Via Doctors for America

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

10 thoughts on “Contraception”

  1. Would it be rude of me to suggest that a p***y strike in DC would take care of this “issue?”

    If so, I would definitely not do that.

  2. Would it be rude to suggest that the RCC has zero moral authority when it comes to sex? ZERO.

    1. RBC? None of us needs any moral authority here. Unlike with abortion, there is no real controversy over the principle of contraception in contemporary America, Europe or indeed any other advanced country. (There are debates at the edges over condom slot-machines in schools and the like.) The overwhelming majority of sexually active Catholics practise contraception just like sexually active Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans, and atheists. They understand that the divine purpose of sexual desire and pleasure is to bond couples more than as a means to procreation. (Consider the evolution of concealed ovulation, the clitoris, and human penis size.) The “controversy” is a hangup of a small number of elderly celibate Catholic hierarchs, who feel the need from time to time to go through the motions of repeating a non-dogmatic teaching systematically rejected by their flock. There is no reason – no reason at all – to pay them any attention.

      1. Yes, count me as one lefty Catholic who’s definitely not upset about this. (Unless the administration caves. Then I’ll be upset.)

        But when I have a moral dilemma, I do want to know what the elderly priests think, because they’ve been around a while, I think most of them mean well, and many of them are quite learned and all that. And I would even say that my ethics in the area of romance have been informed by a lot of Catholic teaching, in the sense that you’re not supposed to use other people. That one idea gets you a long way.

        But on the specifics, I confess their ideas don’t hold much weight. I think this is a lot of made up b.s. The people who are upset by this are the same people who are already, and always, upset.

        1. well, of course in a meaningful sense *all* religious thought is ‘made up’, because there is no objective verification possible of the truth of any of it. There are more or less valid or defensible or persuasive moral insights, some widely accepted (e.g. do not use anyone), some not so much (e.g. do not use contraceptives). But appeals to Divine Authority are always arbitrary, even if it has taken centuries of celibate hermits thinking to come up with the alleged Rules.

        2. When they are thinking about real moral dilemmas, by all means listen to the old clerics who have listened to a lot of people telling them their problems. But the contraception ban is not a response to a moral dilemma. It was made up out of whole cloth, as a deduction from a completely wrong Aristotelian (and non-Biblical) theory of sexuality, so feeble that you have to suspect an irrational fear of sex behind it.

          1. I definitely agree about contraception. And I do think there is a high degree of discomfort with sex. Maybe having some new former? Episcopalian members of the church will loosen the padres up a bit. They’ll see that being married doesn’t make a preacher into a horned creature.

          2. All three Abrahamic religions start out both terrified by and obsessed with sex. Some Jewish and Christian lines of thought/belief have overcome much of this; less so with ‘official’ Islam so far as one can see (I recognize that there is no recognized supreme doctrinal authority in Islam, but the number of believers who seem to have both views of sex at the same time seems large.)

    2. RCC = Roman Catholic Church?

      Or a misprint for the (divinely-inspired) Reality-Based Community?

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