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Author Topic: So let's see...
G3
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Sudafed, alcohol, cigarettes, 16 oz sodas; all too dangerous for the under 18 crowd and/or society in general. But abortifacients are perfectly safe for even children to have on demand without any medical or parental oversight. They can't even take a aspirin to school without risking disciplinary action but abortifacients, load on up sweetheart!

Who has a 15 year old girl? You like the idea of her getting some potentially serious medical treatment, on demand,without your knowledge? You think Barry and Michelle would be cool with Malia dropping by the CVS to pick up her pills the day or week after knocking one out?

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Oyarsa
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I'm not against Plan B. However, this should be available without a prescription for women 18 years or older, not for teenager girls.
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Pyrtolin
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It's not an abortifacant, it prevents pregnancy from even starting. If it was taken to school, it would fall under the same medical supervisory rules that any other medication, OTC or not, does, so that comparison is, at best, misleading. It's not addictive, there aren't any health risks more significant than aspirin or tylenol when taken as recommended. It's not a useful ingredient in illegal drug manufacturing. There is no compelling medical or public health and safety reason to restrict access to it; doing so only serves to put people who do urgently need it at risk of a much more dangerous outcome (especially in for those under 18)
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Funean
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It is a shame when people throw around words without knowing what they mean. Plan B is no more an abortifacient than a condom is, and it is in fact safer than aspirin, which can cause life-endangering reactions in a significant percentage of the population.

Medically, what Plan B does is delay ovulation. It does not prevent implantation, cause an off-schedule shedding of the uterine lining, or destroy any gametes. It is a chemical barrier method, preventing pregnancy in much the same way as condoms and diaphragms; by preventing sperm from reaching an egg to begin with. It is *contraception*--it prevents conception.

Emergency contraception should not be confused with RU-486 (Mifepristone), also known as "the abortion pill," which ends a very early pregnancy (prior to 7 weeks) by medically detaching an implanted embryo and stimulating uterine contractions. While very low doses of RU-486 are used as contraception in some countries (chiefly China) it is not approved for that use in the US. In the US, RU-486 is used as an abortifacient in place of surgical abortion in very early pregnancy.

I'm not sure whether the persistent conflation of contraception and abortion in some parts of the population is a function of simple ignorance or of an agenda which simply makes no distinction between the two. I do know many pro-life proponents are also opposed to contraception, which has always baffled me. Abortion has plummeted since the advent of female-controlled contraception (ie not just condoms) and legal abortion. Medical historians have estimated that in the early 20th century, up to 20% of all pregnancies ended in abortion. It wasn't legal or safe, of course, but it *was* common.

Anyway, yes, if my daughter were at risk for pregnancy at 15, I absolutely would want that prevented or ended. Childbearing at 15 is a zillion times riskier and more injurious to a young system than preventing or terminating a pregnancy by any of the means that are currently legal. Although I would be more worried about her exposure to the life-threatening and/or lifelong STDs. And it's not my kid who needs non-prescription access to emergency contraception--it's the kid who is effectively on her own and afraid she's pregnant. Girls who have parents they can turn to are already covered (and are at lower risk for getting pregnant in the first place).

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Pete at Home
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I absolutely agree that plan B is not an abortifascient. It's birth control. It doesn't terminate a pregnancy, it prevents pregnancy by preventing implantation.

A woman with an unimplanted blastocyst rattling around is not pregnant, an more than her boyfriend is pregnant.

I tend to agree with putting this over-the-counter. G3's concerns about kids using it rather than going to their parents is valid, but it seems to me that if they don't talk to their parents, they are more likely to wait until late pregnancy to do the talking, and I think that the prevention of abortion is more important.

Another concern I have about making Plan B over the counter, is that folks may purchase it and push it on others. I imagine that sex slavers will keep bunches of it on hand.

My final concern is that consequently we're going to see a rise in STDs as condom use decreases. But I think that's an acceptable loss, compared to the reduction in abortions.

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Pete at Home
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I wonder if someone could bioengineer an STD to visibly change the color of someone's entire genital area, but not to create any other effects. Just to warn spouses that their significant other doesn't take their vows very significantly, or use protection either.
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D.W.
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If they could... Then what?

If you are going to go that route wouldn't it be better to engineer something that reacted to anyone's DNA besides your partner?

Unless you know you are going to ask all single people to volunteer to carry the STD, for the sake of holding the married people to their word. [Wink]

Maybe just do hypnotism or mental conditioning as part of marriage so the thought of sex with anyone but their partner is revolting.

Or maybe make all of society dress in clothing which covers them head to toe so everyone looks the same! [Eek!]

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Adam Masterman
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Funean's information bears repeating: plan B does *not* prevent implantation of a fertilized egg:

"The primary mechanism of action of levonorgestrel as a progestogen-only emergency contraceptive pill is to prevent fertilization by inhibition of ovulation.[5][6][7][8] The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has issued a statement that: "review of the evidence suggests that LNG [levonorgestreol] ECPs cannot prevent implantation of a fertilized egg . Language on implantation should not be included in LNG ECP product labeling."[9][10]" (emphasis mine)
source

It can be a confusing issue for a couple of reasons. One is that its possible to become pregnant when ovulation occurs *after* coitus; up to three days after, if memory serves. Some take it as a given that any post-coital contraception must, by definition, be post-fertilization (if its actually preventing a pregnancy), but this is not so.

Another confusion is that there is a window between fertilization and implantation, and the latter event is considered the moment of conception and the beginning of pregnancy. However, there are actually very few methods that will demonstrably prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Copper IUDs probably do, which is inferred by their efficacy, but its not established that even low-dose uses of RU486 (which, in Europe, is used as emergency contraception) prevent implantation. Plan B, which is used in this country, works (as Funean observed) only in keeping the sperm and egg from meeting.

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Paladine
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quote:
I do know many pro-life proponents are also opposed to contraception, which has always baffled me.
Why does that baffle you?

quote:
I tend to agree with putting this over-the-counter. G3's concerns about kids using it rather than going to their parents is valid, but it seems to me that if they don't talk to their parents, they are more likely to wait until late pregnancy to do the talking, and I think that the prevention of abortion is more important.
I'm about as anti-abortion as they come, and I don't agree with this. Kids should go to their parents when it comes to major decisions and discuss them as a family. The fact that the kids and/or the parents might do something wrong doesn't justify cutting the parents out of the equation.
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hobsen
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If sold over the counter without restrictions, the seller is probably legally required to sell the medicine even to a five year old. And presumably the seller is also required to sell to anyone even if the purchaser plans to give it to the child of a total stranger. But in practice the medicine costs from $10 to $70, according to a publication from Planned Parenthood, so few five year olds could afford it - and most people are aware that providing medicines to other people's children can result in civil lawsuits or criminal charges.

The substantial objection seems to be that the most common form of identification is a driver's license, and contrary to popular belief many teenagers do not have one. So the chief effect of an age limit is likely to be that persons legally permitted to purchase the product will in fact have difficulty doing so. That is not good, so I rather hope the restrictions fall. On the other hand, it could be argued that any teenager mature enough to use the product should be able to figure out how to get it, even if that compels her to confide in some other person. A teenager who is entirely alone in the world and cannot figure out what to do is already in deep trouble, whether she faces an unintended pregnancy or not.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
quote:
I do know many pro-life proponents are also opposed to contraception, which has always baffled me.
Why does that baffle you?

Most of us understand that these are both points of Vatican doctrine, but contraception drastically reduces the number of abortions that occur. It is somewhat dissonant to advocate a position (opposition to contraception) that would dramatically increase the number of abortions, while also advocating against abortion.
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Paladine
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quote:
Most of us understand that these are both points of Vatican doctrine, but contraception drastically reduces the number of abortions that occur.
I'm particularly sure that's true, and it doesn't much matter if it is or not. We could reduce the number of abortions by doing any number of wrong or inappropriate things. We're not supposed to do what's wrong so that our future selves won't be able to do what's worse, though; we're called everywhere and at all times to do what's right, fail in that though we may.

quote:
It is somewhat dissonant to advocate a position (opposition to contraception) that would dramatically increase the number of abortions, while also advocating against abortion.
Not at all. Imagine that I were to show you a study saying that men who chopped their arms off were less likely to kill their wives. Would it be dissonant for me to advocate against self-dismemberment and against homicide, even though the former evil might serve to mitigate the latter?
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Paladine
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Too late to edit, but the first sentence of my last post should say that I'm *not* particularly sure that's true.
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Pete at Home
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"We could reduce the number of abortions by doing any number of wrong or inappropriate things. We're not supposed to do what's wrong so that our future selves won't be able to do what's worse, though; we're called everywhere and at all times to do what's right, fail in that though we may. "

I agree entirely with that statement in abstract. But that raises the question of whether birth control is in itself, wrong. (And also, what is birth control, and why would abstinence or rhythm method be excluded from that category). In the light of Paul's admonitions that husbands and wives not "defraud" each other in marriage (see context), I would say that it seems like a much worse thing for a huband and wife to stop having sex in order to avoid making babies, than that they simply use artificial contraceptives. The former arguably breaks two commandments, the latter only arguably breaks one, and more likely just postpones it.


Is there a scriptural basis for your Church's ban on birth control, or is it entirely philosophical?

[ May 05, 2013, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
[horrible counter-proposals] [Eek!]

While the means that I (not seriously) suggested would be grossly unethical, your comparision to the Taliban is simply bizarre. I don't think that the rule of condoms except in monogamy, is a remotely talibanesque approach to sex. That's the PC rule. While it's certainly not the Christian standard, it does (if actually practiced) have the benefit of reducing STDs and pregnancies that would result in abortion and destroyed lives.

[ May 05, 2013, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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LetterRip
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Paladine,

the reason it is considered dissonant is because birth control isn't viewed as having any sort of negative moral impact, or if it is, as a far greater less moral negative impact than abortion.

From a logical perspective it is bizarre to advocate against abortion but to oppose usage of a tool that is highly effective in preventing it, since there is no rational basis for opposition of that tool. Of course religious edicts have no requirement to be rational.

Also note that most Catholics (perhaps only American/Western European?) are at odds with the church on the teachings of birth control.

quote:
Foremost among those subjects where most Catholics see room for change is on the question of contraception: 91 percent said the next Pope should favor the use of condoms to help stop HIV, and 71 percent said he should favor artificial methods of birth control. Sixty-nine percent of Catholics said, too, that priests should be able to get married, and the same number said women should be able to become priests.
Also the church appears to maintain the position primarily because it would be embarassing to admit they were wrong.

quote:
Then, in 1966, Paul VI's birth control commission presented its preliminary report to the pope. It held big news: The body had overwhelmingly voted to recommend lifting the prohibition on contraceptives. (The former Archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Leo Suenens, went so far as to say the church needed to confront reality and avoid another "Galileo case.")

Catholics rejoiced, and many began using the pill at once. But their hopes were dashed when, in July 1968, Paul VI released an encyclical titled Humanae Vitae ("on human life"), reaffirming the contraceptive ban. It turned out that three dissenting bishops on the commission had privately gone to plead with the pope: If the position on contraceptives was changed, they said, the teaching authority of the church would be questioned—the faithful could no longer trust the hierarchy.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/05/catholic-church-vatican-bishops-birth-control
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:

quote:
It is somewhat dissonant to advocate a position (opposition to contraception) that would dramatically increase the number of abortions, while also advocating against abortion.
Not at all. Imagine that I were to show you a study saying that men who chopped their arms off were less likely to kill their wives. Would it be dissonant for me to advocate against self-dismemberment and against homicide, even though the former evil might serve to mitigate the latter?
I understand the logic; its a rather straightforward absolutist position. Maybe part of my own confusion comes from treating the two as equivalently "evil", even remotely so. My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that using the rhythm method for preventing unwanted pregnancies is acceptable, but a condom is not. Which suggests that having sex without the intent to conceive is also permissible for married couples. I can't go from there to holding that contraception is *so* evil that its worth the effect of a large spike in abortions to get rid of them entirely. It strikes me a akin to prosecuting someone for jaywalking, when they rushed into a street to rescue a child from oncoming traffic. As in, yes, in general, jaywalking is illegal, but its so much better than the alternative that we should outright encourage it when innocent lives are at stake.

You seem to be saying that the effect isn't relevant; that the church simply advocates what is "right", without any calculation for degrees of harm or real-world implications. Is that an accurate parsing?

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Paladine
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One caveat I'm going to add up front: I'm not familiar enough with Church teaching on this subject and the philosophy behind it to speak about it in an authoritative way. What I'm offering are my own thoughts which, as far as I know (and I know a bit), are completely consistent with what the Church teaches.

quote:
I agree entirely with that statement in abstract. But that raises the question of whether birth control is in itself, wrong. (And also, what is birth control, and why would abstinence or rhythm method be excluded from that category). In the light of Paul's admonitions that husbands and wives not "defraud" each other in marriage (see context), I would say that it seems like a much worse thing for a huband and wife to stop having sex in order to avoid making babies, than that they simply use artificial contraceptives. The former arguably breaks two commandments, the latter only arguably breaks one, and more likely just postpones it.


Is there a scriptural basis for your Church's ban on birth control, or is it entirely philosophical?

You're quite right that husbands and wives are supposed to give themselves freely to one another and not to refrain from having sex. For a couple to avoid sex in order to avoid children is wrong; it's a violation of what they promised to each other and to God in marriage. Sex is good and necessary for a married couple to have.

The use of artificial means to avoid having children is also wrong. It is a profanation of sex, which is supposed to bring the couple closer together while being open to the creation of new life.

quote:
From a logical perspective it is bizarre to advocate against abortion but to oppose usage of a tool that is highly effective in preventing it, since there is no rational basis for opposition of that tool.
Yeah, you're not speaking "from a logical perspective" here; you're speaking from your own perspective. That's perfectly fine, and not something for which I'd fault you, but please don't confuse your opinions on the matter with the perspective of logic.

quote:
Also note that most Catholics (perhaps only American/Western European?) are at odds with the church on the teachings of birth control.
Sure. We're also at odds with the Church on teachings of being kind and charitable to our neighbors (about 100% of us don't follow those properly) and pretty much everything else. If 10 or 20 percent of Catholics are following the Church's teachings on sex then it's more than are following it on a great many other things.

I don't see the point in saying that people don't agree or don't follow. We don't decide what right and wrong are based upon what people do or how people respond to a polling question.

quote:
Also the church appears to maintain the position primarily because it would be embarassing to admit they were wrong.
It might appear that way to someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones article of all things, or to someone for whom the truth of such a statement would be ideologically convenient.

quote:
Maybe part of my own confusion comes from treating the two as equivalently "evil", even remotely so.
I don't see that I'm treating the two as equivalently evil by saying that we ought not do either. We set down a dangerous road when we say that we're allowed to do wrong thing X so that we aren't faced with the possibility of doing wrong thing Y later in life. How wrong X and Y are relative to one another isn't really what's at issue. The whole pattern of thinking and justification is a bad and dangerous one.

quote:
My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that using the rhythm method for preventing unwanted pregnancies is acceptable, but a condom is not.
Natural Family Planning is permitted.

quote:
Which suggests that having sex without the intent to conceive is also permissible for married couples.
Without the intent to conceive? Sure. But with openness to it, and without setting up artificial barriers against it.

quote:
I can't go from there to holding that contraception is *so* evil that its worth the effect of a large spike in abortions to get rid of them entirely. It strikes me a akin to prosecuting someone for jaywalking, when they rushed into a street to rescue a child from oncoming traffic.
This is a horribly confused analogy. In your analogy, some other person or force of nature is going to kill a child unless you act in their protection. Quite a few things might be justified by those circumstances.

The same is not true when the only reason the child is in danger is me. In such cases the morally correct thing for me to do is to restrain myself and not to cause the child harm. I wouldn't be justified in killing a dog or beating my wife if doing so would make me less eager to kill a child in the future. If you were to tell me that I ought not do either of those things you wouldn't be drawing an implicit moral equivalency between killing a dog or beating a person and killing another person. All of the actions are wrong; creating a false choice between the two doesn't make them less so. Creating and accepting the false choice is to my mind a bad thing unto itself, completely apart from the badness of the death of the dog or the pain of the spouse.

quote:
You seem to be saying that the effect isn't relevant; that the church simply advocates what is "right", without any calculation for degrees of harm or real-world implications. Is that an accurate parsing?
I'm not at all sure you're right about what the "real world implications" are. I don't think that abortion has become less common as contraception has become more common. Certainly the acceptance of the two behaviors has gone hand in hand and mostly in the same circles. It seems to me that both are part of a culture and an ideology which views children as inconvenient parasites to be avoided and sex as something to be done to scratch an itch as much or more than anything else.

That aside, the whole moral calculus you're attempting to apply seems to me a very disordered and dangerous thing. I don't think a parent or a couple should ever say "Well I/we had better do wrong thing X so we're not tempted to kill our baby someday." I can understand thinking there's nothing wrong with contraception. I can even understand thinking there's nothing wrong with infanticide. What I can't for the life of me get is how it can possibly be okay to think that both are wrong but that you should do one lest you're tempted to do the other. If contraception is morally acceptable, lessening the number of abortions has *nothing* to do with why.

[ May 05, 2013, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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Pete at Home
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"You're quite right that husbands and wives are supposed to give themselves freely to one another and not to refrain from having sex. For a couple to avoid sex in order to avoid children is wrong; it's a violation of what they promised to each other and to God in marriage. Sex is good and necessary for a married couple to have.

The use of artificial means to avoid having children is also wrong. It is a profanation of sex, which is supposed to bring the couple closer together while being open to the creation of new life. "

Thank you. Seems to me that your view is internally consistent and consistent with Christian scripture as well. I'm not sure that it's the only possible or most likely interpretation, but I certainly don't understand why someone would call your specific view bizarre or inconsistent.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Funean's information bears repeating: plan B does *not* prevent implantation of a fertilized egg:

"The primary mechanism of action of levonorgestrel as a progestogen-only emergency contraceptive pill is to prevent fertilization by inhibition of ovulation.[5][6][7][8] The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has issued a statement that: "review of the evidence suggests that LNG [levonorgestreol] ECPs cannot prevent implantation of a fertilized egg . Language on implantation should not be included in LNG ECP product labeling."[9][10]" (emphasis mine)
source

It can be a confusing issue for a couple of reasons. One is that its possible to become pregnant when ovulation occurs *after* coitus; up to three days after, if memory serves. Some take it as a given that any post-coital contraception must, by definition, be post-fertilization (if its actually preventing a pregnancy), but this is not so.

Another confusion is that there is a window between fertilization and implantation, and the latter event is considered the moment of conception and the beginning of pregnancy. However, there are actually very few methods that will demonstrably prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Copper IUDs probably do, which is inferred by their efficacy, but its not established that even low-dose uses of RU486 (which, in Europe, is used as emergency contraception) prevent implantation. Plan B, which is used in this country, works (as Funean observed) only in keeping the sperm and egg from meeting.

Thanks for the repeat, Adam; I'd missed it the first time. It doesn't change my support for plan B since I regard prevention of implantation as valud birth control, as opposed to termination of a pregnancy.

Was there another MAP other than Plan B marketed at some point? Checking ... Ah, I see; in Europe, RU-486 is offered at a lower dose (200 mg rather than 600) as an emergency contraceptive to disrupt implantation. It's only available in the US in the 600 mg which acts as an abortifascient. Apparently the 200 will prevent implantation but not affect an implanted blastocyst.

OK, that resolves most of my concerns about Plan B being offered over the counter. You can't just dose it up to an abortifasicent, which really does require medical supervision lest someone go out like Titus Pullo's wife. (Who was apparently pregnant for 2-3 years).

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LetterRip
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Paladine,

quote:
Yeah, you're not speaking "from a logical perspective" here; you're speaking from your own perspective. That's perfectly fine, and not something for which I'd fault you, but please don't confuse your opinions on the matter with the perspective of logic.
I'm not confusing - any logical formalism you can put this arguement in results in the position you advocate being illogical. Any moral framework it also is contradictory.

quote:
Sure. We're also at odds with the Church on teachings of being kind and charitable to our neighbors (about 100% of us don't follow those properly) and pretty much everything else. If 10 or 20 percent of Catholics are following the Church's teachings on sex then it's more than are following it on a great many other things.
You have mistaken disagree with the teachings with don't fully adhere to the teachings. That is a logical fallacy of false equivocation.

quote:
It might appear that way to someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones article of all things, or to someone for whom the truth of such a statement would be ideologically convenient.
My you have mighty leaps of logic and ad hominem as well. Clearly you have difficulty with rational thought when it comes to discussing this matter. I offer up a document that succintly summarizes the arguement and you assume that I'm "someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones".

If you feel the author is mistaken, feel free to offer substantiation that the author misrepresented the facts, or that the facts logically lead to a different conclusion.

Here, we can go directly to excerpts from the minority report - Ie straight from the source from which the decision was derived, they are quite explicit about the reason

quote:
If it should be declared that contraception is not evil in itself, then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit had been on the side of the Protestant churches in 1930 [when Casti Connubii was promulgated) and in 1951.

“It should likewise have to be admitted that for a half a century the Spirit failed to protect Pius XI, Pius XII, and a large part of the Catholic hierarchy from a very serious error. This would mean that the leaders of the Church, acting with extreme imprudence, had condemned thousands of innocent human acts, forbidding, under pain of eternal damnation, a practice which would now be sanctioned. The fact can neither be denied nor ignored that these same acts would now be declared licit on the grounds of principles cited by the Protestants, which Popes and Bishops have either condemned, or at least not approved."[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_Commission_on_Birth_Control

Here is the complete minorty report

http://www.bostonleadershipbuilders.com/0church/birth-control-minority.htm

Ah this I wasn't aware of

quote:
Similarly they have not said that contraception is evil because God has said, “Increase and multiply”; but because they have considered it in some way analogous to homicide. This analogy was constant in tradition up until the eighteenth century and still more recently it was invoked by the hierarchy of Germany (1913) and India (1960).
So I'm curious if your own personal beliefs are that contraception is 'evil' since it is analagous to homicide?

Since that is the claimed theological basis for the teaching. Do you think it is a logical conclusion?

Personally I find the view to be absurd conclusion. If you feel that such you can reach that conclusion as a logical endpoint, then logically one must accept all such extreme endpoints to be equally valid. Ie then you must believe that any movement, even breathing must violate the Sabbath prohibition against work. Or that looking at a piece of artwork without first getting explicit permission is the sin of stealing.

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Adam Masterman
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Pal, I'll try to respond at more length later, but to clarify; I draw a large distinction between abstaining from contraception as a personal, spiritual choice, and promoting it as a policy for everyone. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Catholic couples who follow these teachings as a spiritual practice. But, like many spiritual practices (many of mine own included here), its disastrous if we try to translate it into public policy. I agree that its silly for a couple to use birth control to prevent their future selves from having an abortion, but its equally silly for that couple to do everything in their power to reduce the availability of contraception for others (Catholic or otherwise), and not take responsibility for the results (greater incidents of studs, abortions, etc.). Not directing that at you personally, but the Church's hardline on condoms in Africa (for example) is unethical, particularly the use of misinformation to discourage their use.
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LetterRip
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Paladine,

interestingly the arguement in the minority report essentially says

quote:
The Church cannot change her answer because this answer is true. [...] It is true because the Catholic Church, instituted by Christ to show men a secure way to eternal life, could not have so wrongly erred during all those centuries of its history.
This arguement is of course, directly applicaple to slavery, which the Church consistently taught was good and accordance with Gods will and teachings for over a 1000 years, and then did a complete reversal.

http://liberalslikechrist.org/Catholic/Church&slavery.html

So, either the Church should have persisted with its original views of slavery due to the inability of the Church to err over 'centuries of history', or the Church is most definitely capable of erring over centuries of history.

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Paladine
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quote:
I'm not confusing - any logical formalism you can put this arguement in results in the position you advocate being illogical. Any moral framework it also is contradictory.
That's just flat-out not true. You don't seem to understand how logic works. I can construct an internally logical framework which accepts or condemns pretty much any behavior. There isn't a "logical perspective" on moral behavior. We reason from our assumptions, and we assume based upon our intuitions. I'm not too interested in further exchanges on this, as it's pretty straightforwardly a matter of fact.

quote:
You have mistaken disagree with the teachings with don't fully adhere to the teachings. That is a logical fallacy of false equivocation.
I didn't mistake anything. I said that many Catholics both do and believe things other than what the Church teaches, and that neither what people do nor what they tell a pollster they believe influences what the Church believes to be right and wrong behavior. When you draw a distinction between two things in talking about them it's not a fallacy logical or otherwise. Again though, I'm not too interested in debating formal logic with you.

quote:
My you have mighty leaps of logic and ad hominem as well. Clearly you have difficulty with rational thought when it comes to discussing this matter. I offer up a document that succintly summarizes the arguement and you assume that I'm "someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones".
You don't seem to know what *any* of these terms mean or how they apply to thinking and reasoning, and yet you keep throwing them around. When you want to know what an organization believes and why the best place to look doesn't tend to be an ideologically charged source, particularly one in opposition to the institution in question. If I want to know why Democrats or Mormons hold certain positions, I don't serve myself well going to publications or websites known to hold a very different view.

There's nothing "ad hominem" about saying that people who read articles from liberal websites and derive a lot of their knowledge of the Church from said articles are likely to come away with an impression that's unfairly unfavorable to the Church. I didn't say that this was true of you, although my suspicion is that it probably is. Instead I said that people who rely upon that sort of material (or "liberalslikechrist.com) for their understanding tend to wind up with the sort of view you described.

The rest of what you wrote focuses a lot on a commission report. Commission reports aren't authoritative sources of Church teaching; they're a group of people appointed to examine a question who offer their opinion. The fact that some of their conclusions may later find voice in authoritative teaching doesn't mean that the reasoning they used in coming to their conclusions was correct. Very often people get to the right conclusions for the wrong reasons. If you want to know what the Church teaches and why, you should look at authoritative teaching (Humanae Vitae in this case).

quote:
So I'm curious if your own personal beliefs are that contraception is 'evil' since it is analagous to homicide?
That depends upon the analogy, I suppose. I don't think that they're the same thing, but I do think that both murder and the use of contraceptives are wrong sua natura, of their nature. That doesn't mean that I consider them to be equally severe offenses or that I consider one to be the other, but an analogy can be drawn.

quote:
Here, we can go directly to excerpts from the minority report - Ie straight from the source from which the decision was derived, they are quite explicit about the reason
Your "i.e." is badly wrong here. The passage you quoted also doesn't have anything to do with embarrassment. Catholics view tradition as being a source of authority; we don't say that the Church up until now has been wrong about everything and that we've finally got it right. You can take or leave that as you choose, but it has nothing to do with being embarrassed.

quote:
Pal, I'll try to respond at more length later, but to clarify; I draw a large distinction between abstaining from contraception as a personal, spiritual choice, and promoting it as a policy for everyone.
I wouldn't say that it's a "policy" so much as a moral truth. There are things that are right for some people but wrong for others; we don't believe that this falls into that category.

quote:
I have nothing but respect and admiration for Catholic couples who follow these teachings as a spiritual practice. But, like many spiritual practices (many of mine own included here), its disastrous if we try to translate it into public policy.
I certainly am not advocating for it to be a law of any sort. I think we're using "public policy" differently. Mind explaining what you mean in a bit more detail so I don't put words in your mouth?

quote:
I agree that its silly for a couple to use birth control to prevent their future selves from having an abortion, but its equally silly for that couple to do everything in their power to reduce the availability of contraception for others (Catholic or otherwise), and not take responsibility for the results (greater incidents of studs, abortions, etc.).
Who's trying to reduce the availability of contraception? Some of us might object to being made to pay for it, or decline to provide it for others, but I'm not aware of many people agitating for contraception to be illegal.

quote:
Not directing that at you personally, but the Church's hardline on condoms in Africa (for example) is unethical
What is this hardline in your view?
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
[QB]
quote:
Pal, I'll try to respond at more length later, but to clarify; I draw a large distinction between abstaining from contraception as a personal, spiritual choice, and promoting it as a policy for everyone.
I wouldn't say that it's a "policy" so much as a moral truth. There are things that are right for some people but wrong for others; we don't believe that this falls into that category.
Again, limited time, but I want to follow up on this, because we've discussed this idea before, and what you've written illuminates your point for me in a way I was missing before. I gather that there are explicit categories in Catholicism for "things that are proscribed for followers of Catholicism (or for clergy)" and "things that are wrong for everyone by their very nature." I believe you had mentioned this to me once, when I had argued that Catholics needed to differentiate between ritual requirements and moral ones. Now that I think I understand this better, let me see if I can explain *myself* better.

I am imagining two different categories of "wrong actions" as definied by a religion, but with a different demarcation. The first, which I called universally applicable, are those that are understood to be wrong across a variety of different world views. Its not the same thing as something being wrong "sua natura", which is a theological and metaphysical distinction. I am making a *sociological* distinction; there are broad categories of actions which are (nearly) universally accepted as wrong in all cultures, faiths and ideologies. Murder, theft, etc.

The other category would be things which are understood as wrong *only if* you accept the tenets of a particular faith. While that faith may consider it to be wrong for any human, its only a moral issue for people who share one specific worldview. Killing animals in Jainism is a good example; they consider even the accidental killing of an insect to deeply morally wrong, with very real spiritual consequences, for anyone (not just for followers of Jainism). However, this belief is unique to Jainists and a few other faiths with similar roots (Buddhism and Hinduism to varying extents). So its not *sociologically* universal, even though Jainists believe it to be metaphysically universal.

I would say the same thing about Abrahamic taboos on homosexuality, and Catholic prohibitions on contraception. While members of the faith may believe them to be universal, acceptance of that premise essentially requires one to *be* a member of that faith, so it doesn't really cross any sociological lines.

I find it a useful distinction because I believe that public policy in a plural society can reflect the morality of the former, but should not reflect the morality of the latter. In answer to your earlier question, contraception was criminalized in several Catholic countries in the past, most notable Ireland until just 1980. The Church seems, to me, to be willing to do whatever it can to prohibit those practices it considers immoral; it simply isn't remotely possible to criminalize contraception in our country at this time. Asking for the right to deny it to non-Catholic employees is a form of government coercion, especially considering that the compromise of not using Catholic finds to purchase them was rejected. This was what I meant by transferring beliefs to public policy.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear what you think of the distinction I'm drawing, and how you think it might apply to public policy.

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djquag1
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Good post Adam.

There are no real world benefits to not using birth control. I don't consider mythologies and their rewards to be real world.

Most of the time it's not an issue because nobody tries to ban it for everybody, they just cry and whinge about "persecution" if their third party insurance company is required to cover birth control for their non Catholic employees.

It becomes a bit more of an issue when your charity groups refuse to provide and even preach against using birth control in a country in the middle of a full blown AiDS epidemic. I'm sure your god was handing out air high fives for that response.

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Paladine
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Adam-

quote:
I am imagining two different categories of "wrong actions" as definied by a religion, but with a different demarcation. The first, which I called universally applicable, are those that are understood to be wrong across a variety of different world views. Its not the same thing as something being wrong "sua natura", which is a theological and metaphysical distinction. I am making a *sociological* distinction; there are broad categories of actions which are (nearly) universally accepted as wrong in all cultures, faiths and ideologies. Murder, theft, etc.

The other category would be things which are understood as wrong *only if* you accept the tenets of a particular faith. While that faith may consider it to be wrong for any human, its only a moral issue for people who share one specific worldview. Killing animals in Jainism is a good example; they consider even the accidental killing of an insect to deeply morally wrong, with very real spiritual consequences, for anyone (not just for followers of Jainism). However, this belief is unique to Jainists and a few other faiths with similar roots (Buddhism and Hinduism to varying extents). So its not *sociologically* universal, even though Jainists believe it to be metaphysically universal.

I would say the same thing about Abrahamic taboos on homosexuality, and Catholic prohibitions on contraception. While members of the faith may believe them to be universal, acceptance of that premise essentially requires one to *be* a member of that faith, so it doesn't really cross any sociological lines.

We actually have pretty similar categories, with a few caveats. Your consensus category we'd explain a little differently, not by saying that all or most cultures or ideologies agree on A, B, or C, but rather that A, B, or C are written on the human heart. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees with them or that all or even most cultures perfectly understand or reflect them in their customs or practices.

For example, probably a majority of cultures throughout human history approved of or at least permitted behaviors you and I would classify as murder or theft. The killings of a slave or an ethnic or religious minority or someone of a different political ideology or sexual preference or class or caste or mental or physical disability have been accepted practice throughout human history in a broad range of cultures. To say that everyone agrees that these things are wrong is to be blind to history.

That said, we agree that the wrongness of murder is written on the human heart, even if it's sometimes obscured by cultural or religious or ideological blinders. We feel a similar way with respect to the wrongness of contraception.

One basic way to understand it is to see that we are given what we have not only to do what pleases us, but to do what's good. We are given food to eat to nourish us. It's good if we eat to nourish ourselves and it's good if we enjoy the process, but it becomes dangerous and bad when we eat only for pleasure and not for sustenance.

We are given speech to draw closer to one another and to the truth. It's good that we derive pleasure from these things, but when we talk only for pleasure's sake and without serving the ends for which speech exists we begin to engage in destructive behavior which separates us from the truth and from each other (lying, detraction, gossiping, and a host of other things).

We are given our bodies to do good with. We have sex so that we can have children and draw closer to our spouses. It's good if we enjoy doing this, but if we have sex for pleasure and shut it off from love (pornography, prostitution, hook up culture) or from procreation (contraception, masturbation, same-sex sex, sterilization) we do what's wrong.

quote:
I find it a useful distinction because I believe that public policy in a plural society can reflect the morality of the former, but should not reflect the morality of the latter.
So roughly half of your country thinks it's okay to kill people of ethnic group X where roughly half thinks that it's not. What should the law be?

quote:
Asking for the right to deny it to non-Catholic employees is a form of government coercion, especially considering that the compromise of not using Catholic finds to purchase them was rejected.
But of course they're not asking to "deny" it to anyone; they're simply declining to earmark part of their employees' compensation for it. It's not being "denied" any more than food or water or shelter or a night out at the movies; people are free to spend their wages on what they will.

The ones looking to do the coercing here are on your side of the debate. You might think there are good reasons for that and that employers should be coerced to earmark part of their employees' compensation for contraceptive insurance, but I don't remotely see how you can say we're the ones trying to force something here.

quote:
Anyway, I'd be interested to hear what you think of the distinction I'm drawing, and how you think it might apply to public policy.
I'm interested in what you're saying and agree to a limited extent. As far as public policy goes, I tend to think that government has two basic legitimate functions (more might occur to me later; this is just an initial impression): to administer justice (protecting the rights and liberties of its citizens, enforcing contracts, providing civil order, etc) and to protect and express the political rights of a community.

The latter function is where a modified form of your constructions seems useful to me. I'm not opposed to the existence of a Muslim state, for example, which would enforce a prohibition on alcohol. It's not that I think most cultures agree that alcohol is inherently bad or even that I think it's inherently bad, but if the people of a state feel that it's bad then I think that the state should enforce and express their view, access to alcohol not being a fundamental right of human beings. Similarly, should most people in a given state feel that contraception is wrong and want it banned, I wouldn't have a problem with the state enforcing that view.

We exist in a country in which a great many people don't hold those views. I don't think the banning of contraceptives or of alcohol is a requirement for the administration of justice, and I don't think either can properly be said to be an expression of the political will of people in this country, so I would consider it wrong if government were to ban either here.

I could go on for awhile here, but I hope you can see what I'm getting at, and am interested in your thoughts.

----------

djquag-

quote:
Good post Adam.
Well, at least you said something we can agree about. [Smile] He tried to understand my view, constructed it as charitably as he was able, and then expressed a well considered view of his own together with his objections to mine. No sarcastic talk of "mythologies" or people "crying and whining" or "your god handing out air high fives".

I think you're perfectly capable of doing what Adam did. If you give it a try sometime I'll be happy to respond.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:

quote:
Also the church appears to maintain the position primarily because it would be embarassing to admit they were wrong.
It might appear that way to someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones article of all things, or to someone for whom the truth of such a statement would be ideologically convenient.



It is my understanding as well. And I didn't learn it from the Mother Jones article, but from other Catholics who have studied the matter and from the testimony of people who were part of the Commission.

[ May 06, 2013, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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D.W.
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Pete:
quote:
While the means that I (not seriously) suggested would be grossly unethical, your comparision to the Taliban is simply bizarre. I don't think that the rule of condoms except in monogamy, is a remotely talibanesque approach to sex. That's the PC rule. While it's certainly not the Christian standard, it does (if actually practiced) have the benefit of reducing STDs and pregnancies that would result in abortion and destroyed lives.
Interesting, but it was the implied aid from outsiders (the engineered STD) to catch a married person in infidelity because they couldn’t control themselves that I was equating to the “need” for burkas to help those poor men resist their urges. I know you weren’t being serious. I was aiding you by showing a parallel silly practice to combat the same problem. [Razz]

How about acting like a person rather than an animal and heaping all the scorn deserved upon those who fail to meet that standard rather than trying to excuse their behavior? There, that’s a bit more serious a solution. [Smile]

Now I’ll let everyone get back to the actual issue being discussed rather than our mutual attempts to be silly while making a less than totally relevant point.

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Paladine
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quote:
quote:
It might appear that way to someone whose knowledge of the subject is largely derived from a Mother Jones article of all things, or to someone for whom the truth of such a statement would be ideologically convenient.
It is my understanding as well. And I didn't learn it from the Mother Jones article, but from other Catholics who have studied the matter and from the testimony of people who were part of the Commission.
You were option B, Kate, not option A. [Wink] I'd say you're committing a similar error to that committed by LR though in ascribing too much weight to the commission reports. The Pope explicitly says in Humanae Vitae that he's not just accepting what the Commission says and that the report contains errors.

For my part, I pretty often read or watch a debate and come to agree with one side or another. That doesn't remotely imply that I subscribe completely to the reasoning used by the side with whom I agree. Instead, things that each side says give me occasion to consider the matter myself more fully. The same was true for the Pope here. He wanted smart people on all sides of the issue to discuss it and publish their thoughts, then to read and pray about them and make his decision. He didn't want some faction of the commission to write magisterial teaching on behalf of the Church, or for people to be confused into thinking that the writing of the commission on the matter was authoritative.

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kmbboots
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Right. He ignored the opinion of the vast majority of the people - including bishops and cardinal - and went with the argument of the couple of people whose argument was that they couldn't reverse Casti Connubi because that would mean admitting they were wrong.
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Paladine
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He spelled out his own argument pretty clearly in Humanae Vitae, Kate. I'm not sure why you don't want to consider the case he presents on its own merits and prefer to uncharitably mischaracterize a commission report which may have informed him in part or not at all.

[ May 06, 2013, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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kmbboots
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He spelled out nonsense. I especially enjoy the part where he notes that he appreciates the difficulties (!) but that, hey, it is only for this life. "knowing for sure that "the form of this world is passing away." Excellent.

What on earth makes chemical or barrier methods of contraception not part of "the reality established by God?" How does that makes sense? Are antibiotics not part of "the reality established by God"? What about seatbelts? Windows?

He even referenced the problem of admitting previous error almost first thing in the document.

quote:
However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.
I really miss John XXIII.

[ May 06, 2013, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Paladine
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quote:
I especially enjoy the part where he notes that he appreciates the difficulties (!) but that, hey, it is only for this life. "knowing for sure that "the form of this world is passing away." Excellent.
So he quotes the Bible in saying that we should live morally upright lives despite the difficulties that entails because we're living for more than this world. What's your problem with that exactly?

quote:
What on earth makes chemical or barrier methods of contraception not part of "the reality established by God?" How does that makes sense? Are antibiotics not part of "the reality established by God"? What about seatbelts?
Children aren't bacterial infections or car accidents; they're a gift from God, not an obstacle or a hazard to be overcome or avoided.

Edited to Add:

Adam, arguments like Kate's are a part of why I'm not as convinced as you are that contraception makes abortion less common. Once you accept the premise the premise that stopping children from being born is akin to fastening a seatbelt or curing a disease it's a pretty short path to acceptance of abortion, in my experience.

If you were to take a poll of Kate's wing of the Church as to whether abortion should be permitted, for example, my strong suspicion is that you'd wind up with an overwhelming majority in support. In the aggregate, that means an awful lot more abortions happen.

[ May 06, 2013, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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kmbboots
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To your first question: Because it is a meaningless platitude. "Yes. You are poor and starving but we needn't do anything about that because, really, this world doesn't count anyway." To what difficulty could we not apply that same platitude as an excuse to do nothing.

To your second: But avoiding children by the rhythm method is okay. So it is permissible to try to overcome or avoid children by some methods but not others.

"Kate's wing" (or almost all of American Catholics) is hardly as uniform when it comes to abortion. And how does preventing unwanted conception make for moreabortion "in the aggregate"? Do seatbelts make for more car accidents?

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djquag1
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Paladine - I'll try to make meatier posts in reply to you in the future. However, you should realize that when I refer to your religion as a mythology, I'm not being sarcastic. Odin on the one hand, Jesus Christ on the other, in my view.

Regarding contraception from insurance. You pay for your employee's health insurance, but it's part of their payment for employment. You no more have a right to tell them they can't use their compensation for contraception then to tell them that they can't use their compensation to purchase pornography.

I'd rather you refuse to provide insurance, at all, to anyone, then retain the right to tell people what to do with the resources they've dutifully earned from your organization.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Adam, arguments like Kate's are a part of why I'm not as convinced as you are that contraception makes abortion less common. Once you accept the premise the premise that stopping children from being born is akin to fastening a seatbelt or curing a disease it's a pretty short path to acceptance of abortion, in my experience.

If you were to take a poll of Kate's wing of the Church as to whether abortion should be permitted, for example, my strong suspicion is that you'd wind up with an overwhelming majority in support. In the aggregate, that means an awful lot more abortions happen.

That doesn't add up; it pretty much requires assuming that there is a general direct desire for getting an abortion that's completely independent of wanting to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

The reason that contraception reduces abortion rates is that it prevents unintended pregnancies, which represent the overwhelming majority of all abortion cases, with the balance being those prompted by medical necessity or relating to abuse of some form or another.

If you're trying to say that it would reduce the rate at which unintended pregnancies that do occasionally occur, despite the proper use of contraception are carried to term, then you're probably right, but that would be occurring in a severely reduced overall unintentional pregnancy rate- it becomes mathematically impossible for the net rate unless the net effectiveness of contraception is extremely low, nevermind at the actual rate of over 99% effective when applied reasonably well.

The only way for it to result in a net increase in abortions would be for a huge number of people with intentional pregnancies to suddenly start opting for abortions simply because they could choose to do so.

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djquag1
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Regarding Popes, morality, and the real world, here's what I've managed to find about slavery and the Catholic Church.

Generally, slavery was fine and dandy according to Catholicism and their Pope. It was generally expected that you kept your slaves duly fed, watered, and sheltered. The Church was apparently on the leading edge of animal rights, there.

Pope Paul the Third was the first to codify such restrictions against "unjust" slavery. He then went on to allow the enslavement of baptized Christians living in Rome.

By the end of the Medieval period, enslavement of Christians in Europe was, for the most part, ended. But there were still a lot of dark skinned people in the world, including a whole new continent's worth of them, so the targets just shifted.

The papal bulls Dum Diversas and Romanus Pontifex sanctioned enslavement of Africans and Native Americans, and supported the theft of their lands. Books critical of slavery continued to be put on the list of forbidden books by the Vatican up until 1836. Apparently, Capuchin priests were excommunicated over calling for the emancipation of American slaves.

In 1866(!) Pope Pius the 9th confirmed that it was not an offense against divine law for a slave to be bought, sold, or exchanged.

It was finally the Second Vatican Council that said slavery was a sin, and Pope John Paul the Second who confirmed it.

All of which is to say, I'm not sold on the inherent morality or rightness of your Pope or your Church. I see no real world reasons to take the stance against contraception seriously. In fact, considering how close the Vatican came to giving the okay for it, I figure we're one liberal Pope away from it being given the green light.

I'm curious what your response to such a thing would be.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Regarding contraception from insurance. You pay for your employee's health insurance, but it's part of their payment for employment. You no more have a right to tell them they can't use their compensation for contraception then to tell them that they can't use their compensation to purchase pornography.
To address the actual argument he made above, it's important to point out that there isn't any portion of any given premium thats "earmarked for contraception" (in fact, inasmuch as contraception has an effect on an insurance premium, it tends to lower them, because it reduces the expected future costs of highly expensive pregnancy coverage) Funds paid through premiums go into a completely fungible pool that is used to pay for services as requested by the policyholders. There isn't any kind of pre-allocation or earmarking or designation of portions of the premium payment.

The fact that a a given medication or procedure is covered does not imply that there's any kind of reserve specifically for that service nor that anyone that has the coverage will actually use it, it just means that those covered by the plan are free to exercise their own judgement in whether or not to abial themselves of any given service.

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djquag1
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I like the part where the Pope who has sworn off of sex and a family understands the difficulties of unwanted pregnancies and poor people having trouble feeding and caring for additional family members.
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