Skeptimus Prime » Contraception One atheist's thoughts on politics, religion, and philsophy Wed, 22 Apr 2015 06:30:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bobby Jindal’s statement about birth control not friendly to women’s rights. Sat, 15 Dec 2012 02:39:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana who is famous for his support of creationist nonsense in the Louisiana school system says something that on the surface seems reasonable.  He suggests that birth control should be made an over the counter drug.

I wanted to give this guy some credit, believe me I would like to be able to say he isn’t a complete loss, but lets look at the reasons he gives for suggesting that birth control should be sold without a prescription.
Republican objections to mandatory birth control coverage in health insurance coverage were a major part of Democratic messaging toward women in the 2012 election cycle. Republicans wanted an exemption to the mandate for religious organizations. Jindal argues over-the-counter sales to those over 18 years of age would make this debate irrelevant.

See, Jindal doesn’t care about women’s health he only cares about winning elections, whether or not this is good for women or not is irrelevant as long as it shuts down a political argument.  What should be important is a science based assessment of the risk verses the benefits of changing the law.

Every form of birth control, just like any medial treatment, have possible side effects, the risks of those side effects vary depending on other life style practices and family history of certain illnesses.  The pill, for instance, caries a small risk of blood clots.  Not a major concern for most people, but for someone with a family history of heart problems, or someone who smokes a lot it is a concern.  Traditionally doctors have been the ones to determine which form of birth control is safest for a particular woman.  There are arguments to be made for changing this, but “it will help my political party win elections” is not one of them.

It is also worth noting that this is not really going to fix his parties issues with birth control, since the mandate in the affordable health care act includes other forms of birth control than the “pill” like IUD, which is considerably more expensive, but is also more effective than the pill.  Even if the laws are changed it won’t end this debate.

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Sandra Fluke is the real misogynist according to Tue, 11 Sep 2012 08:27:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]>  Sandra Fluke’s war on womanhood

So Sandra Fluke made a speech at the Democratic National Convention.  I didn’t really watch much of the DNC myself because I generally have better things to do, but when I ran across this article on LifeSiteNews, a super pro life site.  I decided to check out her speech, since according to them the speech was full of “venom” and Fluke was “disgruntled and disillusioned.” So I decided to look up the video and see for myself.

You can see it here:

It didn’t really strike me as that bad. 

Of course they choose to quote Kirstin Powers statement about how women should “visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and then see how she feels about how the US treats women”  A statement I find ridiculous.  Treating women better than Saudi Arabia is a pretty low standard.  I would like to think our country would aim a bit higher than that.  Also, Fluke’s statements were pointedly directed at the senates failure to include women on a panel discussing contraception issues, so it is not as if she was simply tilting at windmills, she had a concrete example to point to.

However the article gets even more bizarre.  The writer of the article (most likely a man given the name Peter) seems to have decided that a woman cannot truly be a women unless they are having children, and somehow allowing them to decide when and if they reproduce makes them sexual servants of men.  Does he really think that atheists and feminists are just having one non stop orgy? 

A couple of quotes:

Women like Fluke who accept this detestable lie, have thereby rejected the glorious beauty and radiant splendor of what is really at the core of a woman’s being, namely her profound ability to procreate

This is downright creepy, and are not even necessarily accurate.  Did this guy actually ask if Fluke ever intends to have children?  I don’t personally know, but I do know the choice should be up to her and perhaps the man she has sex with.  Not some random person on the internet who has decided that not reproducing is some black mark on a woman’s reputation.

Women like Fluke are not fighting against the alleged “War on Women”; they are in fact its biggest perpetrators. Contraception and abortion have separated women from their true selves. Depraved men, capitalizing on this unnatural separation, have used and abused women’s bodies like never before. Women are commonly degraded as objects for recreation, pleasure, and profit.

This quote is dripping with weird sex negativity, he seems to think that any sex that is not purposed to be procreative is dirty.  It seems to bother him that women might have sex for any other reason.

He seems to fail to understand that each woman is an individual, if one wants to have children that is fine, but it is also fine to not have children. No matter how he tries to spin it, he is ultimately saying that he will let women choose as long as they make the choices he has already predetermined are right for all women. 

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Abstinence only education is a joke. Wed, 11 Apr 2012 03:30:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Let me first apologize for what is going to be a very statistics heavy post.  Well I would say that except statistics are awesome.  Science, YAY!

I have a religious family so I hear the line about abstinence education every time the topic of human sexuality comes up.  (this is more often than you might think with my parents for some weird reason)  The last time it came up I got to thinking I should do some more research on the topic, since as a skeptic I don’t like saying things without clear facts to back them up.

I have read articles stating that birth rates have been falling for teens, and are generally higher in abstinence only states, but hadn’t really researched the particular numbers and thought it was high time I looked into those.  Amazingly just about the time I was thinking about looking into this I saw some news articles posted in reference to some new figures that had just come out.

Basically the article is showing that average birth rate of women in their teens (15 to 19) is 34.3 per 1,000 women.  This was about a 9 point drop from the year before.  This seemed pretty significant to me but I wondered exactly how this compared to other years.  A short Google search later I found this link:
So, the CDC has been collecting statistics on birth rates since 1940 so we have a pretty large data set to judge from.  The firs thing I noticed was that the record high for teen births was in 1957 at a whopping 96.3 births per 1,000.  I also noticed that it has been on the decline almost every year since except for a small increase in early 90’s. 
I found this rather interesting since the the 50’s are often heralded as the sort of society we want to return too, at least in regards to sexual mores, and the sexual revolution that began in the 60’s is heralded as the start of all of problems our society faces regarding sexual behavior. 
Another part of the statistics were telling as well.  The 2010 statistics show that states which favor abstinence only education have much higher teen pregnancy rates than those who favor more comprehensive sex-ed.  In Mississippi the rate is 55 out of 1,000 while New Hampshire peaked at 15.7.
Of course the common attack that fundamentalist will throw out at this point is that the rates have dropped because more of these pregnancies have been aborted, however this seems fairly unlikely since, as you can see here, the rate of abortions has fallen by about 33% since the early 80’s while teen pregnancy also fell by about 18 per 1,000 in that same time frame.
It should also been noted that despite the drops in birth rates we are still one of the higher in the developed world.  For instance the very secular country of Sweden has a teen pregnancy rate of only 13 in 1,000.
In short the religious rights arguments for abstinence only education are complete nonsense, despite the common perception that teen pregnancy is at an all time high in this society.  The figures show that this perception is not the case, comprehensive sex ed is working. 
This begs an interesting question, why are these political leaders promoting something so contrary to the evidence?  These figures were gathered by the CDC, not just some fly by night organization.  It should not be hard for these politicians to find these numbers.  Do I conclude that these politicians are so blinded by ideology that they are unable to see these figures for what they are?  Do I conclude they are simply too stupid to understand them?  Or is it something more insidious?  Perhaps they know that abstinence only education doesn’t work and they simply care more about promoting their own beliefs than they care about the lives they are actively harming with this nonsense.   I don’t know what the reason is, but none of the reasons I can think of paint them in a very positive light.
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Forget Employers Refusing to Cover Contraception. Arizona Bill Would Allow Them to Fire You For Using It Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:07:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Forget Employers Refusing to Cover Contraception. Arizona Bill Would Allow Them to Fire You For Using It
Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

Yes folks this is my state, apparently they want to make it totally cool for your employer to dig into your personal life to make sure you aren’t doing anything that violates your employers moral values.

Seriously, what the fuck people?  You’re employer should not have the right to ask for this sort of information, your medical coverage is between you and your doctor and as long as it does not impact your job it is none of your employer’s business.

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Bring up birth control and the Catholic church admits church state separation was actually a thing all along. Mon, 06 Feb 2012 01:01:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Pure evil according the Catholic Church
Catholics and other Christian groups are up in arms about the government requiring the insurance companies provide to their employee’s with FDA approved contraceptives.  They are angry because this law is extending to many church owned organizations such as private schools and hospitals.

For those of you not familiar with law here, churches are granted an exemption to a lot of rules that other business must follow.  Some of them make a lot of sense, for instance laws that prevent religious discrimination in hiring would not really work in a church, requiring a church not to consider the religious beliefs of their pastor in hiring him would not work very well.  I may consider all religious beliefs to be rather illogical but I can still understand the need for this kind of separation.  
Now when it comes to this particular law there is also an exception for employees of churches and and religious organizations, however the private schools and hospitals owned by the Catholic church do not fit into these exceptions, and in the case of hospitals generally receive public funding.  These organizations do not and, in fact, are not allowed to discriminate based upon religion.  The end result is that many of the people working for them are not Catholics.  The people being serviced there are also often not Catholics but this is not even relevant to the current issue since it affects employees.  
Catholics, being anti-contraception, have decided that they don’t want to set up the insurance for their employees to cover such things.  A situation that has no doubt been the way they have done things for quite some time.  Now, the government is saying it can’t be that way anymore, that women have a right to contraception and they have a right to expect their employer to offer insurance that covers it irregardless of how their employer may personally feel about contraception.  Make no mistake, this is a women’s rights issue, since in order for women to maintain a equal place in society they must be able to choose when and if to get pregnant.
Now the Catholic church is threatening to simply shut down their services rather than comply with the law, just as they did when the government refused to hand out state funds to Catholic adoption agencies that refused to adopt to gay parents.  Make no mistake this is a clear case of bullying with a flimsy religious excuse on their part.  If the world won’t play by their very silly and bigoted rules they will simply take their ball and go home.  
Part of me can’t help but think this might be a good thing.  Do we really want the Catholic church running our hospitals and our schools when they care more about controlling the reproduction rights of women and obeying moral rules that are insulting to any thinking person than they care about doing the jobs they built those hospitals and schools for?  One wonders what they founded these hospitals and schools for; is it because they care about people or is it because it gives them an opportunity to force their moral ideals on to the general populace?  
Perhaps it would be a good thing if they shut down, other people would build hospitals after all.  People get sick and someone else would fill the need for hospitals, that’s how free market economies work. 
Meanwhile, the height of irony in this is that many Conservative Christians like the Catholics Leagues Bill Donohue are claiming that this is a violation of “Church state separation.”  You might remember that as the thing they have spent years claiming doesn’t exist.  The fundamentalist interpretation of the establishment clause is that it does nothing more than prevent the establishment of a state religion.  This law in no way violates that interpretation, but I will go one step further.  The more encompassing interpretation of the clause offered by the courts is that no government organization can show favoritism to one religion over another because such actions would lead to an implication of an establishment of a state religion.  Nothing about this law comes anywhere close to a violation of church state separation.  However, it is ironic how quickly the establishment clause became important.
Personally I am a fan of the old saying, “your right to swing your arm ends at my nose.”  Well the Catholic church has been swinging their proverbial arm into the bedrooms of American citizens for years and personally I have no problem with the government finally telling them to get the hell out.
Arms of Catholic priests not shown due to it being a metaphor
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