My parents have five children, two of my dearest friends come from families of ten and nine respectively, and I currently know at least ten young married couples in Washington who are either expecting children or recently brought a child into the world. So how did all of these dedicated pro-lifers manage it without the benefit of sexual intercourse?
I apologize for an overly facetious attempt to illustrate the point, but I think we can all agree that pro-lifers are neither frightened by nor hostile to sex. They do, however, believe that sex has a meaning and can only cause damage when taken lightly or casually. They view sex as a life-affirming and life-giving activity, and they resent being forced to subsidize its degradation by those who have helped it instead become a cause of pain and death. They also see the benefit to society of a widespread and healthy attitude toward sex and a respect for human life, whose content does not require religious faith to accept.
Last week, Brainwash guest columnist David White hinted at a conspiracy among pro-lifers who, he tells us, are in fact influenced not so much by a desire to stop killing babies as by a zeal to stop people from having sex. As evidence of the “War on Sex,” he points to the fact that pro-lifers (shockingly) oppose government approval of abortifacient contraceptives.
Far more facile is his contention that modern-day opposition to Griswold, a 1965 Supreme Court decision that elevated “privacy” to the level of a constitutional right, is evidence of a whole-scale attempt to ban contraception. Of course, the perfidy of Griswold has little to do with its particular subject — whether Connecticut could continue to ban contraception — and everything to do with the fact that it overturned hundreds of years of accepted practice regarding the federal-state relationship — and the judicial-legislative relationship — without any serious constitutional justification.
Is the fact that pro-lifers scoff at a bad court decision a sign that they are out to ban rubbers? Contraception has clearly harmed the institution of the family since its proliferation in recent decades, and I will never use it. But I do not know anyone who wants to make it illegal. On the other side, I do know of people who want to make me pay for it — through the federal Title X program, through federally funded international family planning activities, and through public school sex-education programs that blatantly encourage sexual exploration among young children. I do know of people who want to make pharmacists’ jobs contingent on their willingness to ignore their consciences. Exactly who is imposing their morality now?
There is no reason for the government to subsidize the contraceptive industry, which will do fine on its own. If you are concerned about its well being, I invite you to show some good faith — take the money you usually give to the Democratic Party and instead donate it to Planned Parenthood
Who Caused this Problem?
Mr. White also notes that a handful of conservatives have been railing against the prospect of a vaccine for HPV, an extremely common and dangerous sexually transmitted virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. This straw man is more substantive, but a straw man all the same.
Unfortunately, a small handful of pro-lifers have heaped scorn upon the idea of voluntary vaccinations, on the grounds that risk of disease creates a theoretical disincentive to promiscuity. But the price in this case is just too great, and for a teenager, receiving a vaccine is nothing like receiving a condom, a wink, and a nod from an adult. The overwhelming majority of pro-lifers, while unwilling to show approval for bad behavior, would never want to see a girl die or become infertile for life, just for making a single mistake.
But for precisely the same reason, we must consider why sex became so dangerous an activity in the first place. It is frustrating to debate whether one should hand a kid a condom, when you are debating against the very people whose ideas on sexual liberation have made HPV, HIV, herpes, hepatitis, gonnorhea, chlamydia, and other STDs a risk for everyone. It was not prudish pro-lifers, but the sexual revolution that resulted in the proliferation and diversification of STDs. We have not waged war on sex — they have sabotaged sex.
Mr. White notes that some abstinence education programs have disseminated clearly exaggerated statistics on STDs. So for those students who were taking copious notes in those classes, let me clear things up a bit. Today, between 20 and 25 percent of teenagers suffer from some venereal disease. It wasn’t always this way — not even close. In 1960, there were only two known venereal diseases, both of which were quickly identifiable and curable with a shot of penicillin. People were also more prudish and less promiscuous, and their children were still not being taught, at taxpayer expense, to change that.
In recent years, as greater numbers of people have taken on more sex partners and engaged in riskier activities, the number of common STDs has skyrocketed to around 50. Even if condoms give their users good odds against HIV, that is not the case with many other diseases, many of them long-lasting, increasingly drug-resistant and hard to detect without lab tests — inviting terrible and sometimes deadly complications later.
Somehow, our breakthroughs in prevention and education have not stopped STD infections from growing to epidemic levels in just 50 years. Those who decided to break down the walls of public morality have not succeeded in patching them up with latex.
So were our cultural and scientific leaders of last century being mindful of the public health when, in their zeal to eradicate a “prudish” societal attitude, they made it public policy to encourage unsafe behavior? Is it responsible, from a public health perspective, to encourage kids to explore, or to consider “alternative lifestyles” that carry with them risks of infection many times greater?
Consider our Surgeon General’s lengthy new recommendation that every building must immediately become smoke-free. Is his “just-don’t-do-it” treatment of smoking consistent with his treatment of other unsafe activities, like sodomy?
Change the Debate
Mr. White finishes by referencing a recent anonymous Washington Post piece by a 42-year-old married woman who claims that the unavailability of the abortifacient “Plan B” pill somehow forced her to abort her child. He quotes Norm Ornstein as stating, “As you see more stories like that, I think it’s going to change the nature of the debate.”
I agree. I also remember a similar piece in The New York Times by Amy Richards about how she killed two of the triplets in her womb because of the lifestyle change she feared they might induce: “[N]ow I’m going to have to move to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise.”
Oh, the horror.
Both of these stories will probably affect the debate by awakening someone, somewhere to the appalling, selfish and callous attitude they manifest. This represents the ugly side of the trivialization of sex, but also the work that pro-lifers have to do and that only they appear willing to do. Today, a child has become a bothersome burden, to be disposed of for the sake of convenience using some improbable and ad hoc rationalization that his life would have been lousy anyway.
David Freddoso, a native of Indiana, is a political reporter for Evans and Novak Inside Report.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire