Editor's note: Some of the links in this post are audio clips; click on them to listen to Lionel Tiger in a new window.
[img_assist|nid=598|title=Special Series|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]At "Contraception Is Not the Answer", Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League introduced Lionel Tiger (his real name, I swear) as "an honest scientist" who was NOT coming from a religious conservative perspective. Every other speaker at the anti-contraception conference was from a conservative group or religious institution and obviously pushing an ideological agenda. But Lionel Tiger (and bears – oh my!) is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He was there because of his book "The Decline of Males", which Amazon describes as a counterpart to feminism ("masculinism") that chronicles the decline of men and the ascendancy of women – due to reproductive technology.
There has been a lot of news lately about declining birth rates and changes in population in various countries. Pro-population groups have used this opportunity to predict doom and gloom if people don’t start having more babies. Taking that approach, a demographer named Andrew Pollard discussed “Societal Suicide: The Profound Demographic Impact of Contraception” at the Contraception is Not the Answer conference. In contrast to the friendly, cheerful demeanor of the other speakers, Pollard sounded angry and vehement. He made some of the most outrageous statements I heard during the entire conference, which you can listen to in the audio clips at the end of this post.
[img_assist|nid=598|title=Special Series|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]Last week, while American anti-contraception activists gathered in Chicago to discuss how contraception (a.k.a. the "taproot" of abortion) is destroying America, a group of African health ministers and other African Union leaders met in Maputo, Mozambique to discuss how ensuring women's access to contraception and related sexual and reproductive health services might help Save Africa. Apparently, the African Union has not gotten the memo about how contraception is NOT the answer. But, in the great tradition of the Pro-Life Action League, it's time to take a closer look…
[img_assist|nid=598|title=Special Series|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]Joe Scheidler of Pro Life Action League is getting a little defensive about our special series and online advertising campaign addressing his recent conference entitled Contraception Is Not The Answer. In the very first sentence of his Action News Hotline he claimed that "More than 250 Pro-Life stalwarts, one pro-abortion spy, Tyler LePard, and several members of the press attended the first-ever national anti-contraception conference in Chicago Friday and Saturday."
Going into the anti-contraception conference in Chicago, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wanted to blend in, so I packed clothes that I deemed to be slightly formal, but wouldn't stand out. I wanted to look conservative and professional, but not too much like I'm from Washington, DC. Oh, and I needed to hide my tattoos and piercings, which involved wearing long-sleeve shirts and not opening my mouth too wide (which was an additional barrier to speaking up when I heard outrageous statements). I put on my cross necklace, wore skirts and plain tops, and ventured into the belly of the beast.
Since many anti-abortion groups have shied away from taking on contraception, I thought only radical extremists would gather to oppose something that is used by the majority of Americans. To my surprise, that was not the case.
As Scott mentioned when he introduced this series yesterday, I attended a conference in Chicago last weekend titled "Contraception Is Not the Answer." You may be wondering who would oppose an essential part of many Americans' lives – one that protects people from disease and helps them plan if, when, and how many children to have. Ian provided an insightful preview to the event with background information in Friday's blog. In this series I will address the main themes of the conference and provide a much-needed reality check on their arguments.
There is no doubt that the coarseness of political life and the politics of personal destruction are tied to the rise of social conservative ideologues, and their fight against a woman’s right to choose since Roe v. Wade. The advent of a “Culture War” was born out of a movement that opposed legalized abortion and pretended that was its only agenda for many years. But as religious belief turned from mission to power, the greatest of corrupting influences, the swagger of social ideologues and their control of the GOP, the White House, Congress, Courts, Governorships, State Legislatures and School Boards has them ready to take the next step, an all out war on contraception.
This past weekend in Chicago, Joe Schieldler’s Pro-Life Action League hosted 250 people at a conference entitled Contraception Is Not The Answer, opening a new strategic front to advance their ever-more narrow agenda, coming from an ever-expanding cast of ideologically motivated organizations. If conservatives think our culture is coarse now, its probably good to remind them that coarseness is coming less from people actually having sex responsibly than it is from the way uptight ideologues and corporate marketeers and others talk about sex, making it seem clinical and shameful on one extreme, or detached and less sacred on the other. Take the average American’s contraception away and its a safe bet life will be more coarse as people’s tension increases.
One of those 250 people attending the two-day conference was RH Reality Check’s Associate Editor, Tyler LePard.
A unique conference will begin tonight in Chicago, and I have a feeling that very few of our readers have heard of it. CINTA, which stands for "Contraception Is Not The Answer," will be convened by the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) and its infamous leader, Joseph Scheidler. While the media has been catching up with the trend against contraception from the far-right and its increasing influence on politics, we thought it might be helpful to provide some background on the conference presenters.