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casual reader

I think the answer to this question is obvious: "the Right" is more concerned with the culpability of the individuals performing abortions, and the culpability of society for permitting such acts to occur, than the actual number of abortions performed. In other words, the main issue to the right is: "Should we, as a society, permit a mother to kill an unwanted child?", not "What is the most effective way for us, as a society, to minimize child killings?"

Honestly, I think the first question is much more fundamental, difficult, and relevant than the second. It makes sense that the Right focuses on it, and failure to focus on the second doesn't appear (to me) to undermine their support for the first. Also, because the two are separate questions, I don't think that failure to focus on the second evidences any sort of hypocrisy...although the charge, I'm sure, will be leveled.


Widespread dissemination of artificial forms of contraception has been a great success for mysogynists who want to use women for pleasure, allowing them to have (supposedly) consequence-free out-of-wedlock sex and pre-marital sex, both of which lead to abortion (as the article above correctly points out). It seems odd to now promote contraception as the best solution to our present situation.

A better approach is the one that young Catholics (on both the left and right) are now embracing: fertility awareness and natural family planning. There are many well-developed, scientific, natural models of family planning (e.g. Creighton and Billings models) that are based on "fertility education" and which help men and women appreciate their fertility and understand it. The goal is not to "keep women ignorant," but to give them the knowledge they and their spouses need to appreciate the gift of their fertility and use it responsibly.

The statistical evidence supporting fertility education are overwhelming. The statistics indicate that women and men who are educated in the Creighton model and other similar systems (i) are more likely to delay sex until later in life, (ii) more likely to delay sex until marriage, (iii) have significantly lower divorce rates, (iv) significantly lower numbers of sexual partners and sexually-transmitted diseases, and (v) significantly lower rates of abortion.

There are many appealing features to the fertility awareness model of education. First, it actually educates those involved in sexual activity about their fertility, rather than selling them a product (contraception). Second, it appeals to both liberals, who want to have sex naturally and without the health risks posed by oral contraceptions or the cost, and conservatives, who appreciate the moral teaching of the Church. Third, it is a wholistic approach that addresses more than just the physical act of sex, but also speaks to the other important issues involved in sex, such as chastity, communication, and emotional closeness. Fourth, fertility care is not about abstinence only; it is about sex done naturally, safely, and with the knowledge of its power.

The Church has the solution to these problems, if only we would listen. These fertility care models are scientifically well developed and are not the old rhythm method.

If we really want to empower women, lower the abortion rate, and restore marriages, fertility education is the key. Let's give women and men the knowledge they really need to make safe, natural, healthy, informed choices about sex.

More Hopeful Than Koppelman

What evidence is he basing his theory that widespread contraceptive use reduces abortion rates on? I'm not sure I've ever seen hard evidence on this fact, but would be willing to read it.

More importantly, this essay is too pessimistic, in my opinion. It basically says that it's too late now to stop our children from having sex. They are all going to do it anyway. We might as well give them the Pill to help. I can't be on board with this. Also, people treat the Pill like it's made of magic fairy dust that always prevents conception. Half of all unwanted pregnancies occur while the woman is using contraception. Look it up.

More Hopeful Than Koppelman


This is the article saying that 53% of unwanted pregnancies occured while the woman was using contraception. Despite this, the overall conclusion is that the decline in unwanted pregnancies is "probably due to more widespread contraception." Well, ok, then, probably it is :)

More Hopeful Than Koppelman

Sorry for the multiple posts, but I forgot to make one other point. The link above also indicates that of people with unwanted pregnancies, 58% of contraceptive users go on to have an abortion, versus 49% of non-users. So people using contraceptives are MORE likely to get an abortion if the become pregnant.

Matt Bowman

Contraception and government funding thereof is ubiquitous and has been for decades. Every society and locality to increase it has seen an increase rather than a decrease in abortion. To say that abortions exist for the lack of this, and that the religious right's opposition is causing abortion, is patently absurd, especially when the religious left has itself opened abortion floodgates by making abortion an untouchable legal right.

Michael Perry

There's a great comment on Andy's post, by June Carbone--the fourth comment--at Law, Religion, and Ethics, here:



It is silly to treat marriage as if it were about rearing of children. Very few of the more than 1000 benefits accorded to married people, like the right to burial decisions, are in any way related to their having children.

As long as that's the case, civil marriage represents a form of discrimination against singles and gays, whether or not they have children.

Catholics or anybody else interested in fairness or civil rights should promote the abolition of civil marriage and, if they wish to protect children, promote rules that protect children!

Logic and life experience dictate that sex, love, commitment, cohabitation, breeding and child-rearing are in no way contingent on civil marriage and are often, indeed, made worse because of it!

Why, for example, should a child of a single woman sharing a home with her brother be severely disadvantaged by our tax, insurance, healthcare, pension and other laws?

Christian leftists might begin to do some good if they started worrying more about life after birth.

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