Monday, November 22, 2004

Fewer Pills will mean more abortions, or, Pro-lifers' inability to choose their battles

Andrew Sullivan's been posting letters about the latest hot topic in the world of social conservatism: making it legal for a pro-life doctor or phamacist not to distribute the birth control pill.

Here's what I don't understand: it's the person who's refusing to provide the pill, not necessarily the woman demanding it, who's pro-life, so seemingly many women refused the pill will go on to get pregnant and will then have abortions. Wouldn't it be better, from a pro-life perspective (or from any perspective, really) for women to take the pill than to have more abortions? Any woman reluctant or unwilling to have an abortion but not ready to start a family should think twice before relying on just condoms or--oh dear--Natural Family Planning, to prevent pregnancy. And any pro-lifer who is also personally against birth control might want to think about whether there is, from a pro-life perspective, a lesser of two evils.

Sullivan makes a misguided remark about how, had his mother been on the pill, he would never have been born: "I have a particular fondness for Natural Family Planning, since I am one its unintended consequences. My mother read the calendar the wrong way and - voila! Or as my mom put it to me: 'You[r] sister was an accident; but you were a mistake.' Awww."

I don't think it would be too reassuring to a pregnant 19-year-old who'd been refused the pill, and who'd used the oh-so-reliable rhythm method instead, that her baby just might grow up to be an esteemed political commentator.

(So is the answer, in Sullivan's view, to only have sex when one is at a point in one's life at which sex could reasonably, happily lead to the birth of a child? If that's how he sees things, then where does that leave him and his boyfriend?)

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