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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Contra-Contraception

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Author Topic: Contra-Contraception
Gumdrop Girl
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Contra-Contraception

From the NY Times MAGAZINE | May 7, 2006
Contra-Contraception
By RUSSELL SHORTO
A growing number of conservatives see birth control as part of an ailing culture that overemphasizes sex and devalues human life. Is this the beginning of the next culture war?


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So, things to consider...
  • Do you think the conservative groundswell against contraception is a real threat to its availability?
  • Do you think this movement is confined to a narrow band of religious sects?
  • If you identify as conservative (at least somewhat or more), how do you feel about contraception?
    And the other two cents are your to throw in...


[ 05-08-2006, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: Gumdrop Girl ]

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Bobolink
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It could be a real threat. You can't underestimate the profound evil of the fundies. Despite what they say, they most definately are not Christians as any reading of the four Gospels will show.

Remember that these people see the society as described in "The Handmaid's Tale" as paradise on earth.

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

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ax50607
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Really? From my experience, its been more like "a shrinking number of conservatives". But then, that article (and newspaper in general) is extremely biased so I'd be a little leary before beleiving what they claim. I mean, geeez just look at the intro.

Personally, I identify as a religious conservative (please dont kick me off this site! lol) and I think contraception is marvelous. It makes perfect sense- If youre not going to support abortion, then you sure as hell better help people from getting to the point where they would think they needed one (not that all conservatives are against abortion, though). I know a lot of others who feel the same way I do and honestly cant say that I've ever met another conservative who is totally against the idea of contraception.

[ 05-09-2006, 01:07 AM: Message edited by: ax50607 ]

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Beppie
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Ax-- we don't kick people off this site for identifying as conservative and religious. [Smile] So long as you follow our guidelines, and are respectful at all times towards volunteers and other members, you are fine. Indeed, I think everyone here would agree that it's wondeful to have people who identify as religiously conservative who have a sensible approach to contraception. [Smile]

Insofar as the overall issue goes, from what I've read in the US news recently, it certainly does seem like the most vocal members of the anti-choice movement are working hard to suppress access to contraception-- particularly hormonal contraceptives available to women-- in addition to access to abortion.

I do find this very scary, but fortunately there doesn't seem to be a similar movement in Australia right now-- certainly, I don't know any Christians who are opposed to contraception, and I know both conservative and liberal Christians.

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Ecofem
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From what I understand, (I haven't read the article but I've seen other things) this fraction is a very small part of the anti-choice lobby (which is apparently on the whole smaller and less powerful than people seem to think.) I've also heard that such an intiative would actually greatly hurt the anti-choice lobby. Because, as people have said, people who identity as conservative and/or religious still often support contraception, even if they are anti-choice. So it might actually end up helping the pro-choice cause. [Smile]
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Heather
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Politically, actually, this faction has been gaining size and momentum.

(Which is unsurprising, since, while in the US we have had conservative/republican administrations before, it's pretty safe to say we've never had one as in bed with the religious right as the current one.)

And generally, religious conservatives/fundamentalists -- orthodox Catholics, for instance, are required to be so by their own dogma -- ARE against the use of birth control. They're also *supposed* to be against sex for anything but procreation, but that tends to fall by the wayside, quelle surprise. In any event, if you're a conservative who has seriously never met another who was NOT against the use of contraception, or even heard of any, I'd say that's a pretty serious anomoly. Even our administration right now very visibly does NOT support contraception: just this last year, contraception was cut from Medicare, for instance. The ab-only programs funded in the billions are NOT supposed to discuss contraception methods, even in the context of talking about once one is married. The morning-after pill STILL remains prescription-only, with FDA members reporting very clearly that that is ONLY because of religious issues, NOT because of any medical or scientific concerns: in other words, you betcha things like this are a threat, because the political engine is in place to support them and it already HAS been doing so.

Saying the NYT is biased (and I'm going to assume by that one means a "liberal" bias) -- any more so than any other large media source -- is also kinda pushing it. The NYT is pretty much THE newspaper of note in the states, with almost 100 Pulitzers under its belt. The op-ed section is really nonpartisan, as tends to be the mix of columnists.

[ 05-09-2006, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Paradoxical Enigma
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hmm...and here I thought that the first ammendment was about freedom FROM religion as well as freedom OF religion...guess ol' Dubya feels otherwise.

While it is nonetheless disturbing that this threat is so large, I really think that pushing too far against birth control will only spark a wave of opposition. I think what we really have to fear is gradual, continual change in this direction.

After all, regardless of what you think about its morals, legal birth control and knowledge thereof is better than the alternative. As for the "religious requirement" thing, I think that people need to take their religion into their own hands and stop being puppets to religious establishments. I remember in a survey being asked if I "subscribe to a particular set of religious beliefs." The sad thing is that that's more or less what it's like nowadays, a subscription. Renew your subscription now and save 30% off your sins. People can't accept that people do not always fit into religious categories and that there may not be a universally "right" religion. The various groups just decide that they are right and everyone else should believe the same things (and that legal policy should reflect that).

Well, that was a bit of a tangent, but anyways, this is not a good thing.

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Heather
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I have a tight deadline for an article the next day or so, but y'all need to remind me to find the box (there are STILL unpaacked boxes here: it never ends) with my collection of antique books about reproduction and birth control.

There's a nearly 100-year-old book in particular I'm recalling arguing for birth control use, from a turn-of-the-century perspective, which I think you guys might find really unreal to read a bit from only because it (sadly) sounds MORE progressive coming from a conservative vantage point than anything we're hearing in that regard right now.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kitka
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Do you think the conservative groundswell against contraception is a real threat to its availability?

Yes - state legislation against EC availability is evident proof.

Do you think this movement is confined to a narrow band of religious sects?

No. Religious sects are certainly the most influential to the current administration, but their emphasis on "traditional family values" strikes a chord with non-religious people who identify as center or conservative. I think it's safe to assume that many "liberal" citizens as well, who don't have the proper education about contraception, have fallen into collusion with hard conservatives through ignorance.

However, I also think it's important to note that there are some people, however rare, who identify as Republican and practicing [religion] while also supporting contraception and proper sex ed. They're far and few between, but their support is important.

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Paradoxical Enigma
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Well, I think you make a good point. Just as much of a problem as the religious intolerance, if not more, is the way that negative attitudes towards sex (aside from procreational or married sex) are ingrained in our culture. I guess it's just hard to change such long-standing attitudes and "traditional family values," even if it is for the better.
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Gumdrop Girl
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note to kitka - i'm a libertarian who tends to vote to center-right, i practice my religion, and i support contraception and sex-ed

Anyway, as someone teetering towards one side of the fence, I gotta say the zealots are a small, but freakin' noisy lot. I mean, people who tend to align with me on most issues are fussing over stuff like lowering taxes or dealing with illegal immigration -- we just can't juggle the contraception issue 'cause we're not vehemently opposed to it. Talk about pickin' yer battles!

But having heard most of the arguments against contraceptive devices, I know that the bases of their arguments rely on a fundamental ignorance about how these methods work. If you can explain in depth but make them understand what's going on, many of them do realize that their opposition is bunk.

hench, the anti-contraception lobby falls back on the idea that non-procreative sex is a social disease that cheapens lives, cheapens marriages and allows perverts to roam freely in the streets.

From a strictly conservative viewpoint, I propose that these "theocons" go back to focusing on teaching and instilling moral values WITHOUT the involvement of the government. after all, isn't that what conservatism really is about: limitating of government intervention while asserting rights for the people? So they can go back to promoting their values through their churches and their families. But they should remove the government from the contraception fight and delgate that right vack to single 20-somethings like me [Smile]

btw, i have taken EC, and by golly was I glad I could.

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Heather
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(I'm not sure I understand why young, single women should have more weight in decisions about contraceptive rights, if that's what you're saying. A 40-year-old married mother of two has just as much need of contraception.

As well, it's worth noting that a great many who politically don't support EC, abortion or contraception use it themselves or have used it themselves: it's pretty common for plenty of people -- and always has been historically -- to put forth a different political platform, opinion or lobby than the choices they make in their personal lives.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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soggypaper
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The idea of people of a certain belief limiting the access of others to contraception is really scary. Personally, I am against abortion and I would never use any kind of birth control that allowed for the formation of a zygote but prevented it from implanting in the uterine wall or developing (I'm a Christian, but not a Catholic, by the way. It's not just Catholics who feel this way).

I have these views not so much because they correlate with the views of the Bible, but rather because the idea of stopping a life created in my body is unappealing to me. Even though I identify myself as pro-life and against certain forms of contraception, I would NEVER force my beliefs on someone else. The fact that some groups are trying to do this is appalling. It's one thing to live your life according to the rules set forth by your God, but it's another to try and force other people to live their lives the same way.

I honestly don't understand how these people refuse to acknowledge the blatant unconstitutionality of their efforts to restrict access to abortion and contraceptives. Also, not that we didn't already know this, but these people are incredibly deluded. If they achieve their goal of making abortion/contraceptives illegal or severely restricted, do they not realize that people will still get abortions, still take some form of birth control, putting the woman at a much higher risk that she faces now? I guess these people are pro-life only as it applies to the baby, but the woman's health is apparently of no concern to them.

The ramifications of their goals are endless. I honestly think that, since so many people realize this, even people against abortion and some/all forms of contraception such as myself, access to abortion and birth control will never be totally restricted. I believe this will quickly become a hotly-debated topic that the media just won't leave alone, just like gay marriage was. If Pastors/Priests/other people in the church start to identify their specific church as in support of the movement to restric access to abortion and birth control, I think it will split many churches in two. I wish people would just let other people live their lives the way they want, as long as it's not harming others....but I guess the definition of "others" is what's making this whole thing a mess... :/

[ 05-11-2006, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: soggypaper ]

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Gumdrop Girl
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
As well, it's worth noting that a great many who politically don't support EC, abortion or contraception use it themselves or have used it themselves: it's pretty common for plenty of people -- and always has been historically -- to put forth a different political platform, opinion or lobby than the choices they make in their personal lives.)

Well, I don't think any of us were ever too naive to believe that politicians weren't hypocritical. It's like Ted Kennedy stumping for tougher DUI laws.

and for the age quip, it's tongue in cheek.

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Toll free STD and clinic information, and condoms sent to your door for Los Angeles County residents.
1 in 3 sexually active people will be exposed to a STD by the time they turn 24.

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