Parenthood, on net, prevents more abortions than it provides, from the massive amount of birth control, family planning and emergency contraception they provide.Uh . . . no. Jonathan Schwenkler and Ross Douthat engage, but they don't really get down to the fundamental error involved in this argument. Here is the dirty little secret of the pill-and-condom industry: Contraception causes abortion.
Here's how: Every method of artificial contraception has a failure rate, and the contraceptive user who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant is a prime candidate for abortion. Even if the failure rate of any particular method is 1% or less, the law of large numbers means that, with tens of millions of people using contraceptives regularly, there will inevitably be several hundred thousand unplanned pregnancies.
Beyond this statistical fact, the contraceptive mentality teaches people to think of pregnancy as an unlikely outcome of sex -- even though, biologically speaking, pregnancy is the purpose of sex. With this life-changing consequence shoved off into a mental corner, there is a hell of a lot more extra-marital sex than there would otherwise be, which swells the number of extra-marital pregnancies, and thus provides a ready-made clientele for the abortionist.
Contraception is unnatural -- humanity at war with its own biology -- and results in social distortions, with the natural relationships of love, marriage, sex, reproduction and family artificially divided, then patched back together as a sort of Frankstein's monster: Test-tube babies, sperm donors, surrogate motherhood, gay adoption, etc., etc.
The entire contraceptive regime is anti-life and anti-family, and Planned Parenthood perhaps does as much moral harm by promoting contraception as it does by performing abortion. Douthat and Schwenkler are allowing the question to be framed as, "How best can society accommodate fornication?" At some point, how about social conservatives live up to the judgmental stereotype and condemn something?
UPDATE: A liberal blogger accuses me of being anti-woman -- and anti-fact. I think Mahablog must be one of those "women's rights women": "The fantastical project of yesterday, which was mentioned only to be ridiculed, is to-day the audacious reform, and will be tomorrow the accomplished fact."
UPDATE II: Suddenly, I'm a cause celebre with the Left:
I don’t think it is uncharitable to say that McCain is proposing a view of sex in which its pleasurable or emotional aspects are subordinate to its biological function. This strikes me as a very limited view of sex. By definition, sex involves a level of intimacy which quite often is a means through which two people can achieve a deeper level of emotional engagement.What Jamelle never explains is how contraception enhances "emotional engagement" or the (ahem) "pleasurable . . . aspects." As a married father of six, I think I'm doing OK in both departments.
UPDATE III: Freddie the Pragmatist has a clever retort: "[P]eople enjoy having sex and are not going to stop anytime soon. " Well, thanks for passing along that news.
UPDATE IV: Linked by CrankyCon, who is impressed by the stunning logic of pro-choice commenters.