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February 07, 2012


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Instead of (or if you insist, in addition to) just whining about the Times-Union’s alleged bias against anti-abortion folks, why don’t you use this blog to post an anti-abortion point of view that you feel the TU is not presenting?


What is your position regarding the Catholic Church & its opposition to birth control?

Bob Conner

Matt, my position is complicated. Some forms of birth control, e.g. "emergency contraception," sometimes do not work to prevent conception, but, by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, are not really contraception at all but early abortifacients, so I'm definitely against them. Regarding the church's objections to non-abortifacient birth control, e.g. condoms, it has its reasons (e.g. encouraging promiscuity), and is entitled to its position, but is not asking to have them banned as a matter of public policy. No one, including me, is advocating that.

Bob Conner

I guess, Brian, I don't think there's a whole lot new to say. I think there are respectable pro-choice arguments of the lesser-evil variety, i.e. that restricting abortion or embryonic stem-cell research would infringe on women's rights or medical research. But it seems to be inarguable that abortion and embryonic stem-cell research kill young human beings, which is at the least morally problematic. I think people who deny that are not being morally serious.


Didn't you tsk tsk me for exhibiting so-called moral superiority? Just wondering.

Maybe it’s because discussion of issues like abortion, gay rights, etc. are difficult to do outside the context of morality and therefore one’s position is necessarily an expression that one believes one’s morality is the right one.


I think it’s highly questionable for the Church to claim that birth control encourages promiscuity. I think it would be more accurate to say that birth control helps manage promiscuity.

Additionally, Birth control is often used within monogamous married couples.

Furthermore, its purpose is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If a woman doesn’t want to get pregnant, it’s probably better off for all involved, herself, the potential future child and society as a whole, that she not do so. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is an important way to head off a wide variety of social ills. And since the Church opposes the prevention of unwanted pregnancies via abortion, then birth control seems the most sensible alternative.


One final thought: if there really is nothing new to say, then what is the public missing out on by the Times-Union’s alleged refusal to print the same old, same old?


I asked my birth control question because this fauxtroversy regarding the Obama administration rules that had actually been implemented for the most part over 10 years ago...


The Catholic Church sees abortion as murder. Ok, I get. Disagree w/ it but whatever. Logically speaking, wouldn't they not be in favor of contraception. Which is the worse sin, promiscuity or murder?

It wasn't that long ago where religious institutions managed things like brothels (like they did up until the French Rev) & saloons (like in the Old West, citing its management being the lesser of two evils. Offering people a socialized pressure release valve lest it completely unmanageable (like Prohibition).

Bob Conner

Maybe I should put less stress on morality and more on science, which (it seems to me) definitively establishes conception as the beginning of human life. And the TU most definitely does print the same old, same old on this issue, but almost all on one side of the question. Columnists of any opionion vary widely in quality, and Douthat is one of the best on my side of these issues.

Bob Conner

Matt, pro-lifers do not tend to use the "murder" word, but they and the church would definitely agree that abortion is much worse than using a condom or having sex outside marriage.


"-Pro-lifers do not tend to use the "murder" word"

Uh...do you realize you just contradicted yourself? Prior to the above you wrote the following, "-it seems to be inarguable that abortion and embryonic stem-cell research kill young human beings."

Sure, you didn't technically use that word. You just dressed it up in flowery language. But the fact of the matter it "kill" & "murder" mean EXACTLY the same thing.


Bob: If the concern is with de facto abortifacents, why doesn’t the Church ok certain forms of birth control that do not fit that description (condoms, for example)?

Matt: a little background on your initial question... in the 60s, a Papal commission (eventually 72 members, according to the Wikipedia piece, for what it’s worth) was named by Pope John XXIII to study whether the Church should authorize the use of birth control. Over 90% of the commission agreed that there was no Biblical reason that contraception should not be permitted. His successor Paul VI rejected the commission’s finding, under the pretext that the decision was not unanimous (as though a group of 72 people will ever come to unanimity on anything).

Essentially what happened is that John XXIII’s short papacy completely revolutionized the Church, dragging it from the Middle Ages into the (early) 20th century. Many Catholics thought it was way too much too fast so after he died, he was replaced by the more conservative Paul VI to calm the nerves of traditionalists. He put the brakes on the birth control change.

Bob Conner

Matt, I disagree with your interpretation. Murder is a legal term, and there is usually widespread agreement about what it means. Many people object to various types of killing, such as capital punishment or a war they do not agree with. But in my opinion, in the absence of consensus or the legal definition, they should not accuse the executioner, soldier or abortionist of murder.
Brian, the church's position on birth control is complicated and unpopular, which does not necessarily make it wrong. The root is its very different view of sexuality to the popular culture's view. At any rate, it is entitled to its own doctrines.


Give me a break. Now you're getting into nit-picky.

"The perp murdered the victim" & "the perp killed the victim", they both mean the same EXACT same thing. Even executioners murder, the difference between them & the perp is that their murder is sanctioned by law.

Bob Conner

Sorry Matt, I disagree. I oppose capital punishment, but do not think executioners commit murder.

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This blog is by Bob (Robert C.) Conner, a longtime journalist and author of the 2018 novel "The Last Circle of Ulysses Grant" published by Square Circle Press, and a 2013 biography "General Gordon Granger" published by Casemate. He is currently writing a biography of the Kansas abolitionist Col. James Montgomery. His Civil War blog can be found at robertcconnerauthor.blogspot.com
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