W4: http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2012/10/preliminary_thoughts_on_the_co.html#more

    Hope God is continuing to bless you and your efforts on this blog, on your project at 1flesh.org, and in pursuing virtue and sainthood!

  • TimHuegerich

    You might be interested in this paper from the economics discipline: “Habit Persistence and Teen Sex: Could Increased Access to Contraception have Unintended Consequences for Teen Pregnancies?” http://public.econ.duke.edu/~psarcidi/teensex.pdf

  • Anon

    Both contraception and abortion are wrong. Abstaining from sex outside of marriage is what God wants.

  • Donovan

    But contraceptives are abortion too, they both kill innocent children.

    Basically what PP said is “Lets replace physical abortion with chemical abortion”.

    http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/001/582/picard-facepalm.jpg?1240934151

  • dsthal

    The figures showing abortion rates prior to 1970 are only reported abortions. It is simply not true that there were close to zero abortions previous to that point. Remember that before that period, it was unlawful for a doctor in the US even to recommend or suggest the possibility of a woman having an abortion. The doctor would, at the very least, lose their licence to practice medicine and might even be prosecuted. Since all abortions were against the law, there was little or no reporting or statistical analysis going on. So, the absence of data is not the absence of fact.

    • dsthal

      By the way, the reason that I am aware of this is that my father was a doctor, a family practitioner. I used to have long discussions with him about his day-to-day work. He was constantly frustrated that he could not even mention the possibility of abortion to women who were experiencing severe medical problems linked to pregnancy, or who had a range of other issues. He was a highly conscientious man and would give whatever aid and advice he could, but sometimes, you know, terminating the pregnancy is the best option.

  • Kira

    You’re not looking at anything other than what you want to see. Abortion rates may have increased recently, but you didn’t take into account in any way the (ongoing) women’s social rights movements of recent years. Women aren’t just hedonists who have as much sex as they can because they think they won’t get pregnant now that there are reliable ways to prevent that, as you apparently think. Increasing abortion rates also have a lot to do with women’s emancipation from the home and from men in general, and their increasing role in an increasingly equal society. If you’re going to have any discussion on childbearing and abortion, you need to look at figures (that seems to be your thing) for women’s labour force participation, women who leave abusive relationships now that they likely would have remained in 50 years ago, single-parenthood, among many other things.

    Also, like “Emily” wrote, it’s extremely rude and disrespectful of you to assume that people who use contraception just don’t like children or are just trying to evade their “responsibility” of carrying every pregnancy to term and raising those children. Women today can think of many better things to do than stay home and act as brood mares for the state. Are you really suggesting that every woman should just stay at home and have as many children as possible? Many women who use contraception have children already and have decided (as is their right) that it would be better for them and their current children, for a long list of reasons, to not bring any further children into the family at that time. If you think only raging, promiscuous women use birth control as an excuse to have as much sex as possible, which is the conclusion you seem to have drawn, you’re completely ignorant and missing the point that today, fortunately in spite of people like you, we have rights.

    • Steve K

      Please look into NFP and read some of Marc’s other blog posts on the subject before judging him with incomplete information. There are alternatives out there that work and work very well as opposed to contraception and these are what should be taught in schools as it is very medically related and would actually teach them something more about the human body than “having sex with a condom reduces the chance of pregnancy”. This article in particular I think you will find helpful

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/05/whence-opposition-to-birth-control-a-rebuttal.html

      “Catholic women are free to plan their pregnancies, and through the use of effective methods of organic family planning, they do so with 98.2% typical-use effectiveness using the Sympto-Thermal method (1) or 96.8-98.0% typical-use effectiveness using the Creighton Model (2)(3) (to do a little name-dropping up in this blergh). Planning the time of a pregnancy is entirely fitting with the gift of marriage, as the Church makes abundantly, bitch-slap-you-on-the-head-with-a-censure clear in Humane Vitae:

      If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kingal86 Alex Wright

    That”s considered long and complicated by the standards of blog posts? I must be out of touch…

  • Mary S

    I would like to see a study of the correlation of available social programs that financially help parents and abortion rates. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had access to medicaid and foodstamps when I became unexpectedly pregnant (it happened twice despite birth control). If citizens insist that a woman bear a child she concieves, despite if she wants to or has the ability to raise it, they should take on some of the financial responsibility.

    Also, legality of birth control and abortions happen when societies are experiencing feminist movements. The idea of a woman taking control of her own fertility and deciding for herself if she’s going to have children goes together with a woman feeling she’s gaining power in her society.

    • steve k

      Do these same citizens also insist that the woman have sex before she is ready to have a child(which is the vast vast majority of abortions, rape is an incredibly rare case and there are considerably more people applying for adoptions in the US than woman becoming pregnant from being raped.

      “The idea of a woman taking control of her own fertility and deciding for herself if she’s going to have children goes together with a woman feeling she’s gaining power in her society.”

      No one here is telling the woman to have sex before she is ready to have a kid, that seems to be the single greatest way to empower yourself is to decide IF and WHEN you are ready to have a kid. This is done by a woman deciding IF and WHEN to have sex, not IF and WHEN to abort/contracept. Divorcing a woman’s fertility from the act of sex IS removing a bit of her dignity, power and the reality of who she is. Women have the power to say no to sex if they are not ready for children.

      A womans power shouldn’t stem from her vagina. It should stem from her brain, her ideas, and ALL of who she is as a human being, not just her reproductive parts. Reducing a woman’s power to her reproductive parts does not empower, it enslaves her and reduces her to something less than whole.

      • Felecia Studstill

        I think most of our music, movies and television tell women and girls that they must have sex before they are ready, because often it’s portrayed that only their beauty, youth and sexuality bring them value. Unfortunately children do not bring them value and serve to diminish the distorted view of beauty, youth and sexuality that does bring them value. When both grown men and 15 year old boys and 15 year old girls for that matter are looking at carefully cut photos of 15 year old girls in the shower, please understand that the girls in the photos and out aren’t being subconciously encouraged to pursue math degrees.


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