May 8, 2006

Plan A is theocracy

Poor Anne M. Farrell of Decatur, Ga. On Saturday, she has a letter in The New York Times accusing Nick Kristof of setting up a "straw man" in his column about opposition to emergency contraception. "Those who oppose use of the emergency contraceptive Plan B do so primarily because they think that it causes abortion, not because it will lead to increased promiscuity," she writes.

Slightly undermining this argument, however, is the letter on the same day from Susan Beck of Milford, Conn., who writes, "I know how damaging early, uncommitted sex can be to a young woman's sense of self... It's the sex itself we must protect teenagers against."

But of course the real beat-down comes from Russel Shorto's amazing and alarming Times Magazine cover story on The War on Contraception, which more than proves its thesis statement, "It really is all about sex." The article is even more thorough and well-written than the Salon piece on the same subject a month ago, which I also characterized as "amazing and alarming." I can't even begin to highlight all the vital information in it. If you want to know where this country is headed, you must read it for yourself.

And where is the country headed? Gina and I had a somewhat heated debate over this in response to this article, me calling on my area of expertise and she on hers. I gloomily predicted that given the strides already made on limiting abortion, promoting purity chastity abstinence and strangling access to birth control, we could easily return to a time when contraception is illegal, at least for teenagers, and probably for any unmarried couples. Gina, however, argued that regardless of whether women would want to give up their rights to not have ten children in their lifetime, men — including good Christian men — would never give up their right to non-procreative sex. (And it's true I've recently met plenty of conservative Christians who ardently believe that sex is more about pleasure than procreation — but in the context of marriage, of course.) So who's right?

Speaking of abstinence education, Saletan misses the funniest conservative response to the fact that kids who take virginity pledges are prone to lying (for instance, "52 percent of pledgers denied a year later that they'd pledged. Among pledgers who later admitted to having sex the year after the pledge, 73 percent denied they'd pledged."). In drafting their evaluations of V-pledges, folks like Robert Rector, who makes a cameo in Shorto's article, invent two categories called "strong pledgers" and "weak pledgers." Weak pledgers are defined as anyone who later denies that they took the pledge and are then artificially separated out from the data pool when presenting evidence of the pledges' effectiveness. The fact that these just happen to be the same people who failed to keep the pledge is mere coincidence.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


"The Handmaid's Tale" is looking more and more like nonfiction, isn't it?

Even more un-frickin believeable news on this front. Republican war on science continues at a breathtaking pace...we're all screwed-especially teenagers who can afford it the least.

Pro-abstinence politics meddles with a CDC conference.

And piffle but I don't think I can make it to Obieland after all. Too much work travel and upheaval, but I'm still way bummed. Next time for sure...when we're even MORE old. LOL

Obviously they just need to add a second pledge wherein kids pledge to be strong pledgers. Problem solved!

Post a comment

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2