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Tasteless

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, August 21st, 2008 - 75 comments
Categories: health - Tags:

Thank God for those individuals of high morals who are at this moment whipping themselves into a frenzy over Pharmac’s decision to fund different varieties of condom as well as the plain ones it has funded for years. Where would be without you?

Here’s the facts:

  • – people have sex, young people have sex, people have sex with people they don’t know well or don’t intend to spend the rest of their lives with, they always have done and always will – you can get as moralistic as you like, it will still happen,
  • – sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies and STDs,
  • – unwanted pregnancies and STDs carry a cost to individuals and society,
  • – the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs is by using a condom,
  • – condoms are cheap, especially bought in bulk by the Government. The cost difference between plain and other types of condom is negligible, even at retail.

If providing different types of condom, including flavoured, free at family planning clinics and medical centres increases the chance that people will use them that’s a good thing – a cheap, effective way to prevent bad health outcomes. Prudes and old grumps can complain that this is all the decline of Western society but Pharmac actually has a serious job to do – it has to allocate limited resources in the best way to get the best health outcomes. It should do what works and if supplying different types of condoms works better than just providing plain ones, so be it.

75 comments on “Tasteless ”

  1. monkey-boy 1

    Great endorsement of freedom of choice and the effect of market forces on sales.
    Great Title – misleading as always – given that the last bit seems to indicate that the post should have been titled ‘Flavoured’.

  2. Anita 2

    SP,

    Actually the newpaper coverage here says the CE of Pharmac expects

    “the broader assortment … would be about 10 per cent cheaper”

    Bad Pharmac – buying cheaper condoms which will be more effective at preventing STI transmission and pregnancy! I guess the rednecks are arguing they should spend more money on less effective condoms.

    [lprent: fixed your link]

  3. bill brown 3

    Well Anita, you know if people must have sex they certainly shouldn’t be enjoying it, that’s just filthy!

  4. monkey-boy 4

    I think that the term ‘redneck’ is a politically correct version of ‘nigger’. It is reductive and racist, in my opinion.

  5. MB – nobody cares about your opinion. That’s why they don’t read your blog.

  6. Anita 6

    monkey-boy,

    Ok, I’ll accept reductive – apologies for sloppiness.

    I dunno about considering redneck racist though, it might be in the US but I struggle to see that in it here. I’ve considered a wide variety of people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds rednecks, I think it’s lost the implied whiteness when it arrived in NZ.

    lprent, Thanks! I really can’t edit today – now I’m getting “Cannot save changes” even when it appears to be going to let me. It’s making me proof before saving (yay) but links are easy to srcew up 🙁

  7. monkey-boy 7

    sorry if it’s off-topic, but it’s not like you would endorse calling all wonen ‘bitches’ or single out a cadre of women as open to such a term, simply due to your assumptions about the opinions they may hold, would you. Anyway I will say no more on the subject.
    thnx

  8. monkey-boy 8

    yeah ‘racist’ was sloppy on my part, too. ‘Implied whiteness’ certainly when Willy Jackson (whom I generally dig) uses it! The term originated to describe mid-western white guys who would get sunburned on the backs of their necks – hence, it comes loaded with implied whiteness already. I just don’t like subtle inversions of such ilk – like when I see terms like ‘house-nigger’ because, somehow that appears to be acceptable to some left wing discussions. Sorry if it’s off-topic, but it’s not like you would endorse calling all women ‘bitches’ or single out a cadre of women as open to such a term, simply due to your assumptions about the opinions they may hold, would you. Anyway I will say no more on the subject.
    And not just because you are a lady.
    thnx
    🙂 Repeated as ‘saving comment failed’

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Redneck also derives from the red bandanas striking miners wore in Virginia in the 20’s.

    Mine owners started calling union men rednecks.

    “They shot one of those Bolsheviks up in Knox County this morning, Harry Sims his name was. . . . That deputy knew his business. He didn’t give the redneck a chance to talk, he just plugged him in the stomach. We need some shooting like that down here in Pineville.”

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3732/is_200601/ai_n17174894

    Long but interesting article on the subject.

  10. Anita 10

    monkey-boy,

    Thanks for pointing it out! I would never have thought it implied whiteness in New Zealand, but knowing that other people will hear that I’ll avoid using it.

    Firstly I want to communicate clearly, and if “redneck” will be heard to mean something other than what I intend it’s a communication failure on my part. Secondly I would hate to accidentally offend someone, so avoiding it sounds like a good tip 🙂

    Anita

  11. Rob 11

    Id rather they buy Herceptin for dying women Than take council from the Aids foundation who told them to buy flavoured condoms. I didn’t know that the Vagina had the ability to taste that being the case why do the need to be Flavoured unless there specifically aimed at gays. Which is primarily what the aids foundation is set up for given that over 80% of aids cases in New Zealand arent derived from Hetrosexuals.

  12. Phil 12

    ‘sod,

    Just like Playboy, nobody really reads your blog for the articles.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    The term originated to describe mid-western white guys who would get sunburned on the backs of their necks ..

    That’s one story. Another one is that the term is derived from the red bandanas worn by striking coal miners in Virginia.

  14. Greg 14

    I think your missing the point here – the reason people are pissed off about pharmac funding flavoured condoms is that they’re not fully funding herceptain. Its a moral issue, flavoured condoms but not herceptain? I know the price is a little different, but it does seem to be a slap in the face to cancer patients, even its a tad illogical.

  15. Anita 15

    Rob,

    Huh?

    1) Plenty of het couples have oral sex.

    2) See my reference to Pharmac’s expectation that these condoms will be cheaper than the old supply.

    3) Are you saying you’d rather buy Herceptin than any condoms at all? Or just (cheaper and more effective) flavoured ones?

    4) Reference for this being initiated by the AIDS Foundation?

  16. Anita 16

    Greg,

    Yeah – the whole Herceptin this is really hard. It’s a very emotive balancing act, which is partly why they have such a very robust evaluation mechanism (QALYs – Quality Adjusted Life Years).

    That aside, why are (cheaper and more effective) flavoured condoms such a slap in the face? Pharmac part paid for the antibiotics for my throat infection a couple of weeks ago – should they have spent that money on Herceptin instead? Everyt three months they part pay for the drugs which manage my brain tumour – should they spend that money on Herceptin instead?

    I actually think this is a media beat up because it’s about shhh… sex and shhh…. interesting sex. 🙂

  17. Lew 17

    Anita: Your perseverance is admirable. I mostly just stop at `Huh?’.

    L

  18. Billy 18

    ‘sod said: MB – nobody cares about your opinion. That’s why they don’t read your blog.

    Careful, big fella…

  19. Disengaged 19

    Wow a taxpayer funded organisation responding to changing market demand, saving costs, improving service and looking after the long-term well being of the community. They should be being applauded for their initiative not condemned by the “moral right”.

  20. higherstandard 20

    Anita

    The only real issue here is that PHARMAC thought it wise to issue a press release about funding flavoured condoms so recently after the herceptin decision. Did they do the right thing funding a wider range of condoms at a lower acquisition cost absolutely.

    The QALY issue is also somewhat misleading PHARMAC will trot this out to justify certain decisions and ignore it when they wish to, effectively PHARMAC have done a very good job at keeping pharmaceutical prices down but that has been at the expense of access to new and old medications and some degree of mayhem when large numbers of patients are switched from one brand to another over a couple of months.

  21. Scribe 21

    SP,

    the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs is by using a condom

    Well, there’s only one surefire way to prevent those.

    There is an implication that condoms are a foolproof method of protecting against pregnancy and STDs. Not the case, and the statistics in NZ bear that out with something like 43 per cent of abortions last year performed on women who were using some form of contraception.

    I’m not old, so must be a “prude” for analysing the efficacy of condom use to prevent pregnancy and STIs and finding that this approach is failing miserably.

    As I mentioned on another thread yesterday, as the funding for FPA increases, allowing them to push their “safe sex” message, the number of teen pregnancies increases at an eerily similar rate.

  22. Phil 22

    If flavoured condoms are within your definition of “interesting” sex, Anita, you either need to get out a lot more, or a lot less…

  23. Draco TB 23

    Its a moral issue, flavoured condoms but not herceptain?

    We have limited funds so we need to spend those funds wisely. The flavoured condoms are cheaper and are more likely to be used therefore returning greater value for the same funds. Herceptin shows almost no noticeable difference between 9 weeks use and 12 months use and so funding for the longer period, which would mean curtailing funding of other needed drugs, would be a waste of limited funds. It would, quite simply, be an immoral waste of money to fund herceptin for the 12 month course.

  24. Anita 24

    hs,

    Yeah, some of their decisions make my head hurt 🙂 When I was more involved in disability advocacy there were some weird cases I was aware of where the way they accounted for medication changes prevented them adding a newer drug with the same cost as the old drug to the schedule because some people would need to stay on the older drug.

    Similarly Pharmac currently expects me to take two extra pills a day because I need to take two substances to manage a single condition. They have the two substances separately on the schedule but the combined pill isn’t, even though the cost of the combined pill is less than the combined cost of the two separate pills. Did that even make any sense? 🙂

    So yeah, they have some mucky practices for adding, removing and substituting, but I reckon that if they say they’ve done the math on something they probably have.

  25. Who are these sexual deviants whipping themselves into a frenzy at the prospect of Pharmac funding flavoured condoms?

    Obviously I lead a sheltered life.

  26. Anita 26

    Phil,

    If flavoured condoms are within your definition of “interesting’ sex, Anita, you either need to get out a lot more, or a lot less

    *laughs*

    I was actually saying that the media clearly think that flavoured condoms means interesting sex means a worthwhile news story, means here we are talking about condoms.

    But I agree that the journalists involved may need to get out more, then stay in more 🙂

  27. higherstandard 27

    Anita

    “They have the two substances separately on the schedule but the combined pill isn’t, even though the cost of the combined pill is less than the combined cost of the two separate pills. Did that even make any sense”

    The combined pill will likely have a patent covering it and PHARMAC will be thinking that they’ll be able to get the separate products cheaper and cheaper over time – the problem with this philosophy is that our medications become so cheap that anything new will always be costed as very expensive and not worthy of funding by PHARMAC – race to the bottom type of stuff. It makes some short term fiscal sense but I’m not sure it leads to better health outcomes.

  28. lprent 28

    Id rather they buy Herceptin for dying women

    In facetious mode. Generally I’d prefer to pay for medicines that stop people from dying. ❗

  29. Draco TB 29

    There is an implication that condoms are a foolproof method of protecting against pregnancy and STDs. Not the case, and the statistics in NZ bear that out with something like 43 per cent of abortions last year performed on women who were using some form of contraception.

    If people think that condoms are full proof then they obviously need to read the packs that they come in.

    As for your butchering of the statistics – the percentage of women who had an abortion who were using condoms doesn’t give any valid indication of the efficacy of using condoms. Especially when you use the term “who were using some form of contraception”. There’s more than one form of contraception and not a single one of them is perfect. Trying to blame the total failure of all contraception on one form of contraception is just wrong.

    [lprent: Just offhand the rhythm method is considered to be a form of contraception by the FPA last time I looked.
    Several of my friends have become mothers due to it – one of whom was a nurse. The failure rate is pretty high because almost anything disturbs the rhythm. In the nurses case going on holiday to Bali, and coming home to her boyfriend was sufficent.]

  30. MikeE 30

    “Rob
    August 21, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Id rather they buy Herceptin for dying women Than take council from the Aids foundation who told them to buy flavoured condoms. I didn’t know that the Vagina had the ability to taste that being the case why do the need to be Flavoured unless there specifically aimed at gays”

    Bahahahhaha

    hhahahahhahaha
    hhahhaha

    hahahahahha

    hahahahahha

    hahahahahhaa

    Dude – you fail at getting laid.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    HS – you’ve just got to the real crux of the matter. Do we accept being a few years behind other countries, or should we half-bankrupt ourselves trying to keep up?

    What I don’t know is if the Pharmac model is comparable to other countries. I’ll leave Herceptin out because from what I gather the research isn’t there, and countries that are funding it simply have weak governments, without the fortitude to make the right (if emotionally taxing) decision.

    So Herceptin aside, say country X has a certain new and advanced and very pricey medicine available. In most cases, would that be through a mechanism similar to Pharmac? Any idea?

    If a medicine is good, but truly expensive, how can the costs ever be explained away? It seems silly on the face of it for the government to be funding some things when lives are at stake but that argument will never stop – the logical conclusion would be all government funding will go to medicine and road crash barriers and not a lot else.

    That’s why I hate the herceptin debate – where did this idea come from that it’s a super-magical wonder drug? It had better not be from the drug company itself…

  32. bill brown 32

    I assume, Scribe, that you advocate abstinence over condoms for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, what do you think the success of the following two situations as to the smallest numbers of unwanted pregnancies and spread of STDs:

    1) Take a group of teenagers, tell them “Thou shalst not”
    2) Take a group of teenagers, say “probably you shouldn’t but if you do use these cheap / free condoms”

    I vote for 2), how about you?

  33. Matthew Pilott 33

    Mike E – I just metaphorically pissed myself there!

  34. higherstandard 34

    MP

    PHARMAC is reasonably unique in that they are a monopsony QANGO.

    Certainly no other coutry I’m aware of enforces so much switching of medications amongst patients although there are many jurisdictions that use similar enforced pricing of medicines but none tender for supply of the entire market like PHARMAC does.

    In terms of cost effectiveness most European, Australia and what we we call 1st world health systems look at cost effectiveness of medicines when providing public funding although in NZ we are somewhat more severe in what we would call cost effective and even if a medication is deemed cost effective there is no obligation for PHARMAC to fund.

    I agree with you to a large degree about being a few years behind rather than bankrupting ourselves but the situation in NZ is we’re often now 10-15 or even 20 years behind other countries while we wait for medications patents to expire so we can access cheap generics.

    On a complete tangent I think the point about being a few years behind is where I sit on the ETS and Kyoto issue.

  35. monkey-boy 35

    Robinsod says:
    “MB – no-one cares about your opinion – that’s why no one reads your blog.”

    That’s a bit (faux) ‘paranoid’ isn’t it?

    Hey Robinsod – At least I’ve got a blog, which is evident, because you’ve evidently read it, otherwise, you wouldn’t know that ‘no-one reads it’.
    I think you have secretly read it, haven’t you, big guy? If not, please do, it would be good for you. At the moment I am exploring the role of ‘faux-paranoia’ as a device to used by The Standard while it is electioneering to oppose a National-led Government. I am happy to hear comments about this – even if it is no more intellectually erudite than ‘MB – you’re a moron’ as one wit recently opined.

    Do you have a blog?

    You see, I wouldn’t know either way, if you have a blog because if you had a blog I wouldn’t know because I’ve never read it. But you must have read mine, otherwise you wouldn’t know I have one.

    So you are a liar.
    pants on fire.

    ps thanks to those with info on origins of ‘redneck’.
    My personal favourite flavour is chocolate.

  36. Billy 36

    I’ll leave Herceptin out because from what I gather the research isn’t there…

    I don’t know much about it, Matthew Pilott, but I know a guy who does. He is a professor at MD Anderson in Texas, an institution reknowned for its cancer research. Breast cancer is his specialty. He tells me that Pharmac a relying on one largely discounted Finnish study whose findings are at odds with every other piece of research conducted anywhere.

    He says the science is beyond douby: a year makes an enormous difference.

  37. Matthew Pilott 37

    Thanks HS, that’s interesting stuff. I gather there’s still a bit I need to learn about Pharmac (but after the Herceptin announcement, people were attacking them for making huge profits as if they were a company, so I’m not that bad!) in comparison, but you’d probably guess that with my leanings I like the concept and model.

    On this vs ETS, a decent ETS means the polluter (and thereafter, the consumer) pays – if you’re a follower, you’re advocating subsidy of polluters. I guess if we avoid kyoto all together then no one pays directly, but I’m not sure deferring would help. We could take this to the “Key demands we publish ful quote” thread if need be.

  38. Billy 38

    Fcuk. Lprent, what happened to that edit-feature. I am not good enough at typing to survive without it.

    [lprent: It does seem to be having quite a few problems. I’ll have a look tonight now that the other really urgent tasks are done. ]

  39. higherstandard 39

    Bill

    The point that Scribe is making is that despite the efforts of those promoting safe sex over the last few decades we still have major and growing issues with STDs, teen pregnancy and abortion.

    Sod made an excellent point yesterday that much blame can be laid at the feet of pop culture and modern mores.

    As a Dad of a couple of boys and a girl I’m of the opinion that the safe sex message while vital has led to an it’s OK to have sex message rather than wait till you mature and then be monogamous – and Yes I accept I’m old fashioned and happily so.

  40. bill brown 40

    HS, and the point I’m trying to make is that we live in the real world.

    Real kids have sex, they really do, short of locking them up it’s nigh impossible to stop it.

    You can tell them not to until you’re blue in the face – it’ll still happen. Better they have some sort of protection – and some idea what’s going on than not – I think.

  41. Billy 41

    monkey-boy,

    Surely you jest. It beggars belief that you have not visited ‘sodblog. Excuse me while I whore:

    http://robinsod.wordpress.com/

  42. higherstandard 42

    Agreed Bill,

    But I think it’s a defeatist attitude that parents, educators etc can do nothing to change kids attitudes and similar to the soft line we take with kids in terms of drugs and alcohol.

  43. Scribe 43

    Draco TB,

    There’s more than one form of contraception and not a single one of them is perfect. Trying to blame the total failure of all contraception on one form of contraception is just wrong.

    The most recent stats I have are from 2004 and 2005. In those years, more than 10,000 abortions were carried out on women who had been using a condom. Considering how difficult it is to actually get pregnant (statistically speaking), that is a massive failure rate.

    And it’s a lot easier to get an STI than get pregnant.

    lprent,

    I highly doubt the rhythm method is considered a form of contraception. Natural family planning probably is and, incidentally, has a better success rate than most of the other methods used.

    bill brown,

    1) Take a group of teenagers, tell them “Thou shalst not’
    2) Take a group of teenagers, say “probably you shouldn’t but if you do use these cheap / free condoms’

    I vote for 2), how about you?

    How about 3) Shock horror — talk to kids and give them the facts. Saying “don’t have sex because we say so” is about as effective as “here’s a pack of condoms, go git ya sum”.

    I know talking about consequences of people’s actions is soooo last century, but it might just work.

    captcha: subpoenas preceding

  44. bill brown 44

    Scribe,

    My 2) was the same as your 3) but with add in the condoms because they’ll probably do it anyway.

  45. Draco TB 45

    The most recent stats I have are from 2004 and 2005. In those years, more than 10,000 abortions were carried out on women who had been using a condom. Considering how difficult it is to actually get pregnant (statistically speaking), that is a massive failure rate.

    According to you 4300 women who were using a condom (Changed from your first assertion of using some form of contraception) got an abortion and all that anyone can say to that is So? because the numbers that you’re using don’t show what the actual failure rate is. How many pregnancies were prevented by the use of condoms? Hundred thousand or a million? What about all the women who got pregnant who were using a condom but didn’t get an abortion? You don’t know and the data that you keep repeating doesn’t show it. Absolutely no conclusions about the failure rate can be ascertained from the figures that you quote.

  46. Pascal's bookie 46

    Draco, Another problem with the stat is that I suspect it should be more like:

    more than 10,000 abortions were carried out on women who claimed to have been using a condom.

    I’m not saying that they were lying, but merely that people do tend to lie about sex. A lot. For all sorts of reasons. I’m guessing that when women are seeking permission to get an abortion they may feel pressured to tailor their story. So if those consultations are where the data is coming from, there may be over-reportng of condom use.

    And on the rhythm method, it’s only anecdotal, but I know that at least some women using this method get some assistance on the quiet from their local GP and pharmacist.

  47. Rex Widerstrom 47

    Who are the sphincter-clenched extremists who’re getting even more constipated at the mere thought of a coloured (or flavoured condom)?

    I mean that seriously. Do the media go looking for the last few Calvinist moralists living in a cabin in the Tararuas, just so they can make a story out of an (albeit poorly timed) Pharmac press release?

    I once conducted an interview with Jenny Shipley in which she managed to display, within the space of 40 minutes, almost every prejudice I find offensive (particularly an utter contempt for the poor and those on benefits, a handy attribute for someone who was, at the time, Minister of Social Welfare).

    However she almost completely restored my regard later when, as Minister of Health, she had the courage to point out to groups who were vexed at the number of abortions taking place that the most effective action they could take would be to vigorously promote the use of condoms (and other forms of contraception), as opposed to their usual stance of behaving like the cross-legged killjoys at the mere mention of such things.

    I mean, really. If Jenny Shipley can rationalise which is the “lesser of two evils” how deep into the backblocks does noe have to go to find someone who’s against greater availability of condoms for goodness sake?! And if they have to be glow-in-the-dark and papaya flavoured to encourage their use then so be it.

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    Rex, I take offense at your jab at the Tararuas, although you made up for it with the phrase “cross-legged killjoys”.

    I suppose it is a big place and there could be some odd jokers living there…

    The papaya comment reminded me of a movie in which ‘Smokey Bacon’ was an option.

  49. Scribe 49

    Draco TB,

    According to you 4300 women who were using a condom (Changed from your first assertion of using some form of contraception) got an abortion

    The 43% figure I quoted was off the top of my head (it’s more like 47%), so 4300 is an irrelevant number. The 10,000 is the combined figure from 2004 and 2005 of people using condoms who had them “fail”. That’s almost double the number of women using the pill who got pregnant, by way of comparison.

    My point is that condoms are very fallible, despite there being a perception that they are very reliable.

    Do you concede that?

    Pb,

    Who the heck is still using the rhythm method? There is a lot of misinformation about it, especially as it relates to the Catholic Church, but it’s no longer used in Catholic circles. Much more reliable natural methods have been developed (and I repeat, more reliable than artificial means).

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    Exactly Rex.

  51. mmmmmmmmmm… smokey bacon…

  52. Vanilla Eis 52

    Scribe: What perception of reliability? I went to a pretty rough highschool, and we had it drilled into us that condoms are around 90% effective – ie that in any given year, at least 10% of condom users will fall pregnant or get an STI despite correct use.

    Now, you consider the many hundreds of thousands using condoms as their sole contraception, and then subtract the ones doing it correctly… Well, that still leaves a lot of unplanned pregnancies.

    No one ever said they were infalliable, and this isn’t taught. But it doesn’t make any sense to argue that we’re better off without condoms at all, surely?

  53. Pascal's bookie 53

    Fair enough Scribe. I’ll take your word for it then.

    On a related point, I’ve never really understood the theological justification for ‘natural family planning’ or whatever the correct term is.

    As I understand it the argument against contraception is that sex is supposed to be a co-creative act, and that the potential for pregnancy should not be divorced from the rest of the business. Surely timing sex so that the potential for pregnancy is eliminated is no different in this aspect than any other form of contraception?

    Genuine question as it’s always struck me as weird, even when I was a Catholic.

  54. ak 54

    scribe: Much more reliable natural methods have been developed (and I repeat, more reliable than artificial means).

    Hey, liven up an old person-of-unknown-gender’s day and do tell more scribo. Go on, go on, go on….you know you want to.

    PS Standardistas – hearty congrats on overtaking that hideous whale creep in the blogstakes (at Tumeke). Onward and upward (though with Chris Trotter starting up you might have some serious competition)

  55. Draco TB 55

    My point is that condoms are very fallible, despite there being a perception that they are very reliable.

    Do you concede that?

    I’ll concede that when you provide the statistics to prove it which you’ve continuously failed to do. You’re trying to pound a set of statistics into a form that supports your argument when they don’t. They don’t even come close.

    As Vanilla Eis said – condoms have about a 10% failure rate so on your unreliable information that would equate to about 40000+ pregnancies prevented.

  56. Phil 56

    “The papaya comment reminded me of a movie in which ‘Smokey Bacon’ was an option.”

    “mmmmmmmmmm smokey bacon ”

    Best… Euphemism… EVER. Do you want some holandaise with that? Delicious.

    ……….

    Re; more reliable methods. I had an ex-girlfriend (perhaps in a fit of BDSM experimentation) suggest a method that involved placing the testicles in very hot water. It kills off the little guys – a reversal of the idea that cold water increases their ‘activity’. Apprantly it really works.

  57. Matthew Pilott 57

    Now now boys!

    Oh crap I just thought of a bacon hollandaise muffin. And on that bombshell…

    (Hot water? I can’t imagine that would fail as such, but would standing by a microwave suffice?)

  58. higherstandard 58

    Phil

    High temperature does effect sperm count hence the testicles are designed to hang outside the body – I wouldn’t recommend that anyone drops their plums in hot water as a method of birth control.

  59. Quoth the Raven 59

    HS – It is a bit more than attitude. It’s about being a human animal. It’s our instinct for god’s sake.

    Onward and upward (though with Chris Trotter starting up you might have some serious competition)

    You know the strangest thing about that is who the blog producer is: Bryan Spondre.

  60. Scribe 60

    Marketing campaigns that say things like “If you ain’t got a rubba there’ll be no hubba hubba” are designed to say to young people “wear a condom and you’re safe”. Such campaigns are irresponsible.

    I will concede that condoms prevent unwanted pregnancies, but handing out condoms has been the preferred response for years, with no decrease in the rate of unwanted pregnancies.

    There seems to be acceptance that we have teen pregnancy rates that are too high (2nd in the OECD); the response is that we need to give teenagers more condoms. Yet the rates keep getting higher and higher as funding for the condom-promoting FPA increases (I’ve sent lprent a chart I hope he’ll be able to upload for me on that).

    As I said on another thread, the sign of idiocy/stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result.

    Pb,

    As I understand it the argument against contraception is that sex is supposed to be a co-creative act, and that the potential for pregnancy should not be divorced from the rest of the business. Surely timing sex so that the potential for pregnancy is eliminated is no different in this aspect than any other form of contraception?

    The rationale (which many on here will shake their collective head at) is that all forms of artificial contraception are “unnatural” in that they introduce a foreign object into the equation (be it medication, condom, IUD etc etc). Using NFP does not alter the nature of the interaction, so there is no intention to impede what nature intends. Nothing is introduced that has a specific intent of removing the possibility of the act being procreative.

    That’s not to say some couples who are using NFP aren’t using it as a form of contraception.

    It’s a fairly nuanced position, and I know plenty of “traditional” Catholics who struggle to understand/accept the argument, but if you are genuinely interested, here are some links:

    http://www.goodmorals.org/smith6.htm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blSamJBpYi4

    I have friends who believe that NFP also makes plenty of sense in today’s “organic” environment. People want their fruit to be unblemished, they want grain-fed meat, but ask for that artificial contraception (which has a range of side effects most people don’t want to hear about).

    Genuine question as it’s always struck me as weird, even when I was a Catholic.

    Aahhh, another former Catholic. The doors are open for you when you’re ready to come “home”.

  61. Pascal's bookie 61

    “The rationale (which many on here will shake their collective head at) is that all forms of artificial contraception are “unnatural’ in that they introduce a foreign object into the equation (be it medication, condom, IUD etc etc). Using NFP does not alter the nature of the interaction, so there is no intention to impede what nature intends. Nothing is introduced that has a specific intent of removing the possibility of the act being procreative.”

    Thanks Scribe. Without knowing the (err) ins and outs of NFP isn’t the point contraception however you try and paint it? The artificial angle is a bit of a red herring. One could just as legitimately say you are artificially selecting the time to have sex, based on scientific knowledge that we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t deliberately set out to discover it.

    it’s a fairly nuanced position,

    They often are. I’ll check out the links. Thanks.

    People want their fruit to be unblemished, they want grain-fed meat, but ask for that artificial contraception (which has a range of side effects most people don’t want to hear about).

    I think you are being a bit harsh on people. Most do take careful note of the side effects etc, and choose options that they feel are best for them.

    Aahhh, another former Catholic. The doors are open for you when you’re ready to come “home’.

    Thanks, but Vatican III will have to be had first, and it’ll have to be a lot more radical than II was. I’m afraid most of the Apostle’s Creed will either have to go, or be relegated to metaphor status. Deal? 😉

  62. Scribe 62

    Pb,

    The woman whose documents I linked to is a much better explainator than I am. She might make more lucid points.

    Re: side effects, there are studies that suggest an increased risk of certain forms of cancer for women who take the pill — http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives — but that is not always disclosed to women who want the prescription. If women choose the pill, that’s their choice. I don’t want them to be given something without giving informed consent, which is what some GPs tell me happens.

    On a less serious note (actually, still pretty serious), did you see this research? http://www.livescience.com/culture/080812-contraceptive-smell.html

    Women who go on the pill have desensitised senses of smell and sometimes pick husbands poorly because of that.

    Re Vatican II or III, we could have a long discussion on this, but I don’t want to bore everyone else.

  63. MikeE 63

    Rhythm Method?

    Is that where I turn the radio on?

    Peow Peow

    You’ve got to remember that a Catholic Priests idea of save sex is tapping a choir boy when you put this in perspective. You can hardly expect a rational discussion on the topic.

  64. Scribe 64

    MikeE,

    If you’re going to try to be clever, I suggest you make sure you proofread your incredibly witty contributions. Your hilarity loses its impact when someone has to navigate through typos and re-read something, correct your mistake, and then slap one’s knee.

  65. Eleus 65

    Hmmm…

    I think it’s interesting that calling people “rednecks” is too harsh for the PC police but calling people with a different moral code than our own “sphincter-clenched extremists” is perfectly okay.

    [lprent: The moderators (including myself) obviously didn’t think that either was sufficiently over the top to be bothered with.

    What the commentators argue about is their problem unless it falls into the Policy areas.

    Of course if people start calling each other these things we may get somewhat more interested. ]

  66. Eleus 66

    Ta lprent.

    I wasn’t criticising the moderators but arguing for us all to have a bit more respect towards people with different opinions from our own.

  67. lprent 67

    Yeah I wasn’t sure, so I figured I’d err in the line of caution. As you say it is something that the commentators should aspire to. But I’m not going to enforce politeness.

    I’m not exactly a paragon of it myself even when I’ll out of BOFH mode. Of course in BOFH mode I sometimes (some would argue for all of the time) specialise in being offensive 😈

  68. Eleus 68

    Good on ya. I noticed after posting that I might be erring on the side of personal criticism myself by accusing the “PC Police” LOL. Sorry if anyone was offended.

    Also sorry for off-topicness.

    On-topic: my personal opinion on this matter is that the number of unplanned pregnancies and cases of STIs in this country have only increased, and certainly haven’t diminished, since the government began funding these contraception-based programmes. And yet it continues to pump millions of dollars into a programme that anyone can see is failing to address the problem. To me this seems rather illogical, especially considering the other ways the money could be spent.

    I also think we can give teenagers a bit more credit than assuming that every one of them is prepared to jump into bed with the next boy or girl of reasonable attractiveness that walks past them. I spent several years very recently as a youth worker (a Christian one, yes) and in that time I found that a very wide range of young people – from many different backgrounds – were open to hearing if not adhering to this crazy old idea of waiting for someone special, and saving sex for that one person. It is a plausible way of life and many people live it – without, I might add, any danger of unwanted pregnancies or STIs.

    I hate this saying but, thinking outside the box, isn’t it just possible that, if more of them were ever given the chance to hear about this radical way of preventing teen pregnancies and nasty diseases, teenagers might actually be able to base their decisions on a solid, well-informed foundation? Rather than their decision being a response to the prevailing idea that they will throw themselves into sexual relationships pell-mell, whatever “grown-ups” do to spoil their fun.

  69. Draco TB 69

    On-topic: my personal opinion on this matter is that the number of unplanned pregnancies and cases of STIs in this country have only increased, and certainly haven’t diminished, since the government began funding these contraception-based programmes.

    Evidence would seem to indicate that your opinion is wrong:
    http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/Articles/teen-Sep03.htm

  70. Chuck Bird 70

    If anyone wishes to see the issues of condom reliability discussed factually they should go to the MacDoctor Blog

    http://www.macdoctor.co.nz/?p=146#comments

  71. Matty Smith 71

    Oh! The nonsense that is trotted out about Herceptin! It’s not a very effective drug. Even a cursory look into its history will tell you that. It saves roughly one woman in 100 treated, which is still substantial, but not so substantial that it is any kind of wonder-drug. It also increases patients’ risk of heart conditions quite badly. Herceptin is a red herring, and the condom decision is admirable.

    Chuck, McVeigh is more quack-troll than doctor. But then, you’re a troll yourself, both here and on talkback, correct?

  72. Oh! The nonsense that is trotted out about Herceptin!

    Quite right, Matty. And your comment has not changed this in any way.

    PS. You misspelled my name.

    PPS. You really have no idea what a troll is, do you?

  73. Matty Smith 73

    I agree that I was much too hasty labelling you ‘quack-troll’, I’m been misguided in that respect. I don’t really deserve much respect from you after that. I do feel that your religious attachments compromise your interpretation of what is best practice, but I went much, much too far by calling that anything so stupid as ‘quack-trollery’. The likes of Michael Behe are the only idiots who qualify for such a term. Apologies.

    With regards to Chuck’s trolling, I don’t think it’s a hard case to make. He pays no heed whatsoever to those who offer any argument that conflicts with his preconceived notions, and he posts provocative (often incoherent) arguments all over the place with seemingly no better intention than to start a fight that he will promptly feel he has won.

  74. Eleus 74

    Hi Draco TB

    It would seem to me from reading that data that the teenage fertility rate (based on live births to teenagers) has indeed decreased. Well done New Zealand. But the teenage abortion rate has increased by approximately the same amount. Surely if condoms were doing their job there would be no need for abortions to help the fertility rate decrease?

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