Anti-abortion = anti-contraception?

July 31, 2009 | By | 11 Replies More

One of the first posts I wrote at this site was an in-depth look at a “pregnancy resource center” which, to my dismay excelled at spreading untruths about abortion and did its best to discourage the use of effective birth control. What a strange thing, I thought, to discourage methods that would prevent accidental pregnancy which would, in turn, lower the abortion rate. Maybe fighting effective birth control (i.e., methods that don’t exclusive rely on just say no) would be good for repeat business at the “pregnancy resource center,” but it is terrible for the unwitting clients of these highly dysfunction centers.

Image from Dreamstime (with permission)

Image from Dreamstime (with permission)

Along comes this Alternet post by Christina Page, “Why the Anti-Choice Movement Is on the Verge of Civil War.”  This is a fascinating look at the anti-choice movement’s big schism:

The question now is: ‘are you pro-life and pro-contraception, therefore trying to reduce the need for abortions, or are you pro-life and against contraception and you hope that people’s lives improve just by hoping it, wishing it so.'”

And consider this–I think that Page’s logic is impeccable:

It may come as a shock to most pro-life Americans, but there’s not one pro-life group in the United States that supports contraception. Rather, many lead campaigns against contraception. As [anti-abortion yet pro-contraception] Congressman [Tim] Ryan explained, “I think the pro-life groups are finding themselves further and further removed from the mainstream; they’re on the fringe of this debate.” Considering that the average woman spends 23 years of her life trying not to get pregnant, the anti-contraception approach depends on a scourge of sexless marriages or a lot of wishful thinking.

Where does this lead?  If you aren’t for preventing accidental pregnancies, you can’t truly be anti-abortion.   Yet that is the situation with all major anti-abortion groups.  For example, none of them support Ryan’s legislation that would increase funding to make birth control available, promote effective sex-ed and provide financial incentives for adoption.   Yet no pro-life group supports his efforts.   Many groups staunchly oppose the use of real birth control (e.g., this one). On the other hand, most pro-life individuals support his efforts.  Not surprising, in that 80% of pro-life individuals (90% of Catholics!) support the availability of effective birth control.  Page presents many other eye-popping stats in her article.

The bottom line?

The greatest opportunity to reduce the need for abortion is to focus the 95% of unintended pregnancies that are highly preventable. The plan is simple: address the lack of and incorrect use of contraception.

This is a solution that virtually all individuals agree on.  But all we get from “pro-life” groups is defiance.  Therefore, pro-life groups (such as Democrats for Life) are wholly unaccountable to their constituents.

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Category: American Culture, Fraud, hypocrisy, ignorance, Reproductive Rights, Sex, snake oil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (11)

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  1. This becomes the drum beat of the oft repeated. Does this surprise you?

    It's not about fetuses. It's about people fucking. The bottom line for all these groups is to shove women in chastity belts so their husbands have complete control of the pussy and can guarantee the children are all theirs. Of course, the only kids that will have any freedoms will be the boys.

    Of course they would loudly declaim this is not true, but look at their policies and their actions and the so-called moral arguments they use to underpin them. "Traditional family values" equates to a Norman Rockwell concept of how "things ought to be." The biggest outcry over every introduction of some method to reduce the risk of pregnancy throughout the 20th century has been that it will tear society apart, threaten the family, and promote promiscuity and immorality. Fucking.

    Sorry for the blue language, but sometimes to get a point across…

  2. On a somewhat more anthropological note, it comes down to what these groups have in common with fundamentalist Muslims and other such subsets: It seems imperative to the point of obsessive paranoia to them to find a means to keep women from leaving. Anything that allows a woman to live an independent life is inimical to this mindset. To them, women must be bound, body and mind, to a male and prevented from ever exercising their discontent by vacating the relationship—or, worse, refusing to enter into such a relationship in the first place.

  3. dprosenthal says:

    What am I missing here? If you don't believe in terminating an unwanted pregnancy, why would you NOT want to prevent conception in the first place?

    Another question–what are all those people doing in my bedroom and my private life?

    Finally, are any of you pro-pro-ers willing to open your homes and your hearts to the many poor kids currently being raised (?) by people who didn't want them and treat then accordingly?

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Without unwanted children, who would keep our prisons filled? We have the highest prison population per capita in the world, and the highest paid prison industry.

  5. Janet Baker says:

    Just a short note, hurrying to make the first train to get to church on time: how young and dumb writers seem, to support contraception-without-abortion. They are unfamiliar with the failure rates of existing contraceptives, and they are unfamiliar with the fragility of the sex act. They are not studying the lessons of Japan and Korea, even the beginning of the virus in Iran, and don't forget Europe. They are all disappearing. They taught themselves that planning is everything. Now they have no babies. Did you know Planned Parenthood of Korea changed its name a month or so back, and its mission? They can't get Korean women to have babies. Who would have thunk.

    Conception should not be planned. Sexual acts should be planned. To reduce sex to mere pleasure is to reduce it to the immature, boring sexuality of a little boy jerking off.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Janet: It sounds like your plan for what you claim to be too few people is to foist babies upon people who don't want them. Sounds like slavery to me.

      Yes, some Asian countries have population imbalances. What would those countries now be like had they not approved of family planning decades ago? Mumbai? Please tell me: What is your long-term vision for what would happen after you've implemented your plan to invade the bedrooms and lives of the many adults who don't want your "help"? Lagos? Why don't you just get a head start and begin burglarizing homes from coast to coast? You and your know-it-all buddies can start cleaning out the medicine cabinets of millions of women who don't currently want babies? That will "fix" the problem, because then those women who clearly don't want babies will start having them. Problem solved, in your mind.

      Interesting that, for you, sex is only something for shallow little boys. I actually know more than a few women who would be outraged by what you have written. And I will suggest to you that there are psychotherapists who would be happy to help you to understand that protected sex can be pleasurable, wholesome and relationship-enhancing for women too.

      Have a good time at church. Go find that part of the Bible where Jesus condemns birth control and report back.

  6. grumpypilgrim says:

    Opposing the availability of effective contraception makes sense in only one situation I can think of: if one considers procreation to be the sole purpose of sexual intercourse. Obviously, that belief stands on very different moral ground than does an opposition to legalized abortions. Abortion raises issues of weighing the so-called "right-to-life" of an unborn embryo versus the right-to-life of a cogent pregnant woman. Reasonable people can disagree over where that balance should occur. By contrast, the belief that procreation is or should be the sole purpose of sexual intercourse has no moral basis outside of religious doctrine. Plainly, sexual intercourse does *in fact* have purposes other than procreation; therefore, to deny that those other purposes exist is merely to invoke a particular religious myth.

  7. Janet writes:—"To reduce sex to mere pleasure is to reduce it to the immature, boring sexuality of a little boy jerking off."

    My dear Janet, there is nothing "mere" about it. You mischaracterize it. Your statement sounds like that of someone who has never had really good meaningful sex.

    Good sex is never boring. Good sex requires a level of maturity "little boys" couldn't possibly have. There are several orders of magnitude difference between "jerking off" and making love.

    Procreation is only one aspect of sex. And for human beings (among others) not the most important one.

    However, since you feel free to characterize those other aspects in such a dismissive manner, I suspect you have no clue what they are.

    Does this sound insulting and insensitive? It is no more than how your position sounds to me, and, to be fair, probably just as inaccurate.

    The failure rates of contraception are beside the point. I'll take 95% effective over nothing any day. Besides, at least in the case of condoms, those failure rates are stated for legal reasons more than anything to do with the actual reliability of a properly used condom. (You can't insure a claim of 100% effectiveness—the liability costs are prohibitive.)

    I've seen that argument before, that we will suffer a decline in population if birth control continues to be used. So what? My sperm does not belong to the state, nor do your eggs, and to suggest we ought to reproduce because we're in competition with other nations is to completely eradicate personal choice as a right.

    I go on here at some length in the hope you might read this and get a clue. Basically, though, I read your comments and thought—bullshit.

  8. Ebonmuse says:

    "They taught themselves that planning is everything. Now they have no babies."

    I've found that you never hear claims like this without a subtext of "race suicide" – usually, in the form of paranoia about how Europe is going to be taken over by Muslims because the white people aren't breeding fast enough.

  9. John says:

    When Arizona senator John Kyl claimed that abortions are 90% of what Planned Parenthood does, he raised a firestorm of protest and his office had to respond with a statement that he wasn't intending to be factual. But there is another possibility. In the mindset of anti-abortion activists, contraception equals abortion and following that mindset his statement is quite reasonable. But Senator Kyl's office preferred to say he lied rather than to say he thinks contraception is a form of abortion.

    This is the dirty little secret of the anti-abortion movement and pro-choice groups have hurt their cause by not exploiting it. ANTI-ABORTION = ANTI-CONTRACEPTION is the simple message that needs to be known by the uninformed majority that have been so skillfully manipulated in the course of this debate. Only when that saying resides in the back of many peoples minds will politicians be asked about their support for contraceptive services and opponents of abortion rights be asked about their support for the best way to limit abortions; contraception.

    I think of a simple, persistent campaign using that simple phrase, ANTI-ABORTION = ANTI-CONTRACEPTION on bumper stickers, on billboards, on web pages and on buttons. Continued long enough it will begin to counteract the equally simple but hypocritical stance of "pro-life." What individual or organization active in pro-choice efforts will contact and coordinate the many parties interested in this issue to provide the unified and persistent program to bring this about?

    ANTI-ABORTION = ANTI-CONTRACEPTION is the clarification the country needs on this divisive issue.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      John: I would love to see every member of Congress vote on the following: "Every American adult should be free to purchase and use any medication or device approved by the FDA for the purpose of avoiding conception."

      Let's drag these people out into the sunlight and make them declare their stance.

      o 98 percent of American women have done it.
      o 37 million Americans are currently doing it.
      o Most of the GOP candidates oppose it.
      What is it?

      “It” is using birth control.
      http://dangerousintersection.org/2007/12/09/force

      I agree with you that "anti-abortion" groups usually want to take control of the government to restrict use of contraceptives. In fact, one of the first posts I wrote at this site concerned this unspoken motive of "pregnancy resource centers." http://dangerousintersection.org/2006/03/17/bewar

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