Ramblings

Usually drunken.

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No Condoms

Feb 4, 2009, 5:39 pm by Paul Stiverson

Preface: this post was inspired by a pro-life facebook note that evolved into a discussion about contraceptive education in schools. This post can be considered an expansion on a previous post.

Anytime I find myself in a civil dialog concerning abortion and unplanned pregnancy I always bring up the inadequacy of sexual education in schools, and it is always a touchy subject. I believe that when it comes to education that you must never seek to hide or alter the truth from the student, to do so keeps the student ignorant, and ultimately destroys the students’ ability to form coherent and informed opinions. Needless to say I think that sex-ed—if it is to be taught in public schools—should include common contraceptives as well as the merits of abstinence.

I’m sure the careful reader is aware that the Holy Roman Catholic Church has—historically—taken a strong stance on the use of contraceptives: latex+penis=hell (although they are starting to come around). I can appreciate their views on the subject, they believe that when blocking the chance of conception the “marriage act” (Catholic for sex) is incomplete and amoral.1 This view doesn’t stop them from trying to prevent conception thought, oh no, they came up with a strategy for doing the marriage act without having kids and without bringing down the fire and brimstone. In order to not conceive you should practice natural family planning, to do it properly you should probably invest in a pocket calendar (for the record I have no problem with that being taught in schools, as long as condoms can get equal time).

Now, in the recent past there has been quite a hubub regarding teaching kids about condom use—preferring to rely on shame and fear to keep kids safe—because of this (religious) belief. It seems to me that writing a curriculum based on some religious docorine is a pretty clear violation of the separation of church and state. In order to get around that violation they changed their tune: contraceptive talk shouldn’t be allowed because their effectiveness is sub-optimal. Well sure, the effectiveness is debatable (99.98%2 isn't quite perfect), but even the worst condom is more effective than none at all, and couple it with an oral contraceptive and the effectiveness jumps significantly. Who’s keeping track. If we want to restrict sex-ed talks to methods that are 100% effective then why don’t we teach our kids about anal sex? Probably because the church thinks it is icky.3

The time to start giving teens accurate, reliable, and unbiased information about their sexual health is now. To be completely honest though, I don’t think it should be the schools’ job, it is time for parents to step up to the plate and teach their children well.4 If it is to be taught in (public) schools then there should be no pretense regarding the morality of sex, keep it simple and give them the facts. Leave the sermons to the priests.

Notes:

  1. I’m deriving this from the document Morals and Marriage, Part IV Morality of Intercourse, from a section titled “Purity implies sex”. Not a bad read, check it out if you’ve got some time to kill.
  2. Hatcher RA et al. Contraceptive Technology, 18th rev. ed. New York: Ardent Media, 2004.
  3. For the record, it is icky. That whole section on anal sex is a joke (a reference to a great site technicalvirgin.com, which has sadly been removed), lighten up zealots.
  4. [Crosby, Stills, and Nash joke here]

Fireside Chat

Jan 21, 2009, 7:55 am by Paul Stiverson

Exciting times in America, we have ourselves a new president: a liberal fellow who will surely restore some international (and intranational) trust in America, who will push us forward into the future with the only thing that can possibly push a people forward: forward thinking. Honestly, I will be happy if he just pushes for higher research funding, scientific research is the only thing that can make the future better than the present.

As part of his presidency Barack Obama is bringing back the fireside chat, although it will not be called the fireside chat, but instead a “Weekly Video Address”. Every Saturday President Obama (it is really nice to finally say “President Obama”) will record and post a video aimed at the American public, hopefully to keep us apprised of situations and keep people engaged in civic participation.

If you click on the above link you will be taken to the freshly re-designed WhiteHouse.gov which is done in the same style as Obama’s campaign website and the now-removed transition website, change.gov. Of course, WhiteHouse.gov will not feature any of the user-created content like BarackObama.com, and WhiteHouse.gov will have graphics set in a presidential Times New Roman rather than the sleek and hip Gotham which was used on all campaign materials.

The new president will also, apparently, be keeping a blog, it is a brave new world.

Inauguration

Jan 20, 2009, 4:34 pm by Lew

First post during the Obama administration! I ducked out with a few co-workers to catch the inaugural address. We watched it at oaxacan tamaleo near our lab. starting out the obama administration with a plate of enfrioladas and good coffee was the right thing to do. it was just us and the tamale folks there watching it (it was a bit early for tamales). they were super nice to let watch it with them and provide tasty food. we walked in on the tail end of rick warren's prayer. i like him. i like him in the same way i like mike huckabbe. i disagree with him strongly but like him as a person. i thought it was a nice and touching invocation. aretha franklin proved that she is the only diva, damn she can sing like no one else alive. i am looking forward to beyonce singing "at last" for the first dance at the inaugural ball. but beyonce, don't forget aretha stills runs the show. i face palmed when the chief justice flubbed the swearing in. obama's speech was right on i thought. i am not sure it will be famous for generations but i thought it was right on for the climate right now. i whooped (really i did) when he said "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders..." and "For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers." non-believers appreciate the shout out mr. president. The poem was a flop. the final convocation rocked. if you didn't see it you need to. it was the most memorable part of the inauguration.
diva'd!

grinds my gears

Dec 19, 2008, 6:22 pm by Lew

I cannot affect these larger world happening but they are bothering me. Hperhaps this post will have a butterfly effect. December 25 is not "holiday" it is christmas. saying the name of the holiday is not offensive. it is more offensive to me to act like a p.c. wimp than it is to make a reference to the holiday. it is an insult and a lie to go so out of the way to say "holiday" instead of christmas.

Caroline Kennedy can be the new york senator if she wants and can convince the governor. she is not the liberal sarah palin. she has never held elected office but neither had hillary clinton and she was elected. if caroline kennedy ran she would certainly win so just give her the seat if she wants it and let her defend it in 2010. stop whinning that she is acting entitled, everyone who wants to be appointed thinks they are entitled.

yes pastor rick warren is opposed to gay marriage and a pro-lifer. that is because he is a pastor. you would be hard pressed to find many pastors who aren't. a pastor is going to deliver the inaugral convocation. he isn't being appointed to the supreme court, he is making a speech and obama in a brilliant politician for asking a very popular, moderate conservative pastor to speak. it is a nice symbol to those who felt left out following the election. just because obama won doesn't mean that the whole country is now the castro neighborhood in san francisco.

finally, kanye west and most other rappers. rhyming a word with itself is not a rhyme. buy a rhyming dictionary and spend a few more minutes writing your raps!

power to the proletariat

Dec 19, 2008, 3:14 pm by Lew

At my work like many other business places things have been tougher over the last few months. There seems to be new bad news trickling down from our corporate parents every couple of weeks that results in us getting it in the shorts. At first everyone is pissed when a new piece of bad news falls in our laps. We are outraged then the next next everyone shrugs, says “at least we have jobs” puts their nose down and gets back to work. That is b.s. in my view. I think the higher ups are fully aware of this average reaction to bad news and are using the situation to chip away at their commitments to the employees while we are vulnerable. There is not much confidence in the economy right now but truly not much has changed from a few months ago. People are still making stuff and selling it to other people. The attitude has changed, working folks feel vulnerable and can be bullied a little bit without putting up a fight. I am new to the work force, but I am sure this method of peeling back wages and benefits is nothing new. It disturbs me to see this corporate reality and makes me wonder what is being done to people elsewhere who are more vulnerable who don't deserve to be pushed around.

please note that I am equally incensed by dumbass employees who bitch about everything the benefits they think they deserve when they haven't done anything to earn it. Working at a business is very different than anything I have done before and is quite eye opening. It make academia seem removed. Everything is about profit of course, that is obvious. But in a company people are forced together and have to invent a culture that lets them get along. Maybe some companies pick people with a culture in mind, but large ones like mine just need qualified people. Give the surveillance tapes to a sociologist (or better yet a primate zoologist) and I bet we could learn a lot about human animal behavior.


community partay!

Redistribution of Wealth

Nov 5, 2008, 9:19 am by Paul Stiverson

I would like to start by noting the trouncing that McCain received last night. Seriously, that was a clean ass-whipping, Obama straight up earned double the amount of electoral votes and cleaned house on the popular vote as well.

Next, I would like to spend some time on a talking point that is commonly raised against liberal politians. People have long claimed that Democrats push for a redistribution of wealth, a claim which is false. The truth is that any taxation could be considered a redistribution of wealth: You are taking money from people, and giving it back to people by building roads, schools, developing infrastructure, and funding science. Sadly it is often the case that the people paying the bill aren’t always directly seeing the benefit, but typically the inequity of the payment reflects the inequity of benefit—it is rare to see rich homes surrounded by shoddy streets, or rich kids attending underfunded schools. Even our beloved Ronald Reagan redistributed wealth (so did “Read My Lips” George Bush Sr.).

The desired imagery of the redistribution of wealth rhetoric is the strict communist definition: Take all the wealth from the wealthy and redistribute it evenly, putting everybody on equal (financial) footing. The closest thing we (as Americans) have to this is our services to the poor (Welfare and Medicaid), and referring to those as redistribution of wealth is laughable. I dare you to name for me one case, just one, of a wealthy person1 losing their riches (or status… hell, use any metric you want), or of a poor person becoming wealthy due to of Welfare. The fact of the matter is that even our most socialistic policies do little to impact the wealth of the wealthy. They do, however, have an effect on the middle class which is why I think it fair to push some of the burden to the truly wealthy and leave a bigger portion of the middle class’ earnings to the middle class (yes, even the upper middle class). In a country where the richest 10% holds 71% of the wealth I think they can afford the hit.2

Notes:

  1. By “Wealthy” I’m referring to people with a liquid worth in the millions.
  2. That statistic comes from Wikipedia

lew's electoral prediction

Nov 4, 2008, 1:44 pm by Lew

real prediction: obama wins all the states plus frMy guess is Obama wins with 344 electoral votes. I think of the toss-up states Obama gets are Virginia and Missouri. Which I predict is the beginning of blue dripping down into southern states if obama is a decent president.

What is your guess/prediction?

Witchcraft!

Oct 25, 2008, 2:36 pm by Zach

Teenage Mutant Ninja PoodleWhile looking at this picture, I got to thinking about Sarah Palin. Look at this poor dog. Forced to look like a ninja turtle. Not just any ninja turtle, but Leonardo, the de facto leader of the group. This poor poodle doesn't look too happy about that. I doubt he feels equipped or ready to handle a leadership position, but, well, here he is, like it or not. There's a pit bull lipstick joke here somewhere.

This morning I saw this video of Mrs. Palin talking about how silly it is for scientists to get funding to study something as silly as "fruit fly research in Paris, France," all the while doing that folksy little headcocking business. Way to play to the uneducated hicks who make up the vast majority of your voting base, ma'am. I also saw a clip somewhere of John McCain saying he wanted to end funding silly projects like "black bear DEE ENN AY" (with strategic pauses between DEE, ENN and AY to highlight the notion that it's all just made up hoo-ha).

It really grinds my fucking gears when people think any research that isn't directly related to CANCER or something is stupid and a huge waste of money and effort. As if all scientists (especially biologists) are just a bunch of crazy kooks in lab coats, drunk on lab-grade ethanol, laughing in a menacing manner and studying bear DEE ENN AY. Give me a cotton pickin' break.

Vote Democrat, if only for the reason that the Republicans want to squash funding for research they don't understand.

Also, happy birthday, Paul.

Vote like an idiot

Oct 7, 2008, 1:48 pm by Paul Stiverson

Vote like a girlI’ve been seeing shirts around town, purporting that it is a good thing to vote for McCain-Palin because one of them shares your gender. What I want to know is where were the pro-Hillary “Vote like a girl” shirts? When there was a woman running who actually supported women’s rights, where were you Aggieland Outfitters?

Before I take such an anti-Palin stance let’s look at what she brings to the table. It is pretty clear that she is a woman, former Miss Alaska actually, she is a Washington outsider, and apparently a Maverick (There can’t be two Mavericks, one of them has to be Goose). She is the recent mother of a special needs child1, coincidentally an ardent pro-lifer, and a soon-to-be grandmother (another win for abstinence-only education). Part of her charm is that she is something of an every(wo)man, lauding that she is a “Hockey Mom” and sympathizing with the “Six-pack Joes” out there with their American Light Lagers. I guess John McCain realized that he was losing the George W. Bush crowd who don’t want to vote for somebody smarter than they are, so he brought on a buffoon to mis-pronounce words and be ignorant to current events and make GOP voters feel a little better about being ’Mericans—not to mention she has tits which have been distracting the key demographic since kindergarten.

Not to belabor her ignorance, but when asked by Katie Couric what periodicals she reads to keep her up to date with the world, she couldn’t name a single one; instead she offered “I read all of them”, I guess she couldn’t remember the name “Guns and Ammo”, or “Auto Trader”. I have absolutely no problem with people not staying current with national politics, but I do have a problem with somebody with no handle on the world around them being the vice-president. If you want to vote for Palin because she is female, then go ahead: Vote like a girl.

Notes:

  1. It should be noted that she drastically cut the special needs education budget in Alaska before her latest child was born.

Gee, thanks, Sarah!

Oct 2, 2008, 10:46 pm by Zach

Watching the VP debate tonight was fun and frustrating. The part that irked me the most, and I knew it would, was the mere mention of education reform. Wow, Sarah, you think education is good and things should be done to make it better? Great! Ok, what the hell are you going to do?

I tutor about a hundred 9th and 10th graders in math (algebra I, II and geometry) and science (biology and chemistry). My list of resources include three biology text books and 3 algebra I books. That's it. My students don't even have books to take home, so they rarely have homework. For a while I showed them cool videos on YouTube of how proteins actively transport molecules across cell membranes and what the inside of a cell looks like, but someone in the technology department found out I was using YouTube and blocked my computer from accessing it. God forbid there be any relevant, useful, and easy to find videos there. Advice I was given from other teachers and admins: just do your best.

No child left behind was the most retarded thing ever. This may sound shocking, but some students really should be left behind. I know that sounds terrible, but some of my sophomores are so defiant, nasty, snotty and mean that I've just decided to quit helping them. Sorry. In a class of 25 students, I'd rather help the 5 or 6 who genuinely want help than spend all of my time with those who just refuse help.

I did make one breakthrough today. I felt like Jaime Escalante. I have one student who is pretty defiant, but shows a lot of potential. He usually ignored me, so I started ignoring him. Until today when it came up that he's from Alexandria, LA, where my mom is from. When I told him that, he sat his ass down next to me and asked for help with chemistry. Booyah. Stand and Deliver.

Actors & Politics

Oct 2, 2008, 8:39 pm by John

So Take i on this subject ended with a not very well thought out ramble complaining about people giving their opinion when that is what they are paid to do. so i didn't really have a reason to complain in the first place and decided to remove my post. after more thought i decided to give this another shot.

take ii:

the other day i was watching the morning news and they talked about how the ladies on the view got into a big to do about political matters. i then decided that i didn't like that they were giving their opinions in the first place, but mr. stiverson pointed out that they are paid to do just that. so why are tv hosts asked to give their opinions in the first place? some how i see a disconnect between their daily lives and mine. for that matter, i'm sure that their lives are drastically different than 95% of the people who watch these shows and maybe are falsely leading people to a certain candidate.

so people are paid to give their opinion...i don't like it but i can't do anything to stop it. i think what really turns my stomach, and why i don't like this so much, is that these people might actually effect how someone else votes and who wins an election. does anybody think that an average american would watch one of these shows and actually vote because of who someone like a barbara walters is going to vote for? (comments please, i'd like to know what you think) i'm of the opinion that a person should base their vote on the debates or other speeches from the candidates. this is the only time you get to see how a candidate, from their own mouth, feels about a subject (without the media's "filter"). maybe i'm more of a free thinker than i thought...

E85

Sep 9, 2008, 12:48 pm by John

So I passed by HEB down here in Houston this weekend and noticed that they were selling E85 for about $2.80 and that got me to thinking about whether or not E85 was worth it or not. The only thing I could come up with is that it is renewable...atleast in a short term sense. However, it has LOTS of problems.

First of all i'd like to say that i am all for helping out the farmers and ranchers of america. That being said the only person who benefits from this product is the corn farmer, again, only in the short term. he grows oodles of corn and is now able to sell it because everyone wants it for E85 manufacturing. however, this means that the national price of corn increases because the demand increases.

so the price of corn goes up a few cents...so what? well i'll tell you what. every domestic animal in this country also enjoys corn as much as you and i, except they eat it almost every day. so mr. rancher's feed gets more expensive. so of course the price of beef, pork, and chicken increases, either because they have to charge more, or because ranchers are forced out of business by increasing prices and the supply drops. every cow, pig, chicken, horse, dog, cat, and turkey in the country eats this stuff. so not only does the price of corn go up, but so does the price of milk, eggs, butter, pork, beef, chicken, leather, cosmetics, glue...etc.

but this is okay because the environment is better off. wrong.

being the engineer that i am, i know that the amount of energy out of anything has to equal the amount of energy in. so this means, unless the process is 100% efficient, which, obviously, nothing is, we have to put more power into the system to get e85 out for our cars. this means that more coal and natural gas has to be burned to make energy to power the e85 plant. so we end up with even more polution then if we had just stuck with gasoline.

for those of you who buy kroger gasoline because it's cheaper, don't forget that little sign that says "may contain up to 15% e85". they are basically putting a thinner in their gas that makes your car less efficient, yet you pay around the same amount per gallon. i will say i haven't tested this yet, but i do know that e85 is less efficient, so if you are paying the same price for this slight blend, it can't be worth it.

finally, let's just say that growing e85 is unstoppable because we run out of oil. then, all of the big companies will take over all of the little corn farms and will put the farmer out of business. this means that the farmers and the ranchers are out of work, we have no beef, we pay $10 per ear of corn, a gallon of milk cost 5 times what a gallon of gas does, and our dog's food is more expensive then ours.....well maybe not quite that extreme but you get my point.

rant over. have a great day :)

Olympic Protests

Aug 8, 2008, 11:39 am by John

what are the olympics? well i thought it was a time when the best athletes from around the world to get together at one place and compete against each other to see which country is the best in different events. Boy was I wrong. Appearently it's the the time of year when everyone and their mother decides that they want to protest whatever their mind feels like. Having been an athlete for the majority of my life I know what it is like to train for hours a day, everyday of the year. Of course I was never close to Olympic calliber but it gives me a good idea and great respect for all of the work that these athletes put in. Now when these athletes get to show the world their talent and share it with their countrymen, in what should be an event that the entire world gets together and watches, people who don't have anything better to do take to the streets and try to stop one of the greatest world traditions, in the running of the olympic torch.

exactly how will stopping the torch fix all of the world's problems? i'm pretty sure it won't. people say things like, the olympics shouldn't be held in china because they are communist. well i'm sorry, i didn't know that being communist had anything to do with athletic ability. in that case, why aren't all athletes communist? maybe they are....hmmm.

why can't people put away their differences for 2 weeks and just stay at home and watch the Olympics? The Olympics are about sports. For those of you who didn't catch it the first time...the Olympics are about sports. if you and your ego feel that you are so important that you need to show the entire world how you feel, use other means. i'm all for getting together and voicing your opinion and marching up and down the streets with signs. I don't want to take anyone's rights away but I can gaurantee you that when an american goes into a gold medal match, for whatever sport, he doesn't care about the person on the other side's political views...he just wants to beat the snot out of them.

a quick note, the iraqi athletes were nearly disqualified from the olympics because their olympic body was disperessed...like it was their fault. i don't see why anyone shouldn't be allowed to compete despite what their government does.

let's talk politics in a few weeks. get out of the streets, go inside, watch the games on tv and for now, sit back and enjoy an amazing display of athletic talent.

Silly gays, marriage is for straights.

Jun 5, 2008, 10:51 am by Paul Stiverson

Some of you might know that the California Supreme Court recently legalized gay marriage by declaring an adopted proposition (voted on by the populace) to be unconstitutional (Essentially the same scenario that played out in Massachusetts). The ’packers can officially become man-and-man on June 17. I personally support gay marriage, but the timing of the decision couldn’t be worse… we are in the middle of an election cycle, and with the present division in the democratic party the last thing we need is some new proposition bringing out the queer-fear voters in droves, and wouldn’t you know it but a ‘Limit to Marriage’ proposition has already gathered the million signatures required to put it on the November 2008 ballot.

It is widely hypothesized that John Kerry would be the president if it weren’t for the gay marriage proposition on the Ohio ballot in 2004.1 The last hope for McCain is to work on the Obama-Clinton division voters and play hard on the “sanctity of marriage” crowd in California. Although that might even fail since there is a majority of Californians who support butt-buddy-betrothal,2 but if McCain can convince enough Hillanuts to stay home then he might just take California, and push us further into our conservative tailspin. Needless to say, if this happens I will be a bit upset at gay people for once again selfishly thinking that they somehow deserve “marriage equality”.3

Notes:

  1. Bush’s 2004 ‘Mandate’ (more like man-date lol)
  2. 51-42% support gay marriage, 7% have no opinion
  3. This would be the perfect place for an irony mark, also, I apologize to any gays who I offended with words like “butt-buddy” or “’packers,” but you guys have the best slurs… suck it up. (pun intended?)

Barack Wins

Jun 4, 2008, 12:35 am by Paul Stiverson

See title.

Barack Obama will be the democratic presidential nominee. I’m as excited for the future as I have ever been, more excited than I’ve ever been—even counting the day before my birthday. It is truly a great time to be an American.

By the way, my mom thinks Barack is the anti-christ, I just think she has fallen victim to her newfound moneyed lifestyle… she has become an upper-class republican who is afraid of a change in the status quo.

New Roommate

May 20, 2008, 5:11 am by Paul Stiverson

I met my roommate today, I wasn’t expecting him to get into town until Wednesday, but alas, he showed up today (well, yesterday actually, but since I haven’t slept I still consider now (today) to be part of yesterday). Bob—from Wisconsin—comes in as I was reading, introduces himself as my new roommate and then mentions that this is his third summer in the program and that he was hoping to room with his roommate from last summer. He went to the front desk and requested a different room; he was my roommate for about 15 minutes, no big deal, I like living alone. Anywho, after he got his stuff sufficiently moved into his room he came up and we (Bob, I, and Neuman—Bob’s preferred roommate) went to get some beer. The remainder of the night was spent talking about past summer experiences (boobs), science, boobs, and socialism. The latter topic ended up being the most lengthy bit of discussion by almost an order of magnitude. It was a good night.

Good night.

Yesterday

Apr 15, 2008, 11:56 am by Paul Stiverson

Last night I started Tango lessons; the tango is an awesome looking dance, and it is shaping up to be a really fun dance too. Also, I went to my second family dinner which a weekly dinner that some friends of mine put on so everybody can get a good home-cooked meal and enjoy everybody else’s company. Toward the end of the night a political/energy policy discussion broke out, and—as usual—I was the only donkey in the room, but it was a productive discussion never-the-less.

In the afternoon I finished reading the last two chapters of The Audacity of Hope, and for the first time I was interested enough to read an epilogue. I was truly upset to be at the end of the book, I might need to buy Dreams from My Father to get some more Barack.

On Abortion

Apr 7, 2008, 5:20 pm by Paul Stiverson

I’ve been reading The Audacity of Hope, and in Chapter 6 (Faith), Barack says (about abortion), “I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved and wrestled with her conscience when making that heart-wrenching decision…” I believe this statement to be true on the whole; however, in the fictional work Fight Club (the book, not the movie) the character Marla Singer mentions to Tyler Durden that she wants to get pregnant and have his abortion.1 I’m sure there are women out there who do have such cavalier feelings about abortion, but it is safe to say that this is not the majority opinion (and not the subject of this post).

I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing people on both sides of the abortion fence, and—more often than not—I’ve been able to have civil discussions with them on the subject. The most common protest against abortion I’ve encountered is the “Life is sacred” arguement (coming from the pious). And it is true that life is sacred, I don't think that anybody would condone killing a newborn baby (excepting the murderous types), but there is a marked difference between a fetus and a newborn baby. The problem with this argument is the ol’ when does life start question; but I don’t think that will be resolved in this post. Honestly, the previous argument is the only one that is even remotely valid. Other arguments are easily defused with a small dose of science or common sense.

To the pious: It seems that terminating the pregnancy would be a pretty sweet deal for the fetus; it gets to skip being born into a household where it isn’t wanted and go straight to heaven. Isn’t that the goal of your life? How could it be a bad deal to get into heaven without that whole “giving your life to Jesus” thing?

The other side’s argument is “It’s a woman’s choice,” is (as I see it) a bastardization of the original message of Margaret Sanger—the founder of Planned Parenthood—who believed that a woman should be free to not be a baby factory. She argued that women had the right to use birth control, so they could elect to not get pregnant (also that they should be free from being told that they cannot have children—I’m not so sure that Margaret was on board here, as she was pretty racist, but nobody is perfect).

It is probably pretty clear by now that I support the legality of abortion, but it is an action that I don’t find morally defensible. I support its legality because it is better than the alternative situation where women attempt to self-terminate.2 What I really want is the elimination of abortion through improved education; I think it is a good thing for young people to know what goes where, and how to be safe and responsible. It is pretty clear that current sex education programs are pretty lacking, some would argue that telling kids about condoms will promote promiscuity. Maybe it will/does, but safety/security through ignorance/obscurity is a pretty bad policy; I would rather every teen be fucking safely rather than most of them fucking unsafely. And let’s not mince words here, teens have sex, and they always have (yes, even in the ’50s), and it is mighty hard to un-ring that bell no matter how deep your head is in the sand.

Notes:

  1. That line was originally in the movie but was changed to “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.” Source
  2. There is a good article where an abortion doctor outlines his experience in a trauma ward devoted to women who tried to self terminate. Link

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