They Are Coming for Your Birth Control: There Was No Sex Outside of Marriage Until 1972

Think that anti-choice politicians and activists aren’t trying to outlaw contraception? Think again. Follow along in an ongoing series that proves beyond a doubt that they really are coming for your birth control.

A lot has changed since 1972. An African American has been elected President of the United States. Computers fit into the palm of your hand. And people have started having sex, even though they aren’t married.

No, really, that’s a new thing, and totally within the last four decades. Or so claims Family Research Council fellow Pat Fagan, who eloquently explained his belief that contraception for single people should be outlawed since those who have sex outside of marriage should be punished for their actions. Right Wing Watch has the transcript:

The court decided that single people have the right to contraceptives. What’s that got to do with marriage? Everything, because what the Supreme Court essentially said is single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse. Well, societies have always forbidden that, there were laws against it. Now sure, single people are inclined to push the fences and jump over them, particularly if they are in love with each other and going onto marriage, but they always knew they were doing wrong. In this case the Supreme Court said, take those fences away they can do whatever they like, and they didn’t address at all what status children had, what status the commons had, by commons I mean the rest of the United States, have they got any standing in this case? They just said no, singles have the right to contraceptives we mean singles have the right to have sex outside of marriage. Brushing aside millennia, thousands and thousands of years of wisdom, tradition, culture and setting in motion what we have.

It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Ah, they “shame” people, right? And that’s exactly what is behind the mindset of those who are coming to take away birth control. After all, contraception allows couples … no, let’s be frank, allows unmarried women and girls … the ability to have sex privately without becoming pregnant. That’s the part that upsets the anti-choice activists so very much. A pregnant teen is a teen that has to publicly show that she engaged in sex, and allow everyone to see the consequences of her actions. The only way to hide that “shame” is to marry, which instantly changes her guilty action into an acceptable one, since sexual intercourse once married is allowed.

Of course, this isn’t an argument that remains outside of the marital bed. Once inside, contraception has the same “hiding” aspect, allowing a wife to potentially hide infidelity.

So does Fagan really want to jail people who have sex outside of marriage? Actually, it wouldn’t be too surprising if he did. Just this February 25 members of the Virginia House voted to keep on the books a law that would continue to consider cohabitation and sex outside of marriage “a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 for the first offense; and by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both, for a second offense.” They were a small minority of the vote, but a distinct reminder that there are a number of people still willing to throw a person in prison just to “protect” the institution of sex only inside a heterosexual marriage.

Hold on to your IUDs, pills, condoms and foams, because they are definitely coming for your birth control, and they’ll jail you if that’s really what it takes to end out-of-wedlock intercourse.

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  • Ken LaKind

    IT’S all about religion, theirs, NOT mine. Who do they think they are? Just think of our federal budget. they will have to hire sex police. These people will have to peer into windows and take your picture and bring you to court. And then to prison….WOW. That’s a lot of police. It would cost $$$$$$$. According to Ryan we have to lower our spending. You can’t have it both ways.
    Oh, Just for safety. If I saw someone looking into my window, I would shoot first first.

    • Mike Haubrich

      The cost problem is solved if women wear the Scarlet “A” of being pregnant for daring to express their desire to be sexual with men. They haven’t yet figured out how to make lesbian sex visible, but I am sure they are working on it. It’s not just their religion, though. Religion is a way to inscripturate and give eternal authority to their desires to control personal desires, by calling it “sin” and making it “wrong.” They don’t just get it from religion, they give it to religion and religion provides cover.

      • trapchan

        You mean, “A” for Awesome?

    • colleen2

      Who do they think they are?

      They’re guys who think they have the right and obligation to control and judge women because God agrees with them.

  • J. Dale Weaver

    Um, no — that’s NOT what the FRC and Pat Fagan have claimed. They never said there was “no sex out of marriage” before 1972. Nor are they going to “take away your birth control.” Get real. The biggest danger here is that there are a lot of Leftist drone morons who will belief the crap you’re shoveling.

    • lolguidos

      Apparently, leftist drones are eating the crap and enjoying it too.

      • Ivy Mike

        Pal, until about a decade and a half ago, being conservative DID NOT mean being a theocratic tyrant.

        That’s why I am no longer a conservative…you maniacs have ruined the entire movement.

        • smzyk

          True. Barry Goldwater would be considered too moderate today and everybody would ignore him.

        • lolguidos

          Who said I was a conservotard?

          Exactly as I said, you leftist drones simply regurgitate what you are fed and have no capacity for independent thought. At least theocratic tyranny has a redeemable value system.

          • Jennifer Starr

            And you’re simply a troll, who has yet to say anything actually worth listening to.

          • lolguidos

            I know you are, but what am I?

          • HeilMary1

            A spoiled pedophile.

    • Jennifer Starr

      What Pat Fagan is saying is that he wants to criminalize sex outside of marriage. Tell me, is the desire to criminalize private behavior between consenting adults ‘small government conservatism’ ? Somehow it doesn’t sound like it.

      • smzyk

        Really. And do Libertarians want these laws?

        • Guest

          Libertarians weren’t the one I was talking about– and no, I imagine most of them do not. I should have made it clear that I was talking about the ‘Christian’ conservatives. Apologies.

        • Jennifer Starr

          Libertarians weren’t the ones I was talking about– and no, I imagine most of them do not want these laws. I should have made it clear that I was talking about the ‘Christian’ conservatives. Apologies.

          • smzyk

            Jennifer, I was agreeing with you, and taking your example a step further to engage the Libertarian mindset. I wasn’t clear in that regard. Thank you for you original post, it is a good one.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Thank you for your posts as well–you’re making some very good points.

    • Dezzydez

      No they want to regulate my personal private life. They want to be able to tell me and my boyfriend how we should handle our relationship. The biggest danger is the theocracy you advocate on the right.

      • lolguidos

        The problem here is that you have people who will spread diseases and make more babies than they can afford having to resort to public assistance programs and by doing so (and other things) create a public problem. So, no it’s not your private life. You belong to a society and the “private” decisions you make affect the public at large.

        • Elaine Walkden

          *Married people have more kids than they can afford, too
          *Married people get infections of the sexual organs too, if nothing else they have to be treated at the expense of the group health insurance pool
          *”Welfare” covers people who are permanently disbled, people who do other foolish things such as driving recklessly and damaging themselves, drinking too much, becoming addicted to drugs, overeating to point of obesity and disease. “Paying for” something you “don’t want to” is the cost of living in this society.
          *Married parents get welfare, too. It’s called a tax credit for each child.
          Your argument is flawed.

          • lolguidos

            Every argument backing every viewpoint is flawed in some way. Your point is simply for the sake of argument and have therefor missed my point completely. Besides, I never even said anything about whether people were married or not to begin with, so obviously you either did not read my post or have some difficulty reading. Perhaps, could be some help?

          • Dezzydez

            You clearly missed her point. Her comment went right over your head. This article is about sex outside of marriage and her point is that married people get STIs and unwanted pregnancies also. Plus society is paying for all those kids married people have or can not afford.

          • lolguidos

            The problem here is that *you* can’t read. Because if *you* could you would see that marriage is completely irrelevant to my point.

            About marriage, if you’re happily married you are not going to collect welfare or spread any diseases because you lived a decent life. The whole marriage point that your friend brought up was nothing but a red herring to distract from my very real point about sex not being a private matter.

        • Dezzydez

          Better access to education and contraception brings down the rate of unwanted pregnancies and STI’s. Your shaming and denying that people are sexual beings helps raise those numbers. Look at the red states and the rates of teen pregnancies and STIs. Giving people accurate information helps them make better decsions. No this is not a theocracy. You do not get to decide my private choices, like I do not get to make choices for you. What is with big government and conservatives?

    • smzyk

      American Christian Taliban. Religious law and punishment. Humans who think they should stand in for God, judge and punish others.

    • Nicole Tallman

      No, the biggest danger here is the misogynist attitude that attempts to once again place the blame for all of society’s ills on the feet of women. Pat Fagan and the FRC would happily catapult us back 100 years and yes, they would take a way a woman’s right to be in control of her reproductive health. Bottom line, keep your religion out of my government and worry about your body and leave mine alone.

      • lolguidos

        Close your legs you filthy whore.

        • HeilMary1

          I’ll bet YOU don’t keep your pants zipped around any sexual opportunity.

    • Ivy Mike

      Explain then, please, why people “have no right” to sex outside marriage. Go ahead…try to spin the quoted passages as something benign.

      Do you people really not get that people are listening when your leading lights spout this insanity?

  • Jesus

    I think she lied about everything she said. I thought she was being satire when she said no one had sex unwed prior 1972.
    Religious politics is all about controlling and manipulating. It’s fucking disgusting.
    America is a religious prison. It’s not the land of the free. This reporter is borderline psychologically insane!

    • smzyk

      I have to agree that it’s about *controlling others* when it comes to the religious politics of organized religion. In this case, they are completely ignoring the New Testament and what Jesus said is most important, and instead using Old Testament judgement and punishing, cherry-picking what benefits them and ignoring everything else in order to support their drive for control (power). This is a sales job where you lose your freedom and they gain power over your life. And it won’t stop there — they’ll want more.

    • Jessica Padilla

      yup, and of course they are pushing their beliefs on everyone else completely ignoring that fact that there is this little thing called separation of church and state….

    • lolguidos

      Who’s forcing you to practice a religion in the confines of a cage? I can’t believe 38 people actually upvoted you. Must be a lot of illiterate people.

      • Dezzydez

        Are you completely blind to politicians pushing their religious views into our laws?

  • Verandaguy

    Pat Fagan sounds suspiciously like Fat Pagan. Just saying.

    • CoralSea

      Please!!! I am a Wiccan and we also sometimes call ourselves Pagans. I am also kinda tubby, so I guess I am a Fat Pagan. But I sure as heck am not like THAT guy!
      Honestly — if they don’t like sex outside of marriage then no one is forcing them to have sex outside of marriage. I wish they would keep their religion to themselves rather than trying to stick it down OUR throats.
      Also, anyone who has ever studied geneology will tell you that out-of-wedlock births have never exactly been rare. And during Puritan times, the time from marriage to the birth of the first kid was a hell of a lot shorter than 9 months — it was more like 4 months, I believe. Of course, these couples were often “betrothed,” but they sure as heck didn’t wait to start having sex!

      • Jane Hawes

        Puritan times lasted till 1972? (snark)

    • dudelette

      Most Pagans, at least European and Mediterranean ones, didn’t have issues with premarital sex, and sometimes even extramarital sex.
      Come to the old religions: we have cookies, and sex, lots of sex.

    • Eleanor Gray-Coe

      Just saying…What is YOUR point?

      • Verandaguy

        No point, just noticed a funny anagram.

  • Pbypby1000

    I think we should redefine marriage as being between multiple men and multiple women for the sole purpose to see how the religious right responds…

    • Ella Warnock

      Their brains would short-circuit and their heads would explode. Sounds like a win to me.

      • HeilMary1

        I’ll bring the dynamite!

  • Jennifer Starr

    I’m wondering how many of these men would be content with restricting viagra use to married men only. My guess is that they’d find some reason to be against it–the woman is the one they seem to want to shame and punish.

    • ocerg1111

      And women’s breasts would be strictly off limits, married or not. Their intended use from God is feeding babies, is it not? And they cannot have anal sex with women if they are menstruating (straight men in the south say, “when the river runs red, use the dirt road instead.”) because, as they point out about gays, the anus is an exit, not an entrance. Oh and cunnilingus and fellatio are examples of sodomy. Let’s see them live with THAT.

    • IfIWereYou

      I’m not sure they’d want that. They’d have to follow the law, too, and I’m sure those guys on Capitol Hill have mistresses on the side. They need to be able to satisfy both thier wives and their mistresses, right?

    • HeilMary1

      They’d also object to spousal and parishioner notification for all Viagra prescriptions since most Viagra is used by adulterous GOP men with their mistresses and priests on sex tours in Thailand and the Philippines.

  • IfIWereYou

    One needs only look in Pat Fagan’s closet and see what kind of skeletons he’s got in there. He’s being so vocal about not allowing people to hide anything, but I bet he’s hiding a a lot.

    • smzyk

      Yep, one despises in others that which he despises within himself.

      • IfIWereYou

        That’s one of the reasons I like Anonymous. Occasionally, they dig up dirt on people like that.

  • smzyk

    Far Right Christianity wants to implement the policies of Rousas John Rushdoony. Google him for an eye-opening look at the future that a few powerful players want for us. Most Christians have never heard of him and that is advantageous for those who cling to him, for his views are appalling.

    He believes that Old Testament law should be applied to modern society, using Mosaic law’s penal sanctions (ie, DEATH SENTENCE for homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about your virginity, renouncing your religion, idolatry, witchcraft, etc). He also does not like democracy, saying: “…Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” and “Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy,”

  • disqus_E68ATqanlH

    And how many of these hypocrites have had sex with minors, or other men, or committed adultery – with male minors! Anyway, they are the self proclaimed rightous bigots; they are dieing off each year and eventually their rhetoric and ignorance will be extinct. You can’t change their ways, nor would I want to. I would rather see them suffer their own intolerably misery until they die of colon cancer. Not that I’m bitter against idiots and a__holes, just saying.

  • cheddarcrow

    I’m so happy I live in Canada. America is full of insane fundamentalists. Religious people are accepted here, but not without a quiet snicker and roll of the eyes. It’s time to grow up, America. Canada is to America as Voltaire is to Benny Hinn.

  • wesvvv

    That’s funny. Family Values Superguy himself Newt Gingrich was born to teenaged parents who were married mere days and divorced right after he was born. Must have been a miracle one day pregnancy in that case.

  • IHateRegisteringDisqusNames

    If these guys were around in Jesus’ time, they would have run Mary right out of town.

    • HeilMary1

      Yes, just because Mary, the original Bristol Palin, claimed God impregnated her, how do we know there wasn’t an unreliable Levi Johnston getting off the hook?

  • Julia Adams

    I think this is hilarious. Prostitution (which is sex outside of marriage) is in the freaking BIBLE. So to say that sex out of wedlock is new is absolutly beyond any form of ignorance/stupidity I can even fathom. Here are just a few examples of people who had sex out of wedlock and the bible passages that corrispond to the stories.

    1. Gomer was the prostitute Hosea married when god told him to pick a whore for a wife. [Hosea 1]

    2. Israel as said by Jeremiah. [Jeremiah 3:3]

    3. Jephthah’s mother [Judges 11:1]

    4. Judah is a hooker [Ezekiel 16 and 23]

    5. Male prostitutes in the temple. [1 Kings 14:24]

    6. Moabite women or the Israelite men? The bible says the men go whoring but the women are of course blamed. [Numbers 25]

    7 & 8. Oholah and her sister Oholibah, the two prostitutes that really made the bible entertaining for 15 year old boys going through puberty. They couldn’t get porn mags so they had this chapter of the bible. [Ezekiel 23]

    9. Rahab. Somehow she was honored by being in the lineage of Jesus. [Joshua 2]

    10. Tamar, a widow of Er and Onan plays the prostitute to get pregnant by her father-in-law Judah. Again this prostitute is honored by being in the lineage of Jesus and this is not only a prostitute but someone that commits incest [Genesis has 9 other instances of incest]. [Genesis 38]

    11 & 12. Two mothers go to Solomon claiming that they are the mother of the newborn baby. Turns out both moms are prostitutes. [1 Kings 3]

    13. When Ahab was killed a bunch of women prostitutes bathed in his blood. [1 Kings 22]

    • HeatherN

      Yeah, but prostitutes were totally shamed, so that makes it okay. *facepalm*

    • dubaloseven

      Don’t show them evidence and facts! They’re allergic to that stuff!

    • lolguidos

      That’s all in the Old Testament, which is superceded by the New Testament. for more info.

      • InAwe


      • maiathebeegrrl

        Hey genius, read the intro sentence on her post – she is pointing out that the Bible documents the EXISTENCE of prostitution & non-marital sex (which is what the idiot Robin is writing about is claiming didn’t exist & what this whole conversation is about).
        No one cares if the Bible condemns or condones it.

    • HeilMary1

      You forgot that Lot’s spinster daughters got him drunk so he’d impregnate them AFTER they fled Sodom and Gomorrah.

    • Jane Hawes

      Don’t forget Lot and his daughters: Genesis 19: 31-38.

  • Phil

    Uh, what about the fact that 80% of births in colonial America were by unwed mothers ?

    • maiathebeegrrl

      This is funny, but I don’t think it’s true. Based on the data I’ve seen, non-marital births in the colonial era ranged from about 2 – 10% (depending on region) and rose an average 1/3 or so by the 18th century (1700s). It still against idiot-guy’s point, but nowhere near 80%. Although, now that I think about it, those data I’m quoting wouldn’t likely include enslaved African-American women or indigenous American women; maybe that’s where the high % comes from?

  • Seth Olsen

    Government so small it can fit inside the bedroom

  • BarryG

    Some think I’m exaggerating when I call these people the American Taliban. The only reason they aren’t as bad is because they do not have absolute power.

    • CoralSea

      You aren’t exaggerating. If they ever got control, they would be just as bad, or possibly worse, than the Taliban. I know — I have some crazy fundamentalist Christians in my family, and they are just itching to begin burning Witches at the stake. Thankfully, they don’t know I am Wiccan, and honestly, I keep it from them because they are just crazy enough to do something awful “in the name of the Lard!”

  • ChristSandwich

    It’s time that religion dies. I don’t have any interest in forcing people to stop, just wish people would grow up, now.

  • Terry Lee Osborne

    I love how right wing thinks that marriage came from god. Ancient humans mostly started marrying for property rights and I mean we men owned you women when we married you.

  • lol_religion

    Ill do whatever the fhuck i want. Fhuck your god

  • David Johnson

    Some people just need to be declared to be “Officially Too Stupid To Listen To.”

  • LeoPlainview

    this is ridiculous. it would never happen/be enforced. but push that fear mongering ish brah. or stop and think about how bored you are, Robin.

    • Jennifer Starr

      Firstly, sentiments such as the ones expressed by Mr. Fagan deserve ridicule–the fundies of the world will keep opening their mouths and inserting their feet and this is just the kind of reaction they deserve. Secondly, I may be older and a bit out of it, but who or what is ish brah? Did you misspell something?

      • LeoPlainview

        Firstly, by giving something like this more media exposure than it deserves, we are giving Pat Fagan more of a voice (and we already expect this kind of thing from him). Secondly, I too can be condescending

        • Jennifer Starr

          Yeah, I did actually google it–first the phrase and then the bits–still don’t totally understand the context. It seems to be a popular phrase ( is meme the right word?) but like I said, I’m not exactly what you’d call ‘with it’. As for fear -mongering, frankly, I’m not so sure that it really is. Since the early ’80s, the Christian right has gained more and more ground in the Republican party and the party has moved so far to the right that Nixon, Ford and even the much-venerated Reagan would probably be considered RINOS and liberals today. I mean, think about it–insurance coverage for contraception, something which over 99% of American women have used at some point, should be a non-issue. Instead it’s suddenly become a controversy. So fundies like Mr. Fagan and his ilk need to be mentioned and ridiculed–hopefully this will help the nonsense to stop.

  • Albert Lewis

    Adam? Eve?

    • HeilMary1

      Thank you! There’s no mention of their wedding anywhere!

  • Sensia Blue

    These people are nut bags, and they have gotten into our congress, please please start voting these people out of office. Seriously I am tired of the religious nuts, creating all these laws to skirt the legal right to have an abortion, or to gain access to birth control, or to force all women back into their archaic stone age.

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  • Frank Hoffman

    Sorry, cultural reactionaries, that genie is not going back in the bottle. Of all the social movements and experiments of the 60’s, the Sexual Revolution is one that definitely took hold culturally. Even new and deadlier STDs have not driven people back to the unnatural sexual mores of the 1950s — and those who wish for those days to return are just jealous because they hate it when other people have more fun, with less guilt, than they do.

  • Jane Hawes

    I find it disturbing that these “pro-life” people all claim to love and cherish children, and yet want to use pregnancy as a punishment for sex.