Woke up early this morning (because I do that every time I could actually sleep in) and had me a morning coffee and smoke while catching up on the intertubes, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but this post by Hank Fox and my sense of disgust at the Christian Right.
It would seem that a study was performed in which 9,000 women in St. Louis were given free access to birth control. Not free condoms, but free access to birth control. Anything. All they had to do was ask. And unsurprisingly, when presented with the option for free birth control, a good number of these women went with the more expensive and effective methods of control. End result? The number of teen pregnancies in the group was a fifth of the national average.
Given that these women were opting for birth control, it seems likely that we can describe these as unwanted pregnancies. Despite being a baby-eating atheist, I can’t help but think that this is a good thing. But then again, I’m not a Pro Life Christian psychopath.
As Hank points out, the study has been attacked by Pro Life rabies-heads, one of whom he quotes as saying:
But to encourage a lack of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions–by eliminating the consequences (pregnancy) rather than the cause (sex)–is what we are opposed to.
Funny, I read this very differently than they did. Hank points out that this woman sees pregnancy as a punishment for wickedness, and he and I are on the same page in agreeing that this is a truly sick way to view the world. But personally, I find the whole thing telling in another way.
The idea that we need to eliminate the cause of teenage pregnancy, that being teenage sex, is an idea so fraught with stupidity… seriously, I have no words over how naive people are. Teenage pregnancy may be a sin in this woman’s Holy Book, but it’s a fact of life that no amount of abstinence education is going to change. Teenaged kids are fucking, and that isn’t going to change. What we have the power to change is the consequences of all that sex.
An unwanted pregnancy can be an absolute blessing to a person. For some people, getting pregnant turns their lives around and makes them into better people. But a great deal of pregnancies that begin this way, especially to teen parents, do not have quite such a storybook ending.
I’m not going to bore you with a laundry list of reasons that unwanted children suffer in life. What I will say is that having a child because an angry God wants to punish you for your wickedness is a pretty lousy reason to start a new life.
I have known several Pro Life people. I have listened to them bluster on about responsibility and all manner of things. And every single one of them has failed to sway me because I don’t see sex as wickedness, and because each and every one of us can hold whatever opinions we want, but our control ends with our own flesh.
To me, this is really very simple. Free access to contraceptives meant a dramatic lowering in the teen pregnancy rate. That’s a pool of babies that stand a much higher chance of resulting in abortions or further bad decision-making. You can’t argue teenagers out of sex, but you sure as hell can inform them how best to protect themselves.
Pro Life is about their own version of morality, but to me it’s a far more immoral thing than contraception and abortion. Thinking about a human life as a divine punishment is just weird and wrong, and any God who feels that this is the best possible way for people to learn the lesson of teen sex clearly hasn’t understood his creation.
And if your God is so damned tough, how is can a little IUD be bigger and tougher?