‘The pill’ and shifting social norms are cementing tribalism | In Focus

The left is emboldened by recent social progress in birth control and LGBTQ rights; the right feel threatened and is pushing back.

A major scientific discovery in 1961 altered the direction of the human race.

The changes it wrought still ripple through society. The development of the birth control pill has drastically changed culture and continues to do so.

For millennia, pregnancy expanded the number of humans on earth while at the same time putting women’s lives in danger. The risk of dying in childbirth was ever-present for both the mother and her child. Women would often produce a dozen or more children in their lifetimes, while living to mourn the deaths of most from incurable illnesses.

Pregnancy gave women identities as wives and mothers. However, having children out of wedlock was a matter of shame and secrecy.

Development of the birth control pill has shaped human decision making. It has allowed women more control in making decisions about their own bodies while at the same taking away their ability to gain financial and emotional security through wedlock for both their children and themselves. Why get married if a man and woman could live together, have sex, and not suffer the consequences of childbirth or divorce?

Birth control changed the definition of marriage. Since bearing, raising, and protecting children was no longer deemed to be the purpose of marriage, what difference did it make whether one’s mate was the same sex or not? Society’s acceptance of gay marriage came as a result of the birth control pill. In the 2015, the Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case legalized gay marriage nationwide. The U.S. example has rippled across much of the world.

The acronym LGBTQIA+ became more commonplace after Obergefell. In the blink of an eye, not only was gay marriage legal but now progressives demanded equal rights for all practices and behaviors which were once called perversions or freaks of nature.

Due to changing attitudes about gender, new questions arose: “What is a woman?” and “What is a man?” When interviewed by the Senate for a Supreme Court seat, Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked, “What is a woman?”. Her response was “I am not a biologist”.

Some progressives now fervently believe that gender is fluid. Even though someone may be biologically a male with XY chromosomes or a woman with XX chromosomes, that no longer defines a person’s actual gender. It’s what that person perceives themselves to be. The use of pronouns has become common in colleges and even public schools starting at a young age.

A March 3, 2022 Gallup poll finds “7.2% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than straight or heterosexual. The percentage has doubled since Gallup first measured LGBT identification in 2012.”

Some progressives argue that more people are coming out of the closet about their sexuality. Another explanation is that the increase in poll numbers has occurred because more choices have been offered. Adolescence is a time of gender identification. By offering more choices than were unavailable before, more confusion has arisen about gender.

The changing definition of what is a male or a female has resulted in children being given “gender affirming” counseling and for some, hormone blockers or hormone shots. Children are easily influenced by trusted adults, whether they are right or wrong in their views. The damage can be permanent. Such practices are not supported by any data, either positive or negative.

Many conservatives have been overwhelmed by progressive views on sexuality. One Supreme Court justice advocated in the recent Dodd decision banning abortion that birth control should also be prohibited. It’s almost as if conservatives are trying to turn back the clock on the birth control pill. They want women to return to a time before they had the freedom that birth control offers them. They want women returned to their biological identities. It’s simpler, and also allows males to be males—dominant and in control.

No wonder Conor Freidensdorf noted in “The Atlantic” that many Americans “Are reluctant or even terrified to voice even ‘tentative opinions’ lest they violate ‘ever changing taboos.’ If you even ask the wrong question, such as ‘What is a woman?’ or ‘Is gender a social construct?’ you risk being labeled by thought police on the doctrinaire left as a ‘transphobic’ bigot or by the panicked right as a ‘groomer’…. Which dooms reasoned debate. Extremists on both sides insist there is only one valid view on gender—and that all others must be silenced, punished, or even made into crimes.”