Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

QOTD: Pragmatism, reality and the term "Family Planning"

...there's a reasonable argument that spending more on family planning actually results in a net reduction of abortions. Yes, some people go to family planning clinics to get abortions but some go to get contraception, reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. It's not an impartial source, of course, by the Gutthmacher Institute estimates that "Each year, the contraceptive services provided just at publicly funded clinics help women avoid 1.4 million unintended pregnancies, which would result in 640,000 unintended births and 600,000 abortions."

Conservatives willfully refuse to grapple with the possibility that better family planning reduces the number of abortions -- and pro-choice people seldom make the argument because they don't want to concede the idea that reducing the number of abortions is a goal worth discussing.

On the other hand, the 'pro-family-planning' folks have never, as far as I know, come up with a way of promoting family planning services that wouldn't also lead to indirectly subsidizing abortion. And since they support direct federal funding for abortions, the pro-life forces are not wrong to fear some of this money will end up promoting abortion.

If pro-family-planning forces were willing to decouple abortion from family planning, they could improve maternal health care and reduce infant mortality -- but that would mean retreating a bit on abortion services.

So, pro-life forces end up supporting policies that lead to more abortions and liberal pro-choice forces end up fueling a political dynamic that leads to greater infant mortality.

Kudos all around.

- Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief and
co-founder beliefnet

Mr. Waldman, a protestant, at this point doesn't see the increasing influence of Catholicism over the pro-life movement. The idea of any form of contraceptive - whether it's the centuries old technology of the condom, or the modern chemical alternatives and hormone therapies are forbodden. Slowly even some evangelical groups, who up till now saw the pragmatism of contraception, are now slowly embracing this forty year old Catholic polemic.

As if to underscore read this post from a popular conservative Catholic site about what is more abhorrent than FOCA. There is a fast repackaging of language going on within the pro-life movement, and specifically in Catholic circles in an effort to shore up support and expand the support against contraceptives. On January 6, Saletan fisked the latest Church Document Dignitas Persona for what he considers intellectual dishonesty in the pursuit of the ideology.

As an anti-abortion, yet pragmatic - when it comes to contraception - Catholic, I'm curious to see how each side of the culture war evolves over the next four years...

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