“If you get pregnant here, you are stuck”
July 11, 2015 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Colorado’s Effort Against Teenage Pregnancies Is a Startling Success, by Sabrina Tavernese, New York Times

From the NYT piece linked above:
"Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?

"They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (67 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
The state health department estimated that every dollar spent on the long-acting birth control initiative saved $5.85 for the state’s Medicaid program, which covers more than three-quarters of teenage pregnancies and births.

The private grant that funds the state program has started to run out,

Seriously. It's like win-win-win-win for everyone except for judgmental twits that want to make sure sluts gets punished.
posted by Talez at 4:43 PM on July 11, 2015 [123 favorites]


Great news for pro-lifers, I'm sure they'll be all over this program once they find out it helps reduce the number of abortions so dramatically.
posted by skewed at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2015 [73 favorites]


Snickerdoodle's "oh" link: We're well past the point where they even try to sound rational, right? "Inserting the government between children and their parents"?

Everyone knows they're full of shit, they know everyone knows, might as well just say what they mean - it's not about abortions, it's about people having sex. They don't like it. "No, because people will have more sex and I don't think they should." Now that's an honest answer I can disagree with.
posted by ctmf at 5:01 PM on July 11, 2015 [33 favorites]


Abortion opponents often criticize IUDs as "abortifacients" because in rare cases an egg can become fertilized but cannot implant.

I don't even get this objection. At what point are they going to start protesting periods because "that egg could have become a baby!"
posted by Silentgoldfish at 5:10 PM on July 11, 2015 [60 favorites]


The elephant in the room is that not everybody dislikes teen pregnancy.
posted by effugas at 5:11 PM on July 11, 2015 [77 favorites]


They don't like it. "No, because people will have more sex and I don't think they should." Now that's an honest answer I can disagree with.

Sure, that's a big part of it, but don't forget generalized anger at poor people mooching of of the job-makers. Another quote from snickerdoodle's stomach-churning link: "Lastly, Colorado taxpayers should not be paying for the 'Cadillac' of birth control for minor children."
posted by skewed at 5:12 PM on July 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


No, it's even worse than that, ctmf: the quiverful fundies are overlapping with the anti-abortion crowd, and the quiverfullers think that ALL birth control is sinful. They call the pill "the abortifacent birth control pill". IUDs are the work of the devil. Female self-determination is demonic.

So it's not about preventing abortions, it's not about healthy kids, it's not about spacing or timing pregnancies so that you'll have the money and the time to raise them right: it's about using babies to punish those evil, evil bitches.
posted by jrochest at 5:15 PM on July 11, 2015 [36 favorites]


A more general concern here is the private funding of state social policies. In this case, I like the initial outcome because I agree with the policy and the results seem beneficial. I imagine the private funding allowed this program by the state-run Colorado Family Planning Initiative to get past the political deadlock.

But, what happens when some fundamentalist group lines up enough funds for "counseling" or other actions through the agency that align with their agenda? The agency might accept the funds if there is political pressure to do so. Or, they might refuse the funds if they conflict with their mandate, but it will bring much more political pressure on them, I would guess.

In a system where raising public revenues is almost impossible and political consensus hard to find, the pet policies of the rich will be implemented. Quiverful and shamers privately funding who knows what state policy next.
posted by Gotanda at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


They call the pill "the abortifacent birth control pill".

Right, I almost wrote, "when you count all of that 40% reduction in pregnancies as accomplished abortions, the 'unskewed' abortion rate skyrockets" but I thought someone might think I was serious.
posted by ctmf at 5:40 PM on July 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


The elephant in the room is that not everybody dislikes teen pregnancy.

Very much this. I mean, they would prefer that the girls stay abstinent and get married before having the kid, but having the kid is still procreative and more likely to lead to a traditional family (in this way of thinking). Personally I think that is crazy from a public policy point of view and not particularly internally consistent, but early pregnancies and later (if ever) marriages is now a normal fact of life in much of the country and has been for quite some time.

The more interesting thing in this (and in other articles I've seen over the last couple of years) is the shift in thinking to offering longer-lasting birth control options to younger women. When I was that age, as far as I can recall options like the IUD were basically not on offer to young and unmarried women and were certainly not being pushed as smart public policy.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:41 PM on July 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


But, what happens when some fundamentalist group lines up enough funds for "counseling" or other actions through the agency that align with their agenda? The agency might accept the funds if there is political pressure to do so. Or, they might refuse the funds if they conflict with their mandate, but it will bring much more political pressure on them, I would guess.

In a system where raising public revenues is almost impossible and political consensus hard to find, the pet policies of the rich will be implemented. Quiverful and shamers privately funding who knows what state policy next.


That already happens in the 27+ish states that provide tax payer funds for crisis pregnancy centers.

The focus should be on the results in this specific instance, seeing as how the process horse has been out of the barn for the last 40 years and buried in the back of the field for at least 15.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:41 PM on July 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


A fun thing you can do with people who oppose contraception is to ask them when life begins and then ask what contraception means.
posted by East14thTaco at 6:00 PM on July 11, 2015 [44 favorites]


Everyone knows they're full of shit, they know everyone knows, might as well just say what they mean - it's not about abortions, it's about people having sex. They don't like it. "No, because people will have more sex and I don't think they should." Now that's an honest answer I can disagree with.

I don't think it is about people having sex because conservatives have plenty of sex even of the sort they supposedly disapprove of. It is about people having the power to choose to have sex with people other than conservatives.
posted by srboisvert at 6:13 PM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


East14thTaco and Silentgoldfish: The hypocrisy is even more profound....

From the linked article:
Without Birth Control:
* Out of 100 fertile women without birth control, 100 of them will ovulate in any given month.
* Out of those 100 released eggs, 33 will become fertilized.
* Out of those 33, 18% will be rejected by the uterus.
* In a group of 100 women not on birth control: 6 zygotes will “die”

With Birth Control:
* Out of 100 fertile women on birth control, around 6 of them will ovulate in any given month.
* Out of those 6 released eggs, only 2 will become fertilized.
* Out of those 2, 100% will be rejected by the uterus.
* In a group of 100 women on birth control: 2 zygotes will “die”

posted by Freen at 6:21 PM on July 11, 2015 [67 favorites]


it's not about abortions, it's about people having sex.

It's not about people having sex, it's about women being kept subservient by pregnancy and child rearing. Women with birth control don't get pregnant all the time, thus they can do other things, and these people HATE that.

Full stop. Pretty much all of these "rules" in religion are there to make sure that that people in power stay in power. Period. You're a sinner, better do what the priest say or you go to hell, and so forth.
posted by eriko at 6:21 PM on July 11, 2015 [88 favorites]


Silentgoldfish: "Abortion opponents often criticize IUDs as "abortifacients" because in rare cases an egg can become fertilized but cannot implant."

Okay so a friend of mine, she and her husband decided they were done having kids, but he was hesitant about a vasectomy, so she was going to get an IUD. But then he looked into it and, due to the rare case where eggs can become fertilized but not implant, decided he thought that was ethically problematic because you might have a "baby" who then couldn't be gestated ... so he went and got the vasectomy instead.

And I went to Catholic college so I'm familiar with (and roll my eyes at) lots of the "but the pill might be in extremely rare cases an abortifacient!" and "But the IUD might prevent A BABY from implanting!" rhetoric. But typically they're also against condoms and vasectomies as those strangle the sperms who just want to SWIM, man.

In short, this was the weirdest fucking shit I'd ever heard. I have literally never met someone before who so firmly believes life begins at conception BUT NOT BEFORE that they're comfortable cutting off the sperm but not risking the minute possibility of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting!

I was like, "Weren't you on birth control pills before? For the love of GOD keep your husband away from Catholic websites about the pill or he's going to freak the fuck out."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:03 PM on July 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, those are some good statistics on the costs of healthy pregnancies and births, but what about the costs of raising children? Won't somebody think of the children?

Seriously, do anti-choice folks give a fuck about that precious, miraculous, oh-so-special life once it's ex-utero? All that time rallying and ranting for the sacredness of life, fighting to "stop murder" or whatnot, while they could be spending their efforts to support those who are actually struggling to survive after birth. /rant

Anyway, between this, proving that it's cheaper to house the homeless than leave them on the streets and making marijuana legal, there is a part of Colorado with a pretty good track record right now. Too bad there are so many people in Colorado fixated on making other people's lives miserable and costing the entire state more money, because "those people deserve it for being slutty and/or poor."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 PM on July 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


You know, some more emotional health and hygiene around how and who to have sex with and when is the right discussion the moralists need to be having with young people.
Casual sex isn't really no strings attached, I mean sex opens up stuff inside you that is important and real and good and wonderful and amazing, and I think the moralists want to somehow have that be more widely appreciated and revered.

Instead they act on their concerns by raising unnecessary hell and passing laws written in the most damaging way possible to those most vulnerable. I just. Don't. Get. It.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:45 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not about people, it's about women having sex with whomever they want.
posted by ipsative at 7:51 PM on July 11, 2015 [39 favorites]


Seriously, do anti-choice folks give a fuck about that precious, miraculous, oh-so-special life once it's ex-utero?

No.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:14 PM on July 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I got my first IUD through that WashU study and I am still grateful to them. I was a grad student at the time, getting all of my health care through the student clinic, didn't have the insurance coverage or the knowledge to get one through an outside OB-GYN ; the school health insurance was mostly for being hit by a bus.

The study offered me a free IUD and it was like the heavens had opened up (I was so tired of the hormonal birth control options available; they just made me miserable.) It didn't even change the amount of bonking - I was already engaged so that was a fixed commodity - it just made me less stressed about it because user error stops being a Thing. I'm on my third one now, with breaks for planned pregnancies, and totally totally support long term birth control being more widely and freely available.

Free condoms at school are great, but I want kids to be doubling up on their methods, y'know?
posted by telepanda at 8:17 PM on July 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Freen:
[...] The hypocrisy is even more profound.... [...]

Without Birth Control: [...] 6 zygotes will “die”

With Birth Control: [...] 2 zygotes will “die”
So, everybody who's always saying that trolley problems aren't relevant to real world situations or genuine controversies? Are you listening?

That's a trolley problem. Those people will turn around and say that the 6 die by "God's will", whereas the 2 die through deliberate human action, and that there is a morally relevant difference, at least in the case at hand, between causing death through action and causing death through inaction[1].

I mean, I personally think that the moral status of anything earlier than a late stage fetus is definitely just about that of a rock. But if you start from the position that anything fertilized is a human being (and that anything unfertilized isn't either a human being or valued on the same scale), then you have a legit trolley problem right there.

Just saying.

[1] And that doesn't necessarily make them hypocrites. A lot of anti-abortion people may be hypocrites, but that particular position can be held completely consistently.
posted by Hizonner at 8:29 PM on July 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


"sex opens up stuff inside you that is important and real and good and wonderful and amazing, and I think the moralists want to somehow have that be more widely appreciated and revered"

That's quite generous of you, but frankly there is no sign of any of that in their public behavior.

Personally I think that demanding lust be at all times tied to big virtuous ideals like love and companionship and commitment does more damage to humans than experiments with casual sex do. Let's be clear, there is no culture of mandatory casual sex. But there is a mainstream religious culture that will call you evil for feeling lust. Sometimes, given the choice between being an evil lustful freak, and being pushed into an inauthentic, and loveless life commitment, people will chose the latter. Simply being lustful, and moving on, would be much healthier in some of these situations.
posted by idiopath at 8:36 PM on July 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


That link from Patheos that Freen posted above is pretty good. Say, how is Patheos' most famous blogger, who was in fact very well compensated to help prevent teen pregnancy, doing on avoiding unwanted/unplanned pregnancies herself? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:18 PM on July 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I don't fully buy that it's mostly people evilly trying to keep women in the home where they belong. I mean, certainly that's a thing by itself, and there may even be people with this grand plan all thought out. In my experience, most though are just of the "goddamn kids with their music and tattoos and wanting to just fuck all the time with no consequences" persuasion. Same thing with same-sex marriage. They just want to legislate away what makes them feel icky. Which in the birth control case has the same effect eventually, but it's giving most of them too much credit to attribute an actual plan.
posted by ctmf at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


In all cases, it's pretty transparently "start with what I think I want, then make up plausible-sounding justifications after-the-fact." Which aren't plausible at all, and they know it but don't care as long as it works well enough to tie up opponents trying to refute it. Which, in turn, is a waste of time anyway because that's not the real reason.

It's really getting depressing that a) it works, because b) the media repeats that shit as if it's offered in good faith in their credulous "both sides" articles.
posted by ctmf at 9:40 PM on July 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


No one should be "startled" by this success, should they? Contraception: it does what it says on the tin.
posted by emjaybee at 10:02 PM on July 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Even worse, emjaybee, I think the "startled" people are "startled" when...poor women, young women, undereducated women, women with limited access to health care and family planning....take advantage of birth control options when they are easily available. I guess that is startling, if you have never been or known or spoken to... women?
posted by rtha at 11:06 PM on July 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


I think people are so comfortable with the idea of the "stupid" "welfare queen" who helplessly makes the "irresponsible" choice to have children because she's too foolish to know better and/or wants dependents or whatever... that they are totally shocked that women actually like to have choices! Pro-choiceness! And that poverty is a REAL thing, that affects those choices! Whodathunk
posted by easter queen at 11:19 PM on July 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


... so, we're pretty much agreed that all rational persons agree with the utility of subsidizing intrauterine devices and implants, right?

Hah, Orange is the New Black had a sketch that posited that Roe vs Wade broke the crimewave that 1970's America was reacting to. After the decision, it was easier and safer to abort unwanted pregnancies. A result of that was decreased competitive pressures and fewer people growing up in dire situations that nudge them towards criminal activities in order to survive, and now Central Park is a Disney-fied touristy place.
posted by porpoise at 11:37 PM on July 11, 2015


Seriously, do anti-choice folks give a fuck about that precious, miraculous, oh-so-special life once it's ex-utero?

No. The moment of birth is one of those miraculous transformations where you go from being "a precious human being who must be protected at all costs" to "a product of irresponsible people and a drain on the state." It's pathological devotion to a punishment mindset.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:43 AM on July 12, 2015 [37 favorites]


Playing the "who benefits from anti-birth control" is almost a conservative bingo. Here's at what it plays:

- Classism: a child (particularly in a place where there's barely any mater/paternity support such as the US) can derail a life. School age? Good luck continuing studies. If the father is from a similar social standing, he'll either also have to quit studies and settle for a bottom paying job to support his shotgun family. Keeping people right at the bottom, with no chance for improvement and no options than low-paying jobs, is exactly how they want it.
Also, depending on the color or legal status of the parents, it also makes a decent investment for the future of the prison industry or the military industry when they come of age.

- Morality: The usual "women are sluts who must suffer for their behaviour" or the "non-procreative sex is immoral" bullshit. Mediatic pearl clutching at it's best.

- In electoral terms, a lot of these people will either be too disfranchised to care to vote against the people that forced them into that life, or just won't have the time (because heaven forbids, doing elections on college or pro-ball days) to skip half-a-day to vote. So they have nothing to fear from a influx of people who were screwed by their policies.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:11 AM on July 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


No. The moment of birth is one of those miraculous transformations where you go from being "a precious human being who must be protected at all costs" to "a product of irresponsible people and a drain on the state." It's pathological devotion to a punishment mindset.

I think there's a healthy measure of just-world hypothesis in there as well. If a poor woman ends up pregnant, and that's a bad thing, that must have been because she did something wrong (have sex, which is bad), whereas if a woman who can support a baby ends up pregnant, and that's a good thing, so it must have been because she did something right (have sex, which is good).

In short, everything I've seen from the ardent pro-life side of things has implied that there's some kind of karma whereby women who they in some way don't like are punished for their sexuality by becoming pregnant, and it would be immoral to interfere in that by either assisting them with said children or else providing birth control or abortion.
posted by thegears at 5:38 AM on July 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


You're not a human until you're in my phone book.” - Bill Hicks
posted by mikelieman at 7:00 AM on July 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


From the USAToday article:
"Colorado Family Action, which opposed state funding for the program, said using taxpayer dollars would have inappropriately inserted the government between children and their parents."

I C what U did there, family guys.

I wonder if the solution had been more time-release-pharma-y would there be a funded counter lobby.
posted by drowsy at 7:16 AM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A comment deleted. "Fuck you" is not an acceptable level of discourse here, however strongly you feel on the subject, and rants about fellow Mefites also do not belong on the blue. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:21 AM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't fully buy that it's mostly people evilly trying to keep women in the home where they belong. I mean, certainly that's a thing by itself, and there may even be people with this grand plan all thought out.

I'm sure the people who hold this viewpoint wouldn't say that they were trying to keep women in the house, no, but it is the end result of their worldview. Really, what this is is conservatism in its purest definition. Much like how people against marriage equality are really protesting the idea that marriage should be between two consenting adults, because this is a change from what marriage always used to be (between a consenting man and a consenting woman). There's probably a lot of historical research on this, but I wonder what the backlash looked like when marriage stopped being between two consenting families and started being between the man and woman actually involved. Probably similar!

This is the same. It's a backlash against the idea that carrying a pregnancy to completion is a personal choice of the woman, instead of the choice of a couple (when birth control first became available and was for married women only), or the choice of just plain old fate.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:21 AM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't fully buy that it's mostly people evilly trying to keep women in the home where they belong. I mean, certainly that's a thing by itself, and there may even be people with this grand plan all thought out.

I'm sure the people who hold this viewpoint wouldn't say that they were trying to keep women in the house, no, but it is the end result of their worldview.


Very few people have "evil" motivations and if you are trying to understand your political opponents it helps to throw out "they hate our freedom" as a possible motivation.

The thing with "freedom of choice" is that the first fundamental freedom isn't to abort a zygote or have pregnancy free sex but the freedom to sleep under a bridge or not.

The conservative argument rests on the belief that it is the family, the male-dominated strong christian family, which is the basis for any welfare system i.e. it is your family which keeps you from having to make the choice to sleep under a bridge at night. Unfortunately, this is more or less correct, as in factual, in the US, even the male-dominated part, given the differences in wage-income between men and women. The socially conservative argument about female morality and family actually boils down to how to construct a social welfare system in a society which has destroyed the social fabric of 20-30% of the people in this country, who used to be employed in factories.

Now, you might say, wait: "aren't conservatives against welfare?" But this just highlights one of the many contradictions within the Republican party. The real base of the party, i.e. Wall Street bankers, don't care whether people sleep under bridges or not. But, christian conservatives generally do believe in welfare (though there are plenty of "christian" libertarians), they just have a mystical belief in the christian family as the basis of society: see marriage. Many are perfectly happy to have the "State" spend money on christian families. This is the real reason why Huckabee will never become president; the banker wing of the party will never let him near the federal government coffers.

But the irony is that the same Democrats who support "freedom of choice" will never support the sort of socialism which will eliminate the freedom to sleep under bridges or not. It's simply too expensive: why should you pay for some poor mother to have a baby when she should just have an abortion? That's the evil thing hidden inside "choice": the freedom to choose not have an abortion is also the freedom to deal with the financial consequences of being pregnant and then having a baby.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:53 AM on July 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I take issue with the NYT writer who claimed that the results were "startling".

No, they aren't. They are exactly what anyone with a shred of intelligence and forethought could tell would happen. The only possible way those results are "startling" is if you have believed the lies told by the enemy.

And here, yet again, the enemy shows their true colors. They don't care about abortion, that's merely a convenient lie to hide their true intentions and agenda behind. Their true agenda can be easily found by monitoring their actions, which don't lie, rather than listening to their words which are always lies.

They hate sex, they hate women, and they wish to see women punished for having sex. To believe anything else is to be a sucker.

When presented with the choice of reducing abortions, or having more opportunities to hate women and sex, they chose to have more opportunities to have women and sex.

There are times when the truth is simple and obvious, and this is one of those times. They appear to hate women because they do. They appear to hate sex because they do. They appear to lie because they do. They appear to be evil because they are. They seem to be the enemy of all people of good will and reason because they are the enemy of all people of good will and reason.

And, in part because we on the side of righteousness are so willing to try and believe the best of everyone, they are winning.

ennui.bz Yeah, I got tricked by lying arguments like the one you are making before. I will not be fooled again. They are evil, plain and simple, trying to tell me otherwise merely tells me that you are secretly on their side. Colorado proves it beyond any reasonable doubt. They are simple, plainly, evil and there can be no quarter, no bargaining, no reasoning, with them.
posted by sotonohito at 9:03 AM on July 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


But the irony is that the same Democrats who support "freedom of choice" will never support the sort of socialism which will eliminate the freedom to sleep under bridges or not.

Is this an entry in a Progressive Gotcha Mad Libs contest?

Taking away reproductive freedom does nothing to solve the scenario you've put forth. Regardless of what the law says, those with means will get abortions when they want them, and those without means will not.

Legalizing abortion means it's safer for everyone (rich and poor alike), and without the black market price premium, more people will be able to afford them. Yes, the truly impoverished may still have difficulty, but using that as an argument against reproductive freedom is simply perverse, as is your notion that Democrats must make reproductive freedom contingent on first finding a way to fund the safety net such that nobody ever has to terminate a pregnancy for financial reasons.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:41 AM on July 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


ennui.bz Yeah, I got tricked by lying arguments like the one you are making before. I will not be fooled again. They are evil, plain and simple, trying to tell me otherwise merely tells me that you are secretly on their side. Colorado proves it beyond any reasonable doubt. They are simple, plainly, evil and there can be no quarter, no bargaining, no reasoning, with them.

I think you miss my point. I don't think there is common ground for people who believe the state should provide for real social welfare with christian conservatives; their politics oscillates between quietism and fascism.

However, abortion and contraception politics are being used as a wedge by both parties to get the support of people who care about social welfare while chipping out the vestiges of social democracy, which is the only thing between forcing a pregnant woman to choose between sleeping under a bridge with her baby or sticking with a bad relationship either with a man or her family. There used to be direct cash support for women with babies, which the first President Clinton was eager to claim credit for demolishing. I'm old enough to remember how many people supported that, while also vehemently supporting abortion rights and both parties are using the issue to prevent such a society from being advocated for.

Secondly, discussions of abortion with Democrats occurs in a pure virtuous space of moral argument: good vs. evil. If you think hard about the fact that 20-30% of the population of the US have no permanent job prospects, baby or no baby the whole discussion changes. There is a hidden narrative of the young woman who, instead of being forced to carry a baby to term, uses contraception or abortion and is able to have a successful career. That's the story of many women in the professional classes. However, what if there is no career waiting for you?

Most professionals who vote Democrat believe in a social order based on wages where everyone works to support themselves, individually. In our current society, not some fantasy world, that condemns millions of women to abject poverty, first because they are women, and second because they want to have children. Supporting reproductive rights is not the same as supporting a society where people who can't or don't work are supported.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:44 AM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The punishment mindset is deeply troubling on numerous levels. Not only is it the case that "judgmental twits ... want to make sure sluts gets punished," but having a baby is deemed to be punishment and then that punishment is made into reality by regressive social policies.

The use of innocents as tools of punishment reduces us all.
posted by Revvy at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


ennui.bz Very few people have "evil" motivations and if you are trying to understand your political opponents it helps to throw out "they hate our freedom" as a possible motivation.

In general that may be true. In this particular I can't see how it is not. No other motive accurately matches the actions, as opposed to the words, of the so-called pro-life movement.

The Colorado case perfectly exemplifies that their professed motive is a lie. The action they are taking will increase the abortion rate, ergo they cannot actually be telling the truth when they claim their motive is a deep concern for fetal life. QED.

Since they are, demonstrably, provably, lying about their motives it behooves us to examine what their actual motive might be.

When taken together, the actions of the so-called pro-life movement accomplish no goal but punishing women for having sex. There is literally no other possible motive that can explain the actions they take, especially the action in Colorado where they are, and again I feel I cannot emphasize this strongly enough, actively working to increase the abortion rate which proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that their claimed motive is a deliberate lie.

So yes, they hate us for our freedoms. Just because a Bush said the same words in a different context once doesn't make it universally false. When you have eliminated the impossible (that they genuinely care about fetal life) whatever remains, however unlikely (they just plain hate sex and women) must be true.

As for the rest, you're trying to confuse a multitude of issues and there's no point in doing so. The enemy is clear, the way forward is clear, muddying the waters is only beneficial to the enemy.
posted by sotonohito at 1:01 PM on July 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


So taking the objections at face value, what they're saying is the demonstrated effect on abortion rate isn't the issue. Don't care about that, in light of these other "problems."

I'm having trouble visualizing the rank order of concerns, here. Stopping some abortions is worth occasionally killing a doctor, definitely worth criminal harassment of clinic employees. Worth raping women with transvaginal ultrasounds as a deterrent.

But now, not worth risking the gubmint getting between parents and children? Not worth paying for the poors to get "Cadillac" birth control?

So, something like, Things that Would Be Bad:
1) the possiblilty of a teen getting birth control against parent wishes
2) the poor might be able to get something nice
3) abortion rate
4) grownup people might get to make their own choices and they might be different than what I would want them to choose
5) all the other reprehensible shit that goes on
posted by ctmf at 1:29 PM on July 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Seriously, do anti-choice folks give a fuck about that precious, miraculous, oh-so-special life once it's ex-utero?

Yes.
And that’s why they’re so easy to take advantage of.

And that’s why it’s not called “anti-female sex” or something more straightforward. If there weren’t a hidden agenda, and a layer of people who tacitly get that there is, but just the people who genuinely care about saving lives, this crap wouldn’t fly.

But there are, and it does. Lies and deception are far more destructive than anything. Even deliberate destruction, isn’t as damaging.

If there weren’t mass support – that is had through deception – but only some obviously twisted moralists, there’d be no social or political contention.

Okay, less.

I mean people will privatize prisons, water, other utilities, there’s stories of people taking bribes to poison their own water supply, I hear Uri Geller made lots of money in the 70s, so…less resistance to obviously reality-useful concepts.

What do people think “public services” are supposed to do?

This reminds me of that place in Philly (Rosa’s Fresh Pizza ) people kick in a buck, buy a homeless person a slice of pizza. Petty crime going down is treated like it’s a miraculous result.
Same deal when you see police blocking feeding homeless folks and other processes that criminalize homelessness. There’s obviously some kind of deception (self or other) going on where people’s clear thinking about the solution is diverted.

Want less abortions generally, well obviously adopt means that prevent the procreative process in the first place because you know that’s straight science. The human act is a different story than what’s happening on a purely physical level. So control the variable you can control first, right?

…buuut, noooo.

The final truth though is that it’s never their lives. They’re never the ones to kick in and ante up. Same as chickenhawks who want war. Same as other social con men. Uri Geller can control metal? I’ve got some steel jacketed bullets he can try to bend from coming at him really fast. I can make it easier, hollow points maybe? No? Didn’t think so. There are over 400,000 kids in the U.S. foster care program. Give money to *that* system? Campaign hard for *those* programs? Adopted one? No? Didn’t think so.

And deep down I think the people being hosed by the lies know that. And they’re willing to fight to keep believing, but not willing to take the hit.
Like any self-deception, it never survives contact with reality, so reality is kept at a distance.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:54 PM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's quite generous of you, but frankly there is no sign of any of that in their public behavior.

Yep. Have people forgotten that this is the same team that the "sex in the missionary position for the purpose of procreation" meme/joek started from? Because yea, that's A Thing.

There's definitely some weird cognitive dissonance on that side even about enjoying sex and lust itself within marriage, even if you step out of the outside-marriage zone.
posted by emptythought at 2:29 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


No. The moment of birth is one of those miraculous transformations where you go from being "a precious human being who must be protected at all costs" to "a product of irresponsible people and a drain on the state." It's pathological devotion to a punishment mindset.

And the really insane aspect is that "Birth" is the "Traditional Definition" of "Personhood", and those who would say that "Personhood starts at conception" ( Christian theology on Ensoulment ) are committed to changing it.

Which is also Anti-Semitic, also, since it's founded on denying and rejecting the sincerely held Jewish belief in the Quickening, and really, they're talking about "Ensoulment" regardless of their "it's not religious!" claims, and given that "life" is a continuum, sperm is alive, egg is alive, fertilized embryo and blastocyst are alive...
posted by mikelieman at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


To me, Cadillac is designed and marketed for men, is really good at insulating the driver from road noise and vibration, and doesn't work as well as you think it would. So the Cadillac of birth control would be the condom.
posted by peeedro at 3:46 PM on July 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


ennui.bz Yeah, I got tricked by lying arguments like the one you are making before. I will not be fooled again. They are evil, plain and simple, trying to tell me otherwise merely tells me that you are secretly on their side. Colorado proves it beyond any reasonable doubt. They are simple, plainly, evil and there can be no quarter, no bargaining, no reasoning, with them.

I read this and the raft of similar comments earlier today, and I thought for a long time about whether there was any point in commenting in a thread this full of ritualized rhetorical heat. Maybe there's not, but I'm going to give this a try, because it seems worth trying to derail or at least offset something that feels kind of poisonous.

I have lived in Colorado for a decade, and spend time in the boondocks where people are poor and religious. I grew up in the kind of place where a lot of people in my age cohort got pregnant (or got somebody pregnant) and didn't get out. I am strongly in favor of public services, sex ed, ubiquitous free contraception, abortion rights, and a blanket ban on the presence of abstinence propagandists in public schools.

I also have family and family friends who are very much self-identified pro-lifers, who are very definitely anti-choice and in some cases anti-contraception, and who, yes, care a lot about the unborn and about poor people and about kids and families who aren't doing so great, who give time and energy to meaningfully helping people in their community and who also give money and time to pro-life organizations.

There are plenty of malicious lunatics, and even more profoundly broken obsessives, in the rank and file and support base of this movement. I don't have any problems with calling the leadership and the perpetrators of the intellectual apparatus evil, and it's obvious that its agenda is a driver in a larger system of viciously cynical politicized violence against the bodies of young women and all the other vulnerable.

But my mom is not "evil". My mom is a person of extraordinary decency and compassion who is wrong about some human realities. My mom's mom wasn't evil. She just lived her life in the Kansas countryside listening to the Lutheran Hour and somewhere in there Christian radio told her there was a lot to fear and a lot to mourn and that the world was turning away from a God she loved. Those people I know who have been traumatized by part of their life that included a hard choice about an abortion, or a very difficult pregnancy, or the loss of a young child, and whose pain has found expression in a set of fervent beliefs shaped by a sometimes-pathological intellectual system (within which they've lived their entire lives) aren't evil. They're just human beings who are hurt. Most people who have messed up ideas about sex aren't evil. They're just messed up about something that it's really easy, in a very broken culture and a very painful world, to be messed up about.

You can stake a lot of claims about righteousness, if you are looking to feel righteous. And I guess maybe this kind of rhetoric has its place in corroding the busted mores of a dying Christian culture, for some of the people who encounter it and need that. But if you are looking to enact a humane response to the deeply fucked-up situation in which a lot of people are living, then you could probably do better.
posted by brennen at 12:28 AM on July 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Let's be clear, there is no culture of mandatory casual sex.

Have you ever read Cosmo, or fhm, or whatever lads/girls mags you get where you are? Or been to a college or university campus, particularly one with fraternities/sororities or a rugby and hockey team?

I don't think that statement is quite as unequivocal as you're implying.
posted by Dysk at 3:49 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


brennen, your comment is so eloquent and moving. That's why I think it's always about hearts and minds. Because, as you say, most people who have messed up ideas aren't evil.
posted by gt2 at 4:43 AM on July 13, 2015


Well, I went to college. I didn't have casual sex, let alone "mandatory casual sex". It might be popular to talk about, but most of my friends didn't either (when they did, it was a pretty big event). I know many people do, but to call it a culture of "mandatory" sex would be pretty intense. (Unless you're making a comment about rape, in which case yea, it's a problem on campuses.)
posted by easter queen at 8:26 AM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I agree that most people with fucked up ideas aren't evil, but the consequences are highly evil, so I don't really have a problem with getting heated on this issue.

For the record, my mom and I disagree about abortion as well. She's not evil but I think she thinks it is to get an abortion... so I don't see the rhetoric dying down on that side either.
posted by easter queen at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It doesn't have to permeate every sphere to exist (as indeed the religious condemnation of lust does not permeate every sphere)
posted by Dysk at 9:59 AM on July 13, 2015


Hey I'm just going to point out that a good amount of MeFites support social welfare, basic income, and contraception, and identify as democrat or socialist. So please don't somehow insinuate we want a government that condemns people to rely on wages without protection.
posted by halifix at 10:16 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Which is a derail anyways. Long-term Contraception is amazing and should be covered federally.
posted by halifix at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2015


Sure, but it's absolutely not codified or enforced in the same way-- there are social groups where lust is very obviously, explicitly condemned as evil without exception and "prevented" to a high degree of organization with prayer, fake therapy, support groups, sermons, etc., whereas the mandatory casual sex worlds are... not exceedingly common or well enforced. Even in the most socially/sexually "outgoing" groups I knew in college (frat culture, etc.) it was by no means mandatory to have casual sex. Common, but lots of people did not.
posted by easter queen at 10:51 AM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I should also mention that I was involved in a fundamentalist/evangelical religious group as a teen, so I'm not totally personally ignorant of the differences between religion vs. sex and secular culture vs. virginity. And not trying to totally slam religion, it just seems far far different to me.
posted by easter queen at 10:54 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


brennen, I will concede that in my heat I did something wrong. I used "evil" as an attribute rather than an action. Like good, evil is not something people are, it is something they do.

Your mother does evil, but I can't properly say she is evil. She may also do good, people are big and do lots of different things. But by doing evil in this instance while it is true that I shouldn't properly label her as "being evil", I do think it is entirely appropriate for me to consider her to be my enemy.

Everyone likes to imagine they have good justifications for things, and most people aren't perfect monsters, and I do not claim anyone on so called pro-life side is a perfect monster. I'm sure most love their families and are compassionate within their tribe and boundaries. The people who did evil in the 1960's out of their hatred of black people were also doubtless compassionate (to those of their tribe) and had children who loved them.

But those on the side of evil today are my enemies regardless of whether they are perfect monsters or merely flawed people.

Perhaps you can talk sense to your mother, maybe your personal relationship can allow you to get her to change her ways so that she stops being a minion of evil. If so I'll welcome her as a new ally in the fight against evil. I hold no grudges. Heck, if you can just convince her to stand neutral, to end her association with the evil organizations and drop her support of them, I'll gladly declare that she has stopped doing evil.

But so long as she stands with evil, I am finished with her, and all others like her. That includes a college professor of mine who I otherwise deeply respect and admire, and a couple of former friends. I'm finished with them, they have lied too often, too deeply, and their motives are now shown to be nothing more than deep and horrible misogyny. To me they are now merely the enemy, and I have no interest in empathizing with them. They are either deliberately, willfully, ignorant of the truth of those they support, or they are lying along with them.

You with your mother, because you love her, may be able to see past the evil she supports. I'm not going to say you're a bad person for that. But do not ask that I do the same, because I no longer have the strength to do so.

I am exhausted. It has been 42 years since Roe v Wade, and those 42 years have been a steady drumbeat of one defeat after another, one murder after another, one mob after another, and now after all that they have admitted that they did it not out of any real concern for abortion, not out of any genuine empathy for fetuses, but simply out of pure malice and misogyny. I could, while disagreeing, empathize a bit with people who opposed reproductive freedom out of a genuine concern for fetal life. I can't empathize even slightly with people who lie about that in order to hide a true agenda of slut punishing.

Empathizing with the enemy takes too much energy, too much effort, and I have none to spare. I'd love it if your mom, and all the other dupes of an evil cause, would come to their senses. But I am no longer able to muster the will to try and engage them. I can only fight them.

The revelation that my worst, basest, suspicions about their motives are true has changed me, and humiliated me. I was conned, possibly by well meaning people, possibly by quislings, either way I was deceived, tricked, fooled, made a sucker. I tried, I really did, to sympathize, to try and get inside their skins and see abortion as baby killing. But it turns out they were lying, and my efforts were doomed to fail because they don't really believe that. They just hate women and sex. I will not be fooled again.

If they had merely been lazy, merely been unwilling to expend effort to take effective action, that would be one thing. But no, they **ACTIVELY** worked to end a program that truly reduced the abortion rate. They, the so called pro-life movement, has deliberately and willfully taken action, expended money and time and effort, to increase the number of abortions in Colorado.

After that level of deception, the amount of sheer malicious, vicious, covering up of true motives I'm finished. All that is left is to crush them utterly, force their evil acts from law, and bring them to heel.

Every person who does evil is someone's mother, or father, or sibling, or child. And if ending the evil they do makes them sad, well, once I'd have been a bit sympathetic. Now I just don't give a damn. Let them feel sad that they lost. Let them cry over their inability to punish women for existing as sexual beings. I don't care any longer.

It isn't me that brought us to this point, it was them and their lies. So if I seem cold and heartless and not properly nice to your mother who loves you, well the blame is entirely on her.
posted by sotonohito at 11:45 AM on July 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hah, Orange is the New Black had a sketch that posited that Roe vs Wade broke the crimewave that 1970's America was reacting to.
I believe that originated in the 2001 Donohue-Levitt hypothesis[PDF]. It was subsequently covered in chapter 4 of Freakonomics (2005). There's an excerpt from the chapter here. The hypothesis was later challenged by Sailer and Lott. Levitt rebuts their challenge here, Sailer responds in the comments. (I'm not an economist -- I just read Freakonomics.)
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:55 PM on July 13, 2015


"I shouldn't have called your mother evil, I should have called her a lying minion of evil" is not the less-heated response you seem to think it is, sotonohito.

I'm pro-choice, but I think characterizing all pro-lifers as part of an enormous and malevolent monolith of barely-masked misogyny is unhelpful, and also untrue. There are pro-lifers for whom that characterization is accurate, but to assume that their agendas are universal and that anyone who says otherwise is a liar is ridiculous.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think characterizing all pro-lifers as part of an enormous and malevolent monolith of barely-masked misogyny is unhelpful, and also untrue.

So buying into a misogynistic worldview and supporting misogynistic policies is no longer misogyny? Then what the hell is misogyny?

"I support policies that harm women because my church tells me to" or "because this is the social order I've known my while life" is not a defense against accusations of misogyny, even if the accused is someone's sweet, kindly, elderly mother.
posted by Tehhund at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


>I wonder what the backlash looked like when marriage stopped being between two consenting families and started being between the man and woman actually involved. Probably similar!

"'Not Marriage at All, but Simple Harlotry': The Companionate Marriage Controversy
The phrase “companionate marriage” figures prominently in historians’ descriptions of the middle-class marital norms that accompanied the emergence of sexual modernism in the early twentieth-century United States. Rebecca L. Davis shows that rather than characterizing an accepted social ideal, the term “companionate marriage” provoked widespread outrage. By focusing on how the term was popularized and interpreted following the publication of Judge Ben B. Lindsey’s book The Companionate Marriage in 1927, Davis shows how the era’s anticommunist politics, gender conservatism, and religious tensions constrained companionate marriage’s meanings and limited its reformist scope. Debates over what companionate marriage implied contributed to a rhetorical tradition, well-established today, that links marital reform to godless, antidemocratic radicalism.
posted by Lexica at 4:12 PM on July 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


It isn't me that brought us to this point, it was them and their lies. So if I seem cold and heartless and not properly nice to your mother who loves you, well the blame is entirely on her.

&

"I support policies that harm women because my church tells me to"

I think this is cheap internet points, but nevermind that. It's not bad politics because it hurts my feelings; it's bad politics because it's a poor model of human lives. I guess I've already tried to say as much; I doubt I'll get any further with another wall of text.
posted by brennen at 1:08 AM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


> As someone who was raised by progressive parents in an extremely conservative religious rural backwater myself, I can only say that brennan speaks truth.

Furthermore, there's a distinct species of discourse here that feels like classism / pigeonholing, whether intentional or no, and it is basically the same kind of dismissive judgmental shaming that's become popular in internet debate on both sides of these issues, which brooks no argument, and it's discouraging to say the least.

I get that people feel angry and threatened but goddammit, you've got to be kind.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:29 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get that people feel angry and threatened but goddammit, you've got to be kind.

It'd be nice if that applied the other way, too, with regard to letting people access healthcare and family planning.
posted by Dysk at 1:36 AM on July 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pro-life, but what "pro-life" means is entirely different from what genuinely seeking solutions for the sake of life means.

As a f'rinstance: uncontroversial bipartisan bill to help wounded veterans have children?
No, screw that we're politickin'!
It's ok to (yet again) screw veterans to serve some other political cause, because ya just gotta mess with Planned Parenthood.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:41 PM on July 23, 2015


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