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Barak Obama, Pro-Life Hero
Religion Dispatches ^ | Oct. 22, 2012 | Eric C. Miller

Posted on 10/23/2012 4:55:26 PM PDT by God pays good

Writing in the National Catholic Reporter in early August, Nicholas Cafardi made the provocative assertion that between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the president is the more pro-life candidate. A significant part of the Duquesne law professor’s argument is that Obama favors “support for vulnerable pregnant women and alternatives to abortion [which] will make abortions much less likely, since most abortions are economic.” A few weeks later, just thirty-four days before the election, that argument became even stronger.

On October 3, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine published a study with profound implications for policy making in the United States. According to Dr. Jeffery Peipert, the study’s lead author, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly—perhaps up to 75 percent—when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge. Declaring himself “very surprised” at the results, Peipert requested expedient publication of the study, noting its relevance to the upcoming election.

As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion. If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past forty years.

Before teasing out the implications of this claim, it’s important to understand the conditions that make such a claim possible. Drawing on a sample of 9,000 St. Louis women—many of whom were uninsured—Peipert and his colleagues covered the costs of birth control, making a variety of options available free of charge. Once price was no longer a concern, many of the women opted for relatively expensive intrauterine devices (IUDs) which are among the most effective forms available:

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That’s lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

Encouraging as these results are from both a women’s health and, ostensibly, pro-life perspective, they become even more so in light of their economic benefits. Author Brian Alexander notes that, according to a 2011 study from the Guttmacher Institute, “unplanned pregnancies cost the United States a conservatively estimated $11 billion per year,” money that may be saved simply by covering the cost of birth control.

Peipert himself touted this benefit. “The way I look at it as a gynecologist with an interest in women’s health and public health and family planning, is that this saves money,” he said. “When you provide no-cost contraception, and you remove that barrier, you finally reduce unintended pregnancy rates. It doesn’t matter what side one is on politically, that’s a good thing.” Dr. James T. Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, called the data “an amazing improvement,” adding, “I would think if you were against abortions, you would be 100 percent for contraception access.”

But it remains the case that, by and large, those most opposed to abortion are not “100 percent for” contraception access. In fact, Peipert’s study comes at a time when more than thirty federal lawsuits have been filed by social conservatives bent on overturning the ACA’s contraception mandate. In many cases, these suits are “religious freedom” complaints, arguing that requiring religiously-affiliated organizations to include contraception in their health care plans violates their rights of conscience. These claims are, in most cases, dubious given that the ACA offers a religious “accommodation” whereby the onus of contraceptive coverage is placed on insurance companies rather than organizations.

Such efforts by social conservatives to oppose the ACA betray both an unseemly partisanship and a nervous insecurity. It seems entirely plausible that, in the contraception mandate, leaders of these groups see not a violation of their own freedom so much as a weakening of their ability to dictate the terms by which their members live.

It’s also worth noting that, as a premise for political arguments, religious freedom has become strikingly promiscuous in recent years. Now cited as a justification for opposition to same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and—stunningly—anti-bullying initiatives, conservative activists are finding they may apply religious freedom to any number of disparate issues. Apart from trivializing what ought to be a sacred liberal right, the widespread deployment of religious freedom arguments indicates a weak rhetorical posture. In each of the cases mentioned above, opponents of a particular piece of legislation embraced religious freedom only after other strategies failed to persuade. Such arguments thus served as a sort of fallback position, allowing their advocates to re-frame the debate on terms entirely separate from the practical merits of the policy at issue.

In providing strong documentation that no-cost contraception is successful in dramatically limiting abortions, Peipert has placed the ACA’s opponents in a potentially difficult position. Fierce resistance to abortion is a central plank in the social conservative platform, and has for decades served as one of the standards around which millions of activists and voters have rallied. That a path to the drastic decline in abortions that these individuals have so desperately sought has suddenly been provided them by a president they so openly despise is, at the very least, a political puzzle.

But by addressing the problem of unintended pregnancy—rather than the politically fraught problem of abortion—“Obamacare” addresses the issue at its root. Though abortion has served as the central locus of the “culture war” for nearly forty years, it has always been a secondary concern—a problematic solution to a deeper and less sensational problem. By insisting on mere illegality, pro-life forces have turned a blind eye to the troublesome side-effects of illegal abortion even as they dedicated themselves to a largely symbolic political victory. And since the political divisions accompanying the debate have become so intractable, hope for a deliberative resolution has long ceased to exist.

In the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, we have a previously unimaginable opportunity for satisfying compromise on abortion. In accordance with liberal demands, the procedure will remain safe and legal, and reproductive choices will be extended to those who have been unable to afford them in the past. In exchange, conservatives will see abortion rates plummet, achieving a result comparable to that of illegality but without the fierce controversy or government imposition in the lives of individuals.

I am not so naïve as to believe that this conclusion is likely to be reached soon, or without further contest. Nor do I anticipate that Tom Minnery or Bryan Fischer will embrace President Obama as a pro-life hero. But it seems to me that, if conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively.

TOPICS: Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: barackobama; prolifehero; really; yes

1 posted on 10/23/2012 4:55:26 PM PDT by God pays good
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To: God pays good
The arguement of this piece falls short on many fronts. Specifically:

I am always dubious of "studies" that dovetail perfectly w/ and forward political ideologies.

There is nothing "dubious" about the church's lawsuit. Only if contraseptives fall from the sky can they be considered to be free. Obviously these costs are buried under some other fee.

Finally, the ultimate liberal nirvanna is apparently cost free sex. Nothing is more anti-human. Such a narrow empty philosophy, that negates everything important, is why liberalism remains the culture of death and the highway to cultural suicide.

You have a right to your opinion, however, the state has no right to dictate to anyone the limits of their religion. I reject the flaccid philosophy of this piece w/ every cell of my being.

2 posted on 10/23/2012 5:20:20 PM PDT by Pietro
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To: God pays good

“Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero
Yes, really.”

Um, no not really.

This from the author profile tells you all you need to know about this so-called journalist.

“Eric C. Miller is a lecturer in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the rhetoric of the religious right.”

3 posted on 10/23/2012 5:27:19 PM PDT by princeofdarkness ( Nobama. No more. No way. November 2012.)
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To: Pietro

I reject it too. Just wanted to read some rational responses and let others see the lengths that liberals go to convince people who believe in God that it is ok to vote for somene who supports abortion. Hope you left your thoughts at the site. The responses there were as scary as the article.

4 posted on 10/23/2012 5:40:29 PM PDT by God pays good
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To: God pays good

I wish they would be honest and just admit they believe they want to carry out the misson of Margaret Sanger. If it was bout money needed to help pregnant poor women Planned Parenthood would use some of the millions they get in federal monies to do just that.

The study proved nothing about free contraceptives since the use of IUD and the patch in that study were way higher than their use in the general population. What it proved was that when women use a more effective means of birth control there are fewer pregnancies. It stll does not mean we should be compelled to pay for it. Let PP buy the stuff up in bulk and provide them for free.

5 posted on 10/23/2012 9:13:56 PM PDT by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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To: God pays good

6 posted on 10/23/2012 9:33:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: God pays good; Pietro; lastchance
This St. Louis study is the one where they persuaded 75% of the female participants to submit to reproductive maiming via IUD rather than go for barrier methods like condoms.

I say "reproductive maiming" because the IUD sets up a chronic inflammaory state in the uterus which impairs delicate structures like sperm, eggs, and the proximal fallopian ostia. It will prevent most uterine pregnancies; but the pregnancies that do occur are far more likely to be ectopic. Ectopic pregnancy is 4x more common than uterine pregnancy in IUD users. So there will be some emergency surgeries and some patient deaths there.

Usually, straightforward patient death is a big objection, but even that's not my biggest objection. My biggest objection to rendering most females temporarily sterile, is that the sex-pregnancy connection is one of the biggest positive factors in sexual pair-bonding. People who know their couplings are sterile are far less likely to form an interpersonal bond, and this failure leads by a short, direct path to far more promiscuous sex, and with it, epidemic STI exposure.

And of course, the IUD does nothing whatsoever to block disease transmission.

The CDC reports that 27.2% of isolates collected for testing are now resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, or a combination. A major problem is the substantial decline in capability of laboratories to perform essential gonorrhea culture techniques required for antibiotic testing, at the very time when resistant strains are soaring.

Promiscuous sex + no barrier protection + antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea = venereal plagues coming at us at the speed of Darth Sebelius.

That last was an attempt at cultural metaphor.

It's going to spread pain and misery, serility, ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage to women and girls by the tens of millions as the universal IUD "nudge" bachieves success. (Remember you read it here!) This corresponds 100% with its analogous effects on the soul. But that would take a longer explanation.

7 posted on 10/24/2012 8:38:40 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Some learn from reading; some by others' experience; the rest just *have* to pee on the third rail.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I believe God had the right plan for our sexual lives.

8 posted on 10/24/2012 11:57:57 AM PDT by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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To: lastchance
I agree. People should not use contraceptives, which are intended to block or frustrate healthy sexual physiology.

Contraception basically says that normal functioning females are a public health menace. Femaleness entails a design flaw that needs to be altered on a massive scale. Millions, hundreds of millions of girls and women need to be injected or implanted with endocrine disruptors.

An unimpaired woman is a social problem: irresponsible and unpatriotic. Or so they say.

They think God designed us wrong.

9 posted on 10/24/2012 1:17:43 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Some learn from reading; some by others' experience; the rest just *have* to pee on the third rail.)
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