Why Pulling Back Birth Control Availability Does Not Work (A Response To Ladies Against Feminism)

Why Pulling Back Birth Control Availability Does Not Work (A Response To Ladies Against Feminism) March 21, 2014

by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground

Ladies Against Feminism posted this link about birth control, showing that contraception does not cut back on abortions.

“Contraception reduces unintended pregnancies” has joined its fantastic make-believe friends “death with dignity,” the “efficacy” of embryonic stem cells, the “certainty” of man-made global warming, and the “positive” multiplier effect in the leftist vernacular.

This quote alone is a red flare. As if everything from the left is a lie, and everything from the right is true.

The link gives several studies and then mentions this one.

Planned Parenthood’s own affiliate, the Guttmacher Institute, showed simultaneous increases in both abortion rates and contraceptive use in the U.S., Cuba, Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea. Guttmacher cites other countries as evidence of the opposite relationship, but it is noteworthy that many of those countries already had high abortion rates, often as part of existing coercive government policies.

The Guttmacher study is really interesting and worth reading because Ladies Against Feminism twisted what they were saying. The webpage quotes the study, and then offers a more in depth explanation.

Why, then, does the relationship between levels of contraceptive use and the incidence of induced abortion continue to provoke heated discussion?* And why do some observers claim that increased contraceptive use leads to higher abortion rates?1

The reason for the confusion stems from the observation that, within particular populations, contraceptive prevalence and the incidence of induced abortion can and, indeed, often do rise in parallel, contrary to what one would expect. The explanation for these counterintuitive trends is clear.2 In societies that have not yet entered the fertility transition, both actual fertility and desired family sizes are high (or, to put it another way, childbearing is not yet considered to be “within the calculus of conscious choice”3). In such societies, couples are at little (or no) risk of unwanted pregnancies. The advent of modern contraception is associated with a destabilization of high (or “fatalistic”) fertility preferences. Thus, as contraceptive prevalence rises and fertility starts to fall, an increasing proportion of couples want no more children (or want an appreciable delay before the next child), and exposure to the risk of unintended pregnancy also increases as a result. In the early and middle phases of fertility transition, adoption and sustained use of effective methods of contraception by couples who wish to postpone or limit childbearing is still far from universal.

A long time ago, before couples had access to any birth control, people in general had large families, not just minority groups and homeschoolers. So when birth control first became available, the expected fertility rate went down. Couples suddenly wanted less children because that was an option. That want probably created  unwanted pregnancies. This was probably especially true because not everyone had access to the pill, but the number of desired children for the most part was still small. However, this was before Roe Vs. Wade.

According to this study, people are still living in that tension. When a society decides  they want two children instead of three, then the number of unwanted pregnancies may go up. Abortion rates may go up because of the unwanted pregnancies. Then it may reverse again when the trend changes from two to three.

Another factor in abortion rates can be in the shift from traditional to more reliable methods. If some people have access to one method, and others the more reliable method, but they all want the same number of children, the abortion rates may stay higher until everyone has access to the same method. Again, quoting the actual study.

When prevalence of modern method use is around 70%, the abortion rate is typically in the range of 10-30 abortions per 1,000 women in the reproductive ages. When prevalence is 40-60%, abortion rates rise to 30-50 per 1,000.

The link mentions the highly effective IUD in Shanghai, China. IUDs are more effective than the pill, and the pill is more effective than condoms. In areas where some people have access to one, and others have access to another, at the same time the number of wanted pregnancies is adjusting, I imagine abortion rates are not constant.

Okay, now back to Ladies Against Feminism.

Alan Guttmacher Institute researcher Stanley K. Henshaw: “Contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers.”

Planned Parenthood’s Frederick S. Jaffe, in Abortion Politics, admitted that “…even if everyone were to practice contraception, and use the most effective medically prescribed methods, there would still be a very large number of unwanted pregnancies.”

Abortionist and international contraception promoter Malcolm Potts [former director of Planned Parenthood of England] 1976 (even as early as 1973) quoted in Sex and Social Engineering by Valerie Riches.- “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate…”.

In Abortion, he noted, “…those who use contraception are more likely than those who do not to resort to induced abortion…”

Alfred Kinsey, 1955: “At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortions in the groups which, in general, most frequently uses contraception.”

Sociologist Lionel Tiger, 1999: “With effective contraception controlled by women, there are still more abortions than ever…[C]ontraception causes abortion.”

British Abortionist Judith Bury, Brook Advisory Centres, 1981: “…women…have come to request [abortions] when contraception fails. There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision [availability] of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”

This expresses the true heart of Ladies Against Feminism, and much of the homeschool movement. In their worldview, contraception is wrong; therefore, they can never say contraception is good, ever. For example, this quote fails to mention that married women might want birth control too. Does this mean that a married couple shouldn’t use birth control because it might, just might cause her to be more likely to have an abortion? Is the pill (or IUD or whatever the couple decides to use) the reason the couple might have an abortion? The fact is, the study is too simple. The use of the birth control pill won’t cause the husband and wife to have an abortion. The pill isn’t to blame.

Married couples need to have sex. And its good if they can have sex and not have nine children. But Ladies Against Feminism can’t go there because contraception is wrong in their minds. So they just, just make sweeping statements.

The truth is we don’t live in the past. If the study is correct and unwanted pregnancies is proportionate to the desire of children in that society (and why wouldn’t it be. 2 kids was the trend when I was a kid, now a lot of people have 3. Clothes go through trends, house styles go through trends) and the availability of birth control available in that society, then simply pulling back the availability of birth control or preaching abstinence won’t work. In other words, a long, long time ago back when people actually use to wear only dresses and actually have 10 kids, then the desire was kids. Today the desire is small family, and no kids until you decide. Telling adults “no birth control” won’t take away the current trends and current desires of 2 kid or 3 kids. As long as the current trend is small family, then there will be unwanted pregnancies. Making the pill harder to get doesn’t change this.

Simply put, we no longer live in the past, and no longer live in the ideal world.

I agree that currently the only birth control method 100% full proof is no sex, period. But I disagree that pushing abstinence on society is a practical means to reduce unwanted pregnancies. In other words, if Christians, including Ladies Against Feminism, want to keep their conviction, that’s great, but to suggest it will work across board is pushing luck too far.

Contraception reduces unintended pregnancies” has joined its fantastic make-believe friends [….]

I don’t think it has.

Comments open below

Read everything by Lana Hope!

Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy.  She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com.

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  • centaurie

    I think that they believe that if birth control is banned, people will *magically* go back to wanting to have 10 kids. How on earth this is going to happen is a mystery to me, tough…

  • Edie Moore McGee

    It’s the snark factor that gets me. We knew already that they misuse studies and cherry-pick data.

  • CroneEver

    If people would actually read diaries and letters from pre-contraception days, they would find that women were often terrified of having yet another child; that they DID NOT want eight plus children; that a standard question asked of pastors by women was, wasn’t there some way to stop their husbands from enforcing their conjugal rights? The answer: no. And yet the men didn’t want more children either. The diaries, letters, etc., show the men just fed up with all those kids – as if the woman could somehow stop it. (In fact, Charles Dickens separated from his wife because she kept having children and had gotten monstrously fat – never recognizing that he was at least half the cause of all those children. He also took up with a much younger woman…)

    It’s sort of like using anesthetic for childbirth; before it was available (doctors refused at first to use ether or chloroform for labor, because the Bible says that women must go through pain in childbirth), women pleaded for it. Now that it is available, for years women have felt that somehow “natural childbirth” is a rite of passage.

  • Trollface McGee

    There is a very strong correlation between birth rates, industrialisation and economic development. Take Japan in the 17th century – before all the evil birth control – the economic boom and the transition from an agricultural to commercial economy cut average family size in most areas from 7-10 to 2-3. When an additional child becomes an economic burden, people are not, in general, going to have huge families and it would take a huge population and economic de-evolution for that to change.
    So yeah, no surprise that LAF speaks for a fringe that will likely never become mainstream. Even if people who use birth control will use abortion to control family size, having birth control be unavailable and giving birth to 10 children is not an alternative for the vast majority of people and is not going to happen no matter how loud they bleat and how many studies they twist.

  • Nightshade

    Right. They want no abortions, no birth control, no right to tell a man not tonight, no choice at all…no thanks!

  • JeanPing

    “According to this study, people are still living in that tension. When a
    society decides they want two children instead of three, then the
    number of unwanted pregnancies may go up. Abortion rates may go up
    because of the unwanted pregnancies. Then it may reverse again when the
    trend changes from two to three.”

    Yes, this is part of it, but I think you left out something too–sex preferences. In countries where boys are preferred and governments/NGOs/etc. are pushing for 2 children, parents will abort girl fetuses. If, for example, a first child is a girl, that is often fine (though not always–you’ll find people pressuring expectant mothers to abort first girls in the hope of having a first boy), but if a second pregnancy is a girl, that fetus is very often aborted in the hope of getting a boy instead. Let’s say a couple then has one boy and one girl, and has another accidental pregnancy for a third child–a boy might well be kept while a girl would be aborted. Not all of these abortions are the choice of the mother; a husband or even in-laws may well arrange for a forcible abortion if an ultrasound comes out “wrong.”

  • JeanPing

    All of which may not have a ton to do with what LAF is claiming, but I think it’s important to know.

  • Misogynistic women are frightening.

  • Allison the Great

    It infuriates me that Christians seem to think that their beliefs are the only ones that matter, and that everyone should live according to the Christian beliefs regardless of whether they are Christians or not. That someone might have other beliefs, or want something else is lost on them, or it’s irrelevant and they do not care. If they don’t like something, they have to outlaw it, or make it unavailable to everyone. That’s a very infantile approach to things if you ask me.

    The simple thing to do would be to tell these people, “Hey, you don’t like contraceptives? Don’t use them. You think abortion is evil? Don’t get one. Do you want 15 kids when you do get married? Have them. If you believe in all these things, great, but not everyone else does, and you can’t make these (or other) decisions for other people. It’s not your place, and it’s none of your business.”

  • Allison the Great

    Yeah, that these women are totally fine with being someone’s property and not having any autonomy at all is just really unsettling.

  • vashti_lives

    Part of me really wants to believe that no one is buying what these women are selling, but given how many politicians and businesses are in an uproar about whether or not insurance companies are required to cover birth control I’m not so sure…

    I would also like to add however that the old chestnut “abstinence is the only 100% guaranteed method of birth control” is one of those conservative fallacies that people agree with without really thinking about. There are many ways of having sex that will never result in a pregnancy. When people say that abstinence is only perfectly reliable birth control they erase many gay people, and declare that there is only one true kind sex. I think in particular it’s this fallacy that ends up leading to those stories where all the teens in abstinence clubs are participating in blow jobs and anal sex. After all, a blow job could never get someone pregnant, so it must not be sex!

    Anyway, sorry to be slightly off topic, but it’s one of those things that really set me off, because I think it’s a dangerous mind set that the conservative church pushes and people just accept without thinking through.

  • Nightshade

    Exactly. They want to make decisions for everyone else, but as soon as someone tries to take that decision-making power they start screaming ‘persecution!’ Please. They have no idea what persecution looks like.

  • Catherine

    Well…homosexual sex also doesn’t result in pregnancy. So there’s that 🙂

  • SAO

    Ignoring the dubious statistics, the logic of this argument is irrational; it boils down to because some people who use X do Y, which we think is wrong, let’s ban X. Kind of like, say, banning football because beer sales spike on Superbowl weekend and we want to discourage alcoholism.

  • Christie

    Sometimes the pain of labor is less than the effects of anesthetic. I have had anesthetic twice in birth, had it go VERY wrong once. I’d rather deal with the pain for a few hours than the effects of anesthesia for two weeks.

    I have since had two unmedicated births and they were not days in the park at least the pain was over when it was over.

    My choice….I think you should make your own choice.

  • Christie

    Birth control has been and will continue to be available very inexpensively (for the most common forms). I think you should do as you please. I also think you should pay for it out of your pocket, not mine.

    Hormonal birth control is not a fluffy puppy though, and completely harmless. I have known two women to die from strokes in their early 30’s because of the BC they were on. It is serious medication with serious side effects. Women need to be aware of the risks.

    Education is the key to everything including this. Get educated about your risks then do as you see fit.

  • Saraquill

    I find the “out of your pocket, not mine” to be a bit off putting. Hormonal birth control is cheaper in the long term than the taxes needed to support a new person or people throughout their entire lifetime.

    There’s also the issue of PCOS and crippling menstrual cramps, which birth control medication also treats. I don’t understand how it could be bad to help prevent someone from feeling that sort of pain.

  • Christie

    Well, I don’t ask you to pay for my husbands blood pressure meds and they are needful for him. We pay for those. I have to have a very expensive medicine to keep me from being extremely ill when I am pregnant and I have to pay for that. If I can’t pay for it, then perhaps I should reconsider having another child, yes?

    There is a segment of society that wants birth control to be a publicly funded freebie. Nothing in life is free, someone has to pay for it.

  • Christie

    Ok, perhaps you are not aware of this, but as a gun owner I am aware. If I ever have to use a gun, even in the most justifiable self-defense I can expect to have to pay out somewhere between 10-50K in defense. If it is murky at all 100K easy. Many gun owners do carry extra insurance just because of this.

    If you misuse a gun. Expect to pay through the nose.

    What I said was to be educated and to know that BC has serious risks. I am very careful with what pain meds I take precisely because I know they are risky.

  • Christie

    If your insurance does not cover what you need it to cover (whether that be BC or the cancer treatment you may need). May I suggest shopping around.

    Giving people the freedom to participate in a free market is hardly a radical idea either.

  • Christie

    That is true and that is a failing of our system. In that I have no solutions, but an understanding that we need a better system than what we have now for people who find themselves in that place. Also, you have to be careful and wise. We have insurance that covers cancer treatments though neither of us or our children seem to need it. It is insurance you hope to never use.

    If you have never heard of people saying that BC should be free for all, then perhaps you and I frequent different circles because I have heard it said many many times.

    We got from freeloaders to free market, because you brought up insurance companies.

  • Christie

    But people do get their insurance outside of their employer. My parents do, as neither place offers insurance. My sister has a catastrophic plan with a high deductible because she is an independent contractor. When I worked at a small private school we looked at a medi-share program because there was no insurance offered there.

    Now today we get our insurance through my husbands work, but even there we had choices. There was a platinum plan with no deductible but a high premium. There was a bronze plan with an HSA and a higher deductible but a lower premium and several choices in between.

    There are other options. But lets be real here. When I had no insurance and was paying for BC totally out of my own pocket it was $30 a month. If that is totally outside your budget, and you feel you need insurance to cover that, I might suggest a second job.

  • Christie

    If they want to cover it, fine. Most of them do. I am for freedom in that I don’t make decisions for you, and you don’t make decisions for me. If you want insurance that covers BC or viagra, or blood pressure meds, or anything else, make sure you buy one that does.

    The free market is has been one of the greatest forces for enriching the middle and lower classes than any other market system out there. Even communist China saw that free markets are helpful. It is much like Churchill said of democracy “it is the worst system, except all the others.”

    Now as to why the premiums go up….it is complicated. There are more expensive procedures out there, more expensive drugs, and there is a general disconnect between the consumer and consumption. What I will say is that my family has experienced the highest jump in premiums since the gov’t started interfering even more in insurance and is getting even less in services.

    My $30 example is to demonstrate that this is not an expensive drug. That I bought it for myself when we made less than 2K a month because it was important to me at the time.

  • Christie

    China embraced capitalism decades ago (1978). Capitalism and free market principals have produced a very wealthy society here in the US. Even our poor are wealthy (TV’s, cell-phones, housing, etc etc).

    I am glad your premiums have not gone up. This nonsense should help someone.

  • Christie

    Well I think they would disagree that their cellphone, TV, and clothes are illusions. They seem rather real right now. The whole world is indebted to each other. Similar strategy to the cold-wars mutually assured nuclear destruction. No one nation can financially destroy the other without being destroyed itself.

    At this point we are talking about monopoly $$ as no one thinks anyone is ever going to pay off trillion dollar debts.

    You don’t like capitalism….ok. I think capitalism is just a fact of life. It is like railing against snow in winter. We all do it, but there is no real alternative out there.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    That is not an option for many people. Example: I take a biologic medicine for my life threatening asthma that my insurance company covers all but $80. The medicine when I first started getting it ran about $6,000 a month that the insurance paid. It’s come down in costs mightily but I know with my preexisting condition that can only be treated by this medicine of last resort because nothing else works is going to be impossible to get any other insurance company to cover. My husband’s federal insurance policy covers the meds. Most do not ever cover that med. If you want it in Canada you pay 100% out of pocket. No other company is going to offer to cover that drug even with a high premium or deductible. We’d go bankrupt in a hurry if insurance didn’t cover it. Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover it either.

  • Christie

    Poor people are poor for a host of reasons some of which a person can control, some of which they cannot.

    Really the poor have had precious little to do with any recent booms and busts. That would be the wall street fat cats and crony capitalism (which is inevitable, but despicable). Sadly corruption is rampant and the powers that be on either side have no desire to correct it as they would be implicated themselves.

    But we are way off topic.

  • Christie

    Yes, that stinks. I am glad you have the coverage you need. Your situation is precisely why people have insurance. You are paying for a service, you should get what you need out of it.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, there are concrete medical advantages to low-intervention childbirth (a much less judgmental term than “natural childbirth” in my opinion) that might lead a woman to choose that course. Of course, it also hurts a lot more (at least during the actual labor)! It’s up to each woman to do the cost-benefit analysis for herself to make that decision and she shouldn’t receive judgment or pressure either way. I know what you mean about some people seeing childbirth without an epidural as a “rite of passage,” that you have to go through if you’re going to be a “real” woman or a “real” mother and I don’t like that one bit. But there are plenty of women who choose the low-intervention route for much better reasons than a misguided fetishism of all things “natural.”

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Um, not everybody has the option of “shopping around.” I am a non-profit professional and I am poor. (No seriously, I am below the poverty line. Yes, it is possible for a college-educated professional to be such in this day and age of “free-market” fundamentalism’s takeover of America.) I take the plan my job gives me, like many people, including people who are higher earners than I am. Luckily it is a good one. I’d be SOL if it weren’t.

    Well, not completely. I also live in MA, where we have near-universal healthcare so even people who are uninsured through work can be insured through the state. Actually, part of the reason my plan is so good is because MA’s same healthcare laws demand that all healthcare plans be fairly comprehensive. (All plans must cover mental healthcare, for example. I know, it’s a dystopian nightmare, all this access and coverage!) I could choose the state healthcare plan if I wanted, but the plan my job provides is better for my needs. Those are my two choices and two choices is more than lots of people have. Lots of people have one choice, or zero. People where I live have much more access to health insurance than most of the country and still, most do not have the luxury of shopping around for the perfect plan for them. Birth control is a health need for most women at some point in their lives. So it’s not a stretch to say that birth control coverage should be standard for insurance plans.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I am so over this idea that is becoming so standard that people should just work two jobs to meet their basic needs if one job isn’t covering it. If you are working full-time, you should have your basic needs met, period. People should not have to juggle two jobs and work themselves to exhaustion just to get basic freaking healthcare. Good grief, what are we coming to?

    Also, you were lucky that a cheap birth control was a good fit for you. Not all pills work our for all people, not all pills have a generic option, and some people need a more expensive one.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    *slow clap*

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    “Free market” principles have produced some disgustingly wealthy individuals, that’s for sure. A wealthy society? Not so much.

    And you should come check out some of that housing that many poor people are obliged to live in some time. You’d quickly see they’re not exactly living the high life. And cell phones? Are you serious? Of course, most poor people have cell phones. That is not a luxury in this society, it is a necessity. Try finding a job without even having a phone number. And, for most people, a cell phone makes much more sense than a land line.

    We do not live in an agrarian, developing country of people living in huts, carrying their homegrown produce to the local market. We live in a technologically advanced, industrialized nation and that makes more technology necessary for everybody, including poor people, just to participate in society. Poverty in countries like this one cannot be compared to poverty in developing countries. It’s apples and oranges.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    There is no perfect system but all of this is not inevitable. Regulation is A Thing. Does anyone remember that anymore?

  • SAO

    Suzanne’s asthma drugs are highly illustrative of why healthcare isn’t a free market and we should stop pretending it is. Why is it $6,000? Because some people need it and the drug company can charge that much. Drug companies spend huge amounts on marketing. There’s a drug company rep for every 10 doctors and they are one of the most profitable industries.

    So, how does a free market say No to outrageous price gouging? By refusing to pay. That works fine for most things because if you can’t afford that TV, you can get a library card and read books instead. But in a market where some people need the drug, we get outraged at saying No. We have insurance so that someone else can pay, but then get angry when they try to exert some pressure on obscene profits made on the back of desperate and sick people.

    I think this is a perfect example of why we need more government regulation of healthcare pricing.

  • Hannah

    Seriously. I literally *just* finished watching an episode of Call the Midwife in which a woman is pregnant with her ninth, they live in a two room flat (not bedrooms, rooms), and she spends months on end making herself seriously ill trying to abort it, saying she’d kill herself if she had to have it. She sells her wedding ring and her prized curtains in order to pay for a surgical abortion that goes wrong and nearly kills her and ends up making her infertile. Which is ironically what she’d wanted in the first place but couldn’t get because it “wasn’t medically necessary”. So yeah, the past really is a magical place where everyone wanted and loved their bajillion children and never tried to have illegal abortions, SURE let’s all keep believing and trying to emulate that!

  • Nea

    Riiiiight. When my doctor told me I needed emergency surgery I totally had the time and energy (and time off from work) to shop around for lots of opinions and options.

    Shopping around requires time. It requires information, much of which is not available up front. It requires *options* – if there’s only one place that’s accessible, that’s where you go, like it or not.

    I was lucky. My job let me have unannounced time off, repeatedly, as I got ready and recuperated. I had people who could take care of me while incapacitated. I had excellent health care and savings so didn’t have to worry about money.

    I am not so foolish as to think that because I had these things, any of them (much less all of them) are equally available to everyone else.

  • Christie

    The problem with that is that you get crony capitalism often through regulation. The gov’t often picks winners and losers and picks and chooses when and upon who to enforce these regulations. Men are not angels. So we get into the issue if who watches the watchers watching the watchers.

  • Christie

    I have lived next and worked with those poor poor people. I have worked with and seen poverty overseas. It is apples and oranges, but the devastating effects of poverty here is largely mitigated by our safety nets. Children usually don’t starve to death here when a parent loses a job. That is a good thing.

  • Christie

    If every job was a “living wage”. The price of hamburgers at mcdonalds would be sky high. There is a reason some jobs pay more than others. Non-skilled labor is not paid well. There is a large pool of non-skilled workers. Supply and demand take over.

    As for our healthcare system I agree it stinks. However when I call my OB I usually get an appt in days not weeks (like other places).

  • Christie

    Govt regulation sounds great till you see what they actually do. They exempted all vaccine makers from all liability. So the gov’t coerces you to get a new shiny vaccine and there is a nasty reaction…… So sorry Charlie. I am not anti vaccine at all, I just see how there could easily be abuse. Gov’t regulation sounds great till you realize that the drug companies and the FDA are like a revolving door.

    So who watches the FDA who watches the drug companies?

  • tulips

    Outstanding. 2 birds, one stone. Now of course…we know that the execs would have some beard stroke meetings to find the sweet spot between the wage increases affecting profits and product cost increases affecting profits…but yes I’d expect the artificially low prices to be raised somewhat.

  • tulips

    My field is in medicine and I’m just physically unable in the rising threat of vaccine “thrutherism” to not mention that vaccines are one of the most medically safe interventions around. Common over the counter pain meds present a much larger threat to health of the general public. I’m actually one of the individuals who does support free birth control including top tier birth control because I believe the benefit at a population level more than compensates the front end investment.

  • SAO

    Note, I said “we need more government regulation of healthcare PRICING”, but nonetheless, are you arguing that we need less gov’t regulation of drugs? To get rid of the FDA and let anyone who has a good ad campaign sell whatever snake oil they want to sell?

    But, I believe we should have good social support. If you have a serious health problem or a handicap, be it from a birth, a random event or a reaction to a vaccine, the costs of healthcare and support of the disabled should not be based on ability to pay.

    Should whether or not Suzanne dies an early death from complications of untreated asthma be based on whether or not she can afford $72,000 of asthma medicine a year? $72,000 is more than twice the median income for women in the US.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I think studies have shown that the effects of paying workers a living wage would be a marginal increase in product prices IF the entire cost was paid for by raising consumer prices.

    I can’t find that article now, but here are some interesting ones.



  • Astrin Ymris

    For at least a decade activists have been saying that below-poverty level wages are a hidden taxpayer subsidy of private businesses. It’s just that all of a sudden, people are listening– and taking it seriously.

  • CroneEver


  • Christie

    Sure they are safe, right up until the point that they are not and then with the laws we have there are precious little options.

    Two of the vaccines I gave my kids in good faith have been taken off of the market. Why? As I understood it safety concerns ( as my pediatrician told me). Great. Happily my kids are ok.

    Look vaccines save lives, but when the people who make them have immunity from all liability it lacks the accountability that most medicine has.

    Really this is beside the point. My point was who watches the watchers watching the watchers.

  • Christie

    Except that it is not those of us making a decent middle income that depend on those dollar menus for our dinner. It is the people who make the least that will be hurt the most by the increase in prices.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, actually I do think BC should be a publicly funded freebie but that’s because I’m a crazy socialist who thinks that the majority of other developed countries might have this one right. I think all healthcare should be publicly funded, not just birth control.

    Still, if I were going to pick just a few medications/procedures and have those be the only ones that are publicly funded freebies, birth control–several forms of it–would be among them. That’s because it’s cheap, effective, very much in demand, and has high social as well as personal value.

  • Christie

    I think if I posted things from breitbart you would take it with a grain of salt (or perhaps the whole shaker). So understand if I do the same here.

  • Christie

    Ah see you and I come from opposite sides of the spectrum. That is why we disagree so much.

    Just fundamentally different value sets.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    lol. So your argument is basically that McDonald’s has to pay people poverty wages so that the the people earning poverty wages will be able to afford the life-shortening junk food they shill? Gosh, McDonald’s is so very philanthropic! You get points for creativity on that one, I’ll say that much.

    Here’s a novel idea: If those people were paid a living wage and could survive on one full-time job, maybe they’d have the time, money, and facilities to do what most middle income families get to do–buy and cook healthier food for their families.

  • Christie

    Well no, my argument is that most people working at Mcdonalds are not looking for a living wage. They are students or moms or others looking to augment or assist in household support.

    If you are looking to support yourself and you are looking at mcdonalds, you need to look elsewhere. When I worked for $5.50 an hour I was a student just looking for something to give me gas and out to eat money. When I had to support a house I looked for a new job.

    It is an entry level job, you get entry level wages because you have entry level talents.

  • Christie

    The economy stinks. There are MANY reasons for that. There are also no easy neat solutions. I have seen in my own family people that used to make 50k a year after lay-offs reduced to a $10 an hour jobs because their skills are no longer valid. What you are suggesting will cause more lay-offs and more pain to those same people.

  • Christie

    Ummmm….. I have not made this ad-hominem at all. Actually I shop at Costco and Kroger and if we want a burger we usually go to five guys.

    I am thinking of those days when I was a kid and my mom and dad were working their butts off and sometimes we did depend on low walmart prices and dollar menus.

    You don’t like it. You don’t like paying 30-40% in all taxes? End the freebies (that my family never qualified for). But that will never happen. Sooooo here we are.

  • Christie

    This is not something that has not been tried before in other places. My sister visits a nation regularly that has controls just like what you are proposing. Jeans are $200, simple shoes for a child $125. The poor are even poorer.

    We know what can and will happen it is not all sunshine. A few win, many lose.

  • Christie

    Like I said I was thinking of those days when my parents made just enough that we did not qualify for any help, but we had almost no $$ and depended on low price items.

    My husband and I do better because he and I try to keep our skill sets relevant and up to date. So we get to shop at Kroger and eat hamburgers and broccoli instead of tuna mac from wal-mart.

    Sure, I’d like to do all this things too. But no politician left or right is going to do those things. The movers and shakers left and right like to keep us agitated and on edge. Easier to get us fighting about little stuff that makes less of a difference (like easily available cheap BC) than stuff that might actually make us a stronger people.

  • Christie

    Sure…..why not. It really does not matter much. Really I care only but so much on this issue. There are so many more important topics that cause much more harm.

    Corporate welfare has been here for at least 80 years. I’d love to lessen it, but there is no will in Washington to do so in such a way that won’t destroy the middle class. It does not matter if you vote R or D they have their favorites and you cannot pry their greasy nasty hand off of it.

  • Christie

    Interestingly it was Queen Victoria who is partially responsible for anesthesia becoming acceptable. She used it during a difficult birth and said it was great. That let other women (the upper crust to start then others followed) convince their husbands and doctors it was acceptable.

  • Christie

    Other issues matter more. Birth control that is paid for by nearly all insurance and is most of the time cheap cheap anyway is not a big deal.

    The idea that LAF or patriarchy has any chance of making it difficult or expensive to obtain is laughable.

  • Christie

    I think it is more the principal of the thing. I already have to pay for stupid wars that do nothing but empty our coffers. I have to pay to incarcerate people who should honestly be in a hospital for addiction treatment. I have to pay for schools that do exactly the opposite of what is known to work. Then I have to pay for crony capitalism as well on both sides.

    Now some here want my mom and dad to pay $10 for a cheeseburger.

    Now I should pay for everyone’s sexual recreation items?

    Too much!

  • Christie

    I don’t know if it saves $$. Not my area of expertise. It might in a creepy eugenics sort of way (the less kids welfare queens have the better sort of talk–). All that is a distasteful and, to me, a kind of ugly way to think.

    I tend to think that children who are loved and cared for leave more in this world than they take out.

    There are more important issues, yes.

  • Christie

    That is not really free market but a nasty three headed beast called crony capitalism and corporatism and I agree it is despicable and should be killed till it is dead.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    …and at the “Welfare Queens” fallacy I just have to ask you if you even bothered getting to know anyone on welfare or struggling to raise their kids on it? It’s not enough to provide basic anything. If you knew any you’d see what a ridiculous lie ‘Welfare Queens’ are. There was a series of articles in a major newspaper recently showing what a fully concocted lie that phrase is. It’s offense.

    Plus, the thread is going way way way off topic..

  • Christie

    Capitalism is X company provides Y service or good for A cost, Z company provides Y service or good for B cost. The govt steps in to enforce contracts, prevent fraud and safety concerns.

    If we had that in insurance everything would be stated up front and you would choose your company and coverage level based on the considerations given. Young and healthy would probably choose a catastrophic plan. Others would choose as they deemed best.

    We don’t have that in hardy any industry anymore. It is sad state of affairs.

  • Christie

    Actually yes I do. I worked as a teacher at an inner city school. So I have seen admirable poor women fighting hard to make it, and I have seen mothers who stole their kids pain meds.

    I still think it is a nasty way to think about BC saving society $$. That we are doing away with the less desirable in society (shudder). I have heard people say it though.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    my argument is that most people working at Mcdonalds are not looking for a living wage. They are students or moms or others looking to augment or assist in household support.

    Well, this is just plain untrue. Many people rely on low-skill, minimum wage work alone to support themselves and their families. There are so many sources confirming this, I don’t even know where to start and I don’t really have the time either. This conversation is going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. As a low-wage worker yourself* did you seriously never meet single moms or people otherwise trying to support themselves and others? I certainly did in my food service days.

    If you are looking to support yourself and you are looking at mcdonalds, you need to look elsewhere.

    Because that is such an easy task with a recession, sky-rocketing education costs, a job shortage that has many people with education beyond high school in desperate straits! Let them eat cake, eh? Your Wonderland sounds like a nice place to live but, unfortunately, most people don’t live there.

    If you work hard all day, you should earn enough to get what you need. The fact that we have become accustomed to thinking of basic necessities as luxuries that people need to go above and beyond to deserve is a testament to the sheer cruelty and inhumanity of this society. It should not take more than “entry level talents” just to live. I’d say that living is an entry-level expectation.

    But the bottom line? If companies don’t pay their workers enough to live, one of two things must happen: the government must make up the difference through public assistance (which your crowd tends not to be such a fan of) or poor people starve. Given that you have seen fit to put the phrase “living wage” in scare-quotes, perhaps the latter is your preference.

    *although, according to the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, even if that was as recently as 15 years ago, $5.50 is worth more in today’s dollars than the current federal minimum of $7.25, and if it was longer ago then it was worth substantially more so.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Ah, thank you, Lolly! This is the source I most recently saw for those stats myself that I couldn’t remember in my above comment(The Sunday School I teach at partners with a labor organization so I’m generally pretty in the loop but don’t walk around with a bibliography).

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, I pretty much agree with your last statement. But that’s because the D’s have more or less become R’s at this point.

  • Christie

    When I worked low paying jobs we were all the supplemental income of the house. Not one of my fellow childcare workers or preschool teachers were the primary income source. Most women I met who were primary income sources worked in the elementary school and usually made over 30k, which stinks but is doable, just barely.

    Tell you what. Figure out a way to do what you say without skyrocketing costs, laying off 1 in 3 workers, and growing an already leviathan gov’t and you will have me for a cheerleader.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    It’s always only a matter of time until the disgust for the idea that non-wealthy women might choose to have sex (what a bunch of whores!) comes out. Why can’t poor women just be celibate, right? (Including married ones.) Especially since every woman has that choice in her relationship to begin with, as is so frequently demonstrated on this very blog!

    Why not advocate for ending (and not starting) these stupid wars of aggression, finding more compassionate and effective ways to deal with drug abuse, and fixing the school system (I wholly endorse all those goals) instead of railing against paying single moms enough to feed their kids for busting their asses all day to make your fries? We may never get what we want but I don’t see why that’s an argument for not even wanting it–and speaking up for it. Why prioritize the wallets of CEOs over the lives of poor people?

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Children can be loved and cared for better when their parents don’t have more children than they either want or can handle emotionally and financially. How is making it easier for people to plan their families in any way “eugenics?” Nobody’s talking about sterilizing people here.

  • Christie

    Exactly. Look at our current president, he promised so much then governed as bad or worse than Bush. Wretched politicians. Two sides of the same stinking coin.

  • Christie

    On the corporate CEO’s, that’s why I shop at Costco not SAMs. I can’t do anything on that but vote with my wallet.

    On drugs, the effects of drugs on families has been terrible the effects of the stupid drug war has been far far worse on both families and our nation as a whole. Find me a politician with the guts to call for an end to it and I will send them some $$.

    The stupid wars are immoral and sapping $$ that should go to real defense problems. I like Ron Paul on that but he is simply too old to run.

    This issue (birth control) is small potatoes. But it was the topic at hand.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Whoa, now making it easier for people to not have children that they don’t want and can’t support is “doing away” with people? Good grief!

    I also work with low-income, inner city kids and have for years. I have seen the damage done to children by dysfunctional and/or abusive parents more often than I care to say. And I know–as you should too, really–that parents often become dysfunctional and abusive when they crack under the strain of trying to raise kids that they didn’t want, can’t afford and weren’t ready for. Drug abuse, which you alluded to, is a common (crappy) coping mechanism for extreme stress and despair. I can see some girls I teach now heading down the same path as their violent and/or substance-abusing mothers. Or I can see them possibly rising above their circumstances and making good futures for themselves against all odds. (And the odds for these girls truly suck.) Pulling that second option off is going to be a lot easier (though far from easy) if they don’t have babies before they are emotionally ready to raise them, before they are able to financially support them, and before they are able to process their own pasts enough to avoid simply perpetuating the cycle of their parents’ dysfunction and abuse when they become mothers themselves, which happens tragically often. And, you know, helping people to not have babies when they’re not ready for them is something birth control is rather famous for.

  • Christie

    You should have the family you want to have. No argument from me there.

    Eugenics can come in many flavors. Saying birth control saves society $$ is disquieting. When I hear that I think of the…..not so nice people….that say stupid stuff like “if you accept public assistance you should be sterilized.” Which is bull. It may not be what is meant, but it is what I think of.

  • Christie

    You seem to be under the impression that I am against BC. I am not. Certainly not in those circumstances. Simple BC is very cheap, covered by most insurance and for the poor usually free or almost so. If they don’t know where to go the school nurse does know.

    Where I see eugenics come in is when we start quantifying the benefits of BC for society at large vs an individual’s choice to control their fertility (which is none of society’s business). That is where it starts to get creepy to me.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I have lived next and worked with those poor poor people. I have worked with and seen poverty overseas.

    Good for you. So have/do I. But you did not address my main point, which is that, in a technologically advanced society, more technology is needed just to be a participating member. When I hear these conservative talking heads having hissy fits over the fact that poor people have things like *gasp* refrigerators, I want to ask them if they expect people in the projects to go out and milk their goats every morning. Refrigerators are how most people preserve food in this country, they are a necessity. Cell phones are how people communicate, including with potential or current employers. They are a necessity. (Again, land lines don’t make sense for lots of people.) In some parts of the world, this is not true, in our part of the world, it is. In some countries, poverty looks like people starving, in this country, it is more likely to look like people having enough calories but still being malnourished (although not always, by any means. Children without enough to eat is far more common than anyone wants to believe and failure to thrive among children and infants, which can indirectly lead to death is not that uncommon). It doesn’t mean that poor people aren’t poor.

  • Christie

    You are again going ad-hominem.

    Several people have said that birth control saves society $$. So yes that does shade into the eugenics area of seeing people as an expense.

    By all means eliminate non-value added steps.

    You seem to be trolling now. I have other things to do. I have said my piece. I will leave you to the echo chamber of the internet a forums.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    We are talking about giving individuals more choices and more accessible choices for controlling their fertility. Recognizing that doing this also has a social benefit is not “eugenics” and saying so is absurd–and also not a correct usage of that oh-so-overused word.

    I would agree with you that discussing social benefit would be “creepy” if people were talking about prioritizing social benefit at the expense of individual choice. But nobody is doing that. We are saying that this is the right thing to do for people and also, happily, the right thing to do for society. There’s no need to start fussing about eugenics at the mere acknowledgement of the fact that people are members of a collective in addition to being individuals. Have we really become so hysterically individualistic that the mere concept of individuals belonging to a society is sinister? Is it also sinister to, for example, say that is is the right thing to do to make education accessible to individuals and additionally acknowledge that an education population is good for society? Does “society” just not exist? (Well, that’s what the libertarians say…)

    Our country is just jumping the shark…

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Honestly, I’m just surprised the discussion didn’t go full-on Godwin. It was treading pretty close there (and was probably only a matter of time).

  • tulips

    Why the binary/straw man? No one is suggesting that the fry cook and the CEO should have comparable wages, please explain to me why it is acceptable for a multibillion dollar fast food chains to pay their employees less money than will sustain human life above the poverty line? That is a not a “free market” that is a market in which the very wealthy have the freedom to exploit vulnerable populations who have no alternative means of minimally surviving then passing the buck and letting tax payers subsidize their already record profits by making up the difference in assistance? How about if…we just required them to pay their employees out of their own profits and employ their very most favoritist free market principle of letting the strongest companies survive and letting those too feeble to make it without slave labor lose the illusion of being anything else.

  • CroneEver

    Yes – for one thing, since she was queen, her doctors could not refuse her anesthesia. And she LOVED it.

  • texcee

    I have done geneaology research on my family for several years. It was not uncommon at all for a family to have 10+ children, with the mother dying in childbirth (usually when she was over the age of 40) with the last child. Then often the father re-married and started siring another batch of kids. My own grandfather was one of 13 children from his father’s second marriage! Insanity!

  • tulips

    Maybe it’s more like if birth control is banned and people go back to having 10 kids it won’t matter what they want because they won’t have any power, autonomy, or agency —–> Low cost compliant labor force?

  • CroneEver

    Pre-antibiotics, there was a 50-50 chance of dying in childbirth from septicemia, so there were a lot of families where one wife died, the man remarried (usually almost instantly, so someone would take care of all those kids) and have another family, and on, and on… Cotton Mather, the old New England Puritan preacher, had 3 wives and 15 children; Coventry Patmore, Victorian poet and author of “The Angel in the House” had 3 wives; and then there’s Mrs. Feodor Vassileyev (first name unknown), who had 69 children. I find it hard to believe that she really looked forward to the 69th with the same anticipation she had for the first… Oh, and when she died, he remarried and had more children with a second. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_the_most_children

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    The ONLY reason I don’t live in a slum right now is because I look like a college/grad student and I live in a mostly-student neighborhood. It’s the ONLY way I could find rent under $500 a month in a safe area. I’m still barely making rent each month (and student loan payments, and my cell phone bill, and my $10 netflix bill).

    The ONLY reason I can eat? SNAP (food stamps) and regular visits to food pantries.

    I’m glad that I am eligible for the VA’s medical care (Air Force), because otherwise I wouldn’t get healthcare at all. It’s too expensive.

    And I work 30-40 hours a week in retail (while studying for the GRE), and pick up editing and other small jobs when I can. It’s not a matter of laziness.

  • texcee

    Don’t give Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar any ideas!