Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Pro-lifers are Against Contraception and Sex Education Consisting of Contraception Instruction

Steve Waldman seems genuinely puzzled by the fact that pro-life Christians are opposed to handing out contraception and sex ed lessons to teens in an attempt to reduce the number of abortions. I must admit that I'm puzzled by the fact that he is so puzzled. He writes:

"I'm often asked by pro-choice friends why pro-lifers oppose sex education, family planning, and contraception. Don't those approaches reduce unintended pregnancy and therefore the numbers of abortions? It's a question at the heart of efforts to achieve "common ground" on abortion."

This language of "common ground" is the language used by the Evangelical and Catholic Obama supporters (such as Waldman) to describe what are trying to sell as an "abortion reduction strategy." Part of the strategy seems to be to drive a wedge between the Evangelicals and more liberal (contraception accepting) Catholics, on the one hand, and the conservative (contraception rejecting) Catholics, on the other. The goal is to isolate the conservative Catholics from the other two constituencies, which are seen as fertile ground for selling the "abortion reduction" strategy.

The problem with the so-called "abortion reduction" strategy (condoms and sex ed.) is that you have to convince people that it actually reduces abortion and this premise flies in the face of the past 50 years of sex ed. and contraception strategies. It is not that sex ed. and contraception are untried proposals that might work if only we gave them a whirl. Rather, we have raised a couple of generations of North Americans on sex ed. and easily available contraception without putting a dent in the abortion rate. So Steve Waldman should not be surprised that pro-lifers reject the Obama administration "abortion reduction" strategy when it has been proven ineffective by recent history.

In addition, recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta show the alternative "abstinence only education" does reduce the number of abortions. The statistics compare the abortion rates in states that accepted funds for absitinence only education versus the rate in those states that did not.

"For teen girls under the age of 15 years old, from 2001 – 2005, there was a 7.5% decrease in abortions among the states which have rejected funding for abstinence only education.

For teen girls under the age of 15 years old, from 2001 – 2005, there was a 23.1% decrease in abortions among the states which have accepted funding for abstinence only education.

The states which have accepted funding for abstinence only education showed a 208% greater reduction in abortions among girls 14 years old and younger, when compared to the states which have rejected funding for abstinence only education.

Overall, the abortion rate among girls younger than 15 years old in states which rejected abstinence only funding was 37.3% higher, than in states which accepted funding."

An article in the UK's Mail Online documents a recent British government program aimed at reducing abortion by promoting contraception and contraception instruction, which led to a doubling of the rate of abortion by those in the "abortion reduction" program.

"A multi-million pound initiative to reduce teenage pregnancies more than doubled the number of girls conceiving.

The Government-backed scheme tried to persuade teenage girls not to get pregnant by handing out condoms and teaching them about sex.

But research funded by the Department of Health shows that young women who attended the programme, at a cost of £2,500 each, were 'significantly' more likely to become pregnant than those on other youth programmes who were not given contraception and sex advice.

A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People's Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programmes."

So if the Obama administration were really serious about reducing the number of abortions, they would promote abstinence only sex education programs instead of funding more contraception and contraception instruction types of sex education programs. But they are doing the exact opposite, which makes pro-lifers extremely dubious about their real intentions. After all, the evidence is in and the course of action the Obama administration wants to take is clearly not going to work. So why are they pressing ahead with it?

Obviously the conservative Catholics who reject all contraception are not going to fall for this line and the Obama administration knows this. But Evangelicals and Catholics who accept contraception under certain conditions (i.e. for married couples only and not for the purpose of rejecting children altogether) are seen as softer targets.

The effect this whole strategy is having on me, however, is to cause me to question the morality of contraception more and more. The whole idea that we are "entitled" to sexual gratification when we are not committed to marriage and to raising the children that might result from our sexual activity seems to me to be the root of the entire problem. This idea is a manifestation of the individualism and hedonism that characterizes modern Western society and its culture of entitlement. We want our sexual gratification and we want it badly enough to risk having to kill unborn childrent to mitigate the consequences of our lust.

The only question left is whether artificial contraception is wrong is all circumstances except in the case of a married couple who have serious and substantial reasons for spacing out children or limiting family size (not mere preferences) and who are prepared to accept any child conceived rather than resort to abortion or whether it is intrinsically wrong period. The horrific consequences of the widespread acceptance of the "contraceptive mentality" in the Western world over the past half-century strongly suggests that this is a moral question Evangelicals will need to ponder seriously and pray over fervently in the next few years.

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