1 Flesh: The Christian Group That Pushes Condomless Sex
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A shocking 40% of the young people surveyed believed that using birth control doesn’t actually do much to prevent pregnancy, agreeing with the statement, “when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen.” In other words, they had a magical belief that somehow the universe would prevent them from getting pregnant when it wasn’t time, even if they’re not using contraception at the time. This preexisting belief is one that groups like 1 Flesh are trying to encourage by spreading lies about how birth control doesn’t change the unintended pregnancy rate.
Why is it so easy for people to underestimate not just the effectiveness of birth control, but also how likely they are to get pregnant if they don’t use it? Part of the problem is, ironically, that birth control is so effective, but so hidden. Much as the anti-vaccine movement could only erupt in a culture where the diseases the vaccines prevent are out of sight and easy to dismiss, contraception works so well at suppressing fertility that many people have no idea how high fertility rates would be without it. Sex is everywhere: TV characters have it, songs on the radio are full of it, and most friends gossip about it. But contraception is rarely discussed in much detail, if at all. It’s easy for someone to look at all this booty-knocking and the relatively low birth rate and conclude that it’s not that easy to get pregnant instead of concluding, correctly, that contraception use is widespread.
To add even more confusion into the mix, heavy media coverage of infertility in light of exciting new technologies to fix the problem has had the side effect of encouraging people to overestimate their own chances of infertility. Researchers at John Hopkins University found that 19% of women and 13% of men ages 18-29 believed that they were likely to be infertile, though they had no evidence to believe this. The drumbeat of stories about couples who have a hard time conceiving might also contribute to the misconception that getting pregnant without contraception is more infrequent than it actually is.
In reality, a sexually active woman who uses no contraception has an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year. Anti-contraception activists go out of their way to conceal this fact, hoping women feel that their risks of skipping contraception are much lower than they are. It would be laughable if the only audience for this anti-contraception propaganda were folks with good sex education and a solid knowledge of how effective contraception really is. Unfortunately, they’re speaking to a larger audience already rife with misinformation about contraception and fertility; an audience that might not like the anti-sex message, but could be influenced by the anti-contraception one.