Bad Answers: Inevitable Result of Mistaken Beliefs

Looking at a story in the news this morning.

Study: Free Birth Control Leads to Fewer Abortions

Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concludes. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage.

The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.

When price wasn’t an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published Thursday.

Let me do something special with this next paragraph:

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

MORE THAN FIVE TIMES more unplanned babies in the teens who couldn’t get free birth control.

MORE THAN FIVE TIMES more unplanned babies in the teens who couldn’t get free birth control.

MORE THAN FIVE TIMES more unplanned babies in the teens who couldn’t get free birth control.

Okay, got that?

Now look at this opinion piece.

Shocking: Nation’s Leading Gynecologists Recommend Semi-Permanent Birth Control for Teens

If you read that in a voice of comically breathless outrage, you will be close to expressing how I feel about it. And about its author:

Kristi Burton Brown is a pro-life activist in her home state of Colorado, a pro-bono attorney for Life Legal Defense Fund, an allied attorney for Alliance Defense Fund, and a stay-at-home mom. She is married to the amazing David Brown, and together, they have the cutest baby girl in the world! Kristi loves her Savior, Jesus Christ, speaking out for the truth, reading historical fiction, scrapbooking, politics, and cooking.

This woman, who finds it necessary to rave about her own personal savior in a one-paragraph bio, is convinced a fertilized ovum is a baby. I had to chime in:

Obviously the goal is to Kill Babies. Couldn’t be anything in there about, oh, wanting babies to be born to people who actually want them. Or wanting to preserve for teens the chance at broad opportunities in life, undiminished by a single mistake. I guess it’s just the naturally murderous nature of obstetricians and gynecologists. Plus that ugly idea that a single cell is not already a cuddly, cooing pink-toed living human baby.

And she had to answer (in part):

But to encourage a lack of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions–by eliminating the consequences (pregnancy) rather than the cause (sex)–is what we are opposed to.

Get that? Pregnancy is a CONSEQUENCE. The punishment for a lack of accountability.

Yeah, you godless sluts, no getting off free for YOU. Have that baby and see how you feel THEN!

If you would like to have a broad chance at opportunities, the best way to avoid diminishing that is to NOT make the single mistake! Is it not the case that abstaining from drinking alcohol is the most logical way to avoid alcoholism? Sure, it may not be *realistic* or *practical*, which seems to be the criticism of abstinence, but when human well being and human lives are at stake, are we going to go with what’s safe or what’s practical?

Stop having sex! Stop it! Human well being and human lives are at stake!

Later she adds:

Actually, there is no such thing as a “fertilized egg,” scientifically speaking. At the moment that fertilization occurs, a new, unique human being is created and the “egg” is no more.

Like I said, a cuddly, cooing pink-toed living human baby.

Ms. Brown says she is not opposed to other forms of birth control, as long as … well, essentially as long as they don’t result in murder of cuddly, cooing pink-toed human babies.

In a follow-up comment, I make a point about “wantedness” — which to me is the heart of the entire issue of birth control:

This is not to mention the life an unwanted child may be condemned to. The huge unspoken assumption in all the pro-life arguments seems to be “Oh, somehow that baby will be loved. It’ll just happen.” Some of us out here know it sometimes just doesn’t.

Seems to me that any woman having any doubts at all about whether she wants to have a baby right now should have available EVERY possible way to prevent it … until she consciously and deliberately decides that she really does want a baby.

My motto is: Every child wanted, every child loved — whatever it takes. Family planning, contraceptives, condoms, adoption, abortion. Whatever it takes.

Her predictable interpretation is:

You’re basically arguing that if a person isn’t loved, they should be killed and blotted out of existence.


See where we both are? I think I’m talking about maximizing love, enhancing life and joy; she thinks I’m talking about murder. One-hundred-eighty degrees opposite. Our conclusions couldn’t be further apart.

There is a single belief — a religious belief — at the heart of this discrepancy.

Brown has the unshakeable conviction that there’s something special about the fertilized egg. Though she never mentions it, that something special is a soul — which in her religious view (I’m guessing from the context), takes up residence at the instant of fertilization.

Thanks to that mistaken belief, Brown is opposed to contraception such as the kinds most poor women would choose if given the option. Resulting — as this study shows — in more than five times the unplanned births that would otherwise occur.

(As someone who grew up poor, I don’t think I need to point out that five extra children in the same space that might otherwise hold one, if the parents were given a choice, is a recipe for a large number of less-than-joyous childhoods. But I’ll point it out anyway, for the Mitt Romneys among us.)

Religious beliefs have real-world consequences. Those consequences match the wrongness or rightness of the belief itself.

Her mistaken belief, if given free rein and concretized in law, would — DOES! — cause immense misery.