December 26, 2006

Contraception Saves Money and Marriages

Something that seems like common sense to the vast majority of us is unfathomable nonsense to the evangelical right-the notion that by being able to freely engage in sexual behavior-as consenting adults have the right to do and to agree to do, religion or no-but retain the basic human right to decide when and how to have a family and raise children, is something that empowers couples, saves them from financial ruin raising children that they may not be prepared to raise, and alleviating stress and friction in their relationships by giving them the freedom to love, be loved, and make love, while deciding when and how to raise a family.

… Another truth is that when the birth control revolution got underway, women waited to marry and start a family. In 1970, the average age of a new mother was 21 years old. By 2000, the average age was 28. Harvard researchers recently reported that legalization of contraception is directly linked to the spike in the number of women becoming more highly educated and entering the “career” professions. In 1970, 5 percent of all lawyers and judges were women; today there are six times that. In 1970, one in 10 physicians was female, today it’s one in three. Similar patterns are true for women architects, dentists, veterinarians, economists and women in most of the engineering fields.

Few women today would trade places with the typical 1950s woman and mother, the one fervently idealized by so-called “pro-family” groups. In the 1950s, women didn’t approach parity with men in education and, guess what, their housework time was constant — despite having new “time-saving” technologies. This was the era in which birth rates soared and doubled the time devoted to child care. And with women assigned to endless tasks of the home, men shouldered the full responsibility of supporting the family economically. One dire consequence was that one in four Americans in the mid-1950s lived in poverty. By the end of the 1950s, one in three American children lived in poverty.

Not surprisingly, researchers in the ’50s found that less than one in three married couples reported being happy or very happy with their relationship. Compare that to today, when 61 percent of married Americans report themselves to be “very happy” in their marriage. Part of the sour spouse problem of the ’50s was that many couples didn’t really want to be married to each other. Often, they were trapped into marriage by unintended pregnancy. With no sex-ed, no birth control, no legal abortion — the exact legislative agenda of today’s pro-life movement! — teen birth rates soared, reaching highs that have not been equaled since: there were twice as many teen mothers in the ’50s than today.

Sounds about right to me-the “good old days” apparently aren’t what they “used” to be.

[ Contraception Saves Money and Marriages ]
Source: AlterNet

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