Probability, schmobability

I refuse to give money to any environmental group that does not include birth control among its top priorities. Comedian and sage Dennis Miller once said that a developer is someone who wants to build a house in the woods, and an environmentalist is someone who already has a house in the woods. Don't get me wrong; I'm about as pro-environment as you can get. After all, your environment is what surrounds you, and given a choice between new car smell, sick building smell, or woodsy smell, I'll take the woodsy smell, no matter what they make those little pine tree-shaped air fresheners out of. And I'll take birth control, even a particularly medicinal-smelling condom, over whatever comes out of a baby.

The abstinence-only education crowd cite the occasional birth-control failure as a reason to reject any sort of protection and promote only self-control. But according to the law, any birth control failure rate includes people not using it correctly. For example, the condom failure rate takes in account not just people not using rubbers correctly (like putting it on before penis insertion) but men who own condoms yet don't actually use them.

In a way it follows the Catholic reasoning on birth control. You want to have sex — that's a given — but if you purchased birth control that means you planned to do it, and therefore you're a slut. Planning and forethought are predmeditation, but worse, they're honesty — you can't say it just happened: you had condoms with you and you were wearing black lingerie. So teen-age girls get knocked up and use the "I don't know how it happened" excuse. It's a lot fewer Hail Marys but the penance is long term. I don't know about you, but I'd sooner say rosaries from sun-up to sun-down then be a parent at 17.

Do we include in seat belt statistics people who drive cars with seat belts but don't use them? No wonder so many cars strap you in automatically. They should take the same approach to birth control. Making out in a vehicle should trigger a condom automatically sliding into place. If you're in a Volvo, it'll be a boxy, but extremely safe, condom.

Norplant is like an airbag; you don't have any choice of whether or not it'll work. But you still have the idiotic anecdotal story about the guy who would have survived if only he'd been blown clear.

Since some lesbians are having children be artificial insemination, homosexuality is no longer a reliable means of birth control. Given the number of Catholic priests in the news for affairs with parishioners, celibacy is no sure form of birth control, either.

© 1999 Randel Shard