Nick Kristof thinks “the poor” just copulate all day

New York Parakeet Cage Liner columnist Nick Kristof opened his column thusly:

I MAY not be as theologically sophisticated as American bishops, but I had thought that Jesus talked more about helping the poor than about banning contraceptives.

And it didn’t get better from there.

More important than aspirin.

The rest basically assumes that people have sex with the same frequency as they get a glass of water, and with about as much deliberation.

He says, “few areas have more impact on more people than birth control — and few are more central to efforts to chip away at poverty.”

I’ll grant him the first portion: many people have harmed themselves—hormonally, and emotionally—by using contraceptives. We ought to make them more difficult to get so women’s health is not so damaged. That’s not to mention the many people who were not conceived at all or who were denied the comfort of their mother’s womb after conception due to an abortofacient drug.

The second portion of that statement is a firm belief based in no evidence. Contraception has been around how long now? And there are still people in poverty? Right.

Even if the underlying logic is correct—that having more kids makes it harder to get out of poverty—I can think of another means to prevent the having of more kids. Chances are good that if you are reading this right now, you are partaking in that means of not having more kids. If your status is otherwise, you may want to rethink your sex life.

Abstinence is not even considered.

For this guy Blood Hound Gang was right: “You and me, baby, ain’t nothin’ but mammals/So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

He continues:

The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women.

In short, birth control is not a frill that can be lightly dropped to avoid offending bishops.

The irony is that earlier he talked slightingly of what he perceived as a “patronizing tone” among the opponents of the HHS mandate.

Coverage for contraception should be a pillar of our public health policy — and, it seems to me, of any faith-based effort to be our brother’s keeper, or our sister’s.

Nick, when you found your own religion you can establish its norms. We’ll keep ours just as it is, thanks.

Then the real cynical stuff comes out:

To understand the centrality of birth control, consider that every dollar that the United States government spends on family planning reduces Medicaid expenditures by $3.74, according to Guttmacher. Likewise, the National Business Group on Health estimated that it costs employers at least an extra 15 percent if they don’t cover contraception in their health plans.

The first thing to note is the price he puts on life. More babies means an additional $2.74 the government has to spend. The second thing is the phrase “family planning.” That would also include abortions, since the whole point is to have fewer people. The third thing is that if we increase the rate of abortion and contraception by making it this much more accessible, thereby reducing the number of young people, we have shrunk the pool of potential tax payers to subsidize all this government-granted paradise. I mean, if costs are so important, that means sources of revenue to pay those costs are vital, so we need to consider that part, too.

He doesn’t seem to think that far ahead though. But he continues…

And of course birth control isn’t just a women’s issue: men can use contraceptives too, and unwanted pregnancies affect not only mothers but also fathers.

Except, Nick, the age of increased contraception and abortion has seen a stunning increase in the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and single mothers. The increase of contraception and abortion have, not coincidentally, tracked with the rise of a really distorted view of feminism that dictates to all that women don’t need men and are, in fact, the same as men. So what’s a man to do? Women don’t need him for anything but conjugal fun, why should he stick around for anything else? Like raising the kid? Especially if he wanted to abort the thing. Or, conversely, what if he wanted to keep it but she decided to abort? Can he stop her? Hardly. So again, what has the prevalence of contraception done to sticking around and being a dad? Aborted it, or at least placed a barrier in the way, really.

He meanders on for a while and concludes with,

In this case, we should make a good-faith effort to avoid offending Catholic bishops who passionately oppose birth control. I’m glad that Obama sought a compromise. But let’s remember that there are also other interests at stake. If we have to choose between bishops’ sensibilities and women’s health, our national priority must be the female half of our population.

Nick, first, this offends so many more than just the bishops, and even if the number were smaller the Constitution was written with things like the Electoral College specifically to protect out-of-favor minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Democracy is two wolves and a chicken deciding what to have for lunch.

Second, by the Administration’s own careful wording this was not a “compromise,” but an “accommodation,” and it didn’t actually change anything except which part of the accounting ledger the expense would be recorded—the offensive mandate is unaffected.

Third, no one is denied contraceptives or such services in this country. What we object to in this case is being forced to subsidize them.

If standing up for what we believe offends a few sensibilities among the sterile elite, well, sorry.



  • Eileen

    I have 5 children and one of my pregnancies was high risk. All the health care I received during this high risk pregnancy worked toward helping my baby and I stay healthy. Pregnancy is not to be treated like the mother has to rid herself of some kind of illness or disease. Insurance coverage for pregnant mothers should support these same virtuous goals. Today, I have a beautiful son who is in college. I’m so glad the sensibilities of our faith direct us to have an awareness of and responsiveness to the beauty and purpose of life. The sensibilities of bishops, sterile elites, or conservative bloggers are a tiny fraction of the issue. Those who have the most influential role in the debate need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to gain great insight in the value of wholesome courtship and virtuous family life. My husband and I have been married 25 years and have remained birth control free. Two of our children were welcome surprises. The sanctity of our marriage enhanced our life-giving responsiveness toward children. If I were single, it would be a much harder road. Furthermore, I would not want to take birth control to live so promiscuously (spelling) if I were single either. This kind of life is very degrading to the dignity of womanhood. The decision to have sex is not like deciding what color to paint your wall. Therefore, it is the very sensibilities toward a good moral life that needs to be raised in the minds of all people. The place to make this a reality begins in the family. Every part of our society should work toward the strengthening of family life. The Church has one of the best track records for this. Does the government?

  • Mary

    “Unwanted” pregnancies affect unborn children as well. So, the “liberals” and anti-capitalists feel that costs to the public are more important than human life. Although these people side with those who want to give free food and housing to all. I’ll take note of that and take that information with me to the polls in November.

  • tz1

    Is he going to go back to ‘three generations of idiots are enough’, at least to demand reversible sterilization of anyone with a government subsidy (including the leads of Citi, BoA, GS, GM, Chrysler, boeing, lockheed, … as well as the poor and recipients of student loans)?

  • Archangel

    Again, the Old Testament was specifically written to confuse non-Jews so that non-Jews cannot understand the Truth. So anyone who uses something from the Old Testament to justify their Judeo-Christian beliefs is quoting a fairytale meant to hide what the Truth really is.

    Overpopulation is a problem: it breeds poverty, hunger, crime, and disease.

    Yes, of course it is best for people not to have intercourse without contraceptives until they are ready to raise a child. However, the reality is this does not happen all the time. So, either we pay for raise these children who are born to parents who do not have the means to support them, or we educate people not to have intercourse before they are ready and provide them contraceptives in case they fail to learn beforehand.

    Our scriptures which reveal the Truth (the Mishnah) encourage doing what is in the interest of the common good, not what will help us short-term.

    • Tom Crowe

      Interesting theories, Archangel. Your Scripture scholarship is dubious, at best. I dispute your scare-mongering about over-population because it isn’t happening. The population models used by those who claim it is are terribly flawed. But even if they were closer to accurate you assume that the earth and fellow people would be incapable of adjusting in a healthy manner, produce more food, produce more wealth for more people, and share more of the planet. I assume all of those, or at least most, would be fine. “In case people fail” isn’t a good enough excuse to violate the nature of sexuality. If a baby is conceived illegitimately it still deserves to live. If the parents truly are destitute, adoption is an option. And it is amazing how well people can be raised with less modern luxuries and still manage to be happy. Happiness does not come from wealth and the latest gadgets and gizmos, but from love, regardless of material comfort. Clearly I’ve got an idea or two about long-term happiness and the common good from my grounding the New Testament that fulfilled the Old.

  • Sassy

    Thank you for your bold and clear response. I read the story last night after it was tweeted by someone I’m following. It remains so sad to me that sex is viewed as an entitlement, not the gift or privilege it is supposed to be. My gosh, do we humans have that little self-control that society goes to this length to avoid “unwanted” pregnancies?

  • mommmy

    Free contraceptives will increase out of wedlock pregnancy and further the spread of disease.

    Planned PArenthood provides misleading statistics about the effectiveness of contraceptives. When they say a contraceptive has a 3 % failure rate, that is the annual failure rate, not the lifetime failure rate. Also, they give the “perfect use “rate, not the rate actually experienced by users of the method.

    So, for example, while condoms are much touted as being “97% effective”,the annual failure rate of about 12 %. Women relying on condoms to prevent pregnancy have over a 40% chance of becoming pregnant over the course of 4 years.

    The “actual experience” rate of birth control pills is 3 pregnancies per hundred women per year. The 3 % sounds like a low risk, but lets compare it risks in everyday life. 3% is equivalent to roughly one in 33. The risk of rolling snake eyes on a pair of dice is one in 36. The risk of a pregnant 40 year old woman carrying a child with Downs Syndrome is one in 106.

    Free contraceptives will increase demand for abortion. Over 50% of women having abortions were using contraception the month they got pregnant.

    Planned PArenthood has been providing medically inaccurate and misleading information about the effectiveness of contraceptives.



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