Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Pill II

What I find both exciting and encouraging at present is that the discipline of social science, usually understood to be the preserve of progressive secular scholars, in following the data has corroborated the evils Pope Paul had considered in Humanae Vitae. Recent research findings by scholars in the social sciences confirm contraception as the culprit behind the considerable rise in divorce and illegitimacy in the United States, both which in turn have spawned other societal ills such as increased rates of criminal behavior and high school dropout rates. No surprise, it turns out that the poor are especially susceptible to the harms caused by the American contraceptive culture. These findings are the studied work of secular scholars, most regarded as slightly left of center on the sociopolitical spectrum.
To give but a few examples: Robert Michael of the University of Chicago has written that sudden widespread use of artificial contraception and the availability of abortion proved responsible for "about half of the increase in divorce from 1965 to 1976."  Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof of the University of California at Berkeley has given us an economic explanation for why the pervasive use of artificial contraception resulted in a rise rather than a decrease in illegitimate births, as had been predicted. He argues that traditional women, desiring either to remain chaste or at minimum obtain a promise of marriage from their boyfriend in the case of pregnancy, proved unable to compete with "modern" women who practiced contraception, creating an atmosphere in which fornication became the rule and women felt free or in some cases pressured to engage in premarital intercourse. Thus many traditional women ended up fornicating and having children out of wedlock, while many of the “free” women engaged in contraceptive intercourse or aborted so as to shun childbearing. This finding goes a long way in explaining why contraceptive practice was coupled with an increase in both abortion and illegitimacy.