… [I]t boggles my mind to think that the logical answer to slowing the skyrocketing nonmarital fertility rate is to pump more (and free) birth control into the relationship system…. It’s a little like printing money to stimulate an economy: it sounds like a helpful thing, it could work, but it may backfire, and it’s hard to know with confidence what exactly will happen, and whatever happens may well generate unintended consequences, but it sounds noble because at least it’s doing something….

One can argue whether it’s moral or not to use the Pill, or whether it’s immoral to deny access to it, but the Pill inarguably contributed directly to the single-largest drop in the “price of sex,” that is, how much relationship commitment is necessary (on average) before women agree to sex with men….

But it makes sense: take the risk of getting pregnant out of the equation (or in actuality, reduce the risk) and sex obviously will seem more advantageous and attractive to many. And it has….

Add in the factors [of] contraceptive failure rates and usage errors — and multiply by amount of sex that is going on and voila: you have more unexpected pregnancies than you anticipated, as a Nobel-winning economist documented over 15 years ago. It’s because the overall amount of sex occurring is greater, and the barriers to it much fewer, while contraceptive usage errors remain stable.

~ Mark Regnerus, Black, White and Gray, February 20

[Photo via tbtam.com]