Monday, 20 August 2012

Completely missing the point. As usual.

BBC news reports that a potential non-hormonal male contraceptive has been discovered. Proteins are responsible for pretty much everything that goes on in our bodies, so targetting the synthesis of the protein responsible for sperm motility could certainly be a way to cripple them. Aside from the pharmaceutical issue that said product is probably years, if not decades, away from the market (but hey, Male contraceptive pill a step closer is much more newsworthy than Male contraceptive pill still a really long way off) there are two statements which bear further comment.

"There is undoubtedly," quotes the article, "an urgent need for additional contraceptive options". Really? There is? This puts me in mind of a meeting I was once invited to sit in on in which it was decided whether new products would be funded by the NHS in that region. In the meeting I happened to attend, the contraceptive vaginal ring (NuvaRing) was up for discussion. In the red corner, a representative from the Family Planning Association. In the blue corner...oh wait...there wasn't anyone in the blue corner. "They need another form of contraception: they don't want to go on the pill and they don't like condoms," asserted the representative. A placebo was passed around for inspection and somehow the motion was carried, despite the fact that the faces of the majority showed that they couldn't get past the intrinsic ickiness of the ring: even if no-one's going to use it, we'd better make it available to them. I don't know who "they" are, but they weren't to be allowed to have children at any price. This brings me on to the second comment in the article which drew my attention: "it has been argued that the lack of a male contraceptive pill has contributed to the number of unplanned pregnancies".

Is that so? A few years ago "they" got NuvaRing: now (or supposedly all along) "they" need male contraceptives. Hmmm...something tells me that throwing contraceptives at "them" isn't working. And why not? Because unwanted, unplanned pregnancies are not due to a lack of access to contraception. Maybe if we take a few steps back from teenage pregnany and the chlamydia epidemic, it's more obvious that a lot of problems we see are due to a lack of understanding of, or belief in, the dignity of the human person, which is the logical consequence of not believing in God. Without God, without absolute truth, it's a challenge even to get people to admit something is a problem: apparently underage, extramarital sex is OK as long as it doesn't result in unplanned pregnancy. Dosing the population is easier to measure, and potentially quicker, than allowing faith out in public instead of confining it to the private sphere, teaching Catholic anthropology, teaching abstinence and chastity (to both sexes), promoting marriage etc, etc and it's well known that unless you can draw a graph you can't have funding.

In the film 17 again there is a scene in which three girls, who have been competing for the attention of Zac Efron's character, tell him that they've decided that he doesn't need to choose between them, he can have all three of them. He asks them how they expect anyone else to respect them if they don't respect themselves. To which they respond with something approaching horror that they don't want to be respected. That, I think, is somewhat nearer the root of the problem.

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