Re: Time article and letter to editor

Date: Mon 08 Sep 2003 - 04:26:16 GMT

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    In a message dated 9/7/2003 5:54:11 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

    > Subj: RE: Time article and letter to editor
    > Date: 9/7/2003 5:54:11 PM Central Daylight Time
    > From: (Brad Jensen)
    > Sender:
    > Reply-to:
    > To:
    > > Hi Scott.
    > >
    > > I don't think Keith was suggesting forcible birth control.
    > > Rather, he seems to be referring to the Bush
    > > administrations blockage of UN and USAID funding to
    > > organizations that give women the option to practice
    > > contraception.
    > If you are including abortion as 'contraception', I think
    > You are correct.
    > > Much of the religious right here in the US
    > > regards such things as condoms as being morally wrong, and
    > > consider abstinence to be the only legitimate option for
    > > birth control.
    > Much of? 20%? The Catholics have it as a religious tenet,
    > which most Catholics ignore. I'm trying to imagine 'such things as
    > condoms'.

    Condensing such a large topic into a single sentence necessarily involves generalities. The reason for the words
    "such things as" is not to with trying to adhere to "a whole style of vaguespeak," but rather, as an indication that there is more involved here than simple direct taboos against using condoms. There is also widespread dislike over efforts to merely discuss condoms, especially with people not yet married. Some view it as a promotion of promiscuity. Others see it as relating to taboos against
    "spilling the seed on the ground," a taboo applied to some other birth control behaviors as well. Others view non-parental efforts to educate people about condoms as a challenge to parental authority or a threat to "the family." And there are also those who object to any kind of government involvement in education about condoms, not so much due to religious, sexual, or family morality concerns as due to ideas about proper roles of governments. The latter, of course, are not all among the "religious right." These various objections have gained enough collective prevalence and influence in recent years to affect US government policies both domestically and internationally. And on top of that, there is also the abortion issue, another complex dispute whose effects spill over onto policies relating to policies on unplanned, badly planned, or compulsory conception as well as HIV transmission. But again, I am not seeking a broad listserver discussion of so many issues, but merely pointing out that Keith Henson's post might well have referred to things other than what Scott Chase construed.

    > There's a whole style of vaguespeak in making these arguments.
    > > The problem is that in the most conservative Islamic
    > > societies, women do not have a right to abstinence from
    > > marriage. They must accept the husbands their fathers
    > > arrange for them. Once married, they effectively lack any
    > > right to refuse sex from their husbands, too. Such women
    > > lack the right to abstinence that is generally taken for
    > > granted in the US. (Many also lack other basic rights, such
    > > as the right to refuse beatings by their husbands.) They
    > > also often lack the right to decide how any of the
    > > household money is spent, too. This effectively gives them
    > > no right to spend household money on such things as
    > > contraception. Under such circumstances, the only "right to
    > > choose" if available at all, is supplied by charities,
    > > including population programs. These include programs that
    > > receive UN and US funds.
    > Since that same dountrodden woman can't go ther eto get those things
    > unless her husband or a male relative takes her, I don't think she
    > is going to be liming up at the door.

    There actually are programs that get around the severe restrictions. Women who do have their husbands' permissions to go out without spousal or male relative escort have been able to visit the homes of other women who do not have such permission from their husbands, and they have even been able to do so while the husband was at work. Women thus visited have received education and contraceptive products this way, including some long-lasting contraceptives they can use without their husbands' knowledge. Scaling up such programs does, however, incur risks of angering husbands and religious authorities. Such programs might also be impossible in some times and places, such as Afghanistan when it was under Taliban rule.

    > > Women who want to choose not to have a fifth child (etc.)
    > > often want to stop having children because the feel they
    > > cannot afford to have children. In many cases, they cannot
    > > even afford contraception. The question is often one of
    > > whether women who do not feel they can even afford cheap
    > > contraception can afford something as expensive as another
    > > compulsory childbirth, and whether or not these women
    > > should have any say in the matter at all.
    > >
    > > --Aaron Lynch
    > I don't hink abortion should be illegal, but I don't think it
    > should be encouraged as a method of contraception either.
    > Brad Jensen

    --Aaron Lynch

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