One more post on the contraception-coverage mandate

Yesterday I linked Helen AlvarĂ©’s comments on the recent Obama Admin decision. Here are a couple of additional pieces. One is political scientist Michael New’s “Our Fears Are Realized.” Prof. New has presented some of his research on the effects of abortion laws at a UFL conference.

Another is by Greg Pfundstein: “The Misguided Birth-Control Crusade Continues.” Let me highlight just this: “Several economic studies, notably one by Berkeley economists Akerlof, Yellen, and Katz, indicate that access to contraception and abortion alters the sex and mating markets and, through risk compensation, actually increase the number of unintended pregnancies.”

A (different – and non-Catholic) political scientist I know once made what I think is a related point. Using contraception is in some significant respects easier than abstaining at times when procreation would be imprudent (or otherwise undesired). (Self-control is difficult.) But not using contraception is easier still (even if it’s free, one has to make some effort to obtain and use it – and making an effort is difficult). If you promote contraception, you’re sending a message that it’s okay to do what’s easiest. But not using contraception is really easiest. Thus, you’re promoting a way of thinking that, in the end, leads to more, rather than fewer, “unintended” pregnancies.

Whether you think in terms of ‘risk compensation,’ then, or in a somewhat different way, you have reason to doubt that promoting contraception makes sense as a way of preventing “unintended” pregnancies (and abortions).

Add to that the philosophical connection between abortion and contraception, and you have reason, as a pro-lifer, to be very concerned about the Obama decision.

Kevin Miller

Kevin E. Miller is Assistant Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. His BS (biochemistry and molecular biology), MA (political philosophy), and PhD (theology; dissertation: "Mercy, Justice, and Politics: John Paul II on Capital Punishment") are all from Marquette University. Besides several UFL conference papers over the years, he has contributed chapters to books on sexual morality and Catholic social thought, and published short essays, papers, and book reviews in Linacre Quarterly, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, and Communio, among other journals. In fundamental moral theology, he is especially interested in natural-law theory, virtue ethics, and the distinctively Christian contribution to moral thought. In applied moral theology, he works especially in the areas of sexual, social, and medical/health-care morality. With regard to texts/authors, he studies especially Scripture, Aquinas, Henri de Lubac, and John Paul II. His website: http://www.franciscan.edu/faculty/MillerK/