Twist the Facts

Yesterday morning, I wrote a post over at Age Against the Machine on British research showing that oral contraceptives reduce women’s risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Those happen to be the top two causes of death for American women, so it’s a big deal. And we aren’t talking about some teeny study, but over 46,000 women in a study that went on for 39 years. I think this is good news for the vast majority of women!

Yet I could not help but think that this news might not be welcomed by all. After all, there is a segment of our society that might think this encourages promiscuity. When I ran this past my partner, he thought that was just nuts.

But unfortunately, we live in a society where parents withhold vaccines that could someday save a woman’s life not because of safety concerns with the vaccine itself, but because they think she might think it’s ok to have sex (because good girls don’t like sex, good girls are never sexually assaulted, and good girls certainly never have cheating husbands). We live in a society where pharmacists who should know better are arbitrarily deciding not to dispense oral contraceptives because of “moral objections” and/or the mistaken belief that they can cause “abortion” of an embryo that has not implanted (never mind the other medical indications for oral contraceptives, and never mind that these pills prevent pregnancy rather than end it; arguably they prevent abortions by preventing unwanted pregnancy). We live in a society where the so-called-pro-life crowd thinks abortion causes breast cancer. We live in a society where some people value the lives of embryos more than the lives of full-grown adult women and their families.

So yes, I expect this study to be either ignored, mis-quoted, or mis-used by the Religious Right. They will focus on the small but unexplained increased risk of death by accident or violence — See? The Pill increases your risk of [violent] death! —¬† if they acknowledge the research at all.

Mere minutes after posting, I found this article at the Christian Science Monitor — hardly a “liberal media” source — with the headline “High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in conservative states than liberal states.” It turns out that educated women and access to contraceptives lead to greater family stability and fewer unwed or teen mothers than “that old time religion.” Yet the Religious Right¬† has hamstrung both trends by getting the Feds to go along with “abstinence only” sex ed, which not only doesn’t work, fails to teach about contraceptives and disease control, and outright lies to children, but attempt to reinforce very outdated gender roles.

And then I read about how the Texas State Board of Education has decided to re-write history, decreeing what may and may not appear in textbooks. Sure, the Civil War was about “states rights” — specifically the right of states to say it’s ok to own other human beings! Sadly, Texas is a large enough textbook market that students around the country may be subjected to this ultra-conservative, highly Protestant, reinterpretation of reality.

You can say what you like about reality, but you can’t change it.

In Closing: 30! 30 bank failures this year, ah ha ha ha! (reference); fattiest fast foods; mortgage insurance providers say “sorry, we won’t cover this fraudulent claim“; obligatory health insurance reform items (notice I don’t call it health care reform, or worse yet HCR which always makes me think HRC instead) includes Go Grayson Go! Put them on the spot of either saying yes to a real public option, or going on the record as being against Medicare!; oh sure, let’s make it more complicated; what recovery?; Oh No! Obama’s Liberal base is “disengaged!” Could that be because they’ve kicked it in the butt at every opportunity?; most Americans think Wall Street needs better (i.e., more) regulation; for that matter, most Americans would like to see the Government make some progress on anything; don’t take the battery for granted; median wealth, $5; and Blog Against Theocracy weekend is coming.