REPLY #20a TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the first of a four-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
However, the fact that some hormone remains in the body does not mean that the
amount which remains is sufficient to prevent pregnancy. That is why the shot
schedule must be strictly maintained if one hopes to achieve maximum
effectiveness from the use of Depo-provera. Think for a minute. If your
reasoning was correct, don't you think that the scheduled length of time between
shots would be rather longer than it actually is?
(R) The shot has a schedule that must be followed because any deviation from the
schedule results in a decrease in the shot's effectiveness. This decrease in
the shot's effectiveness is the result of a gradual depletion.
(MB) Isn't this exactly what we should expect from any shot whose effects aren't
permanent after one application? You initially tried to argue that Depo-provera
would still be effective even after the woman quit getting the shots. I guess
you'll want to retract that claim now.
(R) Even after one month after the last due date, the shot's effectiveness is
still over 60%. That's more effective than a condom.
(MB) I think you would get into a major argument with medical professionals (not
to mention condom manufacturers) if you tried to blow that nonsense past them.
Also, you show a poor grasp of reality if you want to consider 60% to be an
"effective" level of protection against pregnancy. After only four acts of
intercourse using any method with that level of "effectiveness", there would be
an 87% chance of an accidental pregnancy.
BTW, you didn't answer my question concerning where you checked your
(R) Concerning the percentage figures, I quoted them from memory. I do not
recall the specific pamphlet I read the figures in.
(MB) Not surprising. Your memory seems to be about as bad as your figures.
Perhaps you should do your research before making your claims.
That's not true for all women -- which is why the "trusty" Catholic "solution",
i.e., the rhythm method, is little better than a crap shoot. My wife, for
example, normally ovulates no more than 2-3 days prior to the onset of her
monthly period. Following the schedule you advocate would do no good for any
women who have similar ovulation patterns.
(R) That may not be "true" for all women, but it is true for a huge majority of
women. Also, most women would not abort their babies. Maybe you have a problem
reading, but I was specifically referring to one week of abstinence IN
CONJUNCTION with their BIRTH CONTROL METHODS.
(MB) It's not *me* who has any trouble reading. If you'll reread my last
statement, you'll see that I was taking issue with your claim that days 10-16 of
a woman's menstrual cycle are her ovulation period. If a woman does not follow
that cycle, your suggestion of abstinence during those days will not work as an
enhancement to any other method of birth control that she may use.
Now, according to your previous arguments, accidental pregnancy is an indication
that the woman was irresponsible. But, if she follows the method you advocate
and *still* gets pregnant because her body does not conform to your
preconceptions, is she still irresponsible?
(R) How you deduce anything Catholic from that is a mystery since the Catholics
prohibit all forms of birth control.
(MB) That's not true at all. Catholics prohibit *artificial* forms of birth
control. They allow "natural" methods like abstinence or the rhythm
[RE: Your case study is massively flawed in real-world terms.]
No, it isn't. In fact, it is very conservative in its figures so as to give your
arguments the benefit of every doubt. But, let's see how you'll try to wiggle
(R) Once again, you give premature commentary. Besides, simply saying "no it
isn't" isn't much of an argument.
(MB) If it's true (as I have previously demonstrated), what more needs to be
The success rate for any birth control method already takes those concerns
into consideration. If women could possibly get pregnant with every act of
intercourse, the success rate of any method of birth control would be
considerably less than what is currently advertised.
(R) Exactly, and those figures also reflect all women having sex during their
ovulation week. Those figures could easily be increased to 100% (a mere 3
tenths of a percent increase for Depo users) if abstinence is practiced during
(MB) I've already demonstrated the holes in that reasoning. Additionally, if a
woman can only get pregnant during the days you claim, why would she have to use
any other method of birth control other than the rhythm method?
OK, let's give you the benefit of yet another doubt and assume your "reasoning"
to be valid. My earlier figures showed that our sample population would
experience 299,300 accidental pregnancies over the two years in question.
Reducing that by 75% would still produce 74,825 accidental pregnancies. Is this
now an "infinitesimal" number?
(R) I dealt with that number already. Read a little further.
(MB) No, you didn't deal with it. All you did was agree with my figures. You
did not address whether or not you consider 74,825 accidental pregnancies to be
an "infinitesimal" number. Do you?
Over a sample population of 1,000,000 women, there will be many different
lifestyles represented. These will range from those who have sex multiple times
every day to those who are "once a month, if it's really necessary" types. In
fact, I chose my figures to be more amenable to your arguments and they *still*
produce large numbers of accidental pregnancies.
(R) I don't think your scenario was that amendable to my arguments.
(MB) How so? I've given you the benefit of every reasonable doubt at every
turn and we still arrive at numbers that are going to be very uncomfortable for
you to deal with. In fact, you don't deal with the numbers at all. You just
kvetch about how they were produced and invent increasingly silly scenarios to
brush aside the results.
(R) Also, a majority of the women who are having sex multiple times a day are
(MB) And, where did you come up with *that*
(R) So it would seem that the illegal practice of prostitution also would
benefit from the legality of abortion since prostitution would be less
(MB) Do you really think that more women consider being prostitutes because
abortion is legal? Out of the 1,000,000 women in my original case study, what
percentage of them would you say are prostitutes? Remember that my number
contains a cross-sectional representation of *all* women.
(R) But aside from this, my other two points still stand. Namely, "the majority
of abortions are *not* performed upon "married women having sex once a week,"
but upon single women under the age of 30 who have sex far less than that, and
get pregnant out of wedlock" (and) "instances of sex for single people is less
than once a week, especially for single women." These two points showed the
fundamentally error of your imagined case study's presuppositions and nothing
you have assert has shown otherwise.
(MB) All you have shown is that you are afraid to deal with reality when it is
uncomfortable for you. No matter how convoluted your rationalizations and
evasions get, you're still going to arrive at final numbers that your
anal-retentive views can't deal with. Slash the already-modified final number
of my case study by an additional 50% and you *still* get 37,412 accidental
pregnancies. Is *this* now an "infinitesimal" number that you can safely
ignore? How far do you have to stretch your argument until you arrive at a
number that you *can* deal with?
Did you read the penultimate paragraph in my case study? Have you factored the
effects of real-world values for populations, sexual activity, and effectiveness
of birth control into your argument? It is your argument which relies upon
exceptions, while mine is based on the larger picture.
(R) I have factored the effects of real-world values for populations. Real
world figures are not reflected in your case because your case study assumed
that abortions are received by married women who have sex once a week. Nothing
could be farther from the truth.
(MB) That's ridiculous. My case study covered *all* women and not just one
group. It made no assumptions about them other than recognizing that their
levels of sexual activity vary greatly. That's why it used an average figure.
Your rationalization has three problems. First is your assumption that "once a
week" married women do not have accidental pregnancies and that these women
constitute the majority of all women. Second is your brushing aside of all
women who do not fit your preferred category. Third is your off-hand claim that
you've actually considered real-world figures. Consider that my case study
involved only 1,000,000 women and still produced uncomfortable numbers for you.
In the real world, there are at least 50 times that many women of child-bearing
age in the United States alone. So, if my case study is uncomfortable for you,
reality must be at least 50 times more difficult. Sooner or later, you're going
to have to face that reality and deal with it.
So, how should those 74,825 unwanted pregnancies be handled? Retroactive
"solutions" aren't applicable. I think you've just admitted that your earlier
argument about accidental pregnancies being "infinitesimal" exceptions is quite
(R) If you would have read a little further before this comment, you'd see how
premature it is.
(MB) I read your entire series of arguments before replying to any of it.
You're calling my response "premature" in order to avoid answering my question.
Just how do you think those 74,825 unwanted pregnancies should be
As I've already pointed out, this is something that is not applicable to all
women. You are still going to be faced with accidental and unwanted pregnancies
if you have women who are sexually active.
(R) How is that so? Please show me how it is possible for a women to get
pregnant if there is no sperm in her body during her ovulation phase?
(MB) I'm really surprised that you can't figure this out. You advocate
abstinence during days 10-16 of the woman's menstrual cycle. However, as I have
pointed out, not all women follow that cycle. If such a woman follows your
method, but ovulates on any other day, then she can still get pregnant. Also,
the days at the beginning and ending of that cycle are gray areas. If the woman
actually ovulates very early or very late during that week, she could still get
pregnant via intercourse during the immediately preceding or following day or
two. Once again, you can't claim your method to be a hard and fast
(R) It is applicable to a vast majority of women, so once again, it is YOUR
argument that is relying on an infinitesimally small exception, not to mention
that 1 out of every 5 couples is infertile to begin with.
(MB) On what basis do you claim that the "vast majority" of women follow the
exact cycle that you advocate? Once again, your arguments rely on preconceived
notions and brush aside all cases that do not conform. In the real world, you
have to deal with such cases. That's what I'm trying to get through to you.
By the way, the "infertile couples" argument is a non-sequitur since, by
definition, they can't have a pregnancy no matter what they may or may not do
concerning their sexual activity. It does bring up an interesting side point,
however. You constantly harp on "irresponsible sex". Can a woman who is
infertile engage in "irresponsible sex" as you define it? If so, then
"responsibility" is not an argument concerning any opinions about unwanted
pregnancies. If not, then you are defining "irresponsible sex" retroactively
based solely on its outcome.
(R) Sure, maybe there is not a way that would work to cause "all" women to act
responsibly with their bodies, and thus, have no unwanted pregnancies.
(MB) Again, you make with the retroactive definitions and fail to deal directly
with the unwanted pregnancies themselves. Moralistic arguments are long on
worthless "I told you so" pomposities and severely short on real
Since it is not feasible to insist that women abstain completely from sex, you
are going to have to deal with the problem of those accidental and unwanted
pregnancies. You can *never* make that problem go away. Who is going to make the
decision about what the woman should do? Should she be allowed to freely choose
her own best option or must she be forced to accept the dictates of an
outsider's morality? Even if there was only *one* case to be considered, the
question must be answered and the answer must be defended.
BTW, you have not addressed the issue of women for whom
Depo-provera is not an option due to its side-effects. These women will also not
be served by your simplistic and unrealistic solution.
(R) First, it is quite feasible to insist that women who absolutely cannot have a
baby to figure out when there ovulation period is, and abstain from sex during
that 4 day period.
(MB) "4 day period"? If you'll count out the numbers between 10 and 16,
inclusive, on your fingers, you'll count seven days.
(R) I ask you, what takes more effort? To sit down and figure out when an
ovulation phase is and abstain from sex during that period, or get pregnant, go
through all the testings and morning sicknesses, and emotional trauma---then go
a spend about $500 to get a bloody operation performed on you that could be
(MB) This is a false dichotomy. I've already shown that the ovulation period
itself is not an ultimate solution. In addition to my previous arguments, you
must also consider the cases of women for whom the onset of her ovulation cycle
is so mild as to be all but unnoticeable. For these women, they can never know
exactly when they are "hot".
Nobody is claiming that abortion is pretty or painless. It doesn't take
overreacting fundamentalists distributing the standard grisly photographs to
drive that point home. Also, nobody is advocating that every unwanted pregnancy
is a candidate for abortion. The point here is that abortion is, and should be,
another option that the woman should have available as a free choice.
(R) As for the issue of women who cannot take Depo, (another infinitesimally
small exception) there are many other effective alternative BC methods that
could be taken in conjunction with the ovulation period abstinence.
(MB) Another "infinitesimal" number? Perhaps you need to consult a dictionary
and a mathematics book before blindly using that term in future claims. Yes,
there are other methods. But, remember that my case study assumed that all
women were using a 99.7% effective means of birth control (the value that you
attributed to Depo-provera). If women use a less-effective method, their
accidental pregnancy rates will go up and my case study will result in even
larger and more uncomfortable numbers for you to deal with (or to ignore, as has
been the case thus far).
"Philosophical"? Oh, brother! You don't think that the pleasure aspect of
sex derives from biological evolution?
(R) Actually, I don't think that anything derives from the myth of biological
(MB) Well, that's another argument where you've shown yourself to be
ill-informed and dogmatic. In any case, if the pleasure aspect of sex does
*not* derive from biological evolution, then from where *does* it derive? Also,
you haven't explained your previous claim that sexual pleasure is
"philosophical" in nature.
Since Homo sapiens is a species which mates essentially for life, and since
sexual pleasure is a bonding mechanism that strengthens the relationship of the
mated couple, it seems rather obvious that the ability to experience pleasure
from sex has been gained through natural selection. Even if you don't believe in
evolution, don't you believe in your own religion's doctrine that sex is God's
gift to married couples? Heck, any male/female pair can do the old
"man-on-top-get-it-over-with-quick" and conceive offspring. That requires no
"gift" at all. If your attitude towards sex is truly this stodgy, I hope you
don't have a partner and I feel for her if you do.
(R) I think you have misinterpreted my statements concerning sex. The context
of my statements were dealing with the physical scientific view of copulation.
I did not deny that there is a philosophical side to sex. I simply made a
codification between the scientific view of sex, and the philosophical view of
(MB) You haven't "codified" anything yet. Nor, have you answered the question
concerning sex as "God's gift to married couples". Since sexual pleasure is a
physical sensation, any explanation for it also falls under the science of
biology. Actually, I think you would better to say "psychological" rather than
"philosophical" in your argument.
(R) I do have a partner, (my wife), and we have quite a happy and healthy sex
life not pending your ignorant assumption.
(MB) Given your previous statements, one can only wonder what your definition of
"happy and healthy sex life" is. Does your wife share your attitudes about