Economics of contraception bad for women, expert says
By Nissa LaPoint, email@example.com
"The contradictions of contraception"
You’re not just marrying one person but marrying into a family
It may sound trite, but it’s a proven fact, according to one Catholic economist, that there’s no need to buy a cow when its milk is given for free.
And taking the free milk undervalues not only the cow but the entire dairy farm.
Using economist jargon and academic analysis, Tim Reichart, president of Denver-based Economics Partners LLC, told a crowd of Catholics last week it’s statistically true that when women give sex at a low cost to men, all the other goods and institutions in society, including marriage, will be devalued.
“If you ‘sell’ it at a low price nothing else that you bargain over will ever be sold for a high price,” Reichart explained. “That’s a fundamental issue for (Catholic) feminism. If we’re going to have an authentic feminism one of the first things we should do is restore the value of sex, restore the value of the woman’s body so it’s no longer being ‘sold’ on the cheap.”
Reichert presented his case April 16 at the Theology on Tap event at Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub in downtown Denver during which he used charts and logic to show that the social ills plaguing sexual relationships, marriage and women today originated with artificial contraception.
Perhaps since the invention of the wheel, contraception has had the most wide-reaching impact on society, and it hasn’t been to the advantage of women, he said.
Since its increased use in the 1970s, artificial contraception divided the mating market into what Reichart called the “sex market” and the “marriage market.”
“Before the advent of contraception if you wanted to have sex you were probably going to have a baby with some degree of probability,” he said. Therefore, he added, those interested in sex were also likely interested in marriage.
Contraception changed that.
“It’s very easy to have sex and never have to worry about the result that could happen—having a baby—and therefore the need to marry,” he said. “Marriage as a social institution happened in order to protect women in order to ensure there was a man there to assist in bearing the costs of raising a child. Well if those costs no longer exist, you can separate sex from marriage—and that’s exactly what happened.”
Men, for more biologically inevitable reasons, will populate the sex market, and women, most of whom desire children at some point in their lives, will populate the marriage market before they pass childbearing years, he said.
Just like with other goods, when a resource becomes scarce—like men in the marriage market—it comes at a higher price and consumers will sacrifice more in order to obtain it.
“It fundamentally means that the marital contract people enter into is tilted against women simply because of the scarcity of males in the marriage market,” Reichart said.
With the power of bargaining shifted to men, they are more likely today to ask their wife to work outside the home and to limit their family size. Women experience all-time high hours of work compared to 30 years ago and their reported happiness has been on a steady decline since the ‘70s, he said.
In anticipation of marriages that are less beneficial, women demand no-fault divorce in case they find themselves worse off in marriage than as a single woman, he said. And the more divorces there are in society, the higher rates there are of poverty, which hits single mothers and children the hardest, he explained.
“Fundamentally, there are worse deals going into marriage,” Reichart said about the ripple effects of contraception.
The notion that the sexual revolution and invention of contraception was a gender neutral event in fact led to a series of societal disadvantages to women and “in the end put sharp limits on the gains that women might otherwise have expected from their liberation from traditional roles,” he said.