Religious-right groups have insisted that requiring health insurance to cover birth control at no cost to women will lead to higher incidences of sexual risk-taking and sexually transmitted infections. Now an extensive new study shows those arguments are a load of bunkum.
USA Today reports about the study:
Women and teen girls participating in a study that provided free birth control did not take up riskier sexual practices as a result, contrary to fears among some social conservatives, a new report says.
The participants were less likely to have sex with more than one man after the program began. And though they did have sex a bit more often, they were no more likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases, according to results published online Thursday in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The same study, involving 9,256 girls and women in the St. Louis area, previously showed the free birth control program dramatically reduced abortions and unintended pregnancies.
The latest findings should dispel “the idea that the only thing standing between women and promiscuity is a fear of pregnancy,” says project director Gina Secura, a researcher at Washington University.
But, as usual, science and real facts aren’t silencing critics on the religious right. The same USA Today article quotes a spokesperson from the Family Research Council:
Arina Grossu, director of the council’s Center for Human Dignity, says she finds the new study unconvincing and believes more contraception does lead to more risky sex. “Contraception gives women a false sense of safety” from pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, she says. “Women think they are completely protected, and they are not.”
So Grossu simply repeats talking points that real evidence shows are simply not true. Big surprise. The religious right’s campaign against birth control, just like sex education, has always been based largely on distortions and scare tactics. That’s unlikely to change, no matter what the facts say.
12 thoughts on “Shocker: Religious Right Rejects New Study Showing Key Anti-Birth Control Argument Is Wrong”
Gee, can it be inferred from this study that women & girls who receive free birth control materials (which would include birth control INFORMATION) might concurrently get better INFORMED on STDs — how they are transmitted, prevented, etc.? Win-win!
You cannot ‘argue’ or ‘convince’ these folks of anything because it is their ‘belief system’…as in religion, as in absolute…
and if you don’t believe like them, then you are the enemy.
They’ll just make up their own alternate-reality “facts”.
Don’t forget that for these people STDs and unintended (teen) pregnancies are features not bugs. The wages of sex are kids and those of sin (=sex) are (=should be) death come hell and high water. The British tried it for their armed forces in India in what became known as ‘the order that made the army rot’ (ban on marrying local women, closing regulated brothels and doing a don’t-ask-don’t-tell on STDs => in not much time the de facto fighting strength went into a death spiral because soldiers got infected, did not know what happened to them and got no info or treatment*).
*not to forget that it was the pre-antibiotics era anyway
In my opinion, one of the chief goals of the Religious Right is to stigmatize sexual behavior off all kinds, whether within marriage or not, and stuff all of it into the dark closet where it resided prior to about 1965. One of the major things I remember from growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s is that every adult person I knew regarded sex (in any form or fashion) as NASTY. Just as one does not allow others to closely examine the wiped poop on their morning toilet paper, even talking about sex was considered to be bad, and you would never do it in any sort of public arena and most assuredly nowhere down South. The Religious Right seeks a return to these days.
Charles: As the old joke goes, sex is filthy and disgusting and should be saved for the one you love.
Early on in the anti-abortion movement, right after Roe v Wade, some weekly news magazine (was 20/20 around then?)interviewed members of the movement, and found out that virtually all of them didn’t just want to stop abortion, but they wanted to stop the “sexual revolution” in its tracks, including sex ed, contraception, sex outside of marriage, etc. They should pull up some of those old clips from where this all started and revisit the history of the prudes.
Speaking to Dan and David, I do no think that many people on our side are advocating for fornication or sex gone wild and out of control. God sat down at his drawing board and designed male and female “noonoos” and brought them into being through the evolutionary process. If He was not ashamed to design them and not too busy to invest several million years of his own time into evolving them so he could say, “That’s good.” Then why on Earth and a billion exoplanets would He expect Christians or anyone else to define them and their purpose as “nasty and filthy”? It takes the idiots on the Religious Right to overrule God and turn his creation into something bad.
Very well put, Charles. I think it is instructive to put the debate on the Religious Right’s own terms, as you did. Of course, they won’t get it. I’d like to add that the human species has evolved to be maximally fertile in teens & twenties to perpetuate the species — it’s biology in action. Males are designed to be able to produce massive amounts of spermatozoa at any given moment to maximize the opportunity to fertilize the female’s egg during that brief window it is in the right place for successful implantation. Consequently, young people — especially males — are horny by design. And let’s not forget the outright pleasure of sex for sex’s sake. If Conservatives ignore this “fact of life” (young people are horny) by praying that abstinence programs will work and by failing to educate young people fully on sex, reproduction, and contraception, then unplanned and unwanted pregnancies will continue to happen, necessitating abortion.
Indeed John. Abortion that would be reduced to near ZERO with BIRTH CONTROL. Sometimes I wonder if these people were just born stupid or had to go to “Stupid School” to get that way.
This reminds me of the old argument that giving sex education in schools will make students more sexually active– equally false, as it turns out.