Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kids for making more kids (within marriage)

Jezebel shared the news about a pro-abstinence/anti-birth-control group called 1flesh. Styling itself as a grassroots organization, it uses youth-friendly graphics and messaging to celebrate the joys of procreative marital sex:


At the same time, it preaches some potentially misleading arguments about the efficacy of contraceptives in preventing unplanned pregnancy and disease:

What is going on here? It's almost like they're trying to run a white, christian, breeding program. Which is a pretty smart strategy from a political point of view. Get those horny kids to keep their pants on until marriage, then turn the young woman's reproductive parts into a baby factory — a clown car, if you will — of Duggar proportions.

"But what about overpopulation?", you might ask.
The whole “Save the World: Don’t Have Kids” idea is, in retrospect, just plain silly. The worldwide fertility rate fell throughout the same period... Even if we were to pretend that the world was in a desperate state of looming overpopulation, artificial contraception on its own wouldn’t be of much use. It does not reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies. We’ve been duped into demanding a bad solution to a non-existent problem. It’s time to move on.
Move on. Get married. Have babies.

But a full reading of the site does show that it promotes one method of family planning: the Creighton Model Fertiltycare™ System. It's an initiative of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction. And it's basically a modern version of the rhythm method (with cervical mucus observation instead of guesswork).

According to Wikipedia:

The effectiveness of the CrMS, as of most forms of birth control, can be assessed two ways. Perfect use or method effectiveness rates only include people who follow all observational rules, correctly identify the fertile phase, and refrain from unprotected intercourse on days identified as fertile. Actual use, or typical use effectiveness rates are of all women intending to avoid pregnancy by using CrMS, including those who fail to meet the "perfect use" criteria. 
The Pope Paul VI Institute reports a perfect-use effectiveness rate of 99.5% in the first year.In clinical studies of the CrMS conducted at the Pope Paul VI Institute, researchers excluded most pregnancies from the typical-use rate calculation, on the grounds that they believed the affected couples had used the method to deliberately attempt pregnancy. The Institute reports a typical-use effectiveness of 96.8% in the first year. Most studies of similar systems do not exclude such pregnancies from the typical-use failure rate.
Remember how 1flesh said that condoms don't work?
The condom’s use-effectiveness rate is 85%.  This means that, under real-world conditions, a woman whose sexual partners use condoms for every act of sexual intercourse has a 15% chance of becoming pregnant in a year. And while oral contraceptives are more effective, studies have shown that after three years of use, the failure rates of oral contraceptives was 4.7% for 24-day regimen pills and 6.7% for 21-day regimen pills. The FDA’s conclusion is that the use-effectiveness of oral contraceptives is 95%. A 2011 study, Contraceptive failure in the United States, found the Pill’s actual failure rate to be 9%. 
Though the numbers shift in various studies, in every case, natural methods of family planning — specifically the Creighton Model FertilityCare System — are more effective at preventing unintended pregnancies, with a use-effectiveness of 96.8-98%. The idea that the widespread use of artificial contraception will help end the stressful incidence of unintended pregnancy — while hopeful — has been debunked. The answer is not pill or a rubber. It’s having a true understanding of a woman’s body and cooperating with it. 
This is from the source they cited at About.com

Condom (Male)Typical use: 85% effectivePerfect use: 98% effectiveOf every 100 women whose partners use condoms, 15 will become pregnant (with typical use) and 2 will become pregnant with perfect use
The PillTypical use: 92% effectivePerfect use: 99.7% effectiveOf every 100 women who use The Pill, 8 will become pregnant (with typical use) within the first year and less than one will become pregnant with perfect use

Waitaminute. Did they just compare perfect use of their "natural" birth control with "typical use" of condoms and the pill? Yes, yes they did.

When you get to the bottom of it, 1flesh's "grassroots" movement is anything but. It's a highly organized campaign of reproductive misinformation designed to recruit a new generation of social conservative, anti-reproductive choice, voters, using generational mouthpieces like Patheos blogger Marc Barnes to make being quiverfull more palatable to Millennials. 

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