Inconsistent Contraception Use

Sharon Camp explains why even women using contraception can be at risk for unplanned pregnancy, the pill doesn’t kill but bad music might, and "The Today Show" gets something right. And more Marc Rudov firing watch.

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Links in this episode:
Robert Engelman
Estelle Griswold
Treacly anti-choice music
Sexists on "Sex and the City"

This week on Reality Cast we’ll have an interview with
Sharon Camp of the Guttmacher Institute about women’s inconsistent
contraception use. Also, the anti-choice
movement is moving to ban the birth control pill, but the Today Show is getting
smart about contraception for teenagers.
And why Marc Rudov can’t define the word "shallow".


The intersection of women’s rights, environmentalism and
population issues is a touchy subject, and a subject that Robert Engelman is
dealing with in his new book More: Population, Nature, and What Women
Want. He was on Talk of the Nation
discussing the book.


  • insert
    Robert engelman


Interesting interview.
You should check it out. My view
on population and reproductive rights is that increasing women’s access to
birth control and power couldn’t hurt the environment and it could help.




The question is not when the anti-choice movement is going
to get serious and start making a bid to ban birth control pills. The question is why did they go with the year
2008? Because there’s no doubt that
wingnuts are on the move this election year.
The American Life League has decided to move past quietly opposing the
right to birth control to having a national campaign called The Pill Kills,
with anti-pill activities that happened over the weekend on June 7th,
the 45th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, which was the Supreme Court
decision legalizing contraception for married couples.


Suffice it to say, The Pill Kills website is full of lies
and misinformation. But they’re
intellectually dishonest even when they are sticking to the facts. Dan Savage covered this aspect on his


  • insert
    dan savage


I mean, maybe whoever wrote this is that stupid. Maybe they don’t understand that Estelle
Griswold violated an unjust law, but that she, in the spirit of non-violent
protest, did it on purpose to challenge the law. She didn’t engage in obstruction of
justice. I mean, if you’re going to
squeal about her disobeying the law, you’re putting yourself in the same camp
as racists in the 60s who squawked about Martin Luther King because he didn’t
Obey The Law. At this point in time,
honorable refusal to obey just laws is considered legitimate protest so long as
you work within the system post-arrest.


Anti-choicers know this.
Some engage in civil disobedience themselves. So why is American Life League pretending not
to understand? Because dishonesty is a
favorite tool of theirs. The entire
talking points sheet they have is lies, particularly about how the pill is,
their term, "chemical abortion". It’s not.
The pill cannot make you unpregnant if you are pregnant. By suggesting that women can cause abortion
by taking the birth control pill, they are threatening the health of women who
believe them and try. Seriously, there’s
not a level at which their lies and misinformation isn’t a shot at women’s
health and happiness.


But who needs facts when you have aesthetically distasteful
sentimentality? Cristina Page discovered
this song that’s apparently been written in support of Colorado’s ballot initiative to give
fertilized eggs personhood, which is part of the attempt to ban the birth
control pill.


  • insert
    crap song


He rhymed "person" with "her son". I guarantee you that guy, like most
anti-choicers, thinks he’s a unique snowflake with a special talent given to
him by Jesus and spared by angels from the vacuum aspiration tube.


At least it’s not one of those songs where the singer is
pretending to be a fetus singing to its mother.
There are a lot of songs like that and every single one makes me think
abortion should not just be a right, but a mandate in occasional singing


But as the sappiness of the song suggests, we’re facing a
situation here where the anti-choice movement is not just coming clean about
their desires to ban the pill, but are also taking legal measures to do
so. The hope is that by repeating the
idea that the pill works by killing fertilized eggs enough, it will magic that
lie into the truth. And that, coupled
with the Human Life Amendment in Colorado,
will give them the legal grounding to ban the birth control pill.


I’m not sure why anti-choice forces are on the move
now. I’d have thought they’d move into
Phase II: Increase the Unplanned Pregnancy Rate after abortion was banned. Maybe they think abortion is so close to
being banned they’re moving on. Or maybe
the space aliens told them through Christian rock that 2008 is their year.




* insert interview with Sharon Camp *




The Today Show, which I usually pick on, managed to put
together a really good segment on the issue of providing contraception in high
schools. The starting point is a high
school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where the health staff at the high school
is fighting with the hospital they work for the right to give students


  • insert


The reason is that their teenage pregnancy rate literally
quadrupled in a year. The show doesn’t
make it clear if the problem was abstinence-only education discouraging kids from
using contraception or if it’s just a statistical blip. But one thing they do know is that the
pregnancy rate is unacceptable. And you
have to remember—for every girl you know is pregnant, there’s probably one or
two more that quietly aborted.


I’m really proud of the Today Show for tackling the subject
in a way that was edifying instead of scandalous. They did what you rarely see in such a news
program and brought on a school administrator who had previously resisted
handing out contraception in Portland,
Maine schools and has since
changed his mind.


  • insert


Two things I really liked, besides the fact that he’s
matured on this. One, he admits that the
negative "just say no" reaction from parents comes from a place of emotions,
not reason. Which is understandable,
because your kids getting older and becoming sexual human beings raises all
these feelings about aging and death and the passage of time. But it’s not helpful to kids. Second of all, I’m interested in the fact
that he learned that the need for secrets is actually much lower than he
suspected. Parents hear about kids
getting birth control and abortions without parental permission, and many panic
thinking of their own kids keeping secrets.
But if the doors of communication are opened, it turns out a lot more
kids talk to their parents than you’d think.
Hell, I’m surprised. I’d have
never asked my mom for birth control in a million years as a teenager, but kids
these days maybe are more honest.


They also had on NBC’s medical editor to talk about why
comprehensive sex education, including distribution of contraception, is a good


  • insert


I think she meant 1 in 3 women will be pregnant before
20. Which just reconfirms my suspicions
that a lot of reported pregnancy rates at high schools are lower than they
actually are.


  • insert


Eh, I don’t think that the real concern is that the pill is
so dangerous, because statistically, pregnancy is many times as dangerous. Exponentially more dangerous. And that’s just the risk of death or maiming
or illness, not to say the life risks of having a baby at an early age. Or the trauma of having to grapple with
abortion at 15, 16 years old.


I think people who get upset at the idea of teenage girls on
the pill are bunched up at the idea of teenage girls having sex without ye old
consequences, and use concerns about the pill’s safety as an excuse.



And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts. Don’t worry; we’re still on Marc Rudov firing
watch. He dropped a misogynist howler
recently on the subject of the new Sex and the City movie, as did Bill


* insert marc ain’t got no sex


Shallow? I hope most
women are that shallow. Because the four
characters on the show had romantically full lives, with rewarding and
challenging careers, deep loves, marriage, divorce, babies, abortion, good
friendships and a love of art, music, and beauty. The show dealt with parents dying, the
work-life balance. and debates on being a good feminist. Sure, it was funny, but it was a comedy. Any random character on that show had more
depth than Marc Rudov has in his nose pores, which is sad, because they’re
fictional characters and he’s a real person.


It’s obvious the word "shallow" is a code word that means
"woman who lives for herself instead of the opinions of misogynists like Marc
Rudov". In what case, every woman should
strive to be shallow.