Critical Thinking Skills
Friday, July 07, 2006

Mama says, it's time we had a chat. I've noticed lately that Madison Avenue, as well as politicos, seem to think American adults lack critical thinking skills. Now, I know that logic, rhetoric, and dialectic has long been ignored in our school system, in favor of "outcome based education", "culture based education", et al., but really, how dumb do they think we are?

You don't need a high falutin' education to develop basic critical thinking skills. I , myself cut my skeptical teeth on Steven Seagal plot lines before moving on to such easy-to-see right through commercials from drug companies. (This pill makes your skin look great! May cause stroke, heart attack, weight gain, and infertility, but at least I don't have acne! -- from a real birth control commercial)

If you doubt your ability to rationally and logically dissect an argument, just use this handy, one-step checklist.

1) What are they trying to sell?

See how easy that was?

Case in point: Planned Parenthood

I am a passionate pro-life woman. I firmly believe that there is no circumstance in which babies, who are in the natural place God designed them to be in (the womb), should be burned, poisoned, maimed, or drawn and quartered simply because the mother doesn't feel like being pregnant right then. I get the e-mail alert from Planned Parenthood (or Planned Barrenhood, as we baby lovers like to call it), on the premise of "know thy enemy".

Once every two weeks or so, I get dire predictions and hysterical, breathless calls to action delivered straight to my inbox. Apparently, Planned Parenthood has no sense of irony, as I got a "donate to Planned Parenthood, honor your Mom this Mother's Day" alert from Gwyneth Paltrow on their behalf. They also offer infant onesies with the Planned Parenthood logo in their gift shop. In case you are in the market for a truly tacky gift, you can also buy chocolates in the shape of birth control pills.

Yesterday, another urgent alert came zipping along the information highway:

Dear L.,

Birth control. It's used by 98 percent of American women. It's healthy, safe, and effective. It reduces the number of abortions. It's basic health care.

We can all agree on that much, right?

Apparently not. Leaders from the ultra-conservative right are determined to paint birth control as evil, just as they've tried to do with abortion. They have attacked the pill and emergency contraception — they've even campaigned against condoms!

It's time to show mainstream Americans who is behind the War on Birth Control.

Urge your senators and representative to sign the congressional resolution on family planning — to say whether they're for birth control, or against it.

Eighty-nine percent of Americans favor more access to information about birth control, and 81 percent think birth control access is a good way to prevent abortions1, so birth control opponents are clearly outside the mainstream. But a lot of elected officials are silently backing them, scared to offend their narrow political base.

So we're asking senators and representatives to support a new resolution, just introduced in Congress, which says:

(1) Congress should help women, regardless of income, avoid unintended pregnancy and abortion through access to affordable contraception; and
(2) Congress should support programs and policies that make it easier for women to obtain contraceptives.

Can you imagine saying "no" to that? No programs to haggle over, no tough budgeting decisions to be made, no lawmaker's pet project. It's just a simple statement: Congress should support access to birth control

Now, lets get our magnifying glass out of the cynicism and take a closer look.

The first claim is, 98% of American women use birth control (Again with the wasted irony. Birth control promotes neither birth, nor control. I think it should be called "The Have Fun with few Consequences but Deadly Side Effects Pill")

I highly doubt the number is that large, even if you include all possible methods (except abstinence, obviously). Only 2% of American women don't use birth control? That can't be right, can it?

It isn't.

By all statistics I can find, it's estimated that 2.6% of the population is lesbian. According to US Census figures for July, 2005, 39% of American women are age 45 and over. 2% of American women are age 85 and older. Are to believe that post-menopausal women take pills and use strange devices to avoid pregnancy? Are they slipping it into the prunes at the Golden Years Cafeteria? I didn't even look up stats for women trying to conceive, women undergoing IVF, women who have had a hysterectomy, women who are already pregnant.

More irony - "it reduces the number of abortions". Well, if abortion is simply a straightforward medical procedure, and nothing else, why should we prescribe pills with such miserable side effects to prevent it. Why should it be 'rare'? Why work to prevent it at all? I've never seen women's rights activists promulgating that teeth cleaning, or wart removal should be reduced.

Alas, I am easily distracted from my purpose! Back to Planned Parenthood claims.

The next statistical claim is that 89% of Americans favor more access to information about birth control, and 81% think it's a good way to prevent abortions . The footnote refers to a Wall Street Journal article, which I couldn't access since I don't subscribe, but I found the article reprinted here. Upon further scrutiny, it is revealed that 2600 people participated in an online poll. I don't know how these people were polled online, perhaps there was a link on the Wall Street Journal page. However, this small sampling of people with internet access and savvy enough to participate in a poll on one particular website is hardly a broad sample from which opinions of the majority of Americans can be taken. It is a very specialized, narrow demographic.

Now, the call to action: Contact your elected official, because Government should use our tax dollars to provide women with birth control and should further insinuate themselves into American's private decisions...oops, I let my opinion slip there. Well, since don't work for the New York Times, and I'm not a journalist, that's okay!

Interesting, that the abortion mills want NO government interference when it comes to their procedures - not even a health department inspection - but DO want federal funds to they can give out more birth control!

What are they trying to sell?

They are trying to sell the public on the idea that it is the government's fault there are so many abortions (which, again, according to their rhetoric, are not bad but should be rare). It is the government's fault that low income women are not on birth control. It is the governement's fault that people are having children without proper 'planning'. If only our Senators and Representatives cared about women more, they would loosen the purse strings and pay Planned Parenthood to distribute these golden little pills.

How gullible are we?

Mama Says:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, unless said prevention causes stroke, heart attack, blood clots, increased risk of breast and liver cancer, loss of vision, weight gain, depression, and yeast infections. (see p. 3 of the Rx insert.)
Then again, maybe it works by ensuring you are never in the mood.

Mama also Says:
I think the new motto for Planned Parenthood should be, "Killing off your Social Security, one future taxpayer at a time".

Tags: Catholic, Prolife, Need to Know, Mama Says

posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 7/07/2006 09:36:00 AM | Permalink | |