What If Republicans Made Birth Control Illegal

I’m just playing The Devil’s Advocate here.

I have long been fascinated by the busy-bodies in the GOP. They want to own the term, “marriage”. They want to make sure that everybody works and that there are no loafers. They want to quell their fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy. They don’t want immigrants taking the jobs we don’t even want to do. They want to make sure that only the donor class accumulates wealth — they need those donors. And they want to define when life begins without regard to the practical problems you can run into when you force every unwanted fetus to be carried until birth. Can you hear Nicolae Ceaușescu calling?

As I watched the battle unfold over the empty seat on the bench of the United States Supreme Court, I am mindful of what one Senator Barry Goldwater said…

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them. (emphasis mine)

I am mindful that an uncompromising mentality has taken hold of the Republican Patty. This is one reason why I won’t vote for them. I don’t hate them or even wish unhappiness upon them. They are already unhappy for the very reason that they are unwilling to compromise. It is hard not to have the sense that they are, as Goldwater put it, “acting in the name of God.” If you’re a Republican and you find it difficult to understand why there is so much division in Congress, what the stalemates are all about, you only need to see what Goldwater was talking about. He was, in every sense of the word, prescient.

So as I look back on the article I published the other day, “The Vacuum In The Seat Left By Ruth Bader Ginsberg”, an article about the now concluded battle for yet another vacancy on the Supreme Court during the term of one president (this is so goddamn unfair!), I kept thinking of Goldwater. I am thinking of the people I know who are not religious, yet they support Trump. I am wondering what they are thinking right now, as Trump stomped into the struggle for at least a generation of jurisprudence, one that is certain to hinder every progressive initiative. It’s almost as if Trump is quite certain, that some of us should have no say in politics. Yes, I know of some who believe that Democrats can’t possibly have any good ideas.

I’m writing this article as a thought experiment. I’m writing it to imagine that one day, Evangelical Christians somehow manage to acquire enough power to stifle their opposition, to impose their religion upon the rest of us. I believe they’d do this because they believe the ends justify the means in service for their all-powerful, all-knowing God. Nevermind that God loves all of his children.

Let’s imagine that those uncompromising Evangelical Trump supporters somehow manage to get their way with a supermajority in the House, in the Senate, and on the bench of the Supreme Court, and they clinch the White House. They declare an American theocracy, and they outlaw abortion and all birth control. If you get pregnant, that’s your punishment for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, for wearing that dress, they say. That punishment is just even if you were a victim of rape or incest, for no matter what you say, the fetus is still human. (Remember, this is just a thought experiment.)

But there is one problem with this whole plan. What happens to those unwanted kids? According to Dr. Tracy L. Cardis, an adoptee, and an adoption counselor:

Adoptees are over represented in the juvenile criminal system, prison system, psychiatric institutions, drug and alcohol rehabilitation settings. They are most often the individuals who are serial killers, mass murders and those who commit parricides. The FBI estimates that of the 500 serial killers in the US, most are American born and adopted. This is alarming because only 2–3 % of the population (5–10 million) are adopted people.

It’s also worth noting that every high profile serial killer (that has been caught) was an adoptee.

Now I’m thinking of my Christian friends who oppose abortion. I can understand how they might feel. But we all know that women who really, really don’t want to have kids and find themselves pregnant by mistake or by force, will find a way to get an abortion. If they are forced to birth a child they don’t want, the statistics above are the fruits of the mother’s resentment.

I’m not in favor of abortions. I’m in favor of saving kids from a lot of suffering due to a skills deficit. People have unwanted children due to a skills deficit. I wouldn’t want kids forced into a life that they didn’t ask for, to live with people who don’t really love them or don’t know how to raise kids without abusing them. I would hope that every adoptee can find a family that will love and care for them. But based on the available evidence, our track record is in need of improvement.

So if the GOP and the religious conservatives who back them, succeed in forcing every fetus to see childhood, then we need to up our skills. We need to improve our parenting skills to reduce or eliminate the number of adoptees that land in the criminal justice system, psychiatric institutions, and rehab. This is a big lift for conservatives. Why?

Because conservatives in general, Evangelical Christian conservatives in particular, are enamored of behavior modification. They believe that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. This is kind of like saying that you should put your kid in a Skinner Box to raise good citizens. If they behave poorly, you punish them. If they behave well, you reward them. This mentality explains why so many voters can be swayed by advertising during a presidential election.

There is a better way. It’s called Collaborative Proactive Systems, or CPS. CPS is a system of working with kids to develop their skills so that they can meet the expectations that parents set for their kids. CPS is designed to identify the problems that kids encounter when they give rise to challenging behavior. Challenging behavior like biting, hitting, scratching, yelling, cussing, and simple defiance…doesn’t come out of a vacuum. It’s learned behavior and kids learn it from us, the adults. Our job then is to see challenging behavior for what it is, a call for help.

CPS has been used in detention facilities, prisons, schools, and psychiatric institutions for kids to great effect. Studies have shown it to be at least as effective as behavior modification but with far less pain and drama. CPS is a non-confrontational, non-punitive form of discipline and it works.

So if the GOP really believes that every fetus should be carried to term, then they need to get behind a consistent, well studied, and proven system of raising good citizens. CPS is just a tiny part of the puzzle, too. We need to take care of the mothers who do the work of birthing the kids they don’t want and counseling them in their relinquishment of their kids. We need to vet the adopters and train them in something like CPS so that their kids won’t grow up to become criminals. So sorry, Evangelicals, but to reach your goals, you’re going to need a generous welfare state. Seriously, you need to see the big picture.

And given the zeal with which the GOP has been working to fashion a Supreme Court in their image, I really don’t think they’ve thought this whole thing through. If the GOP trashes Roe v Wade, and they are nearly certain to do it in the next term of the Supreme Court, for we know they have cases lined up just for this purpose, they had better get their manpants on and be prepared to take responsibility for more kids in the world.

No longer can the GOP allow kids to be raised by foster “parents” that have not been trained in how to raise kids. No longer can they put kids into prisons just to support a donor who will then bankroll their next campaign. No longer can they say that they had nothing to do with the schools to prison pipeline. If they overturn Roe v Wade, then let the master answer when things go south.

I recognize that I’m looking at the worst possible situation with the courts and the GOP, but I am also mindful and hopeful. I am hopeful that the GOP will notice that some of us are atheists, Buddhists, or agnostic. I am hopeful that the Evangelicals can see that some of us haven’t really formed an opinion and that our concerns should be heard, too. But if the GOP wins next week, I wanted to have this thought out, and I think this article is a good start.

Write on.

Written by

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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