Thursday, July 05, 2007

From My Mailbag

I get mail from the anti-contraception folks. Most of it is pretty much what you'd expect from people who try to free us from the chains of easily available birth control. But sometimes the mail is even more enlightening. This is from a recent e-mail:

While contraceptives don't cause teens to have sex, they do enable them to do so, a point those on both sides of the issue seem to miss.

There is a healthy fear in the pro-life movement that addressing contraception may be counterproductive in the efforts to win public opinion. This fear is partially based upon the idea that the public won't tolerate a ban on contraception.

Unfortunately, this well founded fear has often resulted in near silence about the negative aspects of contraceptives, including the role it plays in adolescent sexual decisions.

How do contraceptives impact on these decisions? Simply put, contraceptives (and abortion) act as an "insurance policy" against unplanned pregnancy (and birth), lowering the perceived risks of premarital sexual activity. This "policy" enables people who would normally not engage in sexual activity to do so. Unfortunately for many, these policies often fail, resulting in pregnancy and disease transmission.

Religious beliefs also have a role in the avoidance of this issue - many non-Catholic denominations approve of contraceptive use among married couples, so they are reluctant to even speak out on the issue to begin with. The thinking is that the prohibition against premarital sex already covers the use of contraceptives, and that use by unmarried teens is implicitly forbidden. Yet that ignores the public health crisis that exists in part due to easy access to contraceptives by teens.

It's nice seeing it spelled out that clearly. Contraception should not be available, because that way sex causes more unintended pregnancies (and abortions) and more sexually transmitted diseases. The idea is that teens would be so frightened of these possibilities that they would stay away from all premarital sex.

Well, it hasn't worked in the history, as far as I can tell.

What do these people really aim at, I wonder, though pretty idly and only because I have nothing else to wonder about right now.