Sunday, January 9, 2011

Contraception leads to abortion. Come and see...





For most of my teen years, I openly opposed abortion. When I was occasionally asked if I opposed contraception, too, I always responded like this: "No, I don't have a problem with contraception, because contraception prevents abortions!" Everyone always agreed with my answer, because it was common sense: Widespread acceptance and use of contraception makes abortion rare.


Right?


Well... not exactly. 


In my mid-twenties, I was forced to reexamine my ideas on a whole range of life issues. By that point, I was all about conforming my mind and life to the truth, no matter where the truth led me, and no matter how uncomfortable.


What my studies on contraception bore out was indeed humbling, and I had to eat my words. The truth is the opposite of what I had spouted for years. The truth is that, at the macro-level, contraception leads to abortion. Where contraception is widely accepted, abortion follows


It makes sense if you think about it, because contraception is a contract that says: "We agree to have sex but we do not agree to have a baby." However, the contract (contraception) fails so often that a fail-proof back-up plan is needed, and that fail-proof back-up plan is abortion.*


Let's look at evidence of how this all plays out in real life....


On the secular front, Margaret Sanger spearheaded the contraception movement with her founding of Planned Parenthood, originally named the American Birth Control League. Sanger did not champion abortion, she championed contraception. As natural progression would have it, Planned Parenthood went from peddling contraception to peddling abortion; today it is the largest provider of abortions in our nation. The progression from contraception to abortion was natural and easy.


Within Christianity, the acceptance of contraception began with the Anglican Church in 1930. They cracked the door to allow contraception only for married folk, and only in serious situations. Within a few decades, however, contraception had become widely accepted by the Anglicans and most other Christian churches, many of which then slid into acceptance of abortion as well. The Episcopal Church (the American branch of the Anglican Church) now officially and proudly supports abortion rights, as do many other mainline Protestant denominations -- all of which traditionally condemned contraception. For much of Protestant Christianity, the progression from contraception to abortion has been natural (if not always easy). 


Now let's look at how abortion came to us legally. 


Roe v. Wade was the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. A "right to privacy" legal argument was used as the basis for that tragic decision. However, most Americans are unaware that the "right to privacy" (words not found in the Constitution) did not originate with Roe v. Wade, but with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, and Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972. What were those cases? Griswold was the case that legalized the sale of contraception to married people, and Eisenstadt was the case that extended the same "right" to unmarried people. The "right to privacy" regarding contraception cleared the way for the "right to privacy" regarding abortion. The legal road from contraception to abortion was natural and easy. 


But contraception and abortion don't have to be connected, right?


Well... not exactly.


Even the liberals justices on the Supreme Court of the United States (Casey v. Planned Parenthood, 1992) understood clearly that acceptance of contraception requires abortion as a back-up. That Court ruling stated that Roe v. Wade could not be overturned because 
...for two decades of economic and social developments, [people] have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.     [emphasis mine]


Did you get that? We have organized our entire society around access to abortion, which is the fail-proof back-up for contraception!


The Casey ruling also states: "In some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception" [emphasis mine].  


So, the pro-abortion liberal Supreme Court justices have seen and understood the symbiotic relationship between contraception and abortion. 


Have you?


If not, would some studies convince you?


There have been several, but consider the most recent study out of Spain, published this month in the journal, Contraception. The researchers found that Spanish women's increase in contraceptive use coincides with a huge increase in the abortion rate. The authors of the study seem confused by the results, calling them "interesting and paradoxical" and suggesting "further investigation". 


There is no need for further investigation, really. The findings make sense. Contraception is a contract, the contract fails, and abortion is the back-up. Logical, natural. This always happens. Contraception leads to abortion. 


I appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters: Reconsider your support for contraception, and turn back to the wisdom of traditional Christian teaching. We've been taught that contraception will make abortion "rare" but that's a lie. Don't believe it any longer. Contraception and abortion are sisters in the Culture of Death, an unholy alliance. Reject both and choose life!


And to those pro-"choice" folks who sincerely believe that pushing contraception can be our "common ground" in working to make abortion rare, I hope you now see why that is impossible:


Because contraception leads to abortion.




+++++++


In this discussion of how contraception leads to abortion, I have not even touched upon the fact that in some cases (the Pill, IUDs), contraception is abortion. The abortifacient nature of hormonal contraception and IUDs is the subject of a future post, but the very fact of it further exposes the incestuous relationship between contraception and abortion. 







198 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for fleshing this out! So concise and easy to read.

    Really, really great post, Leila.

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  2. Leila, BRAVO! Thank you. That's something I'd give my daughter to read.

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  3. You’re speakin' my language! I could go on about this topic for days! If only women could see that the Pill doesn't empower women - it only victimizes and objectifies. Instead of giving us all this "sexual freedom" that it promised, all it did was tell men that they were now free to use women as sexual objects. Because, of course now, there are no consequences!

    I just want to clarify your comment about Margaret Sanger. Though her original organization did promote BC more than abortion on its façade, she was still very pro-abortion – she was a eugenicist. She advocated for the extermination of the “unfit” to create a “race of thoroughbreds.” (all her words) In fact, one of her most popular quotes is, "The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."

    One more comment – not only does contraception lead to abortion, but nearly 95% of abortions are used as a MEANS of contraception. I’m so glad you clarified about barrier methods vs. abortifacients, too. That’s definitely in need of its own post! We know that 50 million babies have been killed via surgical abortions since Roe, but if we were able to fathom the number of babies killed via abortifacient contraceptives, the number would be astronomical.

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  4. Another brilliant post. That's it. You are now my favorite professor. Seriously, though, I nominate you as the best catechist in the country.

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  5. Such great information, Leila. I didn't now that about the Episcopal denomination. That is shocking to me!

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  6. Thank you for this. I've been thinking about this lately and I heard about this link between the two so it's good to get some actual data on it so I can defend Catholic views on contraception.

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  7. Leila- you need to read this commentary by Julio Severo (an Evangelical from Brazil) on the origins of contraception: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/081218a.html.
    He speaks about Annie Besant who greatly influenced Sanger. She was anti-religion, anti- God after experiencing a very bad marriage with an Anglican priest in the latter part of the 1800's in England. Very interesting article.
    Great post! The contraceptive mentality is the main battleground in the fight against the culture of death.

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  8. Oh, I forgot to post a couple of links to back up this information. First, for evidence of the abortion industry's propogation of contraception use (why would they advocate for contraception when their money maker is abortion?? Because they know contraception is faulty), watch Blood Money. The director was the speaker at our annual banquet. Chilling. www.bloodmoneyfilm.com.

    Also, check out some of the things Abby Johnson has said. A converted PP executive, she now admits to the purposeful prescribing of faulty contraception. She is having a webcast tomorrow night! www.abbyjohnson.org

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  9. Fantastic post!!! As a teen, I was taught contraception equaled "safe sex." Imagine my horror when I found out that the truth is so much more complicated than that. As a nation we have *way* too much confidence in contraceptives, and we're leading young people down a dangerous path (it so frustrates me when advocates of comprehensive education claim they are empowering teens with info. No, sorry, I learned way more about sex and how the body works apart from those models).

    I too have been following Abby Johnson's story... I have a feeling her book is going to be a big deal for all sides.

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  10. The typical use estimates that out of 100 women using the pill, 8 will have an unwanted pregnancy. With NFP there are 0 unwanted pregnancies, even if one is a surprise.

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  11. I will be asked at my pregnancy booking-in visit with the midwife what form of contraception I was using when I got pregnant. Later, after I give birth, probably the same midwife will pretty much insist I should use contraception, before I can be released, as it were, so I "make sure I don't get pregnant"!

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  12. Great information presented so clearly~~~you are so gifted as a writer.
    Kay

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  13. awesome, Leila.
    Next step.....sterilization. That is a stumbling block amongst myself and my very devout, christian friends. Vasectomies and tubal ligation are completely acceptable for them, and no risk of conception when they are "through" having kids (although I can't tell you how many couples I know who have experienced a "failed" vasectomy.) Luckily, they all kept the children, thank GOD!

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  14. According to the Guttmacher Institute: "Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use."

    Over HALF of abortions in this country occur DESPITE the use of contraception. That is very, very telling about the alleged effectiveness of contraception in preventing abortion.

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  15. thanks for spelling this out so clearly with legal and religious and historical points! its brilliant and ill have to use it whenever talking with people about this!

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  16. I totally agree. Did you see the statistics about abortion in NYC? Over 40%! Crazy! 4 out of ten pregnancies are aborted. A holocaust to me.

    This is just another way that the people of our society do not have to take personal responsibility of their actions. "Oh the BC failed, the baby is a mistake, lets get rid of it." Horrible!

    Our teens are definitely sold the craziness that sex is safe. NOT at all!

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  17. 1. The Spanish study is survey, ie, a retrospective self-report, which is the weakest type of medical study. Finding "causation" is not consistent with this type of study.

    2. The survey occurs over a period when the abortion practice is Spain was changing. Abortion is restricted to fetal anomalies, rape and when mother's health is in jeopardy. Spanish clinics expanded the "mother's health" provision during that period.

    3. No informed public health practitioner argues that "providing contraception" alone decreases the abortion rate. Advocates of "comprehensive sex education", however, have good evidence that such a structured program might work. Don't confuse "contraception" with "comprehensive sex education".

    4. I realize Planned Parenthood is much maligned here, but in it's defense I will say:
    a) 99% of PPhood clients are sexually active when they first arrive there, either at risk or already pregnant.
    b) The safety record of PPhood is stellar given their indigent and uneducated patient base.
    c) PPhood advocates abstinence as a first practice, but since most clients are already sexually active, that lesson is too late.

    5. Not surprisingly, you are jumping to conclusion not supported by the facts of this current study. This is the difference between reason and rationalization.

    6. Abortion is a society-wide malady that was here long before Roe and Casey, and will be here long after every country outlaws it. Some people respond to the Roman Catholic doctrine of "just say no", but not nearly enough, and that admonition is becoming less and less effective, which is evidenced by the fact that Catholics account for 27% of the abortions in the USA.

    We need an additional approach: Comprehensive sex ed starting young, coupled with universal access to health care.

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  18. Tony, are you saying that contraception does not lead to abortion?

    And, 4c: Can you show me how/where PP "advocates abstinence"?

    Thanks!

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  19. Leila ...
    can you provide a link for the Episcopal Church supporting abortions?

    I'm providing a link for Dr Janet Smith's talk: Contraception, Why not? This was a catalyst for me to fully embrace NFP and our Churches teaching.

    It's amazing to me how much women have been misled.

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  20. Well, I thought I did .... here it is :)

    http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/

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  21. Dianna, I love Contraception, Why Not? ! I used to hand out copies to my RCIA students!

    Here is the link to the Episcopal position on abortion, via Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_abortion (Note that the church even opposes parental notification laws.)

    This article is unsettling:

    http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_37993_ENG_HTM.htm

    And if that isn't bad enough, read this:

    http://themcj.com/?p=3640

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  22. If contraception "leads to" abortion, it certainly isn't proven by the the Spanish study you quote. You cannot know the counterfactual, ie, if no contraception had been available during that time period. How do you know the abortion would not have been even higher? That's just basic interpretation of a study, and the study you are quoting is not very powerful.

    Since catholics are more likely to get abortions than protestants and Jews, can we say that Catholicism "leads to" or "causes" abortions?

    Scientific answer: No.
    ----------------------------------

    Planned Parenthood's statement on Medically Accurate Sex Ed:

    "What Is Medically Accurate Sex Education?
    Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that “sex ed” refers only to sexual behavior (e.g., sexual intercourse) and not the full array of topics that comprise sexuality. These include information and concerns about abstinence, body image, contraception, gender, human growth and development, human reproduction, pregnancy, relationships, safer sex (prevention of sexually transmitted infections), sexual attitudes and values, sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual behavior, sexual health, sexual orientation, and sexual pleasure.

    "Comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education covers the wide array of topics that affect sexuality and sexual health. It is grounded in evidence-based, peer-reviewed science. Its goal is to promote health and well-being in a way that is developmentally appropriate. It includes information and communication skills building as well as values exploration. Ideally, sex ed in school is an integrated education process that builds upon itself year after year, is initiated in kindergarten, and is provided through grade 12."
    [emphasis mine]

    Remember, Planned parenthood is not a provider of comprehensive sex ed, they are coming into contact with these young people long after sex ed has started (usually by peers and not authorities). You are putting a burden on PPhood that is not appropriate, long after parents and schools have failed to teach abstinence and responsible sexual activity. Does your auto body shop teach safe driving and not to drive drunk?

    PPhood does perform legal abortions, safely and cost-effectively. I would think someone who spent 4 or 5 blogposts bemoaning a sexual predator who did abortions could understand the need for a reputable group in providing abortions. I realize that PPhood will not get a break here--fine-- but these young women come to PPhhod for the expressed purpose of terminating their pregnancy, some are convinced otherwise, believe it or not, and go on to adopt out. But they are not sexually molested, and they get counseling (albeit too late) at a time when they are most vulnerable.

    Comprehensive Sex Ed, or "explicit" sex ed, as it is is derisively called, is opposed by conservative candidates. Parents won't teach it, the politicians are too squeamish to allow it or fund it... so much for science. Unfortunately, you can plan on more abortions.

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  23. Hi Tony! Nice to "meet" you! :)

    You say, "Don't confuse 'contraception' with 'comprehensive sex education.'" But as abstinence education is being pushed out of our schools, these are increasingly parallel.

    Regarding (4b), PP's record is "stellar" because their botched abortions, where women are hurt and sometimes even die, are RARELY reported as such. If the woman dies, it's often reported as something ambiguous like "hemorrage" or something non-specific that can't be traced back to PP. Believe me...they have relationships with hospitals who cover this stuff up. I just witnessed such a case in my own hometown.

    (4c): Please provide evidence that PP promotes abstinence first. Because there IS evidence, via the 2 links I provided above (among others), that PP's real agenda is to provide faulty contraception so that women will come back to them when they need an abortion. Abby Johnson and Carol Everett, both former abortion industry executives, have testified to that fact. Also see Lila Rose's Rosa Acuna Project.

    Furthermore, please watch this video regarding PP's "sex ed" book marketed to children as young as TEN years old. I've seen the book in person. It's sick and if there is a single mention of abstinence (which I honestly don't remember), it's very much an underlying afterthought. Far from "this is the best option, but..." *WARNING, this video is graphic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42fP58EcBuY (and keep in mind, the label on the cover states that it's for kids as young as 10).

    #6, I could be misunderstanding, but it seems like you're saying that we might as well keep abortion legal just because it will always be here anyway. Sorry if I'm oversimplifying. Assuming that's your point, would you say that about any other moral evil like rape or murder? Becuase they're illegal yet people do them anyway. Should we legalize it?

    And just b/c self-identified Catholics account for a large percentage of abortions, doesn't mean that they are informed of Church teaching or the life issue in general. In fact, I don't think it's because of the Church's "just say no" approach. I argue that it's because the Church DOESN'T "just say no" enough with regards to parish priests preaching life and sex issues from the pulpit.

    You advocate for comprehensive sex ed "starting young." How young would you like to see it start? Because in my state, PP is working with the DHS to begin sex ed as young as KINDERGARTEN. That's sick. All that does is put sex into their heads earlier, instead of letting kids just be kids! So believe me...PP is VERY involved in public schools, at least around here. And our pregnancy rates are among the highest (and they ain't teaching abstinence!!).

    Thanks!
    PS: Abortion is not healthcare!

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  24. The book you cite from Youtube is listed under "Resources for Parents", not for kids.

    I would assume that self-identified catholics had some catechism and a few sacraments, but you are correct, that assumption may not be accurate.... which is EXACTLY why I SAID it PROVES NOTHING... D'uh... just like the Spanish study which is touted as evidence that something "leads to" something. If you want to quote a scientific study, at least try to understand what it shows or doesn't show.
    __________________________________

    Read more about comprehensive sex ed and what they are teaching 5 yr-olds is very basic stuff, not yuck stuff; Or, ask Sarah Palin how she taught her kid, and do the opposite.

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  25. On their WEBSITE it's listed as "resources for parents," but (again, at least in my state) it's in some school libraries. Which are for children, not parents. And again, the label on the cover clearly states "for children as young as TEN!" Which makes it pretty clear that they're marketing it to children.

    I don't think using the word "duh" is necessary or respectful. I was respectful to you.

    I didn't quote a study, Leila did.

    I'm a state Right to Life director. I'm accutely aware of what they're trying to teach 5 year olds about sex ed. In fact, one of our members attended a PP focus group sponsored by our state DHS. Here is what was handed out in a PP resource packet:

    According to PP:

    By age five your child should:
    Know that touching yourself for pleasure is normal,
    That a woman does not have to have a baby unless she wants to,

    Ages 5 - 7:
    Should know that people experience sexual pleasure in a number of ways,
    Should know that sexual identity includes sexual orientation - lesbian, gay, strait, or bisexual.

    Ages 8 - 12:
    Should know that sex is pleasurable, not only a way to have a baby,
    Should know how to protect against sexualy transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy
    Should know what abortion is,
    Should know about contraceptive methods,
    Should know that a woman does not need to have sex to get pregnant,
    Should know that no one has to become a parent,
    Should know that contraceptive options are available including emergency contraception,
    Should know how to get contraceptives,
    Should be able to talk about how pregnancy can be avoided
    Should be able to name a variety of contraceptives

    I don't know what you consider "yucky stuff" but this is pretty graphic for a 5 year old, in my opinion. It's also stuff that should be coming from parents...not the government or PP. (Note the glaring absence of the word "abstinence." I just copied & pasted...no editing.)

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  26. Nicole-- your comment at 7:54 scares the you-know-what out of me. It steams me up to no end to know that PP is essentially trying to steal my children's childhood and innocence and mold them into adults who will be "forced" to use PP's services because since "no one has to become a parent" they can just have an abortion or use emergency contraception. I know a girl from college who I studied abroad with who works (worked?) for PP doing PR. It made me sick to the stomach to know the kind of lies she must be pushing on people who no longer know better-- our society has lost its moral compass.

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  27. And I don't remember if someone posted this link on another of Leila's (or someone else's?) posts, but:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/nov/10111106

    "Aimed at young people with HIV, the brochure contains sexually explicit language and promotes casual sex with multiple partners, as well as oral, anal, and homosexual sex.

    'Some people like to have aggressive sex,' says the brochure. 'There is no right or wrong way to have sex.' It encourages young people who might have sex after drinking or using drugs to 'plan ahead by bringing condoms.'"

    Now, Tony, I think PP's intent here is pretty clear.

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  28. Newsflash: If Planned Parenthood is teaching your kid about sex, you've failed. Failed. Failed. They have parent and teen programs, but they state clearly that education should start earlier. Just like if the auto body shop is teaching your 16 y/o how to drive. Failed.

    The book you cite is intended for PARENTS; if teachers or counselors or the local condom salesman is giving it to your kids, that's a different problem.


    From Guttmacher:[My comments in brackets. I realize none of this pertains to YOUR kids, but here are the stats.]

    Sex Education: Teens’ Perspectives

    • By 2002, one-third of teens had not received any formal instruction about contraception.[9]


    [This is disastrous.]

    • More than one in five adolescents (21% of females and 24% of males) received abstinence education without receiving instruction about birth control in 2002, compared with 8–9% in 1995.[10]

    [Trend is MORE abstinence education, LESS BCM education, HIGHER abortion rate. Not proof of anything, just a trend.]

    • In 2002, only 62% of sexually experienced female teens had received instruction about contraception before they first had sex, compared with 72% in 1995.[11]

    [Yikes.]

    • Only one out of three sexually experienced black males and fewer than half of sexually experienced black females had received instruction about contraception before the first time they had sex.[12]

    [One in 3?!! Fewer than half?!! Need to start earlier.]

    • One-quarter of sexually experienced teens had not received instruction about abstinence before first sex.[13]

    Sex Education: Teachers’ Perspectives

    • Sex education teachers were more likely to focus on abstinence and less likely to provide students with information on birth control, how to obtain contraceptive services, sexual orientation and abortion in 1999 than they were in 1988.[14]


    [Again, trend is more abstinence, less BCM, HIGHER abortion rates]

    • In 1999, one in four sex education teachers taught abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy and STIs—a huge increase from 1988, when the fraction was just one in 50.[15]

    • The majority of teachers believe that topics such as birth control methods and how to obtain them, the correct way to use a condom, sexual orientation, and factual and ethical information about abortion should also be taught by the end of the 12th grade. These topics are currently being taught less often and later than teachers think they should be.[16]

    • More than nine in 10 teachers believe that students should be taught about contraception, but one in four are prohibited from doing so.[17]

    • One in five teachers believe that restrictions on sex education are preventing them from meeting their students’ needs.[18]

    Eighty-two percent of adults support comprehensive sex education that teaches students about both abstinence and other methods of preventing pregnancy and STIs.[19]


    [The debate has been hijacked by the minority.]

    • Only one-third of adults surveyed support abstinence-only education, while half oppose the abstinence-only approach.[20]

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  29. Tony, I only have minute here, so I will say quickly: You are really fixated on the Spanish study! I threw that study in because it was published this month, but go ahead and ignore that study if you'd like. My premise still stands. How about addressing some of my other points?

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  30. Tony, you don't have to answer, but do you have children?

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  31. Just wanted to drop by and say thank you Tony for providing a very clear, factual and truthful account of PP's role and sex education or the lack of it, in schools.

    As a teen in the mid-90s in Texas, sex-ed was a "blow-off" class, an elective (not required). It left a majority of students wondering about sexual health and physiology by the time they graduated high school (and I shudder to think that most of them did not have parents willing to discuss this topic with them). In contrast, the local PP provided support and information about everything under the sun related to sex in a non-judgmental manner. Abstinence was as much a part of the conversation as condoms, emotional health, sexual health, etc.

    But I realize there will never be a 'meeting of the minds' so to speak, here on this topic so I merely want to support and agree with all Tony has written.

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  32. Tony,

    "Catholics are more likely to get abortions than protestant and Jews"

    How can a practicing Catholic seek out an abortion?
    Tony...you can not be a Catholic and pro abortion. So therefore, logically, your comment is untrue--not factual--a lie.

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  33. We agree on something! I did comment before that I believe it's the PARENTS' job, right, and responsibility to teach their kids about sex. Yet PP is in the schools FORCING their agenda onto our kids, whether we want our kids hearing it or not. Some parents just can't afford private schools, so their kids are stuck in the PP-infested public ones. And they don't care if I don't want my 5 year old hearing about sex. So how are public school parents supposed to avoid it? It's not that they've failed, it's that they don't have a choice! (you'll say they can opt out of sex ed programs, but that's becoming less and less of an option as well)

    PP gets into our local public schools here w/out a glitch, yet my pro-life organization has to jump through hoops and a bunch of red tape to get in. These kids are only hearing one side.

    Your auto body shop analysis is weak. We're not talking about a moral evil when we talk about driver's ed, though I understand that you're saying the responsibility lies with the parents. Yet, somehow you're saying it's ok for PP to be teaching kids sex ed younger. Which is it?

    Just in case you were unaware, Guttmacher is formerly PP's research arm and highly biased. Most of their stats and studies are proven to be factually incorrect.

    And you're right - it doesn't pertain to MY child. He's 4. And he won't attend a school where PP has carte blanche. We're blessed to have that option, but not every parent is.

    Still waiting for that proof that PP promotes abstinence first.... (as well as responses to several other points and questions in my 7:18 post)

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  34. What other points? Contraception "leads to" abortion?

    The Casey decision with the wording "...for two decades of economic and social developments, [people] have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives. " ??


    This is just stating a fact. We have, as a society, accepted abortion as a consequence of failed contraception. This is just observing the sentiment. SCOTUS was not saying anything earth-shattering-- the question for the rest of us is "how do you change the sentiment?" You argue that making abortion illegal would settle it; I say it would make it worse by pushing it underground. That doesn't change the fact that abortion has become accepted... even before Roe. Roe was a result of the sentiment, not a cause, as I tried to show (albeit inconclusively) in my blog.

    Usually your posts have a point that has some semblance of a point that I can follow, but I don't see it in this one. My observation is that you:

    1. Draw a conclusion from an inconclusive survey. I quote, "The truth is that, at the macro-level, contraception leads to abortion." Not.

    2. Blame the autobody shop (PPhood) for the car wreck (unintended pregnancy). Unfair.

    3. Blame the SCOTUS for recognizing a glaring society-wide fact in Casey. Even before Roe, abortion was part of the fabric of US culture-- and every culture through history. Not advocating, just recognizing.

    4. Commenters go off on tangents about PPhood's counseling material that are intended for adults; HIV counseling; Protestants; Anglicans; I can't keep up and my brain hurts.

    5. One more point while since I'm thinking about it. Health care providers are trained to be nonjudgmental in order to keep the dialog open. This isn't easy, but it's often the only lifeline these kids have, and I'll admit that PPhood is not the best at this because they are underfunded and strategically not positioned for it-- but this is where the kids show up. This does not mean that they "approve" of an act, but they must maintain a relationship with the patient.

    If a teen comes in and says they are sexually active against their parents wishes, and they don't want anyone to know, this puts the doctor or NP in a tough spot. First thing they do is sigh that the battle has been lost. Nobody cheers; these workers are taxpayers and parents, too, and know the costs of this reckless behavior. A few points:

    1. If the Dr/NP says, "You're wrong and should tell your parents now", chances are excellent that the next interaction the teen will have with the health care field is when she's pregnant or has an STD. Failure.

    2. If the Dr/NP immediately tells her father against her wishes; see #1 above, plus the teen could be in an unsafe situation (not all homes are like yours.) Failure, plus legal jeopardy.

    3. If the Dr/NP tells the police, see #1 and #2 above. Failure, legal jeoaprdy.

    4. The best case is to express concern, try to ensure safety, and try to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Maybe a tiny success, but the odds are stacked against no matter what. Tough spot.

    5. Usually, the Dr/NP will try to hook the girl up with social service or pastoral care (if she desires), but this is extremely suboptimal. By the time the girl is sexually active, the first line of defense is destroyed and the initial battle has been lost with the barbarians through the gate; and the health care providers are trying to salvage a tiny tiny victory in the war.

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  35. Miss G, thank you for the kind words. Don Quixote grows weary without a faithful Pancho.

    I realize that the sides are very far apart and if there were easy solutions, it would be solved already.

    PPhood is not perfect, but they have good intentions and at least as much science as the other side to back up their approach... but social science is not very satisfying, ie, it's not really "science".

    I come to this site because it's informative and gets me thinking about the macro issues. Leila does a good job stating her case with passion.

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  36. Hi Miss Gwen! We've missed you!

    Tony, it seems to me that you are skirting the questions posed by the original post and then Nicole?

    I was a teen who went secretly to PP (along with a friend). It was to be put on the Pill (which they happily did) so that I could carry on with my pot-smoking boyfriend, a high school dropout. There was no "concern" or "counseling", just a quick exam and a prescription. Does that surprise you?

    They did go to great lengths telling me about how to keep this from my parents, how I was a "Code Mindy" which meant that if they called my house, they would say it was "Mindy" so that my parents would think it was one of my friends.

    Cool, huh?

    Oh, and I wasn't from a poor, broken home, as you've implied about the clients who show up at PP. My dad was a doc, my mom a nurse, and I had full knowledge about sex.

    Anyway, I hope to do a post soon on Planned Parenthood's "promotion" of abstinence.

    More in a bit....

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  37. Tony, are you saying that where a society accepts widespread contraception, the abortion rate subsequently goes down?

    Thanks!

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  38. Hi Miss G! Quick observation. You agree with and thank Tony for his "factual and truthful" account of PP in schools. You readily admit that you didn't learn sex ed in school so you had to learn it from PP. (I don't presume to know about your relationship with your parents or why they were absent in this endeavor.) Yet Tony stated, "Newsflash: If Planned Parenthood is teaching your kid about sex, you've failed. Failed. Failed."

    It seems the two of you actually are not totally on the same page. Any clarification would help! Thanks! (And I apologize if my point isn't clearly stated!)

    Oh, and Tony, you said, "PPhood is not perfect, but they have good intentions..." If their intent is to get my child sexually active at an earilier age, teach him that sexual acts that I believe are morally impermissible are "perfectly normal", then provide faulty contraception so that women need them for a future abortion, I fail to see the good in that.

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  39. Tony, Planned Parenthood is "underfunded"? Ummmm....???

    Also, we have talked about this a bit on your blog, but can you be very clear for me: Do you believe that the only thing that makes an act moral is one's "intention"? As long as one's "intention" is good, then the act is moral?

    Thanks!

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  40. Tony, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I laughed out loud at this comment: "Health care providers are trained to be nonjudgmental in order to keep the dialog open. This isn't easy, but it's often the only lifeline these kids have, and I'll admit that PPhood is not the best at this because they are underfunded and strategically not positioned for it..."

    Just for some reference, here is how some funding was broken down in Delaware's budget in 2008:

    $132,600 to Planned Parenthood is found in the state budget’s Tobacco Community Health Money.

    $27,800 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Family Support Project – March of Dimes

    $23,100 for AIDS Delaware

    $115,000 to St. Francis Hospital

    This doesn't look like underfunding to me. It's quite the opposite. It seems like the last 3 should be higher priorities than a state affiliate whose national organization received $363.2 million in government grants and contracts during that same fiscal year.

    Also, you bring up the privacy issue when teens come in to get contraception and abortion. What's your response to the cover up stories where 13 year old girls go into PP admitting that their boyfriend/partner is 30-some years old and the PP employee says she's going to "act like she didn't hear that?" Keep in mind, they are bound by LAW to report cases of statutory rape. One of many videos providing evidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMlrAj4v4J4

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  41. I'm hesitant to post here, as my view is not in agreement with the author. I've been married for many years, and during that time when birth control was in effect, we knew that if we ended up pregnant we'd have a baby. There was never any discussion of abortion, as we both know it to be immoral. There has never been any link between contraception and abortion in our minds.

    we are long time catholics, though this *very particular issue*, that people continually attempt to convince us that by using contraception we will inevitably have an abortion should that contraception fail, is quickly driving a wedge in our ability to accept the magesterium.

    Peace to you all.

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  42. Matt I, welcome!

    I want to be very clear (if I wasn't in the post): There is no doubt that some people who use contraception would never have an abortion should contraception fail. My husband and I were of that mind.

    However, I am speaking of "macro" here, and not "micro." In the macro, the acceptance of contraception and its widespread use leads to more abortion, not to fewer.

    Contraception and abortion are inherently linked, and even the Supreme Court liberals understand that.

    You said: ...people continually attempt to convince us that by using contraception we will inevitably have an abortion should that contraception fail...

    That is shocking to me as a longtime pro-life advocate and devout Catholic, because I have never heard of anyone saying something like this to someone. That seems outrageous and I can't imagine it. If they were saying that the Pill is abortifacient, then I could understand their point, but not as you phrase it.

    God's blessings!

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  43. And Matt, I want to say this as gently as I can, but it seems that by using contraception, you already have a wedge between yourself and the Magisterium?

    Did you always reject that particular teaching or did you used to follow the Church teaching on it?

    Thanks!

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  44. Nicole C- clarification: I did not state my own history of sex education.
    I do think it is critical for parents to be involved teaching their children about sex. For some kids, that never happens or what they learn/are told about at home is confusing. I think most kids know what sex is by high school, but they may not have ever thought about their own philosophy on having sex or not or know about ways to prevent pregnancy, reasons not to have sex, correct ways to use birth control,etc. Leaving the job of educating teens about sex in high school is often problematic too-one agenda gets taught over another, the class is an elective, peer pressure (ever hear of a kid asking about masturbation in a high school sex-ed class and not getting ribbed for it later?).

    PP in my community at the time, provided a safe, supportive place to ask questions, talk, get services/birth control. Kids who go to PP already know about sex. PP bridged the disconnect between knowing literally and technically what sex is and being able to talk about it/make decisions about it and know the consequences of having sex.

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  45. Miss G, do you believe, as Tony does, that PP promotes "abstinence first"?

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  46. G - I apologize! I took your comment to mean that YOU sought help from PP, but reading it more clearly I see it was a general statement.

    We're in total agreement on this comment: "Leaving the job of educating teens about sex in high school is often problematic too-one agenda gets taught over another, the class is an elective, peer pressure..." I don't believe the responsibility lies with schools. The problem is that PP is IN the schools so it's really one in the same.

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  47. Nicole, why are you referencing anonymous "undercover" videos? Is this from a law enforcement agency or from some impartial source? Or are the police in on the conspiracy, too?

    Leila is still going on about contraception leading to abortion... In the macro, the acceptance of contraception and its widespread use leads to more abortion, not to fewer.

    The discussion has been enlightening, but I've got to run before we start in about Nazis again (I can feel it coming.)

    Uggh. {bangs head on desk]

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  48. This thread is fascinating. I highly recommend Abby Johnson's soon-to-be released book "UnPlanned." I know we've already mentioned it here, but I found her insights so beneficial. I felt like she was very respectful of all sides of the issue (although yes, as we all know, she is now pro-life and feels PP is misguided).

    I also firmly believe that plenty of PP clinic workers have a genuine to desire to help. I do however take some huge issues with some of the advice PP publishes on their website, teenwire.com. I took issue with this advice even as a college student who wasn't necessarily well-informed about Catholic teachings or out to stop PP from anything. I felt like it gave teens a false sense of confidence in contraception and actually could lead some into making decisions they would regret (I know I regretted a lot of decisions I made, inspired my comprehensive sex ed).

    By the way, there are plenty of studies out there that show abstinence is benefiting young people. Studies by the CDC (I believe... I'll have to double check that) show that the later a person waits to have sex, the more chances they will avoid all sorts of issues. And studies show that teens *are* waiting later... until college age. Guess what? The rise in crisis pregnancies is sharpest in the sexually active college-age kids, not high schoolers (those pregnancies rates have plateaued). I think it's wrong to say abstinence isn't working because the increase in crisis pregnancies is in the older, more sexually active crowd (17+) who appear to be suffering from a false sense of "readiness". (And I would argue that at least from my personal experience, my false sense of readiness did not came from abstinence education but on teachings about "safe sex.")

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  49. Tony, way to avoid answering the questions totally, but I hope you come back and answer when you can. :)

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  50. Sadly, I have had to go back to anonymous postings because the blog stalker who made threats is back. For the record, his logical countering of my premise that contraception leads to abortion was to liken it to Ahmadinejad's statement that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Ummmm... I'll let you all evaluate the merits of that for yourselves, or try to find the relevance.

    Meanwhile, to the blog creeper, you are not welcome here. Stay away please.

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  51. Tony, here are some unanswered questions:

    Do you believe that the only thing that makes an act moral is one's "intention"? As long as one's "intention" is good, then the act is moral?

    Can you tell me where, once contraception has been introduced and accepted widely, the abortion rate has gone down?

    Do you think that unmarried teens having sex is moral?

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  52. This is so weird, the more I think about it. No one has shown any evidence that my premise is wrong. Let's go through step by step:

    1) Did the acceptance of contraception in society not lead to the acceptance of abortion?

    2) Did the acceptance of contraception in Protestantism not lead to the acceptance of abortion?

    3) Did the legal acceptance of contraception and "right to privacy" in America not lead to the legal acceptance of abortion in America?

    4) Was the Supreme Court wrong to note that we need abortion in America precisely because we have ordered our lives around contraception (which fails)?

    5) Is the pro-abort Guttmacher Institute wrong when it claims that over half the women who get abortions had used contraception that month?

    Help me out. I'm scratching my head.

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  53. Sarah, excellent insights, thank you!!

    And, I have ordered Abby Johnson's book. I can't wait to see what her insights are, as well.

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  54. Sarah, ditto on unPlanned. SO excited to read it!

    Tony - you're either completely missing the point about the video or you're purposely dodging it. The point is not WHO recorded the video. The point is what is IN the video. If you knew it was a pro-lifer with an anti-PP agenda, would you be OKAY with the fact that they're covering up statutory rape? I know it's easier to defend their actions when you argue the peripheral issues as opposed to the fundamental one. But really --- what if it was YOUR daughter??

    But for the record, the video is far from anonymous. If you notice at the top, it's produced by Live Action Films, an organization founded by a young courageous woman named Lila Rose. She's a nationally-recognized figure. She has performed sting operations on PP's in several states. So yes, an agenda, but that doesn't change the content. And furthermore, Attorneys General in several states have decided to open investigations on PP because of these films. Again...the alternative is to allow PP to continue to cover up rape. Is that ok with you?

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  55. Nicole, Leila... errr sorry for the typos though. I type too fast and it always seems to be a disaster. :) The Live Action Films are definitely eye-opening... I don't think any good PP does can make up for the problems we see on those films!

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  56. Our resident Bad Apple posted a logical comment. He said:

    Even if contraception leads to abortion, there is nothing wrong with abortion.

    Exactly. If you don't think there is anything wrong with abortion, of course contraception is no problem. You are consistent. You believe contraception is good, and abortion is good as a back-up.

    Even if the post is correct, why should liberals care?

    Why indeed? They shouldn't care at all. But many liberals say that we must "work for common ground" to "make abortions rare" and they always see contraception as the way to get there. Christians and conservatives need to know that contraception is no "common ground" and no way to reduce abortion rates.

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  57. So true, Leila! Again, I would recommend Dr. Janet Smith's talk on CD titled "contraception: why not?" for anyone for a very thorough analysis of this topic, it is not limited to just moral reasons.

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  58. I'll take it up. In fact, I'm scratching my head too. All of your points are correct. But what is the point of them?

    1) Did the acceptance of contraception in society not lead to the acceptance of abortion?
    MZ: Ok. Fine. This is good. Acceptance of contraception means the acceptance of women to control their own lives. So with the acceptance of abortion.

    2) Did the acceptance of contraception in Protestantism not lead to the acceptance of abortion?
    MZ: Same

    3) Did the legal acceptance of contraception and "right to privacy" in America not lead to the legal acceptance of abortion in America?
    MZ: I'll ask a question in reply to this one. Do you disagree with the Griswold and Eisenstadt decisions? Do you think we should not allow married people or single people to use contraception? Are you also trying to convince people to make contraception illegal?

    4) Was the Supreme Court wrong to note that we need abortion in America precisely because we have ordered our lives around contraception (which fails)?
    MZ: I would not state it in this way - "ordered our lives around contraception". We need abortion because we allow women to control their fertility. Abortion is one of those tools.

    5) Is the pro-abort Guttmacher Institute wrong when it claims that over half the women who get abortions had used contraception that month?
    MZ: Again, what is the point? We all know that all contraception has a less than 100% success rate. This is not news. So for the people who do not want to have children, they try contraception, and when they become part of that failure rate, they choose to abort. Because they do not want to have children, either ever or at this point in their lives.

    The only thing I really take issue with is the "cause" part of your statement. Instead of "Contraception causes abortions", I would say "If we allow contraception, then we allow abortion." I think that the statement of Matt L (I think that's an L, not an I) proves the point - he chose to use contraception but that does not mean that he will choose abortion. I put myself in that camp as well. However, if we as a society think that contraception should be allowed, then we should as a society think that abortion is allowed. The right behind both of these is 'privacy' as you say - but as I would put it, the right of a woman to choose.

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  59. Since I have to log in, hameno is also MaiZeke. Call me what you like, I'll answer to both.

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  60. Mai/hameno, thank you!!!!

    That is exactly right! I just need Christians (pro-life Christians) to see and understand that. You stated it well. I think we both see things the way they are, and I wish all pro-life Christians would see that. Contraception and abortion are both about a "woman's right to choose". As you said:

    We need abortion because we allow women to control their fertility [with contraception]. Abortion is one of those tools.

    Exactly: Contraception is the first tool (usually) and abortion the back-up tool. It's a mindset that contraception is a contract, and abortion is the back-up.

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  61. By the way, I am probably more in control of my fertility (and have more knowledge of it) than most, as I use NFP and know my cycles and body quite well.

    As for legally... I don't think there is a movement to make contraception illegal, that I know of. I am guessing the Church was against the rulings of Eisenstadt and Griswold. That would certainly make sense! The fact that there were laws against it in the first place means that society at one time did not want contraception.

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  62. hameno - You acknowledge and see the connection between contraception and abortion. And you seem okay with that. But many who are pro-choice are very uncomfortable with abortion and do not just see it as a choice among many but something that needs to be reduced greatly. They abhor the idea that abortion could simply be used as "birth control" and feel abortion should only be for the worst case, impossible, horrible scenarios. And they believe increased access and promotion of contraception is the answer to that. Sadly, as we see here in Leila's post and with other data, contraception is not necessarily the answer to decreasing abortions. And for some, that connection between contraception and abortion is shocking.

    So for those of us who see abortion as tragic and needing to be prevented (pro-lifers and pro-choicers), we need to question some of our previous, failed methods to accomplish that. That's the point.

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  63. 1,2,3: There is no proof either way. How do you know the abortion would not have been higher if no contraception were available? You can't argue the counter-factual, and doing so just belies your desire to rationalize your pre-conceived notion by reading too much into the data.

    4: By definition, SCOTUS is never wrong.

    5: For the record, the term "pro-abort" is insulting and inaccurate. How do you know that the abortion rate wouldn't have been 80% without contraception?

    You realize I've answered all these questions already. If you're not going to read my comments, I'll move on. This is just basic interpretation of data and deductive reasoning. Do you think the answers change if you keep asking the questions with slightly different wording?

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  64. Leila,

    Just reading through the comments, I thought of a line in a link you gave the other day:

    "If storks brought babies, Planned Parenthood would go broke. Sex is the motor that drives the abortion business." -Peter Kreeft

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  65. The Bad Apple (who can come back if he promises to behave and apologize), says:

    Contraception and abortion both reduce birth rates.

    The reduction of birth rates is a good thing.


    Basically, you are saying that fewer babies is a good thing. Or, fewer people is a good thing. Again, we are diametrically opposed on that issue. We Catholics love human beings. That is because human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. We welcome them in love and life.

    I've always wondered why zero population types always want to "reduce" the poor and the unborn and the disabled and the elderly, but never themselves. I find that odd.

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  66. Tony, how come MaiZeke can see it and you can't?

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  67. MZ: "We need abortion because we allow women to control their fertility. Abortion is one of those tools."

    Scary. Abortion is NEVER needed. It's chosen (not to be confused with calling abortion a "choice"). But that just proves Leila's point that people use abortion as back-up contraception. Which is contrary to most pro-aborts' argument that it should be rare and only used in emergency circumstances. (Though obviously you don't believe that.)

    Tony, on the contrary, the term "pro-choice" is highly innacurate, and insulting to pro-lifers. It's a way to distract from the REAL issue at hand. Decades ago the abortion lobby knew they couldn't defend the act of abortion so they had to give it a fluffy pseudonym. Everyone is pro-choice...even pro-lifers. But what is the choice you're making? Domestic abuse, rape, bank robbery - all "choices" too...that doesn't make them ok.

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  68. "I've always wondered why zero population types always want to "reduce" the poor and the unborn and the disabled and the elderly, but never themselves. I find that odd."

    Leila, I ALWAYS ask reduced-population advocates that exact question. For some reason they always assume they'll be in the surviving class! You're advocating for the killing of innocent humans to reduce the population. Well...why not you first?!?

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  69. Just a thought, after reading the responses of Tony and Mai(hameno).

    Those who think abortion is totally good and fine have no problem seeing the link between contraception and abortion. They see the link and and don't care or mind.

    It's people like Tony (who is "pro-choice" but who knows in his heart that abortion is immoral) who need to see contraception and abortion as separate, because he truly does want contraception to be one of the answers to making abortion "rare".

    That's just my take.

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  70. MZ: "We need abortion because we allow women to control their fertility. Abortion is one of those tools."

    That is different than saying "contraception leads to abortion". (I can't believe I'm going over this again.) Women have attempted to control their reproduction before Roe, before contraception, before Jesus, before agriculture, and only slightly after sex started. There are hierogyphs of females with sticks in their vaginas. The techniques to control reproduction have gotten better recently, that's all. If you had said "Sex leads to abortion", I would agree, but to say that "contraception leads to abortion" is simply not supported or refuted by the facts.

    Abortion and contraception have increased in tandem in association with women taking more control of their reproduction with more effective techniques.

    Mai is correct; Leila's rationalization is not.

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  71. Nicole says: Which is contrary to most pro-aborts' argument that it should be rare and only used in emergency circumstances. (Though obviously you don't believe that.)

    I submit that abortion is rarer than without contraception. Even the worst form of contraception has about an 80% effective rate. And sterilization is also not 100%!
    Tony said it well:

    How do you know that the abortion rate wouldn't have been 80% without contraception?

    What Leila says, the contract as it were, if you are going to have sex with someone there is the chance that you will get pregnant. Contraception only reduces the chances, it doesn't eliminate it. However, contraception stops the majority of unplanned births, and abortion is there *if people choose it*. Not everyone chooses it. Not everyone decides to use it as contraception. But some do, and they should be allowed to.

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  72. hameno and Tony -

    Just thinking out loud. I think it's true that women (and men) have always wanted to find ways to plan their families/pregnancies. Family planning however is not the same as modern, medical contraception and abortion procedures. As Leila pointed out, she now knows more about her body and fertility thanks to Natural Family Planning than she did before. I am another like this... I didn't learn nearly as much about fertility, biology, anatomy, physiology and planning when I was taught "safe sex" as I did when I was taught NFP (which when used properly often is more effective at family planning than contraception).

    So I am having a hard time believe that we *need* contraception in order to have freedom of choice and over our bodies. I am not being snarky here but I would love to see a PP teach NFP or at least share the same level of scientific data that NFP teachers share about fertility and planning.

    And although NFP users are in the minority in the US, I'd love to see some data on abortions for NFP users. I bet about a million dollars that the number is quite low.

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  73. Sorry just read this:

    "Contraception only reduces the chances, it doesn't eliminate it. However, contraception stops the majority of unplanned births, and abortion is there *if people choose it*."

    But any good social scientist would at least entertain the possibility that telling folks they can have sex with less consequences may increase the number of folks who will engage in sexual behavior and thus we could see an increase in the risks associated with sexual activity.

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  74. Sarah, great points.

    I was going to say to Mai and Tony that the biggest change in the culture came when we (culturally) decided that sex and babies would no longer go together. Back in the day, everyone knew that sex makes babies, and sex was treated with a reverence and permanence (marriage) that is no longer the norm. Today, everyone knows that sex is merely recreational, and every once in a while we may decide to let it be about baby making.

    The culture used to teach that sex makes babies. Now it teaches that only "unprotected sex" makes babies.

    The mindset that brought us contraception (separating the unitive and procreative aspects of sex) is the same mindset which brought us abortion on demand. Where contraception is accepted, abortion is accepted. That's why we say that contraception is one of the tenets of the Culture of Death.

    As Catholics, we reject that mindset.

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  75. I'll ask again - do you want to impose restrictions on whether or not I use contraception with my husband? Or if I were single, whether or not I have access to contraception? Like before Griswold and Eisenstadt?

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  76. An observation. The last several millenia we've had various cultural taboos instituted to control fecundity, and certainly religious teachings and admonitions have been a large part of those taboos.

    But the last several millenia comprise only about 1% of homo sapiens' existence on the planet. When we roamed the earth in hunter-gatherer groups of a dozen humans for a couple hundred thousand years, humans likely reproduced as soon as they were able to ovulate and have sex, and dies by age 30. This worked for 200,000 years, so we developed a huge sex drive in our teen years, which kept our species going.

    As we started living longer and wanted to control family size when we settled into communities. We needed the taboos in order to control population to some degree. Now, a new era has begun since females can completely control their reproduction AND have sex as much they desire. This is a sea change that is occurring before our eyes and likely will not go away.

    As Mai said, abortion and contraception are tools women use to control their reproduction. These tools are not going to go away any time soon, and in fact, they are becoming more refined with Depo-Provera, morning-after pills, mifepristone, misoprostol, manual evacuators, etc. And they are being used across the globe by more and more women.

    Abortion and contraception is here to stay because the drive to have sexual intercourse is among the strongest urges we have. Does this mean that the human race is going native? Are we losing our civilization? I suppose Catholics would say so, but I think we are merely changing the way we live in civilization.

    Sexual activity is increasing; birth rates are stabilizing and decreasing. Anthropologically, this is a watershed moment for our species which can be viewed as either favorable (the carrying capacity of the earth is finite and reproduction will need to be controlled at some point, and now we have the tools) or unfavorable (Culture of Death).

    I have no opinion except to say that contraception is more desirable if only because of the decreased risk and expense, but studies show that there also is more emotional baggage associated with abortion as well. Is that baggage more than carrying an unintended pregnancy? Who knows, that varies from individual to individual.

    Increased sexual activity among unmarried people, contraception and abortion are all increasing in frequency-- but to state a cause-and-effect relationship is specious.

    I will say, however, that there are developed nations that have much lower abortion rates that the US, and those nations have distinct practices, namely, comprehensive sex ed, that differs from us. Would that translate to the US if we instituted those programs? Nobody can say for sure, but why not try? What we are doing now certainly isn't working. We are the most church-going nation, and have the highest abortion rate. This tells me that those old religious cultural taboos are not working as well as they used to.... except for your kids, of course.

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  77. Tony, that is very interesting, anthropologically speaking, and while I would take issue on some of your stats and opinions, I'll just say that you are right that we are talking about two completely different worldviews.

    One worldview admits to neither God nor a transcendent dignity or meaning to human life and sexuality; the other does.

    One worldview holds that we are merely animal, not spiritual, and it's all about survival of the fittest until we go poof; the other believes we humans were made in the image and likeness of God, made to love and be loved, and to live eternally, divinized.

    It's true that we must pick a side, pick a worldview. The two sides are not compatible and cannot be reconciled. One is true, one is a lie. We have to determine which is which.

    Mai, I am not interested in taking away your birth control, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. But I understand from your earlier statements that you desire to bring the force of the government against me if I don't give you your birth control when you want it, even if it's against the dictates of my conscience.

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  78. Food for thought regarding the 'comprehensive sex education' :

    Dr Miriam Grossman's book, and talk "You're Teaching my Kids What?" takes a frank look at the ideology behind comprehensive sex education, and why parents should NOT want this garbage taught in our schools.

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Youre-Teaching-My-Child-What/Miriam-Grossman/e/9781596985544

    http://frjohnriccardo.libsyn.com/you-re-teaching-my-child-what-dr-miriam-grossman-m-d-

    Leila, have you listened to this? I was appalled, to say the least.

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  79. Dianna, you can bet I will be listening to it tonight!! Thank you!!

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  80. Tony - you seem to have a lot of faith that contraceptives are freeing and healthy. A lot of the drugs you list though have horrid side effects for women. There are more than two ways to interpret the shifts in our times. Even before I was religious, I felt women were objectified and misused far too often in our liberated culture. I felt uncomfortable with the dynamic the Pill created in relationships (I carried the burden of preventing pregnancy and it was quite a burden, with the serious side effects and increased risks that come with taking hormones). And are you aware that chemical, hormonal contraceptives frequently kill a woman's libido? Are you aware that some crisis pregnancies occur because couples don't like the way barriers feel? I believe it is over-simplifying the issue by saying that women are somehow enjoying sexual freedom and sex drive more than ever before.

    What I've observed are doctors pressuring women to go on contraceptives in spite of the mile-long form outlining the potential health risks, men pressuring women to contracept or abort when contraception doesn't work so *they* can have more fun without consequences (studies show women usually make the decision to abort or not based on the man's support or lack thereof - so much for women's lib), parents and schools sending mixed messages (have sex when you're "ready" but ya better not come home pregnant or with an STD!), and *skyrocketing* HPV and STD rates - of which *women* pay the biggest health consequences usually.

    Yeah, sorry, my inner feminist just doesn't see contraception as some uncontested win for women.

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  81. Sarah, I agree totally!! I have lived my sexuality both ways: the way the culture has said, and the way the Church teaches. I cannot begin to tell you the difference. It's like night and day. I wouldn't go back for anything in the world. My human dignity and my libido and my health and my relationship with my husband went to a whole other plane. But that's a story for another day. ;)

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  82. I've always wondered why zero population types always want to "reduce" the poor and the unborn and the disabled and the elderly, but never themselves. I find that odd.

    "Man," said the Ghost, "if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!" - A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

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  83. Tony has spent a lot of time seeking to prove that Leila's intial post is wrong when she says contraception leads to abortion. Most of Tony's argument has focused, however, on whether contraception is good, largely from a scientific, sociological or anthropological perspective. He's exasperated that with all this science and reason, he can't seem to get through to anyone on this comment board!

    But he let his guard down for just a second, and admitted that Leila is right. Tony says:

    "Abortion and contraception have increased in tandem in association with women taking more control of their reproduction with more effective techniques."

    Exactly! "In tandem."

    In a careful reading of Leila's initial post, she lays the historical, legal and religious background for the rise of the "in tandem" acceptance of contraception and then abortion. Contraception leads and abortion follows in a natural progression. Once some churches accepted contraception, a taboo was erased, and legitimacy was conferred. Then the courts gave it a legal stamp of approval. And once, as Tony and others admitted, contraception was accepted, so too by extension was abortion looked more favorably upon, particularly as an additional method of birth control (we know that the vast majority of abortions are not primarily health emergencies). One followed the other, and once the legal barriers to each were dropped, an "in tandem" increase in their acceptance and use ensued.

    So if they are working "in tandem" does one "lead to" the other? Obviously, abortion doesn't lead to contraception. I think we can agree that legalization of abortion has not lead to an outcry for more contraception by those who are willing to give abortion consideration. We all know that our society is saturated by contraception and it's inavailability has not been the reason for an increased abortion rate. But Leila does provide evidence, as does Nicole, that failed contraception is a leading precursor to abortion. It doesn't take a stretch to conclude that a person using contraception is seeking to prevent pregnancy, and in situations where religious beliefs are not strong, would consider abortion as second line of defense. It also doesn't take a stretch to conclude that person who does not want a pregnancy and does not have contraception available would be less likely to engage in an act that might result in conception. Contraception, therefore, is more likely to result in abortion than no contraception, as Nicole and Leila have shown.

    Contraception and abortion work, in Tony's words, "in tandem" as methods of birth control. And acceptance and use of contraception has historically "led to" acceptance and use of abortion. And once both are accepted, again as Tony has admitted, abortion will follow contraception as a secondary defense in the tool kit of those who seek to avoid pregancy.

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  84. "I've always wondered why zero population types always want to 'reduce' the poor and the unborn and the disabled and the elderly, but never themselves. I find that odd."

    I wish to remove people who will exist. I do not wish to remove people who do exist. Humans inside other people are not people.

    --Sam

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  85. Humans inside other people are not people.

    Right. Some humans are more human than others. I think we get where you are coming from.

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  86. All humans are equally human. Some humans are defined as people, and some are not.

    --Sam

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  87. Mike, welcome! Thank you! You said that very well. In tandem, yes, that sort of proves the premise.

    Sam,

    Some humans are defined as people, and some are not.

    Defined by whom? You? The Supreme Court? You're okay with some humans defining the humanity of other humans? If you could clear that up, please.

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  88. [Leila: Defined by whom?]

    Defined by whoever has the power to enforce the definition.

    [You're okay with some humans defining the humanity of other humans?]

    Humans are human.

    --Sam

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  89. [Mike: "Abortion and contraception have increased in tandem in association with women taking more control of their reproduction with more effective techniques."

    Exactly! "In tandem."]

    The use of microwave popcorn has increased in tandem with autism. Microwave popcorn does not lead to autism.

    The use of contraceptives has increased in tandem with abortions. The use of contraceptives does not lead to abortions.

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  90. The use of microwave popcorn has increased in tandem with autism. Microwave popcorn does not lead to autism.

    Right, Sam, that's a funny way to try to discredit the premise... But just to be sure your comparison is sound, let's see your post on the legal, historical, and religious ways that microwave popcorn and autism are inherently related. Thanks.

    You said that personhood is "Defined by whoever has the power to enforce the definition."

    So, the Supreme Court? Like in Dred Scott? Were black people in fact less than full people because the Supreme Court had the "power to enforce the definition"? Please explain. Thanks!

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  91. [Leila: So, the Supreme Court?]

    Yes.

    [Like in Dred Scott?]

    In a similar way.

    [Were black people in fact less than full people because the Supreme Court had the "power to enforce the definition"?]

    I do not understand this question.

    Personhood, and associated rights, are determined by those who have the power. These are not rights "in fact" or declarations "in fact".

    Social concepts like personhood are subjective, arbitrary, and secured by force.

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  92. Sam -

    What if the Supreme Court at some point declares annoying commenters on blogs as non-human (sorry...I'm really not trying to be flippant, I just don't know any other category for you). Would you agree, since they had the authority to make that definition?

    Yes, I realize that is not a plausible scenario, but the point I'm trying to get across is how scary it is that you're ok with one class of humans defining the personhood of another class of humans (at first you were only ok with dehumanizing those who weren't born yet, but you have since broadened your scope). If you were to suddenly find YOURSELF in the "non-human" class, would you change your tune?

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  93. [Nicole: Would you agree, since they had the authority to make that definition?]

    My agreement would not matter if I did not have the power to oppose them.

    I would disagree and fight the decision. In the current political environment, my side would win.

    It is frightening. Reality is frightening.

    [EDIT: If you were to suddenly find YOURSELF in the "non-person" class, would you change your tune?]

    Yes. However, if I did not have the power to challenge the classification, my tune would be irrelevant.

    --Sam

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  94. [Nicole: Would you agree, since they had the authority to make that definition?]

    I would disagree. In the current political environemnt, my disagreemnt would be successful. The Supreme Court would fail.

    [EDIT: If you were to suddenly find YOURSELF in the "non-person" class, would you change your tune?]

    If I did not have the power to reclassify personhood in order to include myself, then my tune would be irrelevant.

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  95. Using the caveat, "In the current political environment..." is a dodge. It doesn't address whether or not you're OK with someone else declaring you human or non-human. And I would guess that if, by force, some power class declared you non-human to be discarded at the will of others, you'd probably fight for your God-given right to live.

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  96. [Nicole (EDIT): It doesn't address whether or not you're OK with someone else declaring you person or non-person.]

    I would not passively accept another person's declaration about my personhood, or the personhood of my friends. I would fight this new declaration.

    However, if I did not have the power to win such a fight, then my objections are irrelevant.

    Fetuses do not raise objections. Therefore their opinion in the matter is irrelevant.

    Your opinion is relevant. You may fight me and those like me politically. In this current political environment, you will lose.

    No one knows the future.

    [you'd probably fight for your God-given right to live.]

    If I thought introducing God into the discussion would help my case, I would do so.

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  97. Sam seems to be saying that might makes right.

    It's been said before, by people of faith: If there is no objective truth, then all that is left is power.

    I am so eternally grateful that I don't live in that world. Thank you, Lord! In my world, the meek shall inherit the earth, and whatever we do to the least of our brethren (the old, the disabled, the weak, the unborn), that we do unto Jesus Himself.

    I am so humbled, and so grateful, to be a Catholic.

    What a shame, Sam, that you don't work to protect the most vulnerable and weakest humans. As I said to Tony in another post, welcome to the new liberalism.

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  98. There are things in my control and things not in my control.

    There are things that humans can control and things humans cannot control.

    Some statements are objectively true. Some statements are absolutely true.

    Well-formed mathematical statements are absolutely true. Scientific laws are objective.

    Humans cannot change mathematical or physical law.

    Because there is no God, there is no reason for goodness, beauty and truth to be connected. Truth may be frightening and ugly. We find mathematical truth to be beautiful because our standard for beauty is subjective, and because we desire truth to be beautiful.

    Morality is subjective. Particular moral statements are arbitrary. Moral principles are not entirely arbitrary, but are dependent only on human evolution. Moral truth is determined by power. To say that something is goodness "in fact" is meaningless.

    I am libertarian because libertarianism is to my best advantage, and to the best advantage of my friends.

    I would be happier as a Christian. But Christianity is not my world. Anything in Christianity that is not arbitrary is objectively false.

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  99. I like Sam's analogy; I was going to say the increased use of power steering leads to male hair transplants, but microwave popcorn works, too. Mike C's comment represents a logical fallacy, and I never used the word "good" in relation to abortion and contraception; they just "are".

    Sarah says, "...you seem to have a lot of faith that contraceptives are freeing and healthy."

    I did not say that. (Why do people keep reading some positive value judgment into my characterization of medical interventions?) We are exchanging one set of circumstances for other potential circumstances; no judgment.

    Of course, there are positive and negative sequelae that come from such an increase in sexual activity.

    Positive: more sex. Nice.

    Negative: medical (STD's, , uterine scarring/infertility, side-effects from hormones), psychological (emotional grief), social (physical abuse, disruption of pair bonds), financial (cost of contraception, abortion, treating the medical and social problems), going to Hell under command of an omnipotent anthropomorphic god (ie, cultural taboos), among others.

    The question is whether all the negative consequences of abortion and/or contraception are outweighed by the positive (more sex). Human activity is telling us the answer: Yes, humans will choose to have more sex if they can, and no single negative reason is going to stop them. We are voting with our genitals. This is not surprising given our evolutionary history.

    Here's my take: in our society we rely too heavily on the cultural taboos to dissuade kids from sexual activity. The whole idea of god smiting them to Hell has lost its ability to scare them straight; the cultural taboos are failing. Sure, it will still work for some, but that is quickly becoming a tiny minority, as evidenced by their activity.

    What do other countries do right and wrong? The ones with the lowest abortion rates (if that is our desired goal) do things differently: they teach comprehensive sex ed at a very early age; they provide universal health care and contraception; they don't rely solely on bullsh*tting kids with crap about going to hell.

    Now before someone mischaracterizes what I'm saying, I'll be clear: I have no idea if this will work in our country. We are socially and culturally different from Scandanavia and Western Europe; we like to spend money on foreign wars; we hate to spend money on social programs.

    I'm not confident that anything substantive will change in my lifetime. My guess is that we will keep doing some version of what we are doing now and abortion rates will continue to be double Sweden's rate, and the screaming from both sides will continue.

    Another opinion (based on limited direct evidence, but strong intuition): Outlawing abortion will have little positive result. It would be a boon to predators like Finkel who would suddenly be in high demand. Maybe the increased negative consequences of teens getting harmed would have some marginal effect on decreasing abortion rates, but there would be a cost, too. And is that really how we want to decrease the abortion rate?... by saying to our young kids, "go ahead and get an abortion, but the boogey man will rape you and carve up your uterus." Really.

    Besides, I just don't see any sentiment toward legally outlawing abortion in any real way. Merely overturning Roe would have zero effect, and the idea of a Personhood Amendment is DOA.

    Let's be straight with kids: you can choose, but there are consequences. Let's teach them the consequences, starting at a young age. This is probably not materially different from what everyone does on this comment thread, but it needs to be done society-wide.

    There's my dissertation, exposed... have at it.

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  100. Sam, read my comment again. It's much more than a conclusion by a simple correlation.

    Your comment about humanity is baffling.

    "Humans inside other people are not people."

    You go on to say that only the authorities have the power to decide who is human. This line of reasoning has been used by tyrants since time immemorial to justify some of the worst human rights crimes in history. A world in which one's simple humanity is subject to arbitrary definition and redefinition is not one in which most of us, particularly of the enlightened 21st century variety, would like to live. Such authorities could redefine humanity on religious, ethnic or political bounds in order to give legitimacy to purges, genocide, famine and worse. We see it every day in petty third world dictatorships. Personally (if I could be so bold as to define myself as a person), I would prefer to live in a society that confers the benefits of personhood equally upon everyone from conception until natural death. When the rights and privileges associated with such status are conferred upon all, abuses by the powerful upon the minority (such as unborn babies) are far less likely to occur. I can be confident that it is impossible for anyone at any time in my life to define me as less than human and use that redefinition as a means to oppress or extinguish me.

    Sam, you should be quite happy the status of "person" was conferred upon you first by your parents and then the United States of America. If you think, however, you were merely a "choice" by your parents, and your status as a person a legal construct created by elites and passed by a legislature which could be taken away at any time (there's still time...think old age) I can see why you seem so bitter that the rest of us are confident in the basic, natural, God-given, equal dignity conferred upon us from above. Yours is a very dangerous and meaningless (unless otherwise deemed to have a meaning by the proper authorities) world to live in. Ours is dignified, beautiful and meaningful.

    So as a brother human person, I leave you with this advice: stay away from the microwave popcorn...just in case.

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  101. The difference between a tyrant and a savior is a good publicist.

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  102. Tony,

    Your dissertation is flawed, and I know you are repeating the popular Pro-Choice Movement position, but think about what you are saying please.

    1) Sweden's abortion rates are about the same as in the US, just going by reported numbers.
    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/#ST

    2) They also do not collect data the same way in the US and Sweden. I notice you took issue with surveys in the beginning of this discussion. That is how Sweden collects data on abortion - data on forms filled out by individuals, surveys.
    http://www.stakes.fi/EN/tilastot/statisticsbytopic/reproduction/nordabortions_datasources.htm

    3) It's also worth noting, as a matter of scale, that Sweden has the same population roughly as North Carolina, ~9 million. NC's reported abortion rates are much lower than either Sweden or the US. Most districts in NC report that they teach AOSE and NC is reported as one of the top 10 most religious states.
    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090502/ARTICLES/905029948

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx

    Now how do explain your dissertation?

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  103. From Leila: Mai, I am not interested in taking away your birth control, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. But I understand from your earlier statements that you desire to bring the force of the government against me if I don't give you your birth control when you want it, even if it's against the dictates of my conscience.

    Yes. It is my right as a citizen of the United states to be able to control my fertility. I don't care if YOU don't want to control YOUR fertility, but you should not be telling me, in any possible way, how I should be controlling mine.

    Stores (pharmacists) that serve the public should serve the entire public.

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  104. Mai, should doctors also be forced to perform abortions?

    Your assertion is scary: that private pharmicists should be forced to provide something that they believe is unethical (or in cases as abortifacient contraception, murder). In a free market economy like ours, pharmacists shouldn't be forced to do anything they don't want to do (unless they do work for the government, then you have to follow their rules). But as a private business owner they have the right to conduct business as they see fit. The free market will determine whether there is enough demand for what they do or don't provide. If you don't like the way a business conducts itself you don't have to patronize it.

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  105. Oh, and Mai, you have to remember it works both ways. You want pharmacists to be forced to provide you with items that make your life more convenient, and that you believe is a moral good. But what if the roles were reversed? What if we lived in a society where contraception was looked down upon and the government wanted pharmacists to only prescribe NFP to their patients? Wouldn't you fight for the right of pharmacists who believe contraception was right, good, and moral, to be able to provide it?

    It's a matter of conscience - something the government has no business forcing on anyone.

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  106. And if a pharmacist refuses to dispense birth control, what's next? Businesses can refuse to serve people of different ethnicities, religions and sexual orientation if they don't agree with the lifestyle? Oh wait-many of you DO support that philosophy and the right of Catholic businesses to turn away homosexual clientele. (how exactly does that fit into the scheme of "love the sinner, hate the sin"?)

    I'd say the real culprit here are the pharmaceutical companies that make billions and billions of dollars on producing birth control and selling it at exorbitant prices to people. That said, for all the "fear-mongering" that proliferates here about birth control, it does provide a relatively safe, healthy and convenient means of regulating one's cycle and allowing the pleasures of intimacy.I know someone will bust out with some grim statistics and anecdotes of failure rates, but I stand by my above statement.

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  107. Miss Gwen, you said:

    And if a pharmacist refuses to dispense birth control, what's next? Businesses can refuse to serve people of different ethnicities, religions and sexual orientation if they don't agree with the lifestyle? Oh wait-many of you DO support that philosophy and the right of Catholic businesses to turn away homosexual clientele. (how exactly does that fit into the scheme of "love the sinner, hate the sin"?)

    I am going to assume that you did not deliberately misrepresent the conversation that went on in a previous post about this very issue (an exchange with anon 11:11, I believe). I really don't mind anything that folks post except misrepresentation. It just soooo bothers me (that and threats). If you want to go and re-read that, please do. Or, I will find it and reprint it here so that no one is confused by what you have said.

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  108. Stores (pharmacists) that serve the public should serve the entire public.

    So, Mai, if it becomes legal one day for severely depressed teens to get prescriptions to commit suicide, should pharmacists be legally forced to hand that prescription to the teen?

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  109. Sam, you said:

    I would be happier as a Christian.

    This baffles me. As an atheist, you should only be concerned with one thing (since you are soon going to go "poof"): Happiness. If living as a Christian would make you happier, then live as a Christian. Pascal's Wager.

    Otherwise, if you are an atheist and you are not living in the way that will make you "happy", then aren't you a fool? Because this "experience" is all you've got.

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  110. I cannot force myself to believe something I think is false.

    I could pretend to be a Christian. That would not make me happy.

    Mathematics makes me happy. Disneyland makes me happy. Revealing you to be the liar you are makes me happy.

    But life isn't only about happiness. I would rather be powerful than happy.

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  111. Tony - I don't have time to respond to everything you have said here, but I do believe you are making value judgments, not just stating things that "are." For example, you say we are "voting with our genitals." In saying this, you ignore a lot of the complex social factors that go into deciding to have sex. Deciding to have sex is NOT always pleasurable or desirable for women. But many opt to do it because they feel pressure, feel it may keep a man around, feel it is just the normal expected thing to do, etc. It is not as simple as voting "yes" for sex because we want more of it or even deciding that the contraception is "worth it" (many use it because they feel obligated but don't necessarily feel the positives outweigh the negatives).

    And I disagree that more sex is always a positive. Again, that is a value judgment on your part. For example, many studies show that the more partners a person has, the more difficult it is to bond with partners due to chemical processes in the brain. Again, we can debate all day as to whether more sex equals a positive.

    I'll end with this thought: As human beings we are capable of anticipating the outcomes of our behavior. What a gift. Morality comes into the picture when we feel we have a responsibility to act in a way that will have best outcome (not just short-term, but long-term). Simply throwing up our hands and saying things just "are" and we can't or shouldn't try to improve them is denying the dignity of being human and abdicating responsibility.

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  112. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/nov/10111106

    Tony, I would love your opinion on this article that Lisa brought to your attention, aimed at young people. Do you think this is a good thing?

    Also, you seem to talk a lot about well, 'people are going to have sex anyway and they are going to abort their children anyway' so let's just help them out with it (or something)? I can't really figure out what your point is. It's better to help facilitate bad things in a healthy way? Would you say that about any issue except one involving sex?

    You mention that people like Finkel would be on the scene if we outlaw abortion: But Finkel was on the scene legally. There are creeps and criminals now who are abortionists legally. So, your point is lost on me.

    As for "teaching our children they are going to hell if they have sex ... that's not exactly the approach used. It may have worked at one time (when most people actually feared hell and offending God), but it's a whole new day. If you haven't read Theology of the Body, I recommend it. The Church's teaching on human sexuality is breathtaking, and I know countless people who say it has changed their lives (mine included).

    I am involved in our diocesan program with requires engaged couples to take a course on Theology of the Body. Most of the couples are living together and are using contraception. The positive results from this new program are astounding! Most people "get it" if they are actually presented with the truth, because the truth makes sense and is beautiful.

    That is how I teach my teens, and it has not been difficult at all to make them see the beauty of God's plan for sex. Now, I have eight kids. Will every single one of them stay pure until their marriage? I have no idea. They have free will. But I can tell you that the approach of teaching them the truth and beauty of human sexuality is better than the base, disgusting, invasive and immoral approach that Planned Parenthood uses.

    So much more to say, so little time.... :)

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  113. The difference between a tyrant and a savior is a good publicist.

    I am happy to be God's slave. We all serve our chosen masters, don't we, Sam?

    But this intrigues me. Who or what is the "good publicist" for God?

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  114. God has a whole corporation of spokesmen. The pay, the benefits, the power. It's a good deal. And, so long as you know the rules, you can pretty-much make it up as you go along. It's so easy, even a priest can do it.

    Some are better at the game than others.

    Joseph Ratzinger's pretty good at it.
    Fred Phelps, not so good.

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  115. Yes, Sam, giving up money, sex and power (i.e., taking vows poverty, chastity, obedience) is the best gig in town if you're looking for "pay, benefits and power"! Thanks for the chuckle.

    Ratzinger's good at it? What makes him good?

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  116. So, Mai, if it becomes legal one day for severely depressed teens to get prescriptions to commit suicide, should pharmacists be legally forced to hand that prescription to the teen?

    If it becomes legal, then yes.

    Since we're talking about hypotheticals, I am very much in favor of healthy food. In fact, I think bad food contributes to infertility we see in so many women. I feel so strongly about this, that I am going to get a job at the local supermarket, and refuse to sell junk food to anyone who comes in. It is against my morals. Besides, people are too fat anyway. That's also against my morals.

    Would you agree to allow me to not serve fat people and people who are killing themselves with bad food?

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  117. MaiZeke-- if you wanted to open your own, privately-owned health food store, you could sell whatever you wanted. That was the original premise several posts ago of the homosexual/B&B conversation.

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  118. Mai, first, just to be clear: You, personally, would hand the depressed teen the drugs to kill herself? Beccause it's "legal"? So, whatever is legal, you would do? Is that your threshhold for what is right? If it's "legal"?

    As for your question, first, let me see if you can make this distinction: Do you know the difference between "sin" and "imprudent behavior"? And, do you know the difference between direct killing and causes of death which are indirect?

    Let me know if you understand those distinctions before I answer.

    For Miss Gwen: Let me be clear... I would serve a homosexual couple at any resaurant, at any sporting event, at any hospital, etc. However, I will not facilitate sin. Can you see the distinction?

    One question for Mai and Gwen: Do you consider yourself oppressed by your own biology as a woman?

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  119. Well, then, I guess we're okay. The stats show we're right where we want to be.

    Actually, I was looking at stats on teen pregnancy, and not abortion, so my mistake. While we have similar abortion rates to Scandanavia, our birth rate among teens is higher than Sweden and other nations. European women wait longer to have sex.

    USNews: The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in Sweden are among the world's lowest. Sweden's teenage birthrate is 7 per 1,000 births, compared with 49 in the United States. Among 15-to-19-year-olds, reported cases of gonorrhea in the United States are nearly 600 times as great on a per capita basis.

    So I guess it's okay that we have high teen pregnancy rates as long as they don't abort?

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  120. The priesthood is all about power. The vows are ironic.

    The deal was much better a few hundred years ago. It's still a great gig.

    A priest may enjoy telling people what to believe in the morning, eating a fine steak in the evening, and a choir boy before bedtime.

    --Sam

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  121. Mai - It might surprise you, but yes, I would be in favor of you being able to sell whatever you want. Although you probably wouldn't have a job for very long if the store you worked for didn't hold the same beliefs. So then you'd have a right to open your own store. If you didn't want to sell junk food, you wouldn't have to. If I wanted to buy junk food, I'd go elsewhere. You can refuse to sell junk food, but you can't refuse to sell to an obese person just because they're obese.

    Same goes with pharmacists. If they take a job with a company that forces them to sell contraceptives, then they'd probably have to. But if they own their own pharmacy and choose not to sell contraceptives, the gov't can't force them to. But they can't refuse to sell ANY kind of drugs (like antibiotics, etc) to people, say, having premarital sex, just because they don't agree with how they live (which is the analogy to your obese person). You can't discriminate based on gender, color, weight, etc.

    You might argue that that is discrimination based on religious or moral belief. The difference is that the pharmacist isn't refusing to sell contraception based on the CONSUMER's belief...he's refusing to sell it based on his OWN belief.

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  122. I would rather be powerful than happy.

    Sam, yes, I do believe you are all about power.

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  123. The priesthood is all about power. The vows are ironic.

    The deal was much better a few hundred years ago. It's still a great gig.

    A priest may enjoy telling people what to believe in the morning, eating a fine steak in the evening, and a choir boy before bedtime.


    You don't know many priests, do you, Sam?

    Incidentally, my priest doesn't tell me what to believe. He tells me the teaching of the Church. I make the decision to believe or to not believe.

    By the way, have you ever read any of Pope Benedict XVI's writings, Sam?

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  124. JoAnna, my thoughts exactly: Sam doesn't know many priests.

    And I find it funny that the Church is simultaneously powerful and irrelevant, and that priests are living high and controlling people's lives, and simultaneously ignored by most Catholics (not to mention the general public).

    :)

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  125. I know a few priests. Some of them are fat. You don't get fat off poverty.

    I have read snippets of Joseph Ratzinger's writing. He is very clever. He also seems to believe his own words. But he's all about power. Just like me.

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  126. But they can't refuse to sell ANY kind of drugs (like antibiotics, etc) to people, say, having premarital sex, just because they don't agree with how they live (which is the analogy to your obese person). You can't discriminate based on gender, color, weight, etc.

    Oh, no. I'm refusing to sell the tool they are using to kill themselves. Bad food. I'm stopping them from doing the thing that I don't think they should be doing - eating what is bad for them. I would be happy to sell them apples.

    Thanks for bringing up the B&B also, Leila. When I open it, I will definitely say, no fat people allowed. Just the thought of fat people going at it in my B&B makes me ill. Even if they are not going at it my B&B, or eating bad food elsewhere, then I don't want them in my B&B.

    Would either of you object to my putting a sign up on my own B&B saying, "Gluttons who are killing themselves with food need not try to stay here."

    Regarding Leila's questions about whether I know what the difference between sin and impudent behavior is:

    Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

    The bible doesn't like gluttons any more than I do. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluttony

    Also, the last time we had this conversation Leila objected to me using the civil rights movement as an analogy, because black people don't choose who they are, but homosexuals do. Well, so do fat people. They choose to be fat, and that's not a good choice.

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  127. I desire a world where no one covers the Pope's speeches, no one reports on what Bishops say, and where everything magisterial is genuinely ignored.

    More than that. A world where pastors and preachers, imams and gurus are all consigned to the dustbin of history, or the insane asylum.

    A world where it isn't worth the time to dissent.

    Someday maybe Christianity will be irrelevant. Probably not in my lifetime.

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  128. Actually Sam, there are many obese people in the inner cities. Many poor people are obese. But that of course is completely irrelevant to whether or not priests eat steak. I am leaving your comments up because I am pleased for people to see who you are. Keep talking.

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  129. Mai, you didn't answer. Would you hand the girl the pills to kill herself? Is what is "legal" your standard for what is "right"?

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  130. Sure thing. No one gets fat off of poverty.

    I heard a priest talk about how he struggled with the beginning of Lent, because he couldn't enjoy his favorite meat-lover's pizza for forty days. He's the same priest who orders Guinness and New York Strip during every theology discussion at the pub.

    His poverty didn't make him fat. Tithes did.

    --Sam

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  131. Poverty didn't pay for the Pope's prada

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  132. Sam, your comments have become so irrelevant and bizarre that I am going to have to go ahead and ignore you. Do any of the other liberals on the site want to defend Sam's statements? Go ahead if so, but if not, I'm done with the ramblings.

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  133. Mai, you didn't answer. Would you hand the girl the pills to kill herself? Is what is "legal" your standard for what is "right"?

    It was the same question as before. If it were legal, then I would. In fact, If you'd like to get into that, I don't think suicide should be illegal, as it is in some states. And I *definitely* don't think that the Church or any christians should decide if someone should be able to end their own lives or not. The church making the decision that suicide is wrong is CERTAINLY not my "legal" standard.

    I'm really liking this new blog by a former Episcopalian priest-turned-atheist. Really, a lot. Here's just one of the posts about assisted suicide and the Anglican church.

    http://choiceindying.com/2010/12/15/assisted-dying-and-the-archbishop/

    A quote from that link: For, notice, the church is not here speaking only for believers. It is purporting to speak for society as a whole. Religions are free to determine anything regarding their theological or moral beliefs. All that is necessary is a formulation that will garner the acceptance and obedience of the greater proportion of their adherents. But to decide for a society as a whole? By what right, even in Britain, where the church is established by law, does the church presume to dictate for those who do not count themselves as amongst the number of its members, accept its teachings, or subject themselves to its discipline?

    here are some other nice posts.

    about the st joseph's hospital: http://choiceindying.com/2010/12/27/catholic-madness/

    A nice quote about Bishop Olmsted saying bishops have “a heightened moral responsibility to remain actively engaged in these discussions and debates.” However, this is precisely what he is denying, namely, that there is any room for discussion here. It is not a matter for debate, or for difference of opinion. No. There is one correct answer, and he knows it.

    And here is one last one, about Hitler (sorry, Tony): http://choiceindying.com/2011/01/08/righteous-among-the-nations/

    with the quote:
    It may or may not be significant that the proportion of SS administrators and guards at the death camps who were communicating Catholics is larger than one might have expected, based on the number of Catholics in the population of greater Germany (as it then was), but not one of them was excommunicated for their participation in the Holocaust, and no moral direction was given to Catholics regarding the genocide that was underway.

    That said, Leila, you haven't answered my question. Would you object to my putting up a sign saying at my B&B saying "Gluttons need not try to stay here"? I'd even put up a bunch of biblical quotes and quotes from Thomas Aquinas if it might help you decide.

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  134. Go ahead and ignore me. I'm done with this place anyway. You won't need to worry about me here anymore (unless you start trying to oust other academics; in which case, I'll be back to embarrass you all over again).

    I've exposed your lies here, and soon on Pharyngula (P.Z. Myers told me he'll probably post the story tomorrow; but of course you aren't interested). Ironically, it may be some good publicity for your blog.

    I've given my views here.

    Nothing else about your blog makes me happy. It sure doesn't give me much power.

    So have fun in your little world.

    P.S. I'll make sure to drop a line to the "anonymous" professor to let him know about the new story, when it appears.

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  135. Sam doesn't know what he's talking about. When Pope Benedict was elected, he said something like "Please God, don't do this to me." He just wanted to retire and live a quiet life where he could play music and write books. Sure sounds like a power-hungry man to me. ;)

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  136. Mai, if you would hand a depressed teen girl a lethal prescription, then I don't think I need to add anything more to that discussion.

    If you want to ban "gluttons" from patronizing your B&B, that is fine with me. Gluttony is a behavior (although I'm interested to know how you specifically determine whether any particular person's weight is based on gluttony vs. other issues).

    The "Catholic Church loves Nazis" stuff has been debunked so many times by so many people (including Jewish scholars) that I just *yawn* now. If you want to shake your world by reading the other side, go to the Catholic League's site and check out all the stuff on Pius XII and Hitler. You are aware that until some bigot wrote a fictional play in 1962, no one ever thought that the Church was complicit with the Nazis, right? Ugh. Frustrating, but I know you will believe whatever you'd like.

    As for Bishop Olmsted, I just have to smile. The Bishop's job is to teach what the Church has always taught. And "keeping in the discussion" is important, since even most American Catholics aren't listening and don't care. His position is the marginalized one. Would you like the bishop to be legally silenced, Mai?

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  137. If you want to ban "gluttons" from patronizing your B&B, that is fine with me. Gluttony is a behavior

    Nice. At least you are consistent. You show no outrage over discrimination based on behavior. I'm going to go a step further, then. I've decided that as an atheist, the behavior of reading the bible annoys me. It's my right as an atheist to not serve people who I disagree with. So, I'm going to open a B&B and put up a new sign saying, "No Christians allowed." It's the only B&B in town, for 100 miles. Is this ok according to your logic?

    (although I'm interested to know how you specifically determine whether any particular person's weight is based on gluttony vs. other issues).

    I don't care how they got fat, if they have a disease that makes them fat, then they should just eat less, then. Simple. Just like if they were "born" homosexual, they should just stop being attracted to the other sex. Simple as that - you're the one teaching me this type of logic, Leila.

    The rest, I agree, yawn. Except for this:

    The Bishop's job is to teach what the Church has always taught. And "keeping in the discussion" is important, since even most American Catholics aren't listening and don't care. His position is the marginalized one. Would you like the bishop to be legally silenced, Mai?

    You missed the point. He says he is discussing, but then he says there is no discussion. Like you do, here. It's just that Eric put it so much better than I could.

    Man-oh-man. Hoo-ey. If this gets put on PZ's blog, ho. Whah. I'll be so excited. I'm going to have to stand back and just watch.

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  138. Mai, being a Christian isn't a "behavior". If you don't want me to read the Bible in your B&B, then I would oblige.

    As for the gluttony issue, I guess the readers will decide if your logic or mine makes sense.

    So, in your mind, a "discussion" can't be a "discussion" if the two parties "discussing" have opposing beliefs that will not change? Really? We can't talk about ideas at that point? I happen to love discussing ideas, even when no one is going to change his/her mind during the discussion. Clarity and understanding are important to me.

    Thanks for the heads up that I will get a lot of Sam and Mai type readers to the blog. I will go back to moderating comments.

    Thanks!

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  139. Just like if they were "born" homosexual, they should just stop being attracted to the other sex.

    Mai, sometimes I wonder if you are even trying to follow what I am saying? You see the distinction between an "attraction" and an action, right? One is involuntary, the other is voluntary. You see that, right?

    I never said anything about how homosexuals need to "stop being attracted" to the same sex.

    Please, please, don't misrepresent. I don't mind a misunderstanding, but misrepresentation is a pet peeve of mine.


    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/we-dont-make-determinations-about-who.html

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  140. Good grief... MaiZeke, this is getting ridiculous. No one was banning the homosexuals (the person); what was being banned was the (presumed) homosexual activity. The imaginary B&B owner could, in accord with his/her moral values, not permit what he/she considers inappropriate behavior under his/her roof. They're welcome at my imaginary B&B, but will be staying in separate rooms, since my imaginary B&B has that for ALL unmarried couples. Gasp... yes, my imaginary B&B "discriminates" against fornication of all unmarried sorts (single, gay, and adulterous).

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  141. Mai, being a Christian isn't a "behavior". If you don't want me to read the Bible in your B&B, then I would oblige.

    If it were a matter of doing something in my B&B, I'd agree. But you don't want a homosexual couple to be in your B&B, even if you don't know what goes on in their bedroom, correct? Or are you saying that a homosexual couple can come to your B&B as long as they don't touch each other while here? Or touch each other in a sexual way while here? I'd like to see how you enforce that.

    The fact that you DO read the bible, in my B&B or not, is a behavior I cannot condone so (again, according to your logic) I have the right to deny you service.

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  142. I never said anything about how homosexuals need to "stop being attracted" to the same sex..

    I stand corrected. If someone has a disease that makes them fat, or makes them hungry all of the time, then they should act appropriately. Stop eating. I don't care if they are hungry, just stop eating. Just like if someone were born homosexual, then they should not act on it. I don't care if they are attracted to someone else, just stop that feeling.

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  143. They're welcome at my imaginary B&B, but will be staying in separate rooms, since my imaginary B&B has that for ALL unmarried couples.

    Lisa - In your imaginary B&B, can the homosexual kiss in the common room? On the lips? Or is it only touching of sexual body parts (which I assume you mean by fornication)? How about that question for the heterosexual unmarried couple?

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  144. Interesting, Mai.

    Well, I wouldn't even allow an unmarried heterosexual couple to sleep together in my home.

    If there were two beds in the room at the B&B, and if I had a reasonable belief that they would not be having sex, they could stay. After all, for all I know, they are old high school friends, or sisters. But if they were coming on a romantic getaway or their "honeymoon"? No, I don't need to be hosting that. I wouldn't do that at my home.

    I can't enforce anything of course. It's all just my reasonable evaluation if I thought that anything immoral were to be facilitated there. Hopefully, a gay couple would not disrespect my beliefs and would choose another location for their "honeymoon".

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  145. Lisa, you said it better than I could. Thanks!

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  146. A very good book about the Catholic Church & Her opposition to the Nazis during WWII is "The Myth of Hitler's Pope" by Rabbi David Dalin.

    I took a class in college (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) called "The History of the Holocaust." I wasn't Catholic at the time. My professor was Jewish. Not once in the curriculum did the Catholic Church's alleged support of the Nazi party come up. In fact, in several of our textbooks there were documented stories about nuns and priests who had saved Jewish children and Jewish adults by hiding them in monasteries and convents, and by forging fake baptismal records for them.

    We did, however, read Martin Luther's "On the Jews and their Lies" while learning about the history of anti-Semitism. Shocking stuff.

    Sam, again, you must not know many priests.

    Mai, do you honestly think obesity is simply about "not eating much"? My stepsister eats very nutritious meals and exercises. She had gastric bypass surgery. She still struggles with her weight. It's purely genetic (her mother has the same issues).

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  147. Hopefully, a gay couple would not disrespect my beliefs and would choose another location for their "honeymoon".

    What if it is the nicest B&B in town? The other ones are run down. The homosexual couple should hide their inclination from you so they can stay at your nicer B&B with a better breakfast?

    What if the couple looks like they could be high school friends, and say they are, but specifically request a double bed? When you offer them the room with the two twins, but they say, no, the double bed -- what will you say?

    Will you say, "Uh, why do you want the double bed? What will you be doing in the double bed, if I may ask?"

    For the homosexual couple, what if they don't believe in wedding rings, and the woman didn't change her name, but are married nonetheless? Will you ask for a marriage certificate?

    I'd also like to hear Leila's reply to kissing in the common room, even if you have put the homosexual couple in different rooms.

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  148. Mai,

    Do you believe that sex is necessary for survival (like eating)?

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  149. "For the homosexual couple, what if they don't believe in wedding rings, and the woman didn't change her name, but are married nonetheless? Will you ask for a marriage certificate?"

    It doesn't matter if the homosexual couple are "married" or not. It's still immoral behavior by Catholic standards. Being "married" by the civil government doesn't legitimize homosexual activity by Catholic moral standards.

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  150. Joanna says Mai, do you honestly think obesity is simply about "not eating much"? My stepsister eats very nutritious meals and exercises. She had gastric bypass surgery. She still struggles with her weight. It's purely genetic (her mother has the same issues).

    Yes, Joanna, that's my point. Do you honestly think that homosexuality is simply about not acting on desires? A glutton is hungry, but she shouldn't act it. This is the same as saying, a homosexual is attracted to the same sex, but shouldn't act on it.

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  151. sorry, I should have said

    "For the HETEROsexual couple, what if they don't believe in wedding rings, and the woman didn't change her name, but are married nonetheless? Will you ask for a marriage certificate?"

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  152. Which leads to my next question, Mai. Do you think sex is necessary for survival? Would a homosexual person die if they did not have sex?

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  153. A pedaphile is attracted to children... I have a feeling you hope he/she will not act on it.

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  154. Oh gosh. I can't even read this it is so hateful (I just skimmed a handful of recent comments.) Prayer is needed. And taking comfort in the fact that once we die, we will know Truth.

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  155. Joanna says: Do you believe that sex is necessary for survival (like eating)?

    I'm not saying she can't eat. She can eat, just not as much. I'm just looking out for her - the more she eats, the more likely she is to die early.

    Sex is very important. Some people deny themselves food (like anorexics), and some people deny themselves sex (like priests). To answer the question, people should have the right to eat and adults should have the right to have sex with other consenting adults.

    You are restricting sex for adults with other consenting adults, and I am restricting eating for fat people.

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  156. Joanna says: Do you believe that sex is necessary for survival (like eating)?

    I'm not saying she can't eat. She can eat, just not as much.

    here's more on this one. This is just like you saying, "I'm not saying that the homosexual can't have sex. They just can't have sex with someone I don't think they should have sex with."

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  157. "What if?" Well, what if, Mai? I don't actually run a B&B, but if I did, I would evaluate that on a case by case basis, and clearly identify myself as Catholic. Would I be allowed to do that, legally? I don't know. I don't know what kind of laws are on the books these days.

    Mai, you seem really happy that a bunch of atheists from the "big site" are going to come and ambush the Bubble. Are you happy that I have to go to moderation and that the free discussion will stop now? Does that satisfy you? It seems to bring you joy.

    I have said (as Horowitz has) that the only thing the left is really "liberal" about is sex and drugs. On everything else, they want to dictate what others will do, by legal force (their highest authority). The intimidation and threats to try to get this blog shut down or put on moderation so that there are no free, respectful exchanges of ideas truly saddens me. But it's not unexpected, because the left is the most intolerant bunch of all.

    Still and all, the Bubble will continue.

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  158. Mai, did you know that gluttony is also a sin in Catholic moral teaching?

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  159. Mai, gluttony is not about "being hungry" and anorexia is a disorder.

    Priests sacrifice the good of marriage for a higher good.

    That is not comparable to an eating disorder. Sorry.

    Yes, CL, I think there's a lot of hateful stuff flying, too. It actually makes me queasy. And so sad.

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  160. Ironically, it's the left which is passing laws restricting what foods we can or can't eat "for our own good". Like I said, the left are liberal only on issues of sex and drugs. For everything else, freedom is not the goal.

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  161. CL, Yes, prayer. St. Michael is gonna get a workout! :)

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  162. JoAnna, many in society today seem to believe that a person will spontaneously combust if they do not have sex. Sex is an idol now, and yet the secularists don't even realize how much they have debased and degraded their idol.

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  163. Clarification: Just reread my latest comment (A pedaphile is attracted to children... I have a feeling you hope he/she will not act on it.) and wanted to be clear that that was for MaiZeke concerning acting on impulses. I didn't want someone who hadn't followed to think that I was mentioning that to Leila. :)

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  164. Mai, did you know that gluttony is also a sin in Catholic moral teaching?

    I don't really know the catholic teaching on it, but I know it is a sin in the bible. Which is why I'm using it as an example.

    I think it is obvious that I would not restrict fat people from my B&B because they are sinning by committing gluttony. Or by reading the bible.

    I am only applying your logic of the behavior of homosexuality to another behavior of gluttony.

    If you think that is hateful, then I think I have proven my point. The way you are acting, by denying rights to homosexuals, is similarly hateful.

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  165. Do you think the City of San Francisco is being hateful by restricting the sale of Happy Meals in McDonald's restaurants?

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  166. Just to clarify, my comment about comments being hateful was referring to Sam.

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  167. Just popping in for a minute, as I'll be gone for a while. Switching to moderated comments now.

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  168. "hateful"? To not agree to facilitate sin is "hateful"? Wow.....

    No wonder it's so hard to have a dialogue.

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  169. Hameno:

    There are two methods to have full control over your fertility: your choice to have or abstain from sex (see? I'm pro-choice, too!), or getting a hysterectomy. Otherwise, no matter what you do, there is a chance you will become pregnant. And once that happens, well, your fertility has been decided (duh, yer pregnant), and again, you have no control over it.

    Sam:

    Wow, I like Ayn Rand, too!

    But I must say this is a rather perplexing quote:

    Personhood, and associated rights, are determined by those who have the power. These are not rights "in fact" or declarations "in fact".

    So lessee: The black man hanging from a noose in 1930s Mississippi was not a person, as evidenced by his execution by those with a contrary view and the power to enforce it? Interesting. Mom must be proud.

    Or if I had a gun and you didn't, and I decided that you were not a person and began one by one blowing off various appendages (some smaller than others), I suspect you would feel your life had objective value, despite my opinion.

    At the risk of venturing into the ad hominem (but what the heck! I'm Catholic, Latin's our thing!): I've encountered scores of (very unhappy) people with your viewpoint over the years. Almost universally they were eight year college students who changed majors 12 times and finally settled on philosophy or psychology because they required the least amount of credits. Unfailingly, with no means to explain the context of their lives, and no moral or philosophical center by which to judge themselves, they resort to defining the human condition through absurd syllogisms that accomplish little more than making them feel better about their own misery (at least for a while).

    So ... um ... good luck with that! And may you be blessed with continued affirmation of your personhood through the benevolent exercise of power by those with the capacity to wield it! ;-)

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  170. Leila, this was the whole paragraph of mine:

    If you think that is hateful, then I think I have proven my point. The way you are acting, by denying rights to homosexuals, is similarly hateful.

    Clearly, I thought complicated life was saying my analogy was hateful.

    However, I still wonder why it is ok to facilitate the sin of gluttony and not to facilitate the sin of homosexuality.

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  171. http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=16864185

    For Tony and others who dismiss this post out of hand, the link above was recommended to me, as it goes right along with the subject of this post. It's all part of the same mindset.

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  172. Sam, it just occurred to me that you used the word "oust"... as in, you think I am trying to "oust" the professor? Get him removed? Are you kidding? Never did that cross my mind. Not only would I not try such a thing, but you completely misunderstand what goes on in Catholic universities. Professors who are "independent thinkers" and follow the mold of Fr. Hesburgh are highly regarded in Catholic academia. They are lauded. And nothing the professor said or did contradicts anything that a modern Catholic university would expect and desire a professor to say and do.

    If decades of concerned laymen, the Cardinal Newman Society, the bishops, and even the Pope himself have not been able to secure orthodoxy in the universities, then why would my little posts have that effect?

    You are way off base.

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  173. Mai, as far as you gluttony question goes...

    That's a bit more nebulous to determine than homosexual sex. If an obese person comes to my B&B, there is no moral reason not to serve him food. Serving someone a meal is not sinful, and an obese person eating food (even good food) is not sinful. Catholics don't police people's meals (unlike the Obamas, ha ha!).

    Now, since you are the B&B owner, I suppose you could only offer the obese guest a healthy meal with small portions. That would be your right.

    Now, do you discriminate against smokers at your B&B? (I would... I would not allow smoking at my B&B). What about if there were a group of "cutters"? Or, NAMBLA activists? Or KKK members? Would you host them in your B&B? I'm just curious if there is anyone or any activity you would not host or accommodate.

    Thanks!

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  174. Leila, can you please invite Sam back? Everytime he comments, I feel as if I'm tripping on Acid. ;)

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  175. Ha, I missed the "oust" comment. That's hilarious. Sam, look at Notre Dame. The people who invited Obama to speak are still sitting pretty despite being a "Catholic" university. Professor X has nothing to fear from a simple blog post criticizing his cafeteria Catholicism, believe me.

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  176. Interesting. Sam's atheist friend with the atheist blog (that is supposedly going to post about the Bubble) is PZ Myers... the same class act who made headlines for threatening to desecrate the Eucharist online for all to see. (I believe he did go ahead with the desecration, and then threw the Host in the garbage.) I thought his name was familiar.

    Nice for Mai to be all giddy about the possibility of the havoc he and his atheist buddies could wreak here. Apparently she and Sam admire Professor Myers very much.

    I can think of better men to admire.

    Anyway, here is some info on the desecration, but you can google him and find more, including a wikipedia entry.

    http://discoverthefaith.com/2008/07/26/update-on-professor-myers-desecration-of-eucharist/

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  177. I doubt PZ will think this blog is worthy of comment, actually. But if he does, it certainly will be exciting around here for a while. Oh, except that you are moderating all comments, in anticipation. So maybe not.

    I certainly am glad that you are allowing me to continue posting here, Leila. Very magnanimous of you. Looks like Sam isn't welcome, and neither would PZ's people be. So ... what is it about me particularly that is acceptable?

    However, I'm getting a little tired of it these days, and think I'll take a break. I certainly hope you continue to have 'acceptable' atheists come along, to continue having discussions, so you can keep up your traffic.

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  178. I doubt PZ will think this blog is worthy of comment, actually.

    Gosh, Mai, thanks?

    Anyway, I have allowed Sam to keep commenting, mostly because I want people to continue to see what kind of person he is. You have not been terribly rude, and while you have not been as kind as Mrs. M, or Matt in Seattle, you have also not called me a liar repeatedly or threatened me, as Sam has. So, why would I not want you here? I have generally enjoyed our dialogues. Maybe you have not, but I have.

    I am not interested in "keeping up traffic" for traffic's sake. I don't really care who reads the blog, or how many. I enjoy it, and it's mostly a record for my children one day.

    If no atheists come around, that's fine, and it's fine if they do. I mostly want to reach Catholics who don't know their faith well.

    As for the moderation... I went and looked at the type of comments and people who are at that blog. I don't think that those folks would come here to respectfully dialogue. I am pretty sure there might be some malice there, and I don't feel like sitting by my computer watching dozens of nasty comments come in. In fact, I cannot do so, since I have kids to feed and drive and play with. So, moderation is necessary until I feel the threat from Sam (or his minions) is over. You seemed to imply that the people on Myers' blog would not be here as good dialogue partners. So, what mother of eight do you know who could let things go unmoderated?

    If he does find me "worthy" (ha!), then I will be happy to publish even the nastier comments of the atheists. But I will need to see them first, so that there is not a free-for-all. I hope you can understand that, logistically and practically.

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  179. Okay, I absolutely can't get back into the debate :) (Don't have time), but in catching up with comments, just wanted to add a clarification: It's my understanding that diocesan priests typically do not take a vow of poverty. So if you see a priest driving a nice car, don't assume he broke a vow.

    Secondly, if you see a priest driving a nice car: Don't assume he bought it. I know plenty of priests who inherited all they own from a family member or were gifted things that they were allowed to use for a greater good.

    As is the case with most priests (including our pope), they don't own much. When Pope BXVI dies, he doesn't get to will the Vatican to next of kin. :)

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  180. Sarah, excellent points! You are right about diocesan priests not taking a vow of poverty. Most order priests do, but not diocesan.

    I am so glad you piped in with those thoughts.

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  181. Mai, If you doubt that "PZ will think this blog is worthy of comment" then why do you bother commenting? I know I haven't dialogued with you much, but I've been reading and I have to say, you don't seem to enjoy the discussion anymore and you seem increasingly disdainful. I feel like I've read before that you were going to stop commenting (I could be wrong, so I'm sorry if I am) but you still seem to come back. It's not that I don't want you to comment; I very much like reading what you say, but if you're becoming angry, frustrated or disdainful, then maybe it isn't worth it.

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  182. Just out of curiosity...Why is everyone spending so long on one little post? I realize it addresses a big subject, but seriously everyone? Why is everyone making such a big deal out of it? You have your opinions, they have theirs, we have ours. I think everyone should accept it and move on. What is the point of arguing when it is clear that no one is going to change their mind?

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  183. Hi Sophie! Remember, this blog is a teaching and learning blog, mostly for the Catholics who read, and also for the lurkers who are interested in the debate, to hear both sides. You wouldn't believe how many people tell me that they read all these comments, one woman saying it's like a good book that she can't put down!

    I don't think I will change Mai's mind, or Sam's, or Miss Gwen's, but that is not my point. I am not about "consensus"... I am about clarity. Each of us should be able to clearly articulate our principles and their consequences. If you read the link at the top, "The Purpose of my Blog", I go into a bit more detail.

    I'm glad you're back!

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  184. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/abby-johnson-reveals-details-of-pro-life-turnaround-and-catholic-conversion/

    This goes along with our discussion. Abby Johnson (who left her position at Planned Parenthood, became pro-life and now Catholic) also discovered the link between abortion and contraception, and has now denounced contraception as well. It's all connected.

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  185. http://lisagraas.com/2011/01/19/sfla-responds-to-abortionist-arrest-and-infanticide-in-philadelphia/

    Abortionist committing infanticide. I'd love to hear a "pro-choice" comment on this latest news. Does it shock you?

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  186. jayjay, you are deleted and banned. You are offensive and you can go to another blog that likes rude people. We don't tolerate ill mannered people here. God bless!

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  187. By the way, jayjay, you need to learn the difference between fertilization and implantation.

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  188. Actually, I know that you are very wrong (your facts about the Church prove that), and you are also rude. That is what I know. I can argue and debate with atheists all day long, but rude people? Never.

    I didn't ban you in that way, I just asked you not to come back. If you had any courtesy, you would respect my request. From now on I will ignore you. But if you continue with anything obscene (your avitar alone is inappropriate) then I will simply start moderating comments, which is a shame for the rest of the readers who actually enjoy the discussions, no matter their belief system.

    Blessings!

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  189. I have to object when correlation is presented as causation and when people use misleading statistics to support what they already believe. And this is what's happening to some Catholics now that the government has said that insurance companies must now cover prescription contraception with no co-pay.

    There's not more contraception options flooding the market, they're now just available for those lucky gals with insurance to not have to pay the pesky $10.

    So instead of just affirming that the Church disallows birth control because everybody should be open to life, which is a hugely legitimate argument, people like Janet Smith have to say that contraception leads to abortion which is not causation.

    Lots of people are waiting to get married and yes, having multiple sexual partners. So, they use birth control because they want the sex without the child. Immoral, maybe, yes but not illogical. And nobody wants to throw this out but the majority of humans are careless, often not sober, and utterly ignorant about their bodies. I just had a woman I work with who I consider intelligent tell me she just found out (and she's 33) that women are only fertile for 72 hours in a cycle. I couldn't believe it but frankly was not totally surprised.

    People don't know what they are doing. So, I think everyone should pray that people get a clue about life, God, and self-control and stop dragging out that using contraception leads to an increase in abortion. Not true.

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  190. stop dragging out that using contraception leads to an increase in abortion. Not true.

    But airing, you've disproven nothing. Cite your evidence. After a society accepts widespread contraception, show me the abortion rate going down.

    And of course, it's not just Janet Smith. Here is Pope John Paul II, in Evangelium Vitae:

    It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion, because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the "contraceptive mentality"--which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act--are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion arespecifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment "You shall not kill".

    But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real-life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

    The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being.

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  191. airing, let's try this: Can you show me a society that has accepted abortion, but which did not first accept contraception? If not, why not?

    Also, of course it's logical that someone having casual sex wants to prevent a baby from being conceived. When did I say such a mindset was illogical? Preventing a baby is why people use contraception, and it's why they have abortions, too. Very logical. And very immoral. So, I'm not getting your point.

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    Replies
    1. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2009/10/20/reference/abortion-still-key-birth-control/

      Japan accepted abortion and contraception simultaneously after World War II. Interestingly, Japan has largely rejected birth control pills and IUDs.

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  192. Wow... this is quite the debate! Can't say that I read it all, but most of it.

    I have to say, no where on here did anyone mention the fact that SIN leads to abortion. Not contraception. Not contraception failure. Plain old selfishness, lack of faith, SIN. Am I the only pro-life Protestant on here??

    Looking for the proposed post about IUD's and abortion. I have no idea how one could come to that conclusion, but am curious to see how a Catholic might.

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  193. Hi Mehridith! Well, you have to remember that contraception is also sinful. So yes, sin begets sin, for sure. Sin is the base problem since the Fall of man, and sin is a failure to love. No one would disagree that sin leads to abortion, and sin originates in the heart of man. I am not sure why you think we disagree, so if you could clarify, I can better answer your question.

    I'm not sure what the IUD question is that you are specifically asking, but in general, an IUD acts often as an abortifacient. Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director now a pro-life advocate, wrote something that really stuck with me, about IUDs:

    http://www.abbyjohnson.org/2011/12/iuds-the-worst-choice/

    Hope that helps explain the horror that is the IUD.

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  194. Have you read this article. It went viral on facebook.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

    It's in vain to argue against it because people will keep switching and changing. One minute they'll be saying that women aren't 'baby-making machines' and how dare the Church want to control my sex life, then they'll switch tactic and say 'how dare you suggest a woman takes this decision easily'. They'll say 'contraception is reliable', then they'll say 'women need abortion as a back-up for contraception failure'. I find the anger and hate and self-justification so exhausting I just can't argue with it. Maybe you can.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

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  195. It's not just a nutty pro-life concept or a Catholic concept, but basic psychology.

    Specifically, contraception leads to abortion due to the principle of risk compensation. As contraception reduces the risk of pregnancy from a sexual encounter, people have more sexual encounters, including those that are risky in that they are not an ideal situation for having babies. Furthermore, people tend to overestimate the effectiveness of contraceptive methods. The perfect use failure rate of birth control pills is 1% per year, however, the typical use failure rate is 8% per year. Many OB/GYNs observe even higher failure rates with 10% of their patients experiencing an unplanned pregnancy while on the Pill.

    The other problem is that people don't like the contraceptives. Contraceptives either interfere with intimacy or are hard on the body. Couples may have condoms, but not use them or not use them properly because they don't like them. The most effective contraceptives are the ones that are hardest on the body. It's not uncommon for women to get an IUD because of the high effectiveness rate only to get it removed a few months later because of the side effects.

    When you plan your life so that pregnancy doesn't happen and pregnancy does happen, this becomes a crisis and abortion is seen as a way out of the crisis.

    I will add that much the same can be said for natural family planning as well, however, the key difference is that a well trained couple is much more aware of the risk. In fact, the entire system is based on being aware of the risk of pregnancy on any given day. Second, it requires effort to avoid and couples can become quickly aware of how difficult it actually is to avoid pregnancy.

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  196. When you bring up risk compensation, people have one of three reactions:

    1. Outright denial
    1a. Claming that people don't factor risk of pregnancy into sexual decisions.
    1b. Claming contraceptives really ARE highly effective and we just need to do a better job of convincing people to use them. (Good luck with that.)
    2. Claiming that increased availability of sex is worth the risk.
    3. An angry tirade about rape and non-consensual sex.

    #1 denies reality. #2 is honest, but rare and fairly shocking to most. #3 comes from the angry echo chambers of certain feminist circles that seem to see rape (and rape pregnancy) as much more common than it is.

    The article Rosy Hill refers to was written by a woman who comes from a fundamentalist background where, as I understand it, what most would consider marital sexual abuse was common and accepted. This often to led to the excusing and downplaying of other types of sexual abuse. She tried NFP, but did not have a good experience, probably because she was not able to escape many of her fundamentalist views about sex and the body. (Catholic NFP instructors often are completely unaware about the issues women coming from such culture have to overcome to be able to successfully use NFP, but I digress.)

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