Sunday, December 14, 2008

Silliest argument of the day

Planned Parenthood is pro-life, says a "pragmatist" blogger:
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.


  1. No matter how much logic you throw at him, an anti-choicer will never admit that prohibiting contraception and abortion results in:

    1. a whole bunch of abortions
    2. women being injured/killed during unsafe abortions

    Pragmatism involves examining the consequences of an action and employing that information in making a decision.

  2. But, do you not know that all the birth control is not enough? That is why the government schools must hand out condoms, by golly! It is quite possibly the most insipid defense of Planned Parenthood yet. But, in the age of Obama, more are on the way!

  3. Not to mention the expressly racist and classist purpose of Planned Parenthood. One need go no further than founder Margaret Sanger's own statements that her organization was created to keep the numbers of minorities and poor people under control.

    Add that to relatively recent tapes of phone conversations in which people posing as donors asked if they could donate their money directly toward the abortion of a black child. To which they were told, by the heads of multiple locations of Planned Parenthood, that they could certainly do so if they wished.

    No matter which way you slice it Planned Parenthood is an evil organization.

  4. Holy shit! You're a complete idiot! I've never read such bullshit in my life.

  5. 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

    John Paul II had a very simple response to that idiocy: the aspects and functions are INEXTRICABLY UNITED, under natural law.

    ...and you can't fool Mother Nature!

  6. I'd like to see Evan provide some numbers for this claims. But please don't quote from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or any other pro-abortion group, as their oft-cited figures have been completely discredited. Prior to Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions performed in the US was, at most, half of what it was after its passage. In 1974, the first full year of abortion-on-demand, 744,000 abortions were performed. The founder of NARAL, who is now against abortion, and who performed abortions prior to Roe v. Wade, estimates that 200-300,000 abortions were performed per year prior to Roe v. Wade. So, yes, a whole bunch of abortions may be performed if abortion were made illegal, but it is a much, much smaller number than with present, abortion-on-demand laws (around 1,100,000 abortions were performed last year in the US. The number of women killed during abortions prior to Roe v. Wade has also been greatly overstated, just as the number who presently die at abortion clinics is understated. in 1972, the last full year before Roe, 45 women died from illegal abortions. In 1974, 34 women died from legal abortions! So, the number of women who die from abortions, whether illegal or legal, is small, and legal abortion is not much safer than illegal abortion.

    Evan speaks of pragmatism. Pragmatically, I believe society has an interest in not seeing 1/3 of its infants murdered. Pragmatically, the loss of human capital has been staggering - virtually an entire generation snuffed out in the womb. Hence the need for large numbers of immigrants to maintain a healthy population - without that, the population of the US would be shrinking, entirely due to abortion. Witness the problems this situation is causing in Europe, and you can see what may well occur in the US.

    Pragmatically, Robert is right. The best case solution is to fight for a society where sex occurs within the bounds of marriage and where the issue from these marriages is cherished and raised to adulthood. It certainly won't solve all problems, but it's better than the race- and class-based genocide we're enduring now.

    Links for some supporting data:

  7. Through out the entire existence of the human race many arrogant fools have tried to control sex and have always failed. Always.

    You don't want people having sex without your permission. You don't want people using contraception. You don't want people want having abortions.

    I do have to say, brilliance is not your strong suit. Neither is common sense.

  8. Pro-aborts asserting that Planned Parenthood is really pro-life because it dispenses contraceptives like water is ludicrous. Planned Parenthood and its pro-abort acolytes view unwanted children as a problem and not the gifts from God that they are. If contraception will not stop them from existing then they must be killed by abortion. The same mindset is at work whether the Planned Parenthood minions are dispensing contraceptives or performing abortions. It is striking that the pro-abort movement is the only political movement I can think of in history that fights fiercely for the right to exterminate their own offspring.

  9. Well, at some point in time the Ponzi Scheme titled "Social Security" will collapse for lack of a workforce.

    Those 50 million under-40's would have made a difference, no?

  10. You say contraception is unnatural--but isn't "no sex until marriage" unnatural too?

  11. isn't "no sex until marriage" unnatural too?

    What is unnatural is delaying marriage until age 27.

  12. This post is one of the reasons why your blog has become one of my favorites. I have no idea if you're Catholic, but you've articulated a Catholic doctrine better than many priests could.


  13. Ramrocks, I am proudly Protestant, but the basic arguments of Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae are sound moral doctrine. It comes down to the fundamental question of "What is sex for?" And once you start thinking seriously about that, the rest of it sort of follows logically.

  14. A deciding factor in the pleasure vs procreation debate about sex is if the woman receives pleasure. If a man does not, sex will not happen (no erection, in case you didn't figure it out). My take is that this post is very much about this particular debate.

    My logic leads me to the point that anti-contraception people are stuck in situations where the sex is simply not pleasure for the women. Perhaps this blogger is an example of that situation.