The Spirited Atheist

The birth control pill's 50th anniversary: science, reason and women's rights

On May 9, 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of the first birth control pill in the United States. As far as I am concerned, nothing in my lifetime has done more to empower women and improve their lives. There would have been a feminist movement without the pill, but lacking the ability to control their fertility--with or without the consent of men--many fewer women would have been poised to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities opened up by feminism in the 1970s. Yet Gloria Steinem tells Time magazine that the importance of the pill is "overrated". In The Huffington Post, Dr. Christiane Northrup--one of those New Agey MDs who has made a fortune emphasizing holistic healing over science-based medicine--writes that the pill "fits well with society's view of the female body as something that requires outside control." Perhaps Northrup possesses some magic formula by which sexually active women can click their heels three times to limit the number of their children.

This denigration of the pill's importance is the worst sort of historical revisionism, based not only on a distrust of the male medical establishment that was a strong and well-founded strain in feminism in the 1960s and 1970s but on a general antagonism to science itself that is part of the unreason pervading American culture today. For feminist leaders like Steinem, the idea that the importance of the pill has been exaggerated may simply be a matter of ego, of a reluctance to acknowledge that feminism, like so many successful social movements, was the product of many forces converging simultaneously.

Let me tell you how it was. I was 15 when the FDA approved the pill, and I was the product of a time and a community in which nice girls didn't have (or at least they didn't admit to actually having) sex. In my junior year of high school, a girl I knew quite well became pregnant, and there was a huge fight over whether she would be allowed to stay in school after her pregnancy became visible. Surprisingly (most pregnant girls at this time were simply expelled), she was permitted to finish her senior year. In fact, there could have been no scarier anti-sex lesson than the sight of this girl, hardly able to fit behind her desk, removed entirely from the anything resembling normal teenage life. I never discussed my real views on sex, any more than I talked about my atheism, but I read all about the pill and promised myself that when I met someone with whom I wanted to begin my life as a sexual woman, I would somehow manage to obtain a prescription for the pill.

It wasn't easy. When I entered college in 1963, 18-year-olds were still minors, and birth control was theoretically obtainable only if you could show that you were married. Even Planned Parenthood did not dispense contraceptives to unmarried women. It was only in 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut, that the Supreme Court established a right to privacy allowing the distribution of contraceptives to married couples--a right that was not routinely extended to the unmarried for some years. Nevertheless, the pill--which could be prescribed for "menstrual irregularity"--already gave many doctors cover for bending the old rules. In 1964, I concocted a story about being engaged and wanting to start the pill so that my cycles would be regular by the time of my wedding. It was humiliating to tell this lie, and I am quite certain that the doctor did not believe me, but he wrote me a prescription anyway.

I wanted to become a newspaper reporter, and I was already working for a professional paper while going to school. I knew that a pregnancy would be the end of my ambitions. I'd already seen it, as more than one girl dropped out during her freshman year because she "had to get married." I also knew girls who had gone through the terrible, life-altering experience of being sent to a home for unwed mothers and giving up their babies for adoption. And one girl in my dormitory bled to death from an illegal abortion. Then there was the amount of emotional energy wasted by young women checking every hour to see whether they had gotten their period.

You may say, as the religious right does today, that celibacy is the way to deal with pregnancy anxiety. I say, as a woman and a secularist, that saying yes or no to sex--without having to "pay" by risking the rest of one's life--is a basic human right. And it is harder for women to exercise that right. With the exception of a committed couple in a long-term, monogamous relationship, there is no situation in which a man has as great a stake in preventing an unwanted pregnancy as a woman. This is not a criticism of men but a biological fact: pregnancy and childbirth happen within a woman's body.

The battle over birth control--a term coined by Margaret Sanger in the early 20th century--was being waged long before there were effective means of artificial contraception. In 1873, Congress passed a law defining information about contraception as obscenity and banning its distribution through the mails. State and local "Comstock laws," named after the anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, remained on the books until the 1960s--as the Roman Catholic Church took over the anti-birth control crusade from reactionary Protestants in the 20th century. Birth control was always a secularist cause: Before World War I, only freethinkers and socialists unequivocally condemned the Comstock law definitions of birth control information as obscene. Robert Green Ingersoll, the "Great Agnostic," was one of the first public figures of either sex to link birth control with the independence of women. Speaking in 1899, Ingersoll envisioned the day when science would "make women the owner, the mistress of herself" by enabling her "to decide for herself whether she will or will not become a mother."

That promise was realized by the pill, which was the result of a collaboration between physiology researcher Gregory PIncus and Dr. John Rock, a Catholic who was trying to develop a hormonal method to help infertile women conceive. In one of the many unintended consequences in the history of science, Rock discovered that a hormone-based pill could also be used to prevent conception by suppressing ovulation. The research was financed initially by Katharine Dexter McCormick, a longtime friend of Margaret Sanger and wife of the heir to the International Harvester fortune. Sanger, who was born in 1879 and watched her Catholic mother die after 18 pregnancies, had a lifelong dream of a contraceptive that women would be able to use to limit their fertility without the cooperation or even the knowledge of men. She dreamed of a world in which a woman's fate would not be determined by a husband who did not care whether he made her pregnant 18 times. That dream was realized, for millions of women around the world in societies with widely varying attitudes toward women's rights, with the development of the pill.

Thus, the pill was hardly a male plot to "control" women's bodies; it was the culmination of a long research effort, financed at the outset by a woman and carried out by two men who wanted women to have more, not less, power over their reproductive lives. Dr. Rock had even hoped that the pill, because it works by manipulating a woman's hormonal system, would be approved by the Catholic Church, which forbade older barrier methods of birth control. In this he was disappointed, but Catholic women used the pill in huge numbers anyway.

The Christian Right is still trying to block unmarried women's access to contraceptives (though its representatives don't campaign against selling condoms in drugstores), and it has also played a huge role in limiting teenagers' access to birth control information. But that does not explain the disparagement of the pill's importance by veterans of the feminist movement, who ought to be celebrating the anniversary of this scientific advance as one of the keys to women's liberation in our time.

Part of the explanation is the mush purveyed by people like Northrup. She writes, "Other methods, for example diaphragms, condoms and fertility awareness, have been actively downplayed even though, when used properly, they are nearly as effective as the pill." This is simply not true, according to Planned Parenthood, which keeps the best statistics on all forms of birth control.

In case you don't know what "fertility awareness" means, it's another name for the rhythm method, a.k.a Vatican roulette--being aware of the timing of your menstrual cycles and avoiding sex around the time of ovulation. According to Planned Parenthood, "fertility awareness" is the least effective of all methods of contraception--if it can be called contraception at all. The lowest pregnancy rate (for couples who have the greatest success with this dubious method) is 12 unplanned pregnancies per 100 women each year. The more likely rate is 25 per 100--not very good odds for a young woman trying to plan her future. The diaphragm's rate of unplanned pregnancies is 6 to 16 percent--again, ranging from the most consistent use to average use.

The pill, however has a pregnancy risk of only 1 per cent risk if used correctly, rising to 8 per cent if used incorrectly. The condom actually does have almost as low a rate as the pill, if used correctly every time--2 percent--but the figure that rises to 15 percent if used incorrectly. In truth, the effectiveness of all birth control methods is best measured by assuming that everyone slips up once in a while. So the rate of unplanned pregnancy, which is only 8 per cent per year even if a woman does forget a pill once in a while, is nearly double that for the condom and diaphragm, and more than three times higher for the so-called "natural" rhythm method. And, above all, the pill is entirely under a woman's control. How, pray tell, can any woman ensure that a man will use a condom with utmost care? (The Huffington Post's publication of Northrup's assertions about the comparative effectiveness of various birth control methods, without vetting them with standard medical sources, provides an excellent illustration of the inadequacies of fact-checking on Internet news sites.)

Male and female sterilization (which are, by the way, the most popular forms of contraception among married couples who already have all the children they want) are also 99 percent effective--but they are obviously inappropriate for young women. The pill is the only reversible method of birth control that, when used properly, provides near-certain protection.

The pill is not perfect. Much of the early feminist opposition, stated most forcefully in 1969 by Barbara Seaman in The Doctors' Case Against The Pill (reissued and updated in the 1990s) rested on the fact that it had not been extensively tested and represented an unprecedented experiment involving the use of a drug by a huge, healthy population. It is true that the pill had been tested on fewer than 900 women in Puerto Rico when it was approved by the FDA in 1960. (At the time, most states had laws against testing any drug to be used for contraceptive purposes.) And it is also true that the first pill had many more short-term side effects than later, lower-dose pills. Moreover, it is still true that the pill should not be used by women who smoke, because it increases the risk of stroke. (Of course, these women would be a lot better off if they would just quit smoking.)

But Seaman, who died in 2008 and was a friend of mine, never took into account the vital risk-benefit equation that applied even in the pill's early years: It did represent an unknown risk, but the unknown risk was being taken for a huge and certain benefit. Moreover, time has proved that the pill is safe for most healthy young women. A 40-year study of 46,000 women, conducted by the Royal College of General Practitioners found that women who had taken birth control pills have a longer life expectancy and are less likely to have died from any cause than women who have never taken the pill. This study is not the final word, as it cannot analyze long-term effects on younger women who have used later versions of the pill. But there is nothing in this study to bear out the early fears that the pill would have long-term, severely adverse effects on women's health. Nor can this study ever measure what the impact of the hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies would have been had these women not used the pill.

The pill also does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (a subject that neither doctors nor the public knew much about in the 1960s). But neither does any other method of contraception except condoms. And one thing is certain: a man who doesn't care enough to use a condom in order to protect his partner and himself from pregnancy certainly won't do it to guard against STDs.

In any event, I simply do not agree with anyone who does not see the pill as a major boon to women. Opposition to birth control--particularly to woman-controlled contraception--was always based on the idea that without fear of pregnancy, all sexual prohibitions would collapse. This attitude was well embodied by a 1966 cover story in U.S. News and World Report that asked ominously, "Can its [the pill's] availability to all women of childbearing age lead to sexual anarchy?" The word "promiscuity" was used constantly in all of these hand-wringing critiques of the pill, and the premise--a very revealing one about the double standard--was that women were the guardians of chastity and they would stop acting in that role once they no longer risked unwanted pregnancy.

I have no doubt that the pill dealt a death blow to the idea that all women should be virgins on their wedding night (an idea that never, of course, reflected reality). But there is a huge difference between promiscuity--which implies indiscriminate sex--and having a number of selected sexual partners before marriage.

Gloria Steinem has a short memory if she thinks that the significance of the pill has been overrated. When I was young, one of the most common excuses used by employers who refused to train women for high-level jobs--and by professional schools with a tiny female quota--was that women would just get pregnant at an early age and the investment would be wasted. Indeed, when I applied for a job at The Washington Post at age 19, I was asked by the director of personnel to sit down and write an essay about how I would combine motherhood with a career (a subject on which every 19-year-old is surely an expert). The new anti-discrimination laws championed by the women's movement during the 1970s played a huge role in ending these practices, but so did the growing realization of employers that all young women, thanks to the pill, were delaying childbirth and were having fewer children altogether.

So thank you, Margaret Sanger, Katharine McCormick, Gregory Pincus, and John Rock.
I am convinced that the fruit of your dreams, your money and your science did more good for more people than any other invention of the 20th century. And it does not in any way underrate the importance of 1970s' feminism to say that we might not have been able to achieve what we did if you had not achieved what you did.

By Susan Jacoby |  May 5, 2010; 1:51 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Memo to Supremes: We aren't all Christian soldiers | Next: Burqas in airports, guns in bars

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



WHY THE PILL IS AN ABOMINATION:
"It is an instrument devoid of love whose purpose is a carnal license. Love is primarily in the will, not in the emotions or the glands. The will is like the voice; the emotions are like the echo. The pleasure associated with love, or what is today called "sex," is the frosting on the cake; its purpose is to make us love the cake, not ignore it.
**************************************************************************************

It is possible for two people to love each other and wish to express that love sexually while not being ready to become parents.

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 11, 2010 4:02 PM
Report Offensive Comment

WHY THE PILL IS AN ABOMINATION:

"It is an instrument devoid of love whose purpose is a carnal license. Love is primarily in the will, not in the emotions or the glands. The will is like the voice; the emotions are like the echo. The pleasure associated with love, or what is today called "sex," is the frosting on the cake; its purpose is to make us love the cake, not ignore it.

The greatest illusion of lovers is to believe that the intensity of their sexual attraction is the guarantee of the perpetuity of their love. It is because of this failure to distinguish between the glandular and spiritual--or between sex which we have in common with animals, and love which we have in common with God--that marriages are so full of deception.

What some people love is not a person, but the experience of being in love. The first is irreplaceable; the second is not. As soon as the glands cease to react with their pristine force, couples who identified emotionalism and love claim they no longer love one another. If such is the case they never loved the other person in the first place; they only loved being loved, which is the highest form of egotism. Marriage founded on sex passion alone lasts only as long as the animal passion lasts.

Within two years the animal attraction for the other may die, and when it does, law comes to its rescue to justify the divorce with the meaningless words "incompatibility," or "mental torture." Animals never have recourse to law courts, because they have no will to love; but man, having reason, feels the need of justifying his irrational behavior when he does wrong.

There are two reasons for the primacy of sex over love in a decadent civilization. As humans give up reason, they resort to their imaginations. As thinking fades, unrestrained desires come to the fore.

Since physical and erotic desires are among the easiest to dwell upon, because they require no effort and because they are powerfully aided by bodily passions, sex begins to be all-important. It is by no historical accident that an age of anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, such as our own, is also an age of carnal license.

The second factor is egotism. As belief in a Divine Judgment, a future life, heaven and hell, a moral order, is increasingly rejected, the ego becomes more and more firmly enthroned as the source of its morality.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 11, 2010 1:08 PM
Report Offensive Comment

TTWSTYED sez:

'You should read your own links. They duplicate what I have written, viz. “that slaves should be treated humanely and justly and that "per se" Slavery was not immoral.'
_________________

Slavery has always been immoral, retrospective to modern standards - it's simply been a widespread & commonly found practice historically, until over time humans gradually decided otherwise.

Slavery was legitimatized and supported by religion, because religion is simply one aspect/feature of the host culture, and reflects those overall values.

The fact that it's now considered universally immoral, has everything to do with the evolution of human culture, along with changing mores and values.

Humans no longer 'believe' that slavery is OK. Personal freedom and individual equality are fundamental to our own constitutionally based secular democratic society - we fought a Civil War in part to ensure the permanence of those values in the USA.

These egalitarian values are not of course always reflected in religious milieus that are part of the larger society.

Posted by: persiflage | May 11, 2010 12:35 PM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
PERSIFLAGE
“SLAVERY”

ANS:
You should read your own links. They duplicate what I have written, viz. “that slaves should be treated humanely and justly and that "per se" Slavery was not immoral.

“Throughout Christian antiquity and the Middle Ages, theologians generally followed St. Augustine in holding that although slavery could not be justified under natural law although it was not absolutely forbidden by that law.

“Between the 6th and 12th century there was a growing sentiment that slavery was not compatible with Catholic Christian conceptions of charity and justice; some Catholics such as Saint Bathilde, Saint Anskar, Bishop Wulfstan II of York and Saint Anselm campaigned against slavery and the slave trade. The church did succeed in almost entirely enforcing that a free Christian could not be enslaved, for example when a captive in war.

“The Middle Ages witnessed the emergence of orders of monks such as the Mercedarians who were founded for the purpose of freeing slaves. By the end of the Medieval period, enslavement of Christians had been largely abolished throughout Europe although enslavement of non-Christians remained permissible, and had seen a revival in Spain and Portugal.

“Catholic teaching began to turn more strongly against slavery in general, beginning in 1435 and culminating in three major pronouncements against slavery by Pope Paul III in 1537.

"However when the Age of Discovery greatly increased the number of slaves owned by Christians, the response of the church, under strong political pressures, was confused and ineffective in preventing the establishment of slave societies in the colonies of Catholic countries."

One reason the Church was against Slavery was that Slavery lends itself to abuse.

“A number of Popes issued papal bulls condemning enslavement and mistreatment of Native Americans by Spanish and Portuguese colonials; however, these were largely ignored despite the threat of excommunication.

"Nonetheless, Catholic missionaries such as the Jesuits worked to alleviate the suffering of Native American slaves in the New World.” (Your Link. Wikipedia)

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 11, 2010 10:45 AM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
“PERSIFLAGE”
“SLAVERY”
POSTED MAY 11, 2010 9:08 AM

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14036a.htm

“How numerous the slaves were in Roman society when Christianity made its appearance, how hard was their lot, and how the competition of slave labor crushed free labor is notorious

"The Mosaic Law was merciful to the slave (Exodus 21; Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15:21) and carefully secured his fair wage to the laborer (Deuteronomy 24:15). In Jewish society the slave was not an object of contempt, because labor was not despised as it was elsewhere. No man thought it beneath him to ply a manual trade.

"These ideas and habits of life the Apostles brought into the new society which so rapidly grew up as the effect of their preaching. As this society included, from the first, faithful of all conditions — rich and poor, slaves and freemen — the Apostles were obliged to utter their beliefs as to the social inequalities which so profoundly divided the Roman world. "For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:27-28; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13).

"From this principle St. Paul draws no political conclusions. It was not his wish, as it was not in his power, to realize Christian equality either by force or by revolt. Such revolutions are not effective suddenly.

"Christianity accepts society as it is, influencing it for its transformation through, and only through, individual souls. What it demands in the first place from masters and from slaves is, to live as brethren — commanding with equity, without threatening, remembering that God is the master of all - obeying with fear, but without servile flattery, in simplicity of heart, as they would obey Christ (cf. Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:22-4; 4:1).”

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 11, 2010 10:09 AM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
LEPIDOPTERYX
“THE ECONOMY AND THE PILL”
POSTED MAY 10, 2010 12:16 PM

IRT:
Alphabet Man,

ANS:
Doesn’t the Alphabet have 26 letters?

IRT:
“Blame me for the recession if you wish, but I make no apologies for not feeling as though I owe it to the GNP to reproduce beyond my own desire to do so.”

ANS:
You sound as though you have a persecution complex. The point was not that every individual should conceive every time they make love The point was that illicit sex, birth control, the Contraceptive Mentality, the Sexual Revolution and the Culture of Death have overshadowed America with a malaise, an attitude that has produced a negative birth rate that is affecting the economy. That is not my opinion; it is a statistical fact as was pointed out.

The populations of France, Japan are so depleted from this immense social priggery they are now offering bonus to married mothers for live births. Astonishingly, Russia has employed the Catholic Church to help its birth crises in Siberia, and earth quakes in China have caused a population crises in those areas.

The State has an invested interest in human life to sustain its existence. It has no interest in the Sexual Revolution which is destroying the family, the State’s posterity, and its progeny; yet it has openly promoted these iniquities. Are you saying they have no effect?

Today, the government has legalized the murder of over 52 million unborn in America. Their flesh and organs are being sold on the open market.

The Court has made gay sex legal and equivalent to conjugal love, further depleting traditional Marriage and the family and subsequently has devaluated human life and self worth.

Consequently, suicide is the nation’s third leading cause of death. Our nation is witness to an inordinate rash of workplace, mall, high school, and university shootings. Mothers murdering their children and fathers murdering their wives, their children and themselves is now in vogue.

Today, 41% of pregnancies are outside of Marriage, 70% of Black pregnancies are out of wedlock and some 55% end in abortion, a.k.a. Black Genocide, according to Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby.

Who will pay SSI in the future? In 1933 the ratio of SSI workers paying for the retirement of a recipient was 16/1; it is now 3/1 and about to become 2/1.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 11, 2010 9:42 AM
Report Offensive Comment

TTWSTYED:

'Of course, those who abused their slaves were an abomination of Justice and should have been made to be slaves under the auspices of the slaves made as their masters.'
_____________

More Catholic NONSENSE compliments of Augustine (400 CE) and Thomas Aquinas (1200 CE) although their pro-slavery views must have found considerable appeal with the Vatican, since they are both celebrated doctrinal theologians. Neither of these individuals ever fell into serious disagreement with prevailing Church views.

In fact, the Catholic Church became fearful of new ideas long before Copernicus and Galilleo - one of the greatest of the early Church theologians, Origen of Alexandria, was later branded for heresy, although a great early influence on Augustine after his conversion from Manicheanism (see Mythraism).

Origen dared to hold what were considered unorthodox views - and may have had affinities with Gnosticism.

Christianity in general has had a long history of being concilliatory towards slavery, if not condoning it outright.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_slavery

Posted by: persiflage | May 11, 2010 9:08 AM
Report Offensive Comment

N REPLY TO (IRT)
ATHENA4
POSTED MAY 10, 2010 5:32 PM
“SUNDAY W0RK?”

IRT:
"Yeah, I noticed that you posted on a Sunday. How's that "keep holy the Sabbath Day" thing working' for ya? Because, even if you're sitting in front of your computer, some system administrator is working on a Sunday to keep your network running."

ANS:
The term is “servile work.” The command is “Keep holy the Sabbath Day.” Posting isn’t servile work it’s entertainment. We are not under the Old Jewish Covenant that the Jewish hierarchy distorted during the time of Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. Hence, all necessary work is justified.

Luke 13:15cf
“And the Lord answering him, said, 'Ye hypocrites, doth not every one of you, on the Sabbath day, loose his ox or his ass from the manger and lead them to water?' And answering them, Jesus said, 'Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit and will not immediately draw him out, on the Sabbath Day?'”

IRT:
“Ya know, "natural moral law" was used to excuse slavery, too. I'm just saying...”

ANS:
In the colonial days there was the concept of indentured slaves. Slavery was only immoral when the slaves’ inalienable rights were violated.

Slavery is not "per se" a violation of the Natural Moral Law. Slaves, under the Old Testament Covenant, were prisoners captured in war. In America, we used the captured enemy to do civil work. Prisoners in State and Federal prisons are made to work as slaves. States and municipalities also use jail crews to do work.

The stipulation as to slavery is that a slave’s human rights not be violated. The slaves in America for the most part didn’t want to be free when their inalienable rights were recognized. The real cruelty and injustice was to free them when they had no place to go, were not educated, and nothing was provided for their safety and welfare in a land they knew little of and a land where they were made pawns of the Carpetbaggers. We are still witnessing the legacy of the cruel slave owners over a hundred years later. Moreover, the slaves inalienable rights were mortified and abased by the malefactors and ignorant who governed them.

Of course, those who abused their slaves were an abomination of Justice and should have been made to be slaves under the auspices of the slaves made as their masters.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 11, 2010 8:02 AM
Report Offensive Comment

The “Ten Commandments” are the fundamental basis of the NML and they are based on the NL that governs human nature."

Yeah, I noticed that you posted on a Sunday. How's that "keep holy the Sabbath Day" thing workin' for ya? Because, even if you're sitting in front of your computer, some system administrator is working on a Sunday to keep your network running.

Ya know, "natural moral law" was used to excuse slavery, too. I'm just sayin...

Posted by: Athena4 | May 10, 2010 5:32 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Hi Persiflage,

“Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light—Steven Weinberg; “The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe.”
-------------------
We sure could use some of that light, just about now, no?

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | May 10, 2010 4:42 PM
Report Offensive Comment

WMarkW:

Re: Greece

Samuelson omitted a few things in his article, which I also read and touched only briefly on the failure of Greeks to file income tax returns.

The failure is enormously widespread. Not only do the wealthy not file, but many others do not either, since they see no reason why they should when the rich do not.

The failure to file has been the subject of great attention and far exceeds the percentage Samuelson mentioned.

Further, the Greek government did not pursue those who did not file.

Another matter neglected by Samuelson was the all but institutionalized corruption that characterizes Greek government, a problem it has frankly confessed to, as it now has no choice.

Greece's current "solution," in addition to borrowing insanely is to lay off workers, lower their salaries, and deprive them of pensions.

Unsurprisingly, there have been riots. Leave it to Samuelson to shift the blame precisely where he has.
-----------------------
Meanwhile, here at the home front, human services are being reduced at an alarming rate, which will mean higher costs in the long run.

Among the casualties are teacher layoffs, layoffs in vital student services, layoffs of professors, salary freezes, etc.

Obama's education plan?

A competitive workforce in what remains of the global economy?

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | May 10, 2010 4:25 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I fear TTWSTYED is barking up the wrong tree here - most physicists/cosmologists are atheists. In particular, the outspoken Nobel prize winning physicists Steven Weinberg and Richard Feynman...

“Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light—Steven Weinberg; “The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe.”

'Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle”—Richard Feynman, “The Meaning of It All”'
________

Physicsts don't claim to know it all, or even very much - compared to what there is to know. They do have informed opinions, however. They don't claim to possess the heavenly view espoused by Thomas Aquinas, for example.


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/sean_carroll/cosmologists.html

Posted by: persiflage | May 10, 2010 3:00 PM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
PERSIFLAGE |
NATURAL LAW (NL) & (NML)

IRT:
"All are based on pure superstition and the grandiose confabulations and elaborations typical of religious mythology ...."

ANS:
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”—St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html?gclid=CLvv7pb_x6ECFRJeswodOhie8g

“Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain or, the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.

“The universe had a start; what caused it? Scientists are convinced that our universe began with the Big Bang. This was the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

“Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant…” The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."

“Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light—Steven Weinberg; “The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe.”

“The universe has not always existed. It had a start....What caused that? Scientists have no explanation? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why? What we can count on day after day? Gravity remains consistent, hot coffee gets cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change. Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?

“There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way.

"It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.—Dinesh D'Souza-“What's So Great about Christianity”

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle”—Richard Feynman, “The Meaning of It All”

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 10, 2010 2:37 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I don't think its essential for the Western (or any other part of the) world to grow. Most people live in a place that would be better off with less population.

What we didn't do was adapt politically when it was necessary. The Cold War was supposed to be a once-in-generations event that justified perpetual deficit spending because future generations wouldn't need to fight one. (Traditional wars had always created federal budget deficits, that then got paid back during peace.)

Instead, America has become stuck being the worlds superpower and obligated to keep the oceans and skys safe, and has made perpetual deficits politically expedient even when the spending was not for defense.

I have no idea whether today's young generation will honor their parents' deficits or not. But we should do something to each their burden, like make housing cheap. If their parents don't get to sell their home for a million bucks to spend the rest of their lives living in a country club community when not vacationing on a cruise ship, so be it.

Posted by: WmarkW | May 10, 2010 12:22 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Alphabet Man,

having more kids than you want and/or can afford to feed may be good for the economy overall in the form of greater numbers in the workforce when they get old enough to hold jobs, but it's hell on personal economies of the families getting them to that point.
I have one child - couldn't afford any more, and didn't want any more even if I could have afforded more. I couldn't have any more now, even if I wanted to, which I don't.
Blame me for the recession if you wish, but I make no apolgies for not feeling as though I owe it to the GNP to reproduce beyond my own desire to do so.

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 10, 2010 12:16 PM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
WMARKW
POSTED MAY 10, 2010 5:44 AM
“BABYBOOM AND DOOM”

IRT:
ANS:
http://www.zenit.org/article-28289?l=english

Bankers are not the cause of the global economic crisis, according to the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion. Rather, the cause is ordinary people who do not "believe in the future" and have few or no children.

"The true cause of the crisis is the decline in the birth rate,” Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, said in an interview on Vatican Television's "Octava Dies."

He noted the Western world's population growth rate is at 0% -- that is, two children per couple -- and this, he said, has led to a profound change in the structure of society.

"Instead of stimulating families and society to again believe in the future and have children […] we have stopped having children and have created a situation, a negative economic context decrease," Gotti Tedeschi observed. "And decrease means greater austerity."

“With the decline in births,” he explained, “there are fewer young people that productively enter the working world. And there are many more elderly people that leave the system of production and become a cost for the collective.

“In practice the fixed costs of this economic and social structure increase. How dramatically they increase depends on how evidently unbalanced the structure of the population is and how much wealth it has. The fixed costs however increase: The costs of health increase and the social costs increase."

When this happens, the economist stated, "taxes can no longer be reduced.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-the-social-security-bomb-2009-4#ixzz0nXF1Ijr4

“It was only last year that I was writing about the impeding fiscal calamity that was awaiting us all in 2017 when the outlays for Social Security were slated to exactly match receipts. Now that date could be as early as 2010, apparently.

http://news.surfwax.com/economics/files/Birth_Rate.html

Apr 15, 2010
“The United States is the only country in the developed world that has maintained a vigorous birth rate. We should not rob ourselves of the resulting economic, social and military vitality by volunteering to adopt the enervating European social democratic model (such as Obamacare). (Human Events Online)”

“In 1980 the Federal debt consumed only 33% of GDP, Today it has reached 85% and in 2010 will reach 97%, and 100% soon after,” wrote Martin L. Gross in his latest book “National Suicide.”

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 10, 2010 11:57 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Examples of the grandiose claims made by devout Christian theists of the conservative stripe - note that fear is always the final bludgeon employed on non-believers:

'Your getting closer each day to meeting your maker. Better start thinking about that !'

'They are universal truths right reason cannot dispute. Those who violate them, violate themselves.'
___________

Thomas Aquinas remarked that one of the great joys of attaining heaven was to be able to look down on the eternal suffering of the damned! Compassionate thoughts from one of the preeminant Doctors of the of the Catholic Church, and all-around nice guy!

Religion typically thinks in terms of huge exaggerations - speaking for the entire universe is quite a feat when you're living on a tiny planet some 93 million miles from the nearest star.....and really have no clear idea how you got here in the first place.

I'm personally another one that likes the 'Mom and Dad' theory of origins........it seems to have been fairly well tested, as theories go.

When will religion ever become more reasonable, one wonders??

Posted by: persiflage | May 10, 2010 10:00 AM
Report Offensive Comment

""Potential cost of unwanted pregnancy:
Woman: $500-1000
Man: 15% of gross income (not tax-deductible) for 18 years"
In case you missed it, Mark, the mother will also be on the hook for the cost of raising a child for 18 years, if she opts to keep the baby.
Exactly. SHE has the $500 option if SHE wants it.
Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 5:22 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I note you completely skipped over the part where I wrote:

"Sounds as though men have just as much of a reason to invest in and properly use contraceptives as women do."

So what's stopping men who do NOT want to be a father at that time from donning a condom? Why take the risk? Condoms are a lot less expensive.

Adoption's great. There are many children in foster care who are also eligible to be adopted. It would be a lovely thing if more people were foster parents, or if looking to adopt, went outside their comfort zone and took on an older child. Rather than an infant.

Posted by: Skowronek | May 10, 2010 9:26 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Your getting closer each day to meeting your maker. Better start thinking about that !
Posted by: US-conscience


I meet my makers about once a week for coffee. They live about 15 minutes away from me. I call them "Mom" and "Dad."

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 10, 2010 9:15 AM
Report Offensive Comment

I was 15 when the FDA approved the pill

So, your 64 now ? Why dont you update your photo ? ( could it be pride ? )

Your getting closer each day to meeting your maker. Better start thinking about that !

Posted by: US-conscience | May 10, 2010 9:06 AM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
PERSIFLAGE |
POSTED MAY 9
NATURAL LAW (NL) & (NML)

IRT:
"All are based on pure superstition and the grandiose confabulations and elaborations typical of religious mythology ...."

ANS:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm

“The natural law is the rule of conduct which is prescribed to us by the Creator in the constitution of the nature with which He has endowed us.”

The “Ten Commandments” are the fundamental basis of the NML and they are based on the NL that governs human nature. Each creature created by God acts according to its nature. Consequently a fish cannot swim in oil, fly, or write a book or music. That is because, the fish’s fundamental principles of operation only allow him to exist, and to act according to a fish's nature.

The Commandments were given to man from God. Man's many attempts to replace them failed. God sent His Son to rectify their errors. He established His Church so that man would not error in knowing God’s will, or the purpose of man. Jesus instructed man to Love one another as He loves man. He endowed His Church with the gift of infallibility that in Her teachings would be certitude and no errors.

Man is unique; created with an intellect and free will. He can choose to act against his nature, namely, commit suicide, or refuse to eat even when hungry. When a hungry animal refuses to eat, he fears eating will harm him.

What Century man is in or his religion matters not; his nature does not change. Just as 2+2=4, the laws that govern human behavior never change, only the circumstances to accomplish them do. Consequently, murder, theft, lying, illicit sex, are always evil in all societies, at all times regardless of religion. If you think the NML is a myth, would you be interested in buying a truck load of some 2006 New York Times at half price?

Please show the science you claim proves the NML is myth. Myths die, the Church and its teachings will last for all time. Jesus said, “The earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away.” They are universal truths right reason cannot dispute. Those who violate them, violate themselves.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 10, 2010 9:03 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Another thing the birth control pill did was end the baby boom, whose start is universally agreed as 1946 and ended sometime between 1960-64. We've been hearing for years about the economic crisis that would hit when the first boomers hit 65. It's tempting to think that we're in it now, but we really aren't. Our biggest problem now is unemployment because the boomers haven't retired yet while the post-1982 boomlet have entered their career-expectation years.

Robert J Samuelson has a good column today about how the current Greek crisis is the harbinger of what structural debt and unfunded old age obligations will do to all Western economies by 2030, when the last boomers turn...65.

http://tinyurl.com/2b935e4

Posted by: WmarkW | May 10, 2010 5:44 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"Latex condoms are one of the greatest inventions that help prevent both pregnancy and STDs!"

Not according to the Guttmacher Institute:

"FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES

Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

Method
Typical
Pill (combined) 8.7
Tubal sterilization 0.7
Male condom 17.4
Vasectomy 0.2

Periodic abstinence – 25.3
Calendar 9.0 –
Ovulation Method 3.0 –
Sympto-thermal 2.0 –
Post-ovulation 1.0 –

No method 85.0"

(Abstinence) 0

(Masturbation) 0

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 9, 2010 11:52 PM
Report Offensive Comment

JD3

If an unwanted pregnancy occurs today, the woman has a wide variety of choices -- and I don't just mean abortion but also adoption and even "safe surrender" sites -- and that's wonderful for her. But if she decides to have and keep the baby (or even lied about using birth control in order to get pregnant), the man has NO choice -- he has to pay. That's wrong.

Legalize choice for men!
--------------------------------
Choice is legal for men. Use a condom. Your choice.

If it fails, so to speak, you have a problem. That, however, you will have to take up with Nature.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | May 9, 2010 10:33 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"Since latex condoms predate the oral contraceptive, why such the big deal? We are now encouraged to use the latex condom during every sexual encounter so isn't oral contraception irrelevant?"

You should probably be getting this information from your mommy and daddy, not from the Internet.

Posted by: PSolus | May 9, 2010 9:57 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I agree with everything she said except this:

With the exception of a committed couple in a long-term, monogamous relationship, there is no situation in which a man has as great a stake in preventing an unwanted pregnancy as a woman.

If an unwanted pregnancy occurs today, the woman has a wide variety of choices -- and I don't just mean abortion but also adoption and even "safe surrender" sites -- and that's wonderful for her. But if she decides to have and keep the baby (or even lied about using birth control in order to get pregnant), the man has NO choice -- he has to pay. That's wrong.

Legalize choice for men!

Posted by: jdg3 | May 9, 2010 7:12 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Since latex condoms predate the oral contraceptive, why such the big deal? We are now encouraged to use the latex condom during every sexual encounter so isn't oral contraception irrelevant?

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 9, 2010 6:39 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"Latex condoms are one of the greatest inventions that help prevent both pregnancy and STDs!"
_________________

However, not nearly 100% effective against herpes.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 9, 2010 6:19 PM
Report Offensive Comment

IN REPLY TO (IRT)
MRBRADWII |
POSTED MAY 9, 2010 11:30 AM
THE MORAL & NATURAL LAW

IRT:
"Oh my dear, I'm sure that you've applied the not operator to a larger set of objects than is under the domain of Catholicism.

Murder for instance is not proscribed because the catholic doctrine says so. Ditto for lying cheating and stealing. You are well enough schooled to know this, so I know you are just having some good hyperbolic fun, no?"

ANS:
Again, you have little sense of what the Natural and Moral Laws are and what the Catholic Church is about. It is recognize by the Church that man has a free will. Consequently, man is free to choose whatever religion he whishes and none if he chooses to do so. However, if he is reckless in his choice, he will pay the consequences, for instance choosing radical Muslimism.

As to the NML, man doesn’t have a choice. Either he chooses the NML or he pays the consequences. Radicalism, Voodooism, Communism and Paganism are choices that make their world a living hell.

The NML is not the property or the machinations of the Church and its prelates, it’s the property of God who created man. The mandate of the Church is to teach the truth so that man may be in consonance with God, society, and himself.

The NMLs are the rules of behavior that harmonize man with the society he lives in and the Universe that he exists in. No the Church did not create the NML; that was created when God created man to keep man in harmony with his neighbors and
the Creation that God had given him dominion over.

First, God Created the Universe and ordered it according to the Natural Law. Consequently, all created things are governed according to the NL, and whether man likes it or not, so is he.

Man has a choice to break the NML but the consequences are deadly either in the long run or quickly depending on the circumstance. However, no one can break the NL because things will always act according to their nature. If you walk off a cliff you’ll fall, or jump in a river with a millstone around your neck you’ll drown, religion or no religion.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 9, 2010 1:19 PM
Report Offensive Comment

[...]
The second most ridiculous thing that’s been recently said signifies the emptiness of the liberal mind set. Thus, “If it’s anti-Catholic it must be good.” Consequently, disobey your parents, steal, commit adultery, fornication, pederasty, pedophilia, and gay-sex, rob, steal, and murder are all anti-Catholic and therefore are good for liberals.
[...]
Posted by TTWSYF
____

Oh my dear, I'm sure that you've applied the not operator to a larger set of objects than is under the domain of catholicism.

Murder for instance is not proscribed because the catholic doctrine says so. Ditto for lying cheating and stealing. You are well enough schooled to know this, so I know you are just having some good hyperbolic fun, no?

But, perhaps not.

You may believe, however, that NML all came together in a lovely plan and has been worked on for two thousand years by the best minds. That is your choice. A choice and a belief.

But your church doesn't own morality exclusively.

So add a smile to your day, I was being intentionally sarcastic, ironic, and facetious, given your church's current troubles. A simple solution to which presents itself: when you find yourself in a hole with a shovel, stop digging or don't start... but that is off topic.

Yes the pill is convenient, dangerous, and ineffective against STDS. As with all choices there are disadvantages and advantages. But stay-at-home-baby-factorying is still an option. It is not zero sum, add an option, take away an option.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to present baby-milling as a healthy role, a viable economic alternative as desirable as full participation in all aspects of society.

Posted by: mrbradwii | May 9, 2010 11:30 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Find below the Catholic sources for all of the TTWSTYED nonsense on liberals, natural moral law, the birth control pill, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, and on and on and on.....

All are based on pure superstition and the grandiose confabulations and elaborations typical of religious mythology ....if you want thinking straight out of the 12th century or earlier, look no further than Catholic theology. People actually took this stuff as the truth way back when - and some still do today. It's a pitiful state of affairs.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Catholic_theology_and_doctrine

Posted by: persiflage | May 9, 2010 10:03 AM
Report Offensive Comment

THE LIBERAL MIND SET:

There once was a farmer who sold a man a mule. The man returned with the mule and said, “I can’t get this mule to even move. He won’t do anything.” The farmer picked up a sledge hammer and hit the mule between the eyes. The mule fell down as if he were dead. Laid there a second and suddenly sprung to his feet and started dancing the jig and singing “Oh Mc Donald had a Farm.” The farmer said, “First, you have to get the mule’s attention.”

Now that worked fine for the mule, but don’t ever try it on a liberal. A liberal will not be moved if a tsunami hit him at full speed. He would still be standing, as if he were in a time warp.

For instance, one liberal on this forum, said “There is no Natural or Moral Law (N&ML). It’s been proven scientifically that the N&ML are just constructs of the mind.” That would be one of the most asinine statements that typify the liberal mind set. Namely, liberals are a contradictions of reality. If there were no N&ML, there could be no scientific method because science depends on a consistent order to predicate anything.

The Natural Law is the laws that order the universe in its natural order. Consequently without the NL there would be chaos; no formulas, no equations, no theories because nothing would be predictable; things would never act the same. Hence, 2+2 would not always = 4, or H2 + O would not necessarily = H2 O. Hence, the N&ML are realities that exist in the natural order of things. Namely, all things act according to their nature.

The second most ridiculous thing that’s been recently said signifies the emptiness of the liberal mind set. Thus, “If it’s anti-Catholic it must be good.” Consequently, disobey your parents, steal, commit adultery, fornication, pederasty, pedophilia, and gay-sex, rob, steal, and murder are all anti-Catholic and therefore are good for liberals.

Now we have the blind leading the blind as we are asked to celebrate the “Pill” that is, in effect, playing Russian Roulette with a suicide pill.

Only a fool could live in a world of a liberal mind set. It follows, absurdity begets absurdity, and an absurd liberal follows an absurd liberal.

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 9, 2010 8:37 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"Recommended mainly for Catholic engineers that don't mind holding the thermometer for their spouses.....in fact, probably insist on it.

But what's a single lady to do without a degree in calculus? "

What??? Most junior high school students know how to take their temperature and record said results. And for those that cannot, help is on the way:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1024175/The-skin-patch-tell-women-fertile.html

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 8, 2010 5:35 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Great article, but I'd like to second Mindys2000 in that the pill is NOT "the only reversible method of birth control that, when used properly, provides near-certain protection. " The IUD (both hormonal and non)and implants are reversible and have higher rates of effictiveness than the pill.

Check out the Family Planning Handbook, a joint publication by leading public health authorities: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/family_planning/9780978856304/en/index.html

Injectables, patch and vaginal ring are also close in effectiveness to the pill. The pill is still a great option though and I think it's incredibly significant to the feminist movement. The method you choose will depend on medical history and the type of side effects you don't mind managing. I want to stress that people should look up creditable references, such as the World Health Organization for pregnancy rates, side effects, etc.

In response to some of the comments to the article:
I find it amusing that people actually think if women did not have access to contraception and were forced to have children they didn't want, then they would become great mothers and raise perfect children to become great members of society, and that they would be happier with great marriages. Women only behaved in this manner in the past because they had no choice to do so otherwise and were taught that was their role. We have a choice now! For a lot of people having children is great, for some it's not. Everyone is different, please don't try to force your idea of a family and marriage on others because it worked for you. Reverting to the past will not cure society's so called "ills."

For men who are concerned about women lying to them, paying for children they don't want and STDs: wrap it up! Latex condoms are one of the greatest inventions that help prevent both pregnancy and STDs!

Posted by: Lily1601 | May 8, 2010 4:24 PM
Report Offensive Comment

'vs. the RCC approved methods below from the same report'
__________

Recommended mainly for Catholic engineers that don't mind holding the thermometer for their spouses.....in fact, probably insist on it.

But what's a single lady to do without a degree in calculus?

Posted by: persiflage | May 8, 2010 3:42 PM
Report Offensive Comment

From the Guttmacher Institute:

Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy

Method Typical
Pill (combined) 8.7
Male condom 17.4

vs. the RCC approved methods below from the same report

Calendar/rythym 9.0
Ovulation Method 3.0
Sympto-thermal 2.0
Post-ovulation 1.0

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 8, 2010 1:03 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Actually 'family planning' was mentioned in the link, but was not among the statistical rankings of method failure.

Previewing the complexity of the method and the potential for failure makes this a dismal option for most.


http://womenshealth.about.com/od/nfp/NFP_Natural_Family_Planning.htm

Posted by: persiflage | May 8, 2010 10:50 AM
Report Offensive Comment

The so-called fertility awareness method i.e. the rocket science of contraception, is the 'new and improved' rhythm method, and the only mode of pregnancy/birth control allowed by the Roman Catholic Church.

In the link on birth control effectiveness, we don't even see this method mentioned, since the number of practitioners is probably negligable. One wonders how many Catholic women tried this method only to come up pregnant?

And with an unwanted pregnancy, there are always more difficult decisions up ahead...even for Catholic women.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertility_awareness
http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/birthcontrol/a/effectivenessbc.htm

Posted by: persiflage | May 8, 2010 10:41 AM
Report Offensive Comment

THE PILL & BREAST CANCER:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1887665.stm

Dr Merethe Kumle, study:
"Women who have taken the contraceptive Pill at any stage in their lives have a slightly increased chance of developing breast cancer, research shows.
Their risk rose by just over a quarter (26%), compared with women who had never used the Pill.

"This is slightly higher than previous studies have estimated. The latest research showed those who had taken the Pill over longer periods increased their risk of breast cancer by 58% compared with those who never used it. It is clear that oral contraceptives increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer


"However, the highest increased risk (144%) was among women aged over 45 who were still using the Pill.

"Dr Merethe Kumle, who carried out the research, said: "It is clear that oral contraceptives increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, particularly when they are used in the later period of reproductive life."

"The study, presented at the third European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, used data collected from 103,000 women aged between 30 and 49.
Dr Kumle from the Institute of Community Medicine in Tromso, Norway, collaborated with researchers in Sweden and France to assess data from the Women's Lifestyle and Health study carried out in Norway and Sweden.

"The women were originally contacted in 1991/92 and followed through to December 1999. During that time, 1,008 cases of breast cancer had been detected."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1887665.stm

"Oral contraceptives may influence coagulation, increasing the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Combined oral contraceptives are generally accepted to be contraindicated in women with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, in women who have a familial tendency to form blood clots (such as familial factor V Leiden), women with severe obesity and/or hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol level), and in smokers over age 35."

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 8, 2010 10:18 AM
Report Offensive Comment

THE PILL v. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NPR)

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=97377

This study presents results from a survey of 505 couples that have been practicing Natural Family Planning, primarily the Ovulation Method, through the teachers of Family of the Americas Foundation. They are based on the first-ever survey of its kind. It examined the types of persons and the impact learning Natural Family Planning has made in their family life, as well as sexual and moral attitudes.

Summary Of Findings:
The results presented from the three surveys analyzed revealed that compared to other women in general and to Catholic women of similar age, NFP users: have a dramatically low (0.2%) divorce rate; 2. Experience happier marriages;
3. Are happier and more satisfied in their everyday lives;
4. Have considerably more marital relations;
5. Are a deeper intimacy with spouse than those who contracept;
6. Realize a deeper level of communication with spouse;
7. Have relatively large families with many children;
8. Are appreciably more religious
9. Attend church more often;
10 Incorporate prayers more in their daily lives;
11. Rely strongly on the teachings of the Church, the Bible and Almighty God;
12. Are personally happier;
13. Have strong traditional, social, and moral views;
14. Preserve the family unit more responsibly than the other groups;
15 Are unlikely to have ever had an abortion;
16 Are unlikely to have ever cohabitated;
17. Are unlikely to work full time;
18. Are unlikely to be supportive of and to engage in sex outside of marriage;

The Natural Family Planning group studied consists of the typical middle class families of the United States of America, primarily Catholic, with small minority of Protestant and Evangelical.

The fundamental principle of sexuality is embedded in the sacredness and dignity of the nature of the individual in relation to the individual’s purpose in life the individual is destined to share with God. Hence, the purpose of true religion is to effectively direct the individual's relationship with God to its proper end.

The most important foundation of society to keep safe and healthy, physically, morally and spiritually, is the family. If the family is suffering physical, mental and spiritual degradation, society is placed in grave peril, as has repeatedly been the case in past civilizations… [The Culture Of Life: Presuppositions And Dimensions, General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, March 1 - 4, 2001, (Unofficial results), By Mercedes Arzú Wilson]

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 8, 2010 9:53 AM
Report Offensive Comment

See below the recent news from discovery (science) news on the internet.

This delay in age of motherhood is associated with delay in age of marriage and with growing educational attainment. The more education a woman has, the later she tends to marry and have children. Birth rates also have risen for the most educated women, those with at least some college education, while being relatively stable for women with less education. These dual factors have worked together to increase the education levels of mothers of newborns.

Evidence of feminism improving genetic caliber of intelligence of country in which it exists?

Posted by: daniel12 | May 8, 2010 9:48 AM
Report Offensive Comment


IN REPL TO (IRT)
SUSAN JACOBY
“THE PILL AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION THAT HAS GENERATED THE CULTURE OF DEATH, HIGH INSTANCES OF BREAST CANCER AND ADULTERY PROTECTION ”

IRT:
The Birth Control Pill's 50th Anniversary: Science, Reason And Women's Rights.

ANS:
The Pill is an abomination to the Natural Moral Law and a violation of the Natural Law. It is a frustration of the natural end of sexuality and has been an assault on the dignity of woman. It has allowed the experiment and exploitation of women by the false promise of sex without responsibility.

Fifty years after the Pill, 40 percent of births are born outside of marriage; 70 percent of Black pregnancies occur outside of marriage and some 55 percent end in abortion. Jesse Jackson once, said Abortion was Black Genocide when it wasn’t politically expedient to do so. Further, divorce rates are between some 45/50 percent, in contrast to “O.2 percent rate” of separations in devout Catholic marriages whose spouses practice Natural Family Planning

http://yaz.jvglaw.com/

Lawsuits have been filed against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceutical for the birth control drug Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella birth control pills all contain drospirenone, a synthetic form of progestin which works in combination with ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) to prevent pregnancy. Drospirenone is not contained in other forms of birth control and is believed to be the major cause of side effects from Ocella, Yasmin and Yaz.

Two recent case-control studies published in the British Medical Journal show that patients on the birth control pills containing drospirenone have a 200% higher risk of serious injury than those patients using first or second generation oral contraception.

The New York Times recently published a major news story on the growing safety concerns with Yaz. Bayer manufactures and markets Yaz and Yasmin. Ocella, meanwhile, is a generic form of Yasmin. Bayer manufactures Ocella which is then packaged and sold by Barr Laboratories, which has recently been acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Side effects of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella may include:
•heart attacks
•strokes
•deep vein thrombosis
•pulmonary embolism
•blood clots in the legs and lungs
•cardiac arrhythmia
•gallbladder disease
•kidney failure
•sudden death

Posted by: TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ1 | May 8, 2010 9:42 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Anything that's anti-catholic doctrine must be a good thing, and I'm sure that many things were made easier by the pill.

But, in some ways, it had an effect on men, too, devaluing sex, affecting rates at the local bordello, no doubt, the poor professional woman having to compete with the girl next door!

And it did move sexual initiation to a younger age, removed a large defense against male pressure to go all the way. If I love you didn't work and I'll still respect you in the morning didn't work, then perhaps all three in combination, love, pill, respect, might work. Love waning at the prospect of the next seduction of course...

So on balance, yes, it changed the landscape and I cannot imagine going back, another tool in the bag of individual choice always being a good thing.

Although, I would think the prevalence of STDs these days would provide impetus towards a bit more chastity than the hookup generation seems to exhibit.

But thankfully health care is now as free as love...

Posted by: mrbradwii | May 8, 2010 8:45 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"Adopted Persons

Andy Berlin - entrepreneur: chairman of Berlin Cameron & Partners
Anthony Williams - politician
Aristotle - philosopher
Art Linkletter - comedian
Bo Diddley - musician, performer
Buffy Sainte-Marie - musician, actress
Carl-Theodor Dreyer - Danish film director
Charlotte Anne Lopez - Miss Teen USA
Christina Crawford - author
Clarissa Pinkola Estes - author
Crazy Horse - Lakota war chief
Dan O'Brien - decathlete
Daunte Culpepper - football player
Dave Thomas - entrepreneur: founder of Wendy's
Debbie Harry - singer
D.M.C. - hip hop artist
Edgar Allan Poe - poet, writer
Edward Albee - playwright
Eleanor Roosevelt - First Lady
Eric Dickerson - athlete
Faith Daniels - news anchor
Faith Hill - country singer
Freddie Bartholomew - actor
George Washington Carver - inventor
Greg Louganis - athlete
James MacArthur - actor
James Michener - author
Jean Jacques Rousseau - philosopher
Jesse Jackson - minister
Jesus - adopted by Joseph the carpenter (Bible)
Jett Williams - country singer and author
Jim Palmer - athlete
John J. Audubon - naturalist
John Hancock - politician
John Lennon - musician
Langston Hughes - poet and writer
Larry Ellison - entrepreneur: chief executive of Oracle
Lee Majors - actor
Leo Tolstoy - writer
Les Brown - motivational speaker
Lynnette Cole - Miss USA 2000
Malcolm X - civil rights leader
Mark Acre - athlete
Matthew Laborteaux - actor
Melissa Gilbert - actress
Michael Reagan - author, talk show host
Moses - Biblical leader
Nancy Reagan - First Lady
Nat King Cole - singer
Nelson Mandela - politician
Patrick Labyorteaux - actor
Peter and Kitty Carruthers - figure skaters
President Gerald Ford - politician"

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 11:31 PM
Report Offensive Comment

www.mothershome.org

"Happy Mother's Day

We at Mothers' Home wish all mothers a blessed and happy Mothers Day!! What better way to honor Mom than with a financial gift to Mothers' Home? Your gift will honor the Mother in your life and encourage another Mother in need


Mission

As a residential shelter, Mothers' Home provides a safe haven for vulnerable, pregnant women in a crisis who choose life as a sacred gift.

We encourage our mothers to celebrate the joy of new life and help them prepare for their future and the future of their child.

We focus on physical, emotional and developmental needs including positive life skills, parenting, and job preparation.

We strive to assist our mothers to reach their goals of independence and self sufficiency.

About Mothers' Home

Located in Darby, Pennsylvania, Mothers' Home is a safe-haven for pregnant women and their children.

Hope through empowerment. Mothers' Home provides hope for up to 22 young adult women struggling to give birth in spite of rejection and abandonment. Mothers' Home is an opportunity for empowerment as the expectant mothers receive counseling, childbirth and parenting classes, job preparation programs, assistance in finding independent housing, and much more. Each year, approximately 40-50 new mothers come to live at Mothers' Home and most return with their babies after delivery."

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 11:26 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Check the web from the Times of Malta at http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100410/local/panda-print.

The link shows a picture of Pope Benedict on a billboard with two "panda" bears stenciled in at the bottom. The caption reads:

"Two billboards in Marsa advertising the Pope's visit to Malta got the unlikely addition of two stencilled images of what looks like a panda. It is not clear why the "artist" in question juxtaposed the bears with the Pope. The organising committee was alerted yesterday morning and it plans to erase the images."

Hint: They are NOT pandas. Gotta love it. LOL.

Posted by: 5amefa91 | May 7, 2010 10:12 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Ever notice that pro-lifers aren't really "pro-life." Their interest ends at birth and are no where near when an unwed, uneducated, unemployed teenaged mother witha three-year-old is on welfare and food stamps and some compassionate conservative tells her to go find a job.

Hypocrites!

Posted by: BigTrees | May 7, 2010 7:23 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Susan Jacoby,
Thank you! You refreshed my memories of the 60's: the high-school friend who disappeared for a year, another who had an illegal abortion and nearly died of sepsis, and yet another who "had to get married" and which undesired marriage was a disaster.
I remember what a change there was after oral contraceptives became available, as well as legal abortion. The world is a better place now, for these changes. It's hard to believe the number of troglodytes who would like to go back.

Posted by: joe6 | May 7, 2010 7:08 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control..."

If you think this, you're probably doing it wrong.

Posted by: PSolus | May 7, 2010 7:07 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"It’s not contraception itself that is the problem but the license to have sex whenever you want."

Having sex whenever one wants is never a problem.

"I’m fine with family planning and such, but we should always remember that the natural consequence of sex is children."

Not necessarily.

"This should be blessing and not a curse."

Again, not necessarily.

"But people have used “the pill” and other things selfishly. Not to plan for the best situation for their children but to avoid children altogether."

Avoiding children altogether is not necessarily selfish.

"This is not a good situation for anyone and it is showing."

Why is it not a good situation, and how is it showing?

"We won’t know all the consequences until it is over with."

When it is all over with, there will probably be nobody around to know all the consequences.

Posted by: PSolus | May 7, 2010 7:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The sole reason why churches ban abortion is their need to create, conserve a increase church income. If a conception is aborted, it won't live to become a believer who will tithe ten percent of lifetime income. It won't live to pay special fees for weddings, christenings, confirmations, church school & funerals. For the same reason,church law bans suicide--corpses don't tithe. Have you ever seen or heard clerics admit their church laws exist so they can make a living? In l973, the Court forced our civil power to stop enforcing church law banning abortion. That was Roe v Wade. Bans on contraception still exist and must all be nullified.

Posted by: auradawnveirsgmailcom | May 7, 2010 6:57 PM
Report Offensive Comment

'We are still the most puritanical society on earth and we are suffering from the feminization of America.'
_________

It looks like Alance may have missed the sexual revolution altogether, if he thinks we are 'suffering' because women have become more self-determining in any number of ways. Suffrage should not be equated with suffering.....

We're puritanical i.e. hung-up with and preoccupied by sex in unhealthy ways, because of our 'puritanical origins' and the continuing huge influence of religious mores inspired by fundamentalist thinking from both the Catholics and the Protestants (predominantly of the male gender, since they make the rules in religious organizations).

The very ones that missed the sexual revolution because they were too busy praying, weeping, and nashing their teeth at the thought of rampant 'unsanctioned' sex. And there was plenty!

Folks that are preoccupied with the sexual habits of others either work for a public health agency, or have a prurient interest in the human anatomy and how it should be employed for various sexual functions - according to their standards.

Anyway I was there way back in the 60's, and I remember it well - not the praying part, but the non-praying part.

All in all, I don't think 'puritanical' and 'feminization' belong together in the same sentence, but that's just me.

Personally, I'm all for immigration. The USA is and always has been an immigrant nation. High reproduction rates are to be applauded only if the accompanying lifestyle and society at large are enhanced thereby - and this is so often not the case.

If parents and offspring are living off of state and federal subsidies, that isn't helping pay for those Social Security benefits either.

Posted by: persiflage | May 7, 2010 6:45 PM
Report Offensive Comment

OFF TOPIC:

Athena, email me at lepidopteryx@yahoo.com. It's important.

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 7, 2010 6:38 PM
Report Offensive Comment

From the Guttmacher Institute:

Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

Method
Typical
Pill (combined) 8.7
Male condom 17.4

(The RCC approved methods below from the same report)

Calendar/rythym 9.0 –
Ovulation Method 3.0 –
Sympto-thermal 2.0 –
Post-ovulation 1.0 –

And once again comments from the real Susan Jacoby posted last year:

"From this day forward, I will never respond to any comment, on any subject, from anyone who has brought up the screen name issue in any way pertaining to me or anyone else. Next week, I hope to be able to comment in this space on serious issues involving faith and reason.

I remain, as always,

The real Susan Jacoby
By Susan Jacoby | May 4, 2009; 2:47 PM ET "

Note: At the time, the imposter was using the screen name SUSAN_JACOBY

So apparently the comments noted at the times listed below from a SUSAN_JACOBY were from someone else.

Posted by: SUSAN_JACOBY| May 7, 2010 3:00 PM

Posted by: SUSAN_JACOBY| May 7, 2010 4:59 PM

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 6:09 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The Pill has robbed Peter to pay Paul. In western nations fertility is way down - endangering the social covenant between generations. My selfish lack of children is endangering the next generation - by not being able to provide social security -- by not being able to provide old age assistance.
Why has no one studied demography?

Mexico is a funnel that is saving America's behind. It is funneling a mixed population of White European, African and Native Americans into our nation with a much higher fertility rate steeped by 500 years of Catholicism and raising our national fertility rates to we are at least replacing ourselves. Of course we could also raise the retirement age to 75.

Posted by: alance | May 7, 2010 5:32 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"Potential cost of unwanted pregnancy:
Woman: $500-1000
Man: 15% of gross income (not tax-deductible) for 18 years"
In case you missed it, Mark, the mother will also be on the hook for the cost of raising a child for 18 years, if she opts to keep the baby.

Exactly. SHE has the $500 option if SHE wants it.

Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 5:22 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The Pill has helped millions of women all over the world control their fertility, which has raised the life expectancy and quality of life for impoverished nations. The less children a woman has, the more resources she has to give to the ones that she does raise. Children are better fed, have better water, health care, and can go to school.

If you want proof of this, look at countries where they have family planning programs, versus ones where contraception is banned because of religion. The ones with the family planning programs are doing much better.

Posted by: Athena4 | May 7, 2010 5:09 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"Imperfect use" is the best standard for all statistics on birth control effectiveness, because everyone makes mistakes. What makes "fertility awareness" so much less effective than the pill is that the former is much more complicated, and the opportunities to make mistakes are therefore multiplied. If you want to take a 25 percent chance of becoming pregnant if you make an error, be my guest.

I am not impressed by the word "natural." It used to be "natural" for tens of thousands of children to die of polio, just as it was "natural" for the Catholic mothers of my childhood to have seven to ten children because they were forbidden by their religion to use any method of birth control that worked. Anyone who longs for that "natural" state is quite welcome to embrace it.

Posted by: Susan_Jacoby | May 7, 2010 4:59 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Too bad Susan's mom didn't have access to oral contraceptives in the 1940s. Sexual politics get so tiresome and boring.

It ain't nice to mess with mother nature. Not only do we get bombarded with dangerous chemicals, we also get bombarded with dangerous hormones - including birth control and menopause pills. They are added to our meat, dairy, and eggs courtesy of Big Chem and Big Pharm. They do a lot of harm, screw up our bodies and cause cancer years down the road of life. An IUD is much safer.

The sexual revolution was a cultural phenomena of the 1960s and 1970s. We celebrated our sexuality for the first time until it was co-opted by religion and the media. We are still the most puritanical society on earth and we are suffering from the feminization of America.

Posted by: alance | May 7, 2010 4:40 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Addendum 2: (first addendum was typed in too much of a hurry.)

All stats from the studies I quoted are "perfect use" stats.

Those who observe basal body temperature also sensation and sometimes cervical position in addition to cervical mucus. (Added for the sake of accuracy.)

Posted by: eamc | May 7, 2010 4:38 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Addendum: As I see there is some confusion. Using basal body temperature *only* as a method of fertility awareness would indeed have limited use (both for avoiding and achieving pregnancy.)

I am not personally aware of any such method.

All methods that use temperature (that I am aware of) also rely on cervical mucus observation. Cervical mucus is a primary fertility indicator and of much more use than basal body temperature.

Posted by: eamc | May 7, 2010 4:31 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Ms. Jacoby wrote: "No, "fertility awareness" is not more effective than what used to be called "rhythm." Whether you count days or go through an elaborate rigamarole to detect the "observable" signs of phases in the menstrual cycle, the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is unacceptably high."

This is a direct quote from Planned Parenthood's website, emphasis mine (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/fertility-awareness-4217.htm): "Between 12 and 25 out of every 100 couples who use FAMs each year will have a pregnancy if they don't always use the method correctly or consistently. ***Always practicing these methods correctly will make them more effective***."

I use this quote because I presume Ms. Jacoby will accept the validity of the source.

This area of science is, unfortunately for women, highly politicized. As such, it is difficult to find properly constructed studies that funded *solely* by secular sources.

According to "Contraceptive Technology" (2000 edition ISBN 0-9664902-6-6) the failure rate for the rhythm method appropriately used is 9%.

For a properly constructed study showing the effectiveness of *one* fertility awareness method (there are many), see: "Effectiveness and acceptability of the symptothermal method of natural family planning in German American Journal of obstetrics and gynecology 165 (6 part 2) pgs. 2052-254".

It lists the failure rate of this method as 2-3%.

Posted by: eamc | May 7, 2010 4:28 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Lepidopteryx,
You certainly miss the point. When I talk about Children that is what I mean and one only has to look at the physical and mental state of our current children to see something isn’t right. We have more single parents that ever before. Many children don’t know their fathers and are forced to live with adults that aren’t their parents. There is a severe lack of parenting from about every angle. Even "good" parents just don’t seem to have time from their children like they used to.

There is a real lack of parenting going on in this age and it can largely be traced back to the sexual revolution and contraception. Both men and women were told that they could have sex when they wanted to without children. Of course, this has just let to more unwanted children and not less and this doesn’t even take into account abortion. Now fathers (and sometimes mothers) regularly abandon children since they never wanted them in the first place. Mother’s are far less concerned about raising children then their careers and it shows.

It’s not contraception itself that is the problem but the license to have sex whenever you want. I’m fine with family planning and such, but we should always remember that the natural consequence of sex is children. This should be blessing and not a curse. But people have used “the pill” and other things selfishly. Not to plan for the best situation for their children but to avoid children altogether. This is not a good situation for anyone and it is showing. We won’t know all the consequences until it is over with.

Posted by: kert1 | May 7, 2010 4:21 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Addendum: The unreliability of "fertility awareness" is demonstrated not only by the high rate of unplanned pregnancy among couples who practice it but by its failure, in most cases, to work for couples with infertility problems. In both instances, the methods used to determine when a woman is ovulating--for opposite purposes--are highly uncertain. Taking one's temperature to pinpoint ovulation ("fertility awareness") is only marginally more accurate than counting the days (rhythm).

Posted by: Susan_Jacoby | May 7, 2010 4:17 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Er, I meant to write "hear hear!". But you get my drift...

Posted by: rosefarm1 | May 7, 2010 4:14 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"But there is a huge difference between promiscuity--which implies indiscriminate sex--and having a number of selected sexual partners before marriage."

Let's have some truth here: either style of fornication significantly increases the likelihood that the future marriage will end in divorce, and the marriages are unhappier while they last (see: http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=YjMwMjM3ZWU1MTdhOTY1MDE2M2Y5MDFlYjhmZGIxYzg= ). In other words, the traditional advice to be chaste before marriage is extremely, undeniably reality-based. You can say it's not an easy choice to make today, but you CANNOT say it's a bad or irrational choice.

Second and third marriages have progressively much higher rates of divorce, and a marriage preceded by one or more short-term pseudo-marriages is likelier from the get-go to end in divorce (seems like these relationships aren't good training for lifelong commitment, fidelity and self sacrifice--go figure!). Divorce is hard on the woman and man, it's especially hard on the children.

Posted by: elizdelphi | May 7, 2010 4:12 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Wow, what a worthy and insightful article. It actually made me a little "verklempt" to reflect on what the impact that the inventors/supporters of the pill had on my life and the lives of all the women I know. (The beer I had at lunch might also have increased the emotionality of the moment.

Thank goodness for reproductive freedom and Happy Mother's Day! And here! here! to their legacy. :)

Posted by: rosefarm1 | May 7, 2010 4:08 PM
Report Offensive Comment

agapn9

You seemed depressed. No one can see the future.

Posted by: DanielintheLionsDen | May 7, 2010 3:58 PM
Report Offensive Comment

'It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. Are "full-proof" methods of birth control responsible for some of this??'
_____________

This kind of thinking seems better suited to an octogenarion Catholic monk that spends most of his time thinking about the 'sexual activities' of other people - when he should be praying for his own deliverance.

In the end, both activities are about equally constructive.....

Posted by: persiflage | May 7, 2010 3:49 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I'm amazed to read comments from people to don't support contraception or believe that it has a negative impact on society.

I get the Catholic thing. I think it's a misguided application of scripture, but I at least get it.

But arguments that contraception has a negative impact on children or the concept of parenthood catch me off guard. Didn't see it coming.

Sadly, the comments from male posters did not surprise me. The concept of feminism scares some (insecure) men.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 7, 2010 3:47 PM
Report Offensive Comment

It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. Are "full-proof" methods of birth control responsible for some of this??


from the CDC-2006

"Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll.

Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. (Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes, 4/18/2010 described them as anti-desire pills). And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, ovalation methods, birth control pills, condoms and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???

From the Guttmacher Institute:

"Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

Method
Typical
Pill (combined) 8.7
Tubal sterilization 0.7
Male condom 17.4
Vasectomy 0.2

Periodic abstinence – 25.3
Calendar 9.0 –
Ovulation Method 3.0 –
Sympto-thermal 2.0 –
Post-ovulation 1.0 –

No method 85.0"

(Abstinence) 0

(Masturbation) 0

i.e. if condoms fail to protect one from an unplanned pregnancy 17.4% of the time, they sure will not "full/fool"-proof protecting someone from getting a STD. Maybe B16 got something right for a change??

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 3:14 PM
Report Offensive Comment

What is happening? This is the second time I find myself agreeing totally with one of Jacoby's articles. Thanks for writing my thoughts.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | May 7, 2010 3:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

"Remeember that it used to be LAWFUL for employers to simly not hire women because the could get pregnat, ie, have overies"

It also was lawful to FIRE a woman who got MARRIED.

"As a woman, I realize how my past use of birth control was both a symptom and cause of some real disorder in my own life."

What? YOU didn't make decisions that you regretted afterwards--it was all due to taking a pill that prevented contraception?

"Potential cost of unwanted pregnancy:
Woman: $500-1000
Man: 15% of gross income (not tax-deductible) for 18 years"

In case you missed it, Mark, the mother will also be on the hook for the cost of raising a child for 18 years, if she opts to keep the baby. Sounds as though men have just as much of a reason to invest in and properly use contraceptives as women do.

Posted by: Skowronek | May 7, 2010 3:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

No, "fertility awareness" is not more effective than what used to be called "rhythm." Whether you count days or go through an elaborate rigamarole to detect the "observable" signs of phases in the menstrual cycle, the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is unacceptably high. That is, unless you consider 1 out of 4 women batting pregnant accidentally in a calendar year acceptable.

Posted by: Susan_Jacoby | May 7, 2010 3:00 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Just one more voice to point out that Fertility Awareness Method/Natural Family Planning is *not* "the Rhythm Method."

The outmoded Rhythm Method was a method for avoiding pregnancy based on counting calendar days. It was ineffective because the timing of events in women's cycles are not identical.

FAM/NFP are based on tracking observable primary and secondary signs of fertility as they happen. FAM/NFP *does not* involve counting calendar days.

FAM/NFP is based on sound, accepted scientific knowledge of observable changes in a woman's body caused by measurable cyclical changes in a woman's hormone levels.

Statistics on FAM/NFP use (like those Planned Parenthood gives) do not take into account incomplete use of the method (an equivalent would be studies on the Pill that included women who did not take it as directed.) When used appropriately most FAM/NFP methods have effectiveness equivalent to hormonal contraception. Further FAM/NFP, unlike hormonal contraceptives, have zero environmental impact.

Both Ms. Jacoby and Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of promoting ignorant misconceptions instead of sound science out of prejudice. This does not serve the interests of women in the slightest.

Posted by: eamc | May 7, 2010 2:06 PM
Report Offensive Comment

WOW! It sounds like several, obviously men, commenters here have some personal axes to grind.

Posted by: giscone | May 7, 2010 1:46 PM
Report Offensive Comment

'The pill has cured females of unwanted pregnancies. It hasn't cured society of irresponsible females.'
___________

Nor have we found a pill to cure the stupidity, willfulness and greed of men i.e. wars, Wall Street, pedophilia, religious terrorism, violent crime, deadbeat dads, abusive husbands, and on and on.

Truly speaking, men are at the crux of most of our societal ills....wherever we look. I don't need to hear the arguments on our behalf to know the other side of the story.....

Posted by: persiflage | May 7, 2010 1:22 PM
Report Offensive Comment

She doesn't seem to even mention the effect the pill has had on children, and the idea of being a mother or father. She might want to do some research on what the pill has done to family as well. I don't think the results are as encouraging. I guess that doesn't matter if women get to do more of what they want.
Posted by: kert1 |


What effect does the Pill have on children? They aren't the ones taking it, unless they're sexually active teens, in which case, I would rather see teenage girls on the Pill than teenage girls having babies.
How does a couple preventing babies they don't want while not depriving themselves of sexual intimacy harm their families? I would think that the families would be harmed by the addition of unwanted children or more children than they can adequately provide for.
The Pill doesn't keep people from becoming parents, it helps them to avoid becoming parents until they feel they are ready to become parents.
There are some people who have no desire to ever become parents. Should their only options be either surgical sterilization or lifelong celibacy?

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 7, 2010 1:20 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Pregnancy and motherhood are still convenient escapes for professional women. When broadcast anchor Bob Woodruff was nearly killed in Iraq and the duty of leadership fell to Elizabeth Vargas, she got pregnant and quit. When the Abu Ghraib scandal seemed certain to send soldiers to prison for a long time, Lindy English faced her courts-martial as an expectant mother.
In each instance, these women first demanded equality in hiring and promotion and then used their reproductive right as an excuse to avoid a professional challenge they didn't want.
The pill has cured females of unwanted pregnancies. It hasn't cured society of irresponsible females.
Posted by: blasmaic
_________
This is the most blatent mysoginistic comment here. News flash - women are still the only ones who can get pregnant and have children! Women didn't "run" from professional challenges, they try to balance work and child rearing as best they can, often working 40+ hours and then doing a majority of child raising, house chores,etc. Remeember that it used to be LAWFUL for employers to simly not hire women because the could get pregnat, ie, have overies. When a women is pregnant, her mind doesn't stop working! As a man, I coul dnot imagine going through a hard pregnancy where I was bed ridden, had complications, etc. You, sir, are what the world has tried to grow beyond in the last 50 years.

Posted by: cadam72 | May 7, 2010 1:19 PM
Report Offensive Comment

In each instance, these women first demanded equality in hiring and promotion and then used their reproductive right as an excuse to avoid a professional challenge they didn't want.

The pill has cured females of unwanted pregnancies. It hasn't cured society of irresponsible females.


amen

Posted by: mloaks | May 7, 2010 12:55 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Potential cost of unwanted pregnancy:

Woman: $500-1000

Man: 15% of gross income (not tax-deductible) for 18 years
=======================

what good is the pill if women wont use it? or worse, lie about it?

Posted by: mloaks | May 7, 2010 12:51 PM
Report Offensive Comment

She doesn't seem to even mention the effect the pill has had on children, and the idea of being a mother or father. She might want to do some research on what the pill has done to family as well. I don't think the results are as encouraging. I guess that doesn't matter if women get to do more of what they want.

Posted by: kert1 | May 7, 2010 12:47 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The pill, however has a pregnancy risk of only 1 per cent risk if used correctly, rising to 8 per cent if used incorrectly. ...

if used correctly!
most men with unwanted kids were told by lying or stupid fems they were on the pill

Posted by: mloaks | May 7, 2010 12:41 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | May 7, 2010 12:28 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I can respect the author's opinions. But I have no idea why this is a blog titled "On Faith."

Posted by: Jumpy66 | May 7, 2010 12:19 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Fertility awareness methods (usually termed "natural family planning") are absolutely NOT THE SAME THING as the old "rhythm method". The fertility awareness methods are actually very effective when practiced correctly, moreover statistics indicate that the couples who practice them have a remarkably low divorce rate and typically report that "natural family planning" is very good for their marriage. It's natural, it entails no ongoing cost, and it's not by any means just for Catholics, it's for ANYONE who wants an effective way to space their pregnancies, that's good for their marriage, without using hormones or devices.

Learn more here:
http://www.bygpub.com/natural/natural-family-planning.htm

There is a big difference between fertility awareness methods, and the ineffective "rhythm method", and they should not be confused. Fertility awareness methods work even for women with irregular cycles. To practice natural family planning (the most common term for fertility awareness methods) effectively, for instance the sympto-thermal method, or the Billings ovulation method, requires some diligence and usually women who want to practice these methods seek some training from health professionals, a friend of mine is a nurse and NFP instructor, she does classes on NFP and then does private follow up sessions with the women to check that they're practicing it correctly. It's not like popping a pill, it's more like an art that you learn.

NFP is based not on calendar timing based on the last menstural period, but on monitoring and charting the body's own signs that indicate accurately when the woman is ovulating, for instance the stretchiness of the cervical mucous.

Isn't it sad for women and men that fertility gets to be treated as something to be surgically excised or medicated away? Fertility awareness methods let you hold off on becoming a parent, in a way that really respects the body of a healthy woman, and doesn't treat her fertility as a sickness, which is really a terribly anti-woman attitude that has contributed a lot to the objectivization of bodies and commodification of sex.

As a woman, I realize how my past use of birth control was both a symptom and cause of some real disorder in my own life. And the social consequences of birth control and the amount of disintegration of family life in developed countries, and all the sad consequences of sexuality without responsibility and often without love, is profound and striking.

Posted by: elizdelphi | May 7, 2010 12:16 PM
Report Offensive Comment

What are the consequences of a low birth rate?

Well just look at Europe soon to disappear and become part of the Islamic world - by 2035 muslims will be in control of half of Europe - sounds great doesn't - especially when you consider that three of the nations they will control Germany, Britian, and France have nuclear weapons. What fun!

But don't worry most of us will be dead then and the children we should have had - they will be dead too.

Posted by: agapn9 | May 7, 2010 12:07 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I agree and I am really surprised at Steinem for saying such a thing.

EDBYRONADAMS, what on earth are you talking about??? How would the availability of contraception have anything to do with decreasing women's choice to raise children in a 2 parent household? Are you intimating that since women can control their fertility, men won't marry them or something? I mean, why?

Posted by: catherine3 | May 7, 2010 12:06 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Sorry, that should be fallacy.

Posted by: Magnesium | May 7, 2010 11:54 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Actually, Susan, the Fertility Awareness Method is not the Rhythm method at all. the Rhythm method assumes that all women ovulate on Day 14. FAM assumes no such thing, but gives you the information to be able to determine exactly when ovulation occurs, which is different for all women.

Please do not continue to perpetuate this fallacty.

Posted by: Magnesium | May 7, 2010 11:53 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Potential cost of unwanted pregnancy:

Woman: $500-1000

Man: 15% of gross income (not tax-deductible) for 18 years

Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 11:37 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"With the exception of a committed couple in a long-term, monogamous relationship, there is no situation in which a man has as great a stake in preventing an unwanted pregnancy as a woman."

This is just false. A woman can terminate a pregnancy for not fitting her life-plan; a man is stuck with at least the financial responsibilities of parenthood if his partner wants him to.

Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 9:52 AM
------------
WmarkW,

It may or may not be just false but your logic is faulty. I think you need to re read the passage again. The passage made a statement that women have a greater incentative then men to PREVENT pregancy. The logic you gave to dispute that statement is faulty because if a women is making a decision to have an abortion then we've moved pass the point of PREVENTING a pregancy since the pregnancy has already occured to another decision point TERMINATING a pregancy. Terminating a pregancy is preventing birth. It is definitely not preventing pregnancy.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | May 7, 2010 11:34 AM
Report Offensive Comment

I agreed with much of what you said and think the Pill should take its place in history as an historical development. BUT, your statement "The pill is the only reversible method of birth control that, when used properly, provides near-certain protection." is false. The IUD, either hormonal or nonhormonal, has an efficacy rate similar to the Pill, with little to no opportunity for human error. Furthermore, many new hormonal contraceptive methods like the NuvaRing deliver the hormones that are in the pill in ways that are designed to limit the opportunity for mistakes. While the Pill deserves its due, too many people think it's the only option.

Posted by: mindys2000 | May 7, 2010 11:23 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"Today I am Episcopalian and there are no rules on birth control in our faith."

Yeah, I've often thought that the Episcopal church is what the Catholic church would be if the laity ran it. I'm surprised it isn't growing from Catholic converts.

Of course, having high education levels, its cradle members either became secular or more conservative. It used to be called "The Republican Party at prayer," but the last three elections that party has nominated a cradle member who converted to a denomination more amenable to Southerners.

Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 10:55 AM
Report Offensive Comment

As a college woman who was Roman Catholic, I had to have the requisite "women problems" to justify my use of birth control as I was in a committed relationship with someone to whom I was engaged. I knew many friends whose mothers didn't require such an excuse and ensured their girls to be protected as they understood the realities of the world. How hypocritical of Catholics, many of whom ensure their children are protected, but do not stand up to a church that contributes to the spread of AIDS throughout Africa by refusing to distribute condoms.

There is no doubt that the Pill has allowed a great deal of freedom from women. My father's mother had fourteen children and lived a life of abject poverty, though she was incredibly well educated. I watch those families that have many, many children (19 and counting comes to mind) where the younger girls are de facto junior mommies who do not see all the possibilities of life that their male siblings have, because they too are expected to follow in their mother's footsteps (as the Father-led Bible study tells them).

Today I am Episcopalian and there are no rules on birth control in our faith. The Anglican church leaves us to our God-given hearts and minds to decide what works for us. The Pill simply allows women to have a better voice in that decision. Thank you writer and Sanger et al.

Posted by: bayougirl | May 7, 2010 10:42 AM
Report Offensive Comment

As reported,
Booms often fail in preventing spilled oil from getting into restricted areas.

What's the solution? stop drilling? NEVER!
Dispersal chemicals? hard on the environment.
Relief wells? on 2nd thought

The earth gave us an option.

Posted by: EarthCraft | May 7, 2010 10:35 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Some facts about contraception from the Guttmacher Institute:

www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

January 2008

WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

• 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

• 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a contraceptive method.[2]

• The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use contraceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

WHO USES CONTRACEPTIVES?

• Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.[2](and men?)

• Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

• 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had intercourse; or are not sexually active.[2]

• Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.[2] (and men?)

• Among the 42 million fertile, sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.[2] (and men?)

WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?

• 64% of reproductive-age women who practice contraception use reversible methods, such as oral contraceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 10:28 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES

Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

Method Typical

Pill (combined) 8.7
Tubal sterilization 0.7
Male condom 17.4
Vasectomy 0.2

Periodic abstinence – 25.3
Calendar 9.0 –
Ovulation Method 3.0 –
Sympto-thermal 2.0 –
Post-ovulation 1.0 –

No method 85.0"

(Abstinence) 0

(Masturbation) 0

More facts about contraceptives from

www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

"CONTRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE

Contraceptive method use among U.S. women who practice contraception, 2002

Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
Pill 11,661 30.6
Male condom 6,841 18.0 "

Some calculations based on the above:

The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
x 62 million (# child bearing women)
x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

1,020,000 unwanted pregnancies
during the first year of pill use.

For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

1,200,000 unwanted pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

The Guttmacher Institute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
(35,000 unwanted pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unwanted pregnancies.

And the abortion rate in the USA? CDC data:

on average: one million/yr

Posted by: YEAL9 | May 7, 2010 10:27 AM
Report Offensive Comment

How many women of The Greatest Generation married men so that they could have sex, which is a natural instinct? How many of them were then trapped in loveless or incorrect pairings because of children produced and their not having job skills to go out and produce for and protect themselves? How many women married as virgins to men they believed they loved to find out that the sex was awful, or abusive or incompatible? I fell in love HARD three times before I actually married, thank God the Pill allowed me to make those mistakes and find my life partner and best friend.

Posted by: poppysue85 | May 7, 2010 10:25 AM
Report Offensive Comment

I'd still vote for antibiotics, clean water supplies, and immunization as the scientific advances that "did more good for more people than any other invention of the 20th century." We who can afford to be casual about common infectious diseases, fevers, and germs, have little or no sense of how even a minor illness or infection at most times and places -- and even today in too many parts of the world -- could wipe out several children in a family, turn childbirth into a funeral of both mother and baby, or deprive a family of a breadwinner almost overnight.

In spite of the preoccupations of privileged 20th century feminists about autonomy and sexual emancipation, the actual survival of loved ones is an even graver and more basic human concern.

And it is well documented that without antibiotics, hygiene and immunization to insure that the vast majority of children will survive and grow up, women do not have the same confidence to limit the number of children they conceive and bear.

Posted by: herzliebster | May 7, 2010 10:23 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Gloria Steinem must be suffering from dementia. Birth control pills represented a seachange for reproductive rights and freedom of choice for women, not to mention more effective population control in the broad sense.

Unfortunately all methods of birth control in third world countries are hit or miss, or are simply avoided altogether because of cultural prohibitions, etc.

And as Susan mentions, the monumentally meddlesome Catholic Church, with their disinformation and blanket pronouncements against conventional birth control of any kind, have been singularly obstructive in the general employment of birth control in populations where it's needed most.

Even here in the USA, pharmacists with religious reservations mitigate against the use of birth control i.e. morning after pills, etc. My own feeling is that if pharmacists have a problem with certain prescription medications for 'ethical' reasons, they should be required by law to refer patients on to more accomodating pharmacists.

But chances are, birth control has always been practiced by a significant number of Catholic women in modern Western societies.

It's probable that more educated, career-oriented women have been the most dedicated and consistent users of oral contraception.

I've known a number of women that actively chose against having children, and I doubt that many have regrets about that decision in their 50's and beyond.

Other birth control methods are not as effective and are often associated with undesirable side effects (the IUD, as an example). Monthly injections and patches (for both men and women) seem to be a wave of the future. The downside to oral contraception is estrogen sensitivity and the possible association with an increased risk of breast cancer.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives

Posted by: persiflage | May 7, 2010 10:16 AM
Report Offensive Comment

This was a nice history lesson and women should be thankful for the pill. The author is right. What I want to know though is how much feminism is helping the human race in the sense that women are having more and more choice about with whom they want to conceive. The more women have a say in childbirth the more the human race comes to be a reflection of their genetic choices of male partner. Are women more careful than men in their choice of partner? If so, feminism could be a gigantic boost to the evolution of the human race. But of course if it is demonstrated that women are not only arriving at more and more choice in conception but are altering the human race by choice of partner there will be a backlash against feminism by men who are just not up to grade, are not considered fit partners by women...Or is it that women make worse choices when it comes to partners than men? I personally find it difficult to believe women make worse choices than men when it comes to partners because men do not so much make bad choices as have sex with anything which moves thus having children by everyone and anyone.

Posted by: daniel12 | May 7, 2010 10:14 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Pregnancy and motherhood are still convenient escapes for professional women. When broadcast anchor Bob Woodruff was nearly killed in Iraq and the duty of leadership fell to Elizabeth Vargas, she got pregnant and quit. When the Abu Ghraib scandal seemed certain to send soldiers to prison for a long time, Lindy English faced her courts-martial as an expectant mother.

In each instance, these women first demanded equality in hiring and promotion and then used their reproductive right as an excuse to avoid a professional challenge they didn't want.

The pill has cured females of unwanted pregnancies. It hasn't cured society of irresponsible females.

Posted by: blasmaic | May 7, 2010 10:11 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Thank you for expressing my thoughts exactly, although I could never have done it nearly so well, Susan. I never cease to marvel at people's antagonistic-keep-the-little-woman-barefoot-and-pregnant-attitudes, in general. Sexism is sexism, no matter where it rears its ugly head.

Posted by: sonya2 | May 7, 2010 10:11 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Ed, how exactly does the Pill reduce the ability of women who want to raise children in two-parent homes o do so? Does it prevent them from marrying? Are they forced to take it? Or are you simply upset that it reduces the number of "Oops" babies available for adoption? I suspect it's the latter. FYI, there are LOTS of older children in foster care who would love to have permanent parents. There is no shortage of children available for adoption.

Posted by: lepidopteryx | May 7, 2010 9:55 AM
Report Offensive Comment

With the exception of a committed couple in a long-term, monogamous relationship, there is no situation in which a man has as great a stake in preventing an unwanted pregnancy as a woman.

This is just false. A woman can terminate a pregnancy for not fitting her life-plan; a man is stuck with at least the financial responsibilities of parenthood if his partner wants him to.

Posted by: WmarkW | May 7, 2010 9:52 AM
Report Offensive Comment

"It led to life control for many but to sorrow for others. I know so many women who long for a child to raise in a two parent household but find the contemporary world, dramatically remade by the invention of effective contraceptives, one that does not make such a dream seem possible."

How do contraceptives prevent a woman from marrying a man, getting pregnant, and raising the child with her husband?

Posted by: PSolus | May 7, 2010 9:48 AM
Report Offensive Comment

It led to life control for many but to sorrow for others. I know so many women who long for a child to raise in a two parent household but find the contemporary world, dramatically remade by the invention of effective contraceptives, one that does not make such a dream seem possible.

Some go on to raise children alone, a difficult choice. Some go into their older years with a profound sadness.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 7, 2010 9:05 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Post a Comment


 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company