March 25, 2012 11:23 pm
I am stunned by those who are so confident that contraception protects against unwanted pregnancy. These figures support my basic claim that even those who are using contraception need to be prepared for a pregnancy. Over time, pregnancy just might happen: “The typical-use failure rate for the pill is 8%, in one year 8 out of 100 women using the pill in a typical way will get pregnant, but the numbers are much higher extrapolated over time. It’s even worse for condom use.” In 1 year’s time, 8 out of 100 women using the pill will get pregnant; over 5 year’s time, 34 will, over 10 year’s 57 will. In 1 year’s time 17 of those using a condom will get pregnant, in 5 year’s time, 56 will and in 10 year’s times 80 will. We need to rewrite the old joke: “What do you call those who use contraception?” Parents!
February 21, 2012 5:47 pm
The feminist movement asked too little of men.
The recent Health and Human Services mandate and the ensuing debate appear to have pitted religious-liberty claims against women’s health. But because religious leaders (rightly) focused on the need for a religious exemption, it may appear to some observers that they are unable to articulate a reasoned and weighty response to the administration’s claim that contraceptives are essential to women’s health and well-being.
The Obama administration is wrong on this score as well, and the substantive case needs to be made: The contraceptive revolution has failed to be the unmitigated boon to women or to society that it was hyped up to be.
For the past 50 years, the Pill has demonstrably assisted women — especially college-educated, career-minded women — in the timing of pregnancies and the delay of marriage. But the Pill also ushered in an era of unprecedented (and, as things turned out, unwarranted) confidence that sex could be pursued without risk — most notably, outside of long-term committed relationships.
February 16, 2012 6:18 pm
Despite what some commentators and politicians think, Church teaching on abortion and contraception has remained unchanged.
The recent indignity by which the Obama administration wants to mandate everyone, including all Catholic institutions or their insurers, to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, has raised the issue of Catholic teaching on these issues.
Some commentators have mistakenly asserted that the Catholic ban on these practices only goes back to Humanae Vitae (On the Regulation of Birth), by Pope Paul VI in 1968, or as far back as Casti Connubii (Of Chaste Wedlock), by Pope Pius XI in 1931.
The latter encyclical was written in response to the change of moral doctrine by the Anglican Church, which undermined centuries of Protestant condemnation of contraception by permitting it at the Aug. 15, 1930 Lambeth Conference.
Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae in response to the then newly invented birth control pill, rejecting it as a legitimate means of contraception for Catholics. However, these encyclicals, along with the 20th century’s nearly 100 other Vatican statements condemning artificial birth control, were simply restating the continuous history of moral theology on this topic.
Catholic teaching on contraception is at the heart of the controversy over the Health and Human Services mandate. Catholic hospitals and universities are unwilling to purchase insurance plans that provide contraceptive coverage. To critics, this unwillingness borders on the irrational; accordingly, they see little value in protecting the freedom of Catholic hospitals and universities to act in accordance with their beliefs.
Catholic teaching about contraception is, however, not irrational; nor is it founded, as some have claimed, on irrelevant distinctions such as that between what is natural and what is “artificial.” Rather, two lines of argument are to be found throughout the tradition of Catholic, and more generally, Christian, thought on this issue that together show the teaching to be plausible and, in the view of many, true.