Tag Archives: Fertility

MUST-HEAR: Jennifer Roback Morse on contraceptives, divorce, cohabitation, SSM and ART

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

I often tease women for being too focused on happiness and feelings, but Dr. J isn’t like that at all. She is all about economics, incentives, and moral boundaries. She thinks about the big issues. She once chastised me in an e-mail for being too emotional. I think she has had it with the feelings-based arguments from the socially-liberal left.

This lecture does not repeat much from her previous lectures.


The MP3 file is here. (93 minutes, 43.5 Mb)

Keep in mind that this speech was given to Wisconsin Catholic seminarians, so there is a lot of rah-rah Catholic stuff. I’m an evangelical Protestant, so I just smile when she talks about that. At least there was no Mary in it. Yay!


– contraception does not reduce the abortion rate
– contraception is bad because it makes sex a recreational activity
– contraception fails, which leads to the need for abortion
– 80% of abortions are done on unmarried women
– teenagers do not think that contraceptives will FAIL for them
– they don’t understand that the probabilities is PER ACTION – more actions increases probability
– the more you rely on something that has a small chance of failure, the more chance you will get a failure
– more sex, means more chances for a person to get a failure
– older women are naturally less fertile, so they skew contraceptive effectiveness figures higher
– contraceptives are most likely to fail for the young, the poor and the unmarried
– contraception means that women cannot ask men to promise to marry them before sex
– the pressure for a man to marry if the woman gets pregnant is gone
– the presumption is that the woman will have an abortion
– women who want to get married are at a disadvantage to get male attention now
– because men will prefer women who are willing to have an abortion if they get pregnant
– when people argue for these social changes, they don’t accurately assess consequences
– they think that they can have the happiness-making freedom without damaging anything else
– they think that no incentives will be created so that others start to act differently
– example: no-fault divorce – there were terrible consequences that were minimized by the social engineers

– people who wanted this believed myths in order to get the happiness-making freedom for the adults
– they said that divorce would be less harmful for children than if the parents stayed together
– they argued for no-fault divorce because they wanted happiness and didn’t care about children
– in a low conflict marriage, it is better for children if the parents stay together
– in a high-conflict marriage, it is better for children to divorce
– but for high-conflict divorce, you could have gotten a divorce for cause
– what people pushing no-fault divorce really wanted was to divorce to pursue happiness elsewhere
– there is also a financial incentive to divorce for no reason – alimony, child support, property
– but divorce really disrupts the lives of the children
– the VAST MAJORITY of divorces are in low-conflict situations
– the social norm was that low-level conflict meant that you stayed married for the sake of the kids
– a pregnancy after a re-marriage is devastating to children of the first marriage
– not being able to have a normal relationship with both biological parents is devastating to children
– what often drives people into co-habitation is the fear of screwing up their own marriages
– pro-divorce people want women to re-marry afterwards to provide kids with a “father-figure”
– the presence of a stepfather increases bad behavior in the kids, as well as risk of abuse
– but actually, stepfathers spend little time with kids, and draws mother away from the kids
– biological fathers spend the most time with the children
– disciplining the children is more complex with a non-bio dad
– normally, dads wants the kids to behave, and moms want the children to be happy
– often, the woman will forbid the father from disciplining the children
– the father will just drop out of parenting completely when his authority is not respected

– social engineers understate the risks of co-habitation and overstate the risks of marriage
– but research shows that co-habitation makes no positive contribution to marriage
– feminists love to say that marriage is very risky, but without comparing it to alternatives
(feminists don’t like marriage because of the “unequal gender roles”)
– when compared with the alternatives, like co-habitation, marriage is better on every measure
– feminists say that married women do not report abuse in marriage, that’s why marriage LOOKS better
– but murders HAVE TO BE reported, and co-habitation results in NINE TIMES more murders than marriage
– children are killed FIFTY TIMES more with co-habitation with an unrelated adult than with 2 bio-parents
– the live-in boyfriend is the culprit in 85% of these cases

Same-sex marriage:
– alternatives to marriage change rules and incentives, it is NOT the same thing as marriage
– necessarily, one of the parents will not have a close relationship with one bio-parents
– social engineers say that mothers and fathers are interchangeable – but they are different
– SSM undermines the presumption of paternity, and substitutes state-ordered parenting
– the public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers to fathers, and parents to children
– SSM elevates private purposes for marriage over and above the public purpose of marriage
– SSM will lead to fathers being marginalized from the family
– the state will have to force people to equate SSM and natural marriage

Artificial reproductive technology:
– it is the next substitute for marriage
– highly educated career women do not have to prepare for a husband to get a baby
– her behavior through her life changes because she doesn’t have to care about marriage

The dark side of the birth control pill

This story is from New York Magazine. (H/T Mary)


The Pill changed the world. These days, women’s twenties are as free and fabulous as they can be, a time of boundless freedom and experimentation, of easily trying on and discarding identities, careers, partners. The Pill, which is the most popular form of contraception in the U.S., is still the symbol of that freedom. As a young woman, you feel chic throwing that light plastic pack of dainty pills into your handbag, its retro pastel-colored wheel design or neat snap-to-close box sandwiched between lipstick and cell phone, keys and compact. It’s easy to believe the assurances of the guests at the Pierre gala that the Pill holds the answers to empowerment and career success, to say nothing of sexual liberation—the ability to have sex in the same way that guys always have, without guilt, fear, or strings attached. The Pill is part of what makes one a modern woman, conferring adulthood and cool with the swipe of a doctor’s pen.

[…]The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late. It changed the narrative of women’s lives, so that it was much easier to put off having children until all the fun had been had (or financial pressures lessened). Until the past couple of decades, even most die-hard feminists were still married at 25 and pregnant by 28, so they never had to deal with fertility problems, since a tiny percentage of women experience problems conceiving before the age of 28. Now many New York women have shifted their attempts at conception back about ten years. And the experience of trying to get pregnant at that age amounts to a new stage in women’s lives, a kind of second adolescence. For many, this passage into childbearing—a Gail Sheehy–esque one, with its own secrets and rituals—is as fraught a time as the one before was carefree.

Suddenly, one anxiety—Am I pregnant?—is replaced by another: Can I get pregnant? The days of gobbling down the Pill and running out to CVS at 3 a.m. for a pregnancy test recede in the distance, replaced by a new set of obsessions. The Pill didn’t create the field of infertility medicine, but it turned it into an enormous industry. Inadvertently, indirectly, infertility has become the Pill’s primary side effect.

I remember that this topic came up in Miriam Grossman’s first book, where she was explaining how women spend the best years of their lives pursue degrees and money, and they have no idea how their fertility declines with age! It’s really sad. Speaking as a man, I actually looked into how age would affect my ability to have children when I was in my late 20s.  It’s sad that older women in the feminists movement think nothing of foisting all of these lies on younger women – and sadder still that younger women mostly don’t understand how they are affected by these lies.

Articles like this really scratch where I itch as a person. Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to know how to live the next phase of my life – what would happen next, and how could I be ready. This is what’s behind some of the decisions I’ve made that have protected me from danger. I actually spend a lot of time fretting about fretting about inflation and old age and so on, making plans and carrying them out. Part of it is learning about what I should value as a man – what will fulfill me. So often we don’t pay attention to the traits conveyed by our distinct sex and think that we can undo our nature with drugs, and speculative blind-faith believing and so on – wishful thinking and hoping. But that’s just foolishness. The world is the way it is and we are the way we are. God has made us all with certain desires and needs, and some of them are fairly fixed based on our sex.

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal says that in vitro fertilization is a right

Story from the Globe and Mail. (H/T Scaramouche via Blazing Cat Fur)


Six months ago, Ana Ilha knew her biological clock was ticking. She just didn’t know it was ticking so fast.

But when the Ontario Health Insurance Plan would not cover fertility treatments because of the source of her problems – at 37, her eggs were running out abnormally fast, a condition called a low ovarian reserve – she decided to take action.

She and her husband, University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran, filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on Monday. They argue OHIP’s policy is discriminatory, since it covers in vitro fertilization only in limited circumstances.

“It’s a medical condition like any other,” Ms. Ilha said. “Couples like us should not have to suffer financially in addition to suffering emotionally.”

Their case is part of a debate in Canada’s two largest provinces, and it could soon spread across the country.

In Quebec, high-profile TV personality Julie Snyder, the wife of Quebecor CEO Pierre-Karl Péladeau, urged the province to cover IVF treatments. She made a documentary about infertility and put pressure on politicians.

In April, Premier Jean Charest’s government announced that it will fund three IVF cycles for couples, making Quebec the only province to do so.

Seang Lin Tan, a fertility expert at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, said one in eight Canadian couples struggles with infertility.

“What’s frustrating, is that people who would be good candidates are routinely told they have to dig into their pockets,” Prof. Attaran said. “I’m fortunate, law professors get paid decently. But that’s not true for everyone.”

After a year of trying to conceive, the couple paid $6,300 for one IVF treatment at an Ottawa fertility clinic. A further $6,500 in drugs was covered by private insurance…

What this means is that ordinary working families will pay for the fertitlity treatments of aging, infertile women who put their careers before children. So what if they made that decision themselves based on their own ideology? They didn’t do anything wrong, and no harm done. Except the tens of thousands of dollars that must be taken from ordinary Canadians dying while waiting for critical care on a waiting list.

Meanwhile, men who get prostate cancer in Canada are 184% more likely to die than in the USA. But women are much better off in a single-payer system – breast cancer mortality is only 9% higher in Canada than in the USA. Everyone is equal – but some people are more equal than others.