News Contraception

They Are Coming for Your Birth Control: There Was No Sex Outside of Marriage Until 1972

Robin Marty

Did you know premarital sex didn't exist until a mere 40 years ago? Yeah, neither did we...

Think that anti-choice politicians and activists aren’t trying to outlaw contraception? Think again. Follow along in an ongoing series that proves beyond a doubt that they really are coming for your birth control.

A lot has changed since 1972. An African American has been elected President of the United States. Computers fit into the palm of your hand. And people have started having sex, even though they aren’t married.

No, really, that’s a new thing, and totally within the last four decades. Or so claims Family Research Council fellow Pat Fagan, who eloquently explained his belief that contraception for single people should be outlawed since those who have sex outside of marriage should be punished for their actions. Right Wing Watch has the transcript:

The court decided that single people have the right to contraceptives. What’s that got to do with marriage? Everything, because what the Supreme Court essentially said is single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse. Well, societies have always forbidden that, there were laws against it. Now sure, single people are inclined to push the fences and jump over them, particularly if they are in love with each other and going onto marriage, but they always knew they were doing wrong. In this case the Supreme Court said, take those fences away they can do whatever they like, and they didn’t address at all what status children had, what status the commons had, by commons I mean the rest of the United States, have they got any standing in this case? They just said no, singles have the right to contraceptives we mean singles have the right to have sex outside of marriage. Brushing aside millennia, thousands and thousands of years of wisdom, tradition, culture and setting in motion what we have.

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It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Ah, they “shame” people, right? And that’s exactly what is behind the mindset of those who are coming to take away birth control. After all, contraception allows couples … no, let’s be frank, allows unmarried women and girls … the ability to have sex privately without becoming pregnant. That’s the part that upsets the anti-choice activists so very much. A pregnant teen is a teen that has to publicly show that she engaged in sex, and allow everyone to see the consequences of her actions. The only way to hide that “shame” is to marry, which instantly changes her guilty action into an acceptable one, since sexual intercourse once married is allowed.

Of course, this isn’t an argument that remains outside of the marital bed. Once inside, contraception has the same “hiding” aspect, allowing a wife to potentially hide infidelity.

So does Fagan really want to jail people who have sex outside of marriage? Actually, it wouldn’t be too surprising if he did. Just this February 25 members of the Virginia House voted to keep on the books a law that would continue to consider cohabitation and sex outside of marriage “a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 for the first offense; and by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both, for a second offense.” They were a small minority of the vote, but a distinct reminder that there are a number of people still willing to throw a person in prison just to “protect” the institution of sex only inside a heterosexual marriage.

Hold on to your IUDs, pills, condoms and foams, because they are definitely coming for your birth control, and they’ll jail you if that’s really what it takes to end out-of-wedlock intercourse.

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