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Something a little old but perhaps of interest to some of you who missed it as I did: Michael New’s How Red States Reduce the Abortion Rate . Among the claims he addresses is the common one that government should promote contraception as a way to reduce the abortion rate. He notes that

existing research indicates that there is relatively little the government can do to increase contraceptive use among sexually active women. Nine years ago, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which was Planned Parenthood’s research arm and which strongly supports more funding for contraception, surveyed 10,000 women who had abortions. Among those who were not using contraception at the time they conceived, a very small percent cited cost or lack of availability as their reason for not using contraception. Specifically, only 12  percent said that they lacked access to contraceptives due to financial or other reasons.

Pagan, Jewish, and Christian wise men have long seen and explained how the passions make us irrational and imprudent. It is the subject of much of our literature, dramatic and comic. We all know that we have done and will probably continue to do stupid things, whose destructive results we see clearly, because we really, really want to . Reason may say no, but the passions tie its hands, put duct tape over its mouth, and lock it in the closet — until, that is, the passions have spent themselves and have time to survey the wreckage, and feel guilty for mistreating Reason, who seems to have been on to something.

Even leaving aside the question of the morality of contraception, government policies that tell passionate people that they can have “safe sex” are likely to result in a feeling of confidence in their own rationality that leads people to have “unsafe sex.” As the Guttmacher people seem to have found.

Readers interested in the subject will want to read Mary Eberstadt’s The Vindication of Humanae Vitae and Timothy Reichert’s Bitter Pill (both are “behind the wall”) and perhaps my own Choosing Love, Making Life .

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