Archive for the ‘Out-of-Wedlock Births’ Category

Gil Bailie finds a third moral calamity contributing to civilizational degeneration

Gil Bailie writes:

We have been told that allowing mothers to hire medical professionals to end the life of the child in their womb is the quintessence of social progress, comparable only to regarding homosexual coupling as the moral and legal equivalent of the conjugal embrace. So now we are to have women serving in combat, and, again, we imagine that we are making progress. All this is so conspicuously a sign of civilizational degeneration that one can hardly believe people capable of seeing it otherwise.

Dean Hansen responds:

Interesting choice of moral calamities:  Abortion, homosexuality, and women combat soldiers. I think the egregious meter will skew differently depending on whom you ask, and not because one respondent is more morally despicable or irresponsible than the next. The thing that personally enrages me the most is woman combat soldiers.  Abortion and homosexuality mostly don’t bother me at all. Why? The first deals with forced equivalency; of pretending that women are the same as men, and that they should be equal participants on the basis of political correctness in the disaster that their male counterparts cause. The second deals with fairness; of no longer pretending that homosexuals are just mixed-up heterosexuals who can be fixed by a generous infusion of Christianity and prayer (never mind that the founder of this particular religion spent every waking moment of his ministry hanging out with guys) and the last deals with the honest realization that women are free moral agents capable of choosing their own destiny biologically. I’m less troubled about women ending a life in gestation in their womb than about their ending a fully-realized life on the battlefield. One is almost always a surgical procedure involving non-conscious cells; the other is murder.

So let’s see if it really makes more sense to be more morally inflamed by abortion than by soldiering.

Abstinence-only ed

When you tell teenagers and young adults not to have sex or to wait for marriage before they have intercourse, you’re actually just advocating for abortion. News Flash: They are not going to listen to you. It will not be because they don’t respect you or your authority; it will not be because they don’t love you or are purposely disobedient and rebellious, although they may be those things too. It will not be because Satan won and Christ lost. Or that civilization is closer to collapse now than when the Apostle Paul believed it was. No, it will be because nature speaks more powerfully and more ardently than a mountain of rules and restraints ever could. Biology has the upper hand, and will not relinquish it until long after everyone’s children have left home.  So, instead of preparing themselves for the inevitable, teens engage in magical thinking at the behest of their parents. They wear chastity rings, or avoid alcohol and drugs, or attend Bible study, or they are chaperoned on dates. None of that matters. It just makes the pot boil that much hotter. They earnestly believe they can resist temptation, which is a big part of the problem, because up until now it’s been an abstraction with no teeth. What they quickly discover when temptation strikes is that they were thoroughly unprepared and overwhelmed. They are also very angry about being told there is something “wrong” with something that feels so much better than they could have imagined, and so you end up with conflict, turmoil and distrust.

The problem with self-control is that the “self” is participating just as eagerly in the loss of that control as in its maintenance, because control represents an ideal that simply can’t be attained. Since your abstinence-only approach has precluded any useful instruction about birth control, your daughter is ill-equipped to react sensibly when she hears the siren call of biological reality, and there is no back-up plan. It’s all or nothing, as far as she knows. The desire not to get caught is then all that matters to her.

Think about it:  You’ve given her no realistic or sane reasons for denying what you fear. You want her to avoid sex and remain abstinent until she’s married. So you can’t teach her to prepare herself for sex because that might imply tacit acceptance of her having it. Any preparation is proof of intention. Instead, you teach her that sex is sinful or dirty or morally wrong, which she discovers to be completely untrue the moment she falls in love and experiences an overwhelming desire that utterly eclipses all restraint. Like it or not, your little snowflake is going to go out on the limb because that’s where the forbidden fruit is. Nature planned it that way.  And it’s not nice to fool mother nature.

Sexual morality has changed. It had to. It was smothering us to death in the abysmal mediocrity of Eisenhower America. As a result of these long overdue changes, the stigma of unwed motherhood has declined. Men no longer feel the absolute responsibility to sacrifice themselves to an unwanted life in exchange for sexual relations if their sexual partners opt for biological blackmail instead of contraception or abortion. Shotgun marriages are no longer the default mechanism by which shame is administered in relationships. Now the only question is whether the parents, who are aware of these changes but nonetheless resistant where their own progeny is concerned, will double down and force an unwanted pregnancy on their unprepared children as a means of avoiding a consequence they were heavily responsible for. These days, it’s becoming less likely that the kids will go along. The shotgun may still go off, but it is aimed at no one in particular and in no way guarantees that the person compromised by a bad decision will go for the double jeopardy of a marriage to satisfy mom and dad. In this sense and this sense only, an abortion is wrong, because it was simply unnecessary and opened the gates to increased suffering all around when personal choice was overruled by parental authority. Anticipatory counsel is wiser, saner and more loving than blind indifference to dumb inevitabilities.

Unfortunately, the number of abortion providers is dwindling. The number went from 2,680 providers in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available. The generation of obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who had watched women bleed to death from botched abortions and had responded to those tragedies by staffing clinics when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade is reaching retirement.

There are now an estimated 1.5 million abortions each year in the United States, making it the most common surgical procedure. Yet there are fewer and fewer abortion providers available, putting those who are forced to wait at increased risk. One-quarter of women needing abortions must travel more than fifty miles for the procedure; six percent must travel to another state.

The obstacles placed in the path of women seeking abortion by pro-life activists will ultimately be no more effective than parental displeasure over discovering that one’s children are sexual beings with lives of their own, destined to free themselves from the burden of other people’s displeasure by taking legislative, social and physical control of their own destiny and learning through less painful methods that proscriptive rules and roadblocks have little effect in determining personal choice.
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How to reduce out-of-wedlock births without reversing 40 years of contraceptive freedom

Gil Bailie quotes Michael New, writing for The Witherspoon Institute’s online publication, The Public Discourse:

Contrary to the bold claims of abortion advocates, there is no proof that legal abortion has reduced either the out-of-wedlock birthrate or the incidence of child abuse. In fact, both the out-of-wedlock birthrate and the rate of child abuse have increased since the onset of widespread legal abortion. And research claiming to show that legal abortion has reduced the crime rate has been proven flawed. Since their empirical arguments for abortion’s benefits are weak, abortion advocates today generally focus on arguments for the autonomy and liberty of women. However, as we observe the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade and consider the impact of forty years of legal abortion, it is certainly worth noting that abortion advocates’ many promises for society remain unfulfilled.

Sophie Sommers responds:

ContraceptionIn 1996, the Brookings Institute published an excellent policy brief about the increased rates of out-of-wedlock births. They provided convincing evidence that the availability of contraception and abortion over the last fifty years led to the demise of “shotgun weddings.” As a result, sexual activity without commitment was increasingly expected in premarital relationships.

How to go forward is the critical question. Can it be done by overturning Roe v. Wade and banning contraception? The authors of the brief believe that would be all but impossible. Here is what they say:

Attempts to turn the technological clock backwards by denying women access to abortion and contraception are probably not possible and might be counterproductive.

Denying women access to abortion and contraception that this point would only increase the number of children born out-of-wedlock and reared in impoverished single-parent families.

Easier access to birth control information and devices, before sexual participation, and easier access to abortion, in the event of pregnancy, could reduce both the number of unwanted children and improve the timing of those whose mothers would have preferred to wait.