The Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Act

Last month Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, posted several entries to his blog about the "Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act" jointly proposed by pro-lifer Ohio Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan and pro-choicer Connecticut Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.Here are a few excerpts from his posts:
  • For starters, last time Planned Parenthood would not sign on to this bill. This time they did. So the legislation pretty much has the full support of the pro-choice world.
  • No major pro-life groups endorsed the bill, and Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee calls it "a scam" and especially criticizes portions of the bill that will end up funding groups like Planned Parenthood which, in addition to doing the family planning work they'll get money for, also performs abortions. As of now, I don't even see endorsements from Democrats for Life or Feminists for Life.
  • The pro-lifers who signed tend to be on the progressive side but the group does include a few who are moderates or even cultural conservatives, such as Rev. Joel Hunter of Lakewood Church, Rich Cizik, the former vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Steven lists supporters (including Brian McLaren, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Sojourners and others) of the legislation here. He also posts an email correspondence with pro-life champion Jill Stanek here. In this correspondence Jill speaks to why some pro-lifers oppose the family planning aspects of this new legislation. Here are a few points she makes:
  • I would only support abstinence training with perhaps an explanation of the harm of contraceptives - the failure rate, that the pill is composed of artificial female steroids, etc.(Hormonal contraceptives are bad for women. They're simply artificial female steroids. If we understand the harm of male steroids, why not the harm of female steroids?)
  • Contraceptives are the root of abortion. "Contraceptive" means anti-conception. Contraceptives establish a mindset of hostility toward the blessing of children.
  • Sex outside of marriage is a sin. ... We need to teach that sex outside of marriage is categorically harmful.
  • Steve, for one thing, the idea of authorizing "lesser sins" to decrease "greater sins" is not Scriptural. In fact, Scripture teaches the opposite phenomenon occurs: Little sins lead to bigger sins.
I found Steven's posts on the new legislation to be thought provoking and I think that Jill presents an interesting view of why pro-life organizations are not supporting this legislation.

As I pondered the specifics of this new bill I was struck with the thought that this bill really will do little to reduce the need for abortions.. most of it proposes grants for family planning programs that counsel at risk teens and provide contraception planning for low-income families. I don't think that these types of programs have not worked in the past.. I may be wrong.. so I don't see how this legislation will have any impact on the need for abortions.

To me this issue seems to be more of an issue of why people have irresponsible sex.. it seems to be a much deeper issue than any government can deal with. What do you think? Do you feel that the issue is education about contraception or abstinence? Or is the issue about something else?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I believe the issue is about something else. By the time they hit Jr. High most kids know more about sex than they need to. Much more. Today's youth has been saturated with sex in the media (TV, Movies, Music, MySpace, etc.) and things we may have considered taboo in the 60's - 80's are the norm (i.e. threesomes, girl on girl sex, trading partners). I wish I were making this up, I really do. Unfortunately I have learned this from spying on myspace pages of my son and his friends, by eavesdropping on conversations and by some of his friends openly discussing it when I was within earshot.

    So in my view, its not a matter of abstinence or birth control. The priority should be to help this generation (and the future ones which will only be more liberal sexually if this continues) view sex as something intimate and special between two people that love each other rather than something so casual that kids have no shame in discussing who they slept with over the weekend in graphic terms as though it was the most natural thing in the world(teacher friends of mine have told me they can't believe the stuff they overhear these days).

    I don't know if that answers your question but it felt good to share that because its a huge issue in this country if we want to see it or not.

    Kind of like drugs....Kids hear all the "Just Say No" stuff starting in elementary school. Parents teach their kids to stay away from drugs. Etc. Etc. But has that helped? Not much if at all.

    The root problem is much deeper. Our society is falling apart morally. I think figuring out if birth control is good or bad should be low on the list of priorities compared to some of the other issues we face today.

  3. I would say a big part of the problem has been the puritanical origins of our society. Sex has been taboo for so long, people to this day, many of them parents, have a difficult time even talking about sex. Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll! All ways to rebel. I am firmly against the Catholic stance of birth control being a sin (Of course I don't believe in macro-sin, only in personal sins that we commit against each other). Hyperbole like "Contraceptives are the root of abortion." just come off as ridiculous to me.

  4. Shannon just added this comment (I think by mistake) on the Christian Marriage post:

    Barbara just read my mind. It's just that everything around us hypes sex in the wrong way which is why I think the church and everyone else should work doubly hard to fight this. The idea is to teach teens and young adults what sex really is; it is something that is sacred and should be done out of love and not out of lust within the confines of a marriage. Now how to effectively get that message across and inculcate it in the minds of young adults is the challenge. Church services, counseling and pre-marriage workshops is just the start but more really has to be done.

  5. Barbara has said to will, I will just add my AMEN!
    Don't you know I am in prayer for my teenage grandchildren every day!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention Bob.


  6. I should have proof read my comment. "Barbara said it so well", is what I meant to say.

  7. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  8. Enjoying the dialog here.. grate comments.

    Thx for reading Margaret!

  9. I believe that advocating abstinance is unrealistic and irresponsible. I also think that abstinance before marriage contributes to a higher divorce rate.

    Referring only to unmarried women, I think that most unplanned preganancies result from irresponsible sex. The rest, hopefully a very small percentage, are due to rape or the failure of a contraceptive. I think education is the only way to reduce irresponsible sex but I wouldn't expect it to stop or reduce sexual intercourse.

    Teens can't, in my opinion, be taught more about sex, than they need to know. They need to know as much as they can understand, as soon as they can understand it. Curiosity about one's sexual desires and a search for explanations are inevitable and will not be delayed. The best time to educate them is before they NEED it.

    I don't think sex education promotes premarital sex and certainly not sexual promiscuity. The curiosity about sex and a desire to have sex is natural and unavoidable. Sex education will prepare youth to have sex responsibly IF they choose to have sex.


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