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Sex and the Triple Crisis in Family, Church and State.

Tags: Census data, children, cohabitation, culture, divorce, family, family structure, fathers, feminism, feminists, MARRI, marriage, Pat Fagan, poverty, Prayer, religion, reproductive technology, social institutions, social science, Uncategorized, women, women's health, worship 1 comment

(With apologies for the length.) As Russell Hittinger wrote earlier this year in First Things, there are three primary societies to which people most naturally belong: Our family, our religious community (church, synagogue, mosque, or temple or meeting house), and our political community (nation or state). He emphasized that all three, for the first time in history, are in deep crisis. In the past when there was a crisis in one, or even in two, the other(s) corrected it.

The simultaneous crisis today in each of the three has the same cause: the sexual gone wild. The fallout within the family is now boringly evident: Most first births out of wedlock, minority of children reaching adulthood without their biological parents married, a norm of multiple sexual partners prior to marriage — even for those who worship God weekly, cohabitation prior to marriage, abortion and divorce.

The crisis in the church is related to sex as well, starting historically, with the Lambeth Conference in 1930, during which the-up-until-then universal teaching among all Christian denominations was ruptured by the acceptance of contraception in grave circumstances for the protection of the life and health of the mother, which — hardly had the ink dried on the decree — immediately morphed into (without debate) the commonly accepted moral doctrine across Protestant denominations, of the use of contraception to limit family size. By 1950 this was a deeply entrenched pattern. By the 1960’s the crisis on the same erupted in the Catholic Church with a division for many, at almost all levels of the church (but not at the top) between praxis and doctrine.

The children born to all these contracepting parents saw no logical nor practical reason to contain contraception within marriage and, taking it outside, gave us the sexual revolution of the 1960s. That revolution was not only a sexual revolution, but fostered by the cultural Marxists, was a revolution against “authority.” Many churches complied with the zeitgeist, changing, first praxis and then doctrine on divorce, abortion, and cohabitation. With the logical dominoes falling, homosexual sex had to be, and was, logically accepted. Now with multiple religious-moral options, more and more people moved their religious affiliation to less demanding denominations, ceased worshiping frequently while their children ceased worshiping at all.

The emerging recreational sex, naturally led to an abandonment of the worship of God by young adults, and to a loss of attachment to any religious community. It also resulted in the steady erosion of marriage. Thus, the crisis within the family and within religion, are the same: The sexual.

That there is a crisis in the polis – – – the political community of which we are all members – – – is now obvious in the overt refusal of cooperation by the more revolutionary party in Congress. One might say it is akin to a civil war though confined — for the present — to the realm of words (and legal actions). Civil discourse is almost impossible to find. This breakdown is most evident in the debate over the nomination of judges to the Supreme Court and to the Appellate Courts. But this non-cooperation is evident in other areas that impinge on matters sexual, most evidently so, in the issue of abortion but now even at the highest court levels of legal action in matters related to homosexuality. The most publicly forthright, organized display in Congress of a refusal to seek even minimal political cooperation was the behavior of liberal female congressmen and senators during the incumbent president’s First State of the Union speech shortly after his election. These women set themselves apart and aside by an ostentatious show of uniform dress code — white coats — so as to be visible to the nation on television, as pointedly flaunting their refusal of minimal respect when all strive to maintain some semblance of national unity. The day prior, this refusal was presaged in “The Women’s March” whose iconic headgear vulgarly forced all to contemplate the politics of rebellious sex — again with a dress code — this time, not white coats but, pink “vulva hats”.

Any part of Washington that impinges on the sexual has become a nasty place to work, nowhere more than at the Office of Population Affairs at Health and Human Services. The office that runs the family planning/sexual programs of the government. God help anyone who works there who does not comply in their minds and hearts with the radical sexual agenda. They are under intense constant scrutiny and harassment.

In sum, nothing is more contentious at universities, in corporate boardrooms, in bureaucracies, in courts, and in legislatures than the appearance of any item that impinges on the sexual. Everywhere, pollical division and non-cooperation divides the polis.

Why has there never been a crisis in all three societies ever before in history? Never before have so many in powerful places been so insane on matters of sex, family, love between fathers and mothers, parents and children.

Sex, life, love, marriage, children and God are all so intimately linked or decoupled in the thriving of man or in his debilitation, that all functional civilizations and cultures — all — have put tremendous energy, throughout all their institutions, into bringing as much harmony on the society-dependent, foundational issues. In our day instead, we have many in positions of leadership throughout the major institutions (family, church, school, marketplace and government) devoted to deliberately increasing the discord on these issues. A society so divided on these fundamentals cannot stand, as the elite leaders of this revolt understand very well, and have for decades as they worked to this point.

As always, it is the poor who suffer most, and who will suffer even more. For all family life today is much costlier, less productive and less enjoyable than it should be, but especially so for the poor — even as they are used and show-cased as victims by the same elite leaders of the revolt.

Our national fertility — a big sexual issue — is far removed from that of a well-functioning society. For instance, if were no abortions there would not be a Social Security financial crisis today, nor a looming Medicare crisis. Over the next 10 years these programs will gradually shrivel, if not suddenly implode (economists seem to lean towards implosion, barring some global reform in global currency standards). The contraction has already begun as the elderly on Medicare can tell you. And, they have already been flagged that less will be forthcoming and that they must become accustomed to picking up more of the tab (which they had pre-payed).

More than most nations throughout history, we were blessed with the freedom to choose, but we were never free to choose the consequences. Consequences are built into the nature of the choice made, into the sexual and relational nature of man, as the demographics of America — Mapping America — repeatedly illustrates.

To thrive man needs two great loves: The love of his closest neighbor (spouse, and children— sexual love in its fullest expression) and the love of God (minimally expressed in weekly worship).

Is a crisis correction possible?

Of the three societies that we all occupy, the one with the capacity for quickest reform is the religious. Despite all its bad press, some of it, and more to come, no doubt, well deserved — but by no means all, particularly the latest — a close observer will notice the pace of reform within the Catholic Church in this country. It has been gathering steam, not in a way that makes front-page headlines, but more hidden in its deeper reaches. Hopefully the same currents, driven by the same issues (dysfunctional sexuality and its fallouts), are bringing about similar reform within other denominations and faiths.

Addressing the issue of church reform, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, in a recent letter to the university community, quoted St Catherine of Sienna, who was the major stimulus for a reform at another time of deep crisis: “Eliminate the stink of the ministers of the Holy Church. Pull out the stinking flowers and plant scented plants, virtuous men that fear God.”

The road ahead: First the reform of the religious institutions leading in turn to the reform of marriage and the family (all freely undertaken by free adults), which reformed over time, will alter our political behaviors and lead to a reform of the body politic.

The sooner the better for every child yet to be born, every one of whom will thrive or wilt depending on how much a diet of the two great loves he is fed.

Pat Fagan, Ph.D.

Director of MARRI

Marriage and Women’s Health

income, marriage, Urban Institute, women's health No comments

Adding to the discussion on women’s health, a recent survey reported that 40.2 percent of women – compared to 29.5 percent of men – reported an unmet medical need due to costs within the last year (*note, however, this is a biased figure and the disparity is actually lower). There is much speculation on the causes for this disproportionate need of women, but identifying a driver is quite simple: the deterioration of marriage. Marriage lifts women out of poverty. Divorce and cohabitation keep women in poverty.

Marriage provides a number of (intuitive) economic benefits to women. Married women share income with their husbands, and are able to optimize the division of labor for a household. Married couples enjoy, on average, larger incomes, greater net worth, and greater year-to-year net worth growth. Not surprisingly, marriage raises the long-run family income of children born to single parents by 45 percent.

Divorce does the opposite. Divorce causes women to disproportionately bear the brunt of poverty. Family income falls by 41 percent and family food consumption falls by 18 percent in the year following a divorce. Divorce is the main factor in determining the length of “poverty spells,” particularly for women whose pre-divorce family income was in the bottom half of the income distribution.

Although it might seem that cohabitation can provide the same economic benefits as marriage, it in fact cannot truly alleviate the feminization of poverty.  Cohabitation is temporary (with a roughly 50% failure rate), and the men in cohabitation are less attached to the labor market than married men. Cohabiters share fewer resources, since their bonds are less assured. Cohabitation, therefore, lacks all the natural gains of marriage (security, labor market benefits such as insurance, and the pooling of resources). Preferring cohabitation over marriage in our policies means preferring a modality of life that cannot deliver the benefits to women’s health coverage that marriage can.

If we want to promote women’s health, we really must discourage divorce and cohabitation. and encourage marriage.  Studies have already shown that married women rate their health better than divorced, separated, widowed, and never-married women do. Married women’s ability to cover their medical costs is one of the many reasons why. 

*According to the Urban Institute: “Questions on unmet need for contraceptive prescriptions or other family planning services were only asked of female respondents. Respondents may report an unmet need because of cost for more than one type of service, so sums may exceed the share reporting any unmet need because of cost.”

The State of a Woman’s Union

abstinence, Christianity, cohabitation, feminism, intact family, marriage, religion, sexuality, teen pregnancy, women's health No comments

By Lindsay Smith, Intern
 

Dear Florida,

I heard that you are spending $45,000to research women’s sexuality within your borders.  Apparently, this information is quite valuable to you.  I know you are offering gift cards if women will complete surveys on this topic.  Good news, I think I can provide you with some answers to your search – no gift card necessary. 

Abundant research has shown that disruption within a family structure increases the likelihood of sexual debut for children. “Women whose parents separated during childhood are more likely to have an out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancy, and men with divorced or separated parents are more likely to father a child with a teenage mother.”  As expected, women from intact-married families have the lowest risk of teenage sexual debut, and fewer partners.  Marriage positively affects not only the children, but also the man and woman in the union.  Since your survey touches on a woman’s emotional well-being in relation to sex, you really should know that married couples find their sexual relationship more satisfying than cohabiters do.”

Based on your survey’s questions, I see you are curious about religious affiliation.  You were wise to ask.  According to MARRI’s publication “The Benefits of Religious Worship,” females who attend religious worship weekly are less likely than their peers to sexually debut as a teen, have a premarital pregnancy, or abort their first pregnancy. The Christian abstinence program “True Love Waits” produces similar effects for its participants.  The American Journal of Sociology’s article “Promising the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse” reports that, on average, pledging decreases the risk of sexual debut even for those in a dating relationship. 

Combining regular worship attendance with an always-intact family bolsters these effects.  As seen in diagrams here, hereand here, MARRI research verifies that teens attending weekly worship with an always-intact family are least likely to sexually debut as a teen or have a premarital pregnancy. 

Florida, you mentioned your hope “to design the state’s service offerings, including pamphlets and counseling,” based on the survey’s findings. How about offering marriage counseling to strengthen families?  What if your pamphlets included the benefits of an abstinence pledge? 

Well, I hope this letter has helped.  In case you find the survey a bit superfluous now, it is almost Christmas, and gift cards make great gifts.

Politics and Science

abortion, abstinence, contraception, mothers, news, reproductive technology, women's health No comments

By Pat Fagan, Ph.D., Director of MARRI

NBC News and many others have lauded the results of the Peipert program evaluation of the effects of LARCs (long term reversible contraceptives), namely IUDs and implant contraceptives, which they claim have (unsurprising) effects in lowering abortions.  However, there is much to dispute about the study.   Its method is almost non-existent though a lot of words are used to describe it.  This means their results may be a massive underestimation of the effects or even a massive overestimation of the effects.  We just don’t know;  the “method” is totally unreliable.  It is analogous to going into a library to find out the level of reading in the local population, or to giving a book to those you find at a library to figure out the effect of reading on such people!  In this case they go to a group of women desirous of reversible control methods.  To make matters worse: they have no comparison control group. They do not line up treatment and control (absolutely fundamental to this type of study), but they insinuate comparisons. The project team went through all sorts of contortions to estimate the effects, but they avoided the obvious simple, fundamental step of having a control group.  This is political correctness trumping good scholarship (a dangerous trend in the social sciences that will eventually come back to haunt academia).
Though I am opposed to their way of thinking and acting (more anon), I would have expected LARCs to have had much better results than they did.  There is still way too high a rate of abortion from a method one would expect to virtually totally eliminate it. This much-lauded method does not come close.     
 
Other big concerns I have about this approach to avoiding abortions is the effect of this form of behavior on the long-term marital, family, parenting, and sexual habits of the women involved.  My prediction is that young women who use these methods (who would not feel sexually liberated with totally effective birth control methods) will have many more sexual partners, behavior that itself increases the likelihood of procuring an abortion.  The program will also have high STD effects, likely have very significant effects on future marital stability, and in turn have significantly weakening effects on these women’s future children’s life outcomes.  That STD rate effects would be tracked and measured is something one would expect to be second nature for OBGYNs to report upon.  Maybe there is a second study coming (but that would be useless too, given no control group.)
So: failing grades on method and on narrowness of their view of effectiveness.  And failing grades also are given to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology for rushing shoddy work to press in order to influence the Presidential campaigns.  That is really sad.  It definitely is not good science, nor good politics either, though we would expect medical science to stay above the political fray.  All in all, it is a sad day for medicine and science. 

For an in-depth analysis of the study, see Dr. Michael New’spiece.

Conservatives and the “War on Women”

abortion, feminism, women's health No comments

By Sarah Robinson, Intern 

I would like to address the rhetoric that we hear reported through our news media regarding the “war on women” which conservatives are supposedly instigating.  Conservatives are generally labeled with this accusation because of the pro-life stance with which the Republican Party aligns.  But the pro-life position actually protects women’s health against the negative effects of abortion.  
A pamphlet titled The Top Ten Myths About Abortion, compiled by FRC’s William L. Saunders, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, and Lucia Papayova, contains research findings about the effects of abortion on women.  This research has debunked the myth that abortion is a “good” medical procedure for women.  According to the pamphlet, physical complications from an abortion “include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion.  Risks of complications increase with gestational age.”  Physical complications can also arise with the abortifacient RU-486.  Risks include hemorrhage, infection, and missed ectopic pregnancy. 
This pamphlet also notes some of the key psychological effects associated with abortion.  A New Zealand research team compiled data from a 25-year period and “found conclusively that abortion in young women is associated with increased risks of major depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal behaviors, and substance dependence.”  This is the most exhaustive research ever conducted regarding abortion.  Other studies suggest a substantial evidence of connection between induced abortion and both substance abuse and suicide.  Women may also experience anxiety, anger, flashbacks, guilt, grief, denial, and relationship problems.  These symptoms are generally identified as Post-Abortion Syndrome, a subset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Adolescents who have had abortions, compared to those who have given birth, report more sleeping problems, frequent marijuana use, and increased need for psychological counseling. 
It is clear that abortion is a dangerous choice for women. A woman’s likelihood of having an abortion increases when she or her child’s father grew up in a non-intact family and is not religious. It decreases, however, when the woman or her child’s father grew up in an intact married home and makes religious attendance a regular part of life (see MARRI research here, here, and here). Conservatives, who tend to be pro-marriage and pro-religion as well as pro-life, are not waging a war on women. On the contrary, they may be women’s best allies in this fight.

The Sex Secret You Won’t Find in Cosmo

abstinence, MARRI, marriage, religion, sexuality, women's health No comments

Betsy Huff, Intern
 
Pick up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (or any issue for that matter) and you are sure to find a cover story on the “hottest new sex secrets.”  In fact, the aim of the publication seems to be to aid women in finding the most possible fulfillment in their sexual experiences and encounters.  There is a shocking, but not so new (in fact some may say ancient) piece of information that may change the way you view religion and sex.  
In February of 1999, U.S.A Today ran a cover story entitled “Revenge of the Church Ladies,” by William R. Mattox Jr., which revealed that some of the most sexually satisfied women in the country are religious women. It is no divine revelation that premature sexual activity has devastating effects on young girls, but a study that reveals in objective terms that religious women experience more frequent sexual responsiveness might come as a surprise.  Gone is the notion of the prudish, Victorian-minded and sexually repressed church woman the Sexual Revolution worked so hard to release! 
The study cites four factors that may contribute to sexual fulfillment in religious women. Sexual inexperience and lack of baggage from past sexual involvements contributes to a satisfactory sex life within marriage. Similarly, this lack of a sexually licentious past is related to less sexual anxiety due to guilt or fear of consequences from sexual promiscuity. Logically, sexual anxiety is a factor that inhibits sexual satisfaction.  Also, marriage in itself creates an environment for human sexuality to flourish.  The commitment and fidelity created by this relational union allows a woman to “let go” and thus experience more sexual responsiveness.  Finally, for religious women sex is more than just a physical act to meet a sensory appetite. The physical act is also spiritual and emotional; it is symbolic of a transcendent truth that the two are really “one flesh.”  
This is just one of many examplesof social science research supporting the way God intended and commanded humans to live. Other examples include evidence from MARRI research that supports the idea of an intact family as the best environment in which to raise happy, healthy, and successful children.  Other social science researchsupports these same ideas. As Dr. Pat Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute says, “The social sciences, done well, illustrate the way God made man.”

The “Miracle” Drug

contraception, sexual revolution, women's health, youth No comments

Amanda Brennan, Intern
Growing up, I have distinct memories of TV commercials featuring happy, care-free women shopping or going out with friends, while in the background a voice told of the benefits of the latest birth control pill. Though I was clueless about the advertisement itself, I was struck by one phrase: “Have only four periods a year.” For a girl nearing young womanhood, the idea sounded brilliant! Yet, something always left me unconvinced and unsettled.
When the birth control pill came on the scene in the 1960s, it was intended to be the most reliable contraceptive to date. Now, an estimated 11.2 million women aged 15 to 44 use the Pill each year in the United States, as noted by the Guttmacher Institute. Oral contraceptive pills, or OCPs, do more than prevent pregnancy these days; they have additional uses for 58% of users. The study explained that 31% of women use them for cramping, 28% for regulating menstrual cycles, 14% for acne, 4% for endometriosis, and 11% for other reasons. It is believed that 1.5 million women use them without contraceptive intentions at all. The medical world has deemed OCPs “miracle” drugs, as they are prescribed more and more each day to treat health issues. But do these pills in cute packaging deliver healing, or do they wreak havoc on the female body?
With childhood reservations still in the back of my mind, I decided to look into the birth control pill Seasonale, which reduces the frequency of menstruation in a year. I wanted to know the true effects of artificial hormones on the body, specifically the brain. Seasonale’s mechanism of action, the “suppression of gonadotropins,” stuck out to me while searching the Physicians’ Desk Reference. Gonadotropins make up two hormones needed for development and reproduction, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Their production is controlled by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which regulates the sex steroids testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, thus, contributing to such things as male and female behaviors and maintaining a pregnancy. Usually, cells in the anterior pituitary gland of the brain called gonadotrophs emit LH and FSH, but OCPs manipulate their normal production.
In their recent article, Women’s Brains on Steroids, Drs. Craig H. Kinsley and Elizabeth A. Meyer ask, “What happens, then, when the female brain gets a significant and artificial dose of steroid hormone, either progesterone, estrogen or both?  We know what happens below the waist, the pregnancies prevented.  What happens above the neck, as this steroidal tsunami washes over the neural coastline?” They found their answer in a study featured in the Brain Research Journal that explored the impact of hormonal contraceptives on the brain at different points in a woman’s cycle. Though not detailed or large, the study found that the part of the brain controlling higher cognitive thinking abilities is affected more among women who take the Pill than among those who do not. Kinsley and Meyer point out that these changes may not always deliver positive results, since many women complain they do not feel like themselves after popping artificial hormones into their bodies via birth control pills. In the end, the authors conclude that “[t]he possibility that an accepted form of chemical contraception has the ability to alter the gross structure of the human brain is a cause for concern, even if the changes seem benign — for the moment…Like the rest of life, and like the steroid choices made by those ballplayers, there are costs and benefits.  The benefits are well established; the costs, however, are still coming to light.”
Now that the Pill is being used for more than just contraceptive purposes, people must ask if it delivers health or merely creates more problems. Rather than just blunt or prevent pain from cramping, shouldn’t a woman know what is causing her cramping in the first place? Rather than blindly take a pill that regulates menstrual cycles, shouldn’t a woman know why her body is out of whack (if, indeed, it is)? I don’t think swallowing pills that can alter brain function, even temporarily, is good medicine. Instead of turning to quick fixes deemed “miracle” drugs, we ought to work withour bodies and not against them. The underlying problems must be addressed with actual cures, not Band-Aids, as explained by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, MD, creator of the innovative women’s health science NaProTechnology.
There is more to scratch your head about than just the Pill’s impact on the brain. As MARRI blogger Katie Staudt mentioned in a recent post, a connection between contraception and the rising divorce rate (among other things) has been found. Furthermore, as high school students continue to be sexually active, more of them will turn to OCPs. As we show in MARRI’s Annual Report on Family Trends, birth control pill use by sexually active high school students rose was at 16% in. Still more young women may be taking the Pill for reasons other than birth control. If these pills can upset the normal functioning of a grown woman’s body, what impact can they have on a developing young woman’s body?
I’m left with one more question: If the use of birth control pills among young women solely for health reasons is increasing, is this not giving them the green flag on sexual activity? Well, it sure is giving them the tools for it.

Green Sex= Great Marriage?

contraception, divorce, MARRI, women's health No comments

Katie Staudt, Intern
Last week, MARRI blogger Amanda Brennan wrote a post entitled “Green Sex” (see a few posts below). Amanda explained how there is a strong push in society to “Go Green” in order to be better stewards of both the earth and the human body. Yet, at the same time, over 40% of women between 15-44 are using some form of hormonal birth control that pumps dangerous chemicals into their bodies. So while people are attempting to be organic and healthy, they are sabotaging their own efforts by using hormonal contraceptives that have a number of health risks.
However, some people are beginning to question the use of hormonal birth control (and all forms of artificial birth control) for more than just its health risks. A new website called 1Flesh is a grass roots effort that was just launched by a group of young people as a “revolt against artificial birth control” with the goal to “bringing great sex to the entire universe.” 1flesh.orgis a provocative website (read their “About Us” page) that asks their readers to consider a host of compelling arguments from a secular viewpoint, primarily utilizing the fields of medicine, sociology, and philosophy.
One argumentthat 1Flesh presents is the connection between divorce and artificial contraception. They state that “the national divorce rate doubled from 1965 to 1976, at the same time the use of artificial contraception was made widespread and acceptable.” This is no coincidence. Distinguished sociologist Robert Michael from the University of Chicago, in his analysis “Why did the U.S. Divorce Rate Double within a Decade” (published in Research in Population Economics) explained that the “sudden widespread use of artificial contraception during the same period is responsible for about half (45%) of this increase.” MARRI’s working paper on the correlates and effects of contraceptive use cites the same research. I’d suggest reading the whole argument presented by 1Flesh regarding divorce rates, especially if you’re still skeptical; but assuming the research is true, we must consider the implications of divorce. 
Divorce, while widely accepted, has catastrophic effects for the individuals involved and for society at large. Children are particularly harmed by divorce, as clearly illustrated by MARRI’s  “Effects of Divorce on Children.” It shows that children of divorced parents generally have lower educational attainment, weaker relationships with their parents, earlier and greater sexual promiscuity, more social and psychological problems, greater risk of marital problems and divorce later in life, and many other negative effects.
If the research is correct and artificial contraception indeed leads or contributes to higher divorce rates, perhaps green sex is not only healthier for your body; it might make for a healthier marriage and society, too.

“Green Sex”

contraception, MARRI, sexuality, women's health No comments

Amanda Brennan, Intern

In the last few decades society has jumped on an environmental bandwagon, a green one to be exact. People are trading in junk food for organic food, companies such as Bank of America are reducing paper intake by doing more online banking, and recycling has become strategic and readily-available. The idea that was initially meant to help the environment has developed into a “Go Green” craze. The initiative has opened people’s eyes to being better stewards of both the earth and the human body. But has it been eye-opening enough? 
Ashley E. McGuire of the new women’s magazine, Verily, presents a fresh take on the subject of “Going Green” in reference to sex. In the article, Love and Living Green, the author reveals that being a good steward of the human body is not only about minding what food and drink goes into your mouth and how much you exercise, but also about realizing the importance of sexual health. McGuire describes the present trend of making more nutritious choices by avoiding foods drenched in pesticides, ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, and hormone-tainted meats. Yet, as the author points out, deadly chemicals enter women’s bodies each day by way of hormonal contraception. 
 “As Americans quasi-obsessed with eating organically–with making sure no chemicals go into our produce and no hormones into our meat–we are at the same time culturally attached to a most un-organic method of sex and reproduction,” explains McGuire. The author is not the first to bring this reality to light. Dr. Janet Smith, Chair of Life Ethics and Professor of Moral Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan,explains in Contraception: Why Not?, “We live in a culture that is beginning to realize that it’s bad to put chemicals in the air and in the water supply and food. But women are putting chemicals in their bodies day after day, month after month, year after year, to stop something that’s perfectly healthy.” McGuire notes that “over 40 percent of women aged 15 to 44 in this country [are] using some form of hormonal contraceptives.” 
The data from the Guttmacher Institute coincides with The Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s Annual Report on Family Trends. From 2006 to 2008 it is shown that 28 percent of women aged 15 to 44 used the birth control pill during sexual intercourse. The remaining 12 percent noted above in the total 40 percent must be attributed to other hormonal contraceptives such as the patch, certain IUDs, and the vaginal ring. In any case, the reality is this: destructive artificial hormones are making their way into the human body and the environment via human waste despite peoples’ attempts to lead a wholesome lifestyle. Thousands of women seek to be healthier; however, their efforts are often in vain due to the effects of hormonal contraceptives, which are believed to contribute to health risks such as high cholesterol, breast cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, high blood pressure, and blood clots. 
In order to create a healthier environment for the earth and its inhabitants, people must be aware of what they are putting into their bodies via food, drink, air, and now in the realm of sexual health. Adopting “Green Sex” and grasping the truth of hormonal contraceptives will only benefit society. So, ponder McGuire’s ending question, “As our culture increasingly embraces eating and living organically, is it time to extend this philosophy from the kitchen to the bedroom? Is it time to reconsider life’s most organic act – sex? Is it time for green sex to go mainstream?” And decide for yourself.

Twenty-Something Ladies: “It’s Okay” to Think Family!

child well-being, family, feminism, marriage, mothers, Phyllis Schlafly, women's health No comments
By MaryAnn McCabe, Intern
Planning for marriage and motherhood is not a societal norm for twenty-something ladies, nor is fatherhood in the immediate plans of most men. But this generation of young women needs to hear that it is more than okay to think about not only career, but their family. Our culture today attacks traditional femininity, but research supports support the benefits of marriage and motherhood, so why not consider that option while you are career planning? According to studies published here at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, there are many reasons to be married. Married couples find their sexual relationship more satisfying than cohabiters do. Married women are healthier than never-married, divorced, and separated women. Children in intact married families enjoy more emotional and behavioral well-being than children in cohabiting or single-mother families. Staying married results in men and women looking younger. Those raised in an intact family are likely to consider themselves “very” happy” than those raised in non-intact families. The positive outcomes from choosing marriage and motherhood are astounding.
Hopefully, most young adults are thinking about their future. In order to have a stable and secure home, one must build a solid foundation. Tenacious and driven women may have thought of graduate school, law school, medical school, and/or possibly owning a business. As you start to lay the foundation you may start to think, “By the time I am done with law school I will be twenty-six.” Then a second thought may possibly pop up: “It will take a good couple of years of late nights toiling at a law firm as an entry-level associate in order to become a mid-level or higher associate. Making partner can take up to nine years. I’ll be roughly thirty-five before I can even consider a spouse or child.”
Another consideration a woman must make is the staggering amount of debt she will possess. A law degree or a medical degree costs as much a house. In essence, it is a mortgage before having an actual mortgage. According to the National Student Loan Surveys, “fields of study with the highest levels of borrowing include law students, who are 4% of the NASLS population, but 17% of the borrowers with debt greater than $30,000; medical students are 15% of the survey, but 26% percent of those with debt over $30,000.  A total of 74% of borrowers with debt above $30,000 went to graduate/professional school.” Those with professional education feel most burdened, and women perceived their debt to be a bigger problem than men do. More than 80% of bankruptcy attorneys surveyed by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys reported a “major” jump in student loan borrowers seeking help. These are the issues that can cause women to put off marriage. Education is by no means a bad thing, but it’s important to note its cost, both in dollars and in time.
In The Flipside of Feminism, Phyllis Schlafly and Suzanne Venker share their stories, telling young women today that “it’s ok” to factor family into future plans — you should! Schlafly and Venker shed some light onto the fact that it is hard to juggle it all, but we have one life to live, so how do you want to live it?