Over the past week while the nation has been figuring out how to hide from the government, the White House quietly made a significant decision about the emergency contraceptive/abortifacient Plan B. The Obama administration decided to end its appeal of a federal judge’s ruling to allow the morning after pill to be sold over the counter to girls of all ages without a prescription and without parental consent. Previously Obama stated that, “As a father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.”
Hearing Obama say this I thought to myself, “Great! Obama is making a rare defense of prolife concerns.” Maybe I thought this because of my misogynist, anti-science views of the world but it was a rare welcome from this administration. But alas, earlier this week Obama decided he would drop the appeal and allow the drug to be sold to young girls immediately.
Plan B does not destroy an attached fetus, but acts basically the same as the popular birth control pill only in a more concentrated dose. It either prevents an egg from being released, prevents the egg from fertilization, or creates a hostile uterine wall where a fertilized egg cannot attach. It is this third function which, for me and my fellow backwards believing friends, warrants its classification as an abortifacient. Some studies have claimed possibly dangerous side effects from taking Plan B but they seem to be rare. Obama’s decision has been praised by liberal women’s health groups and the only worries seem to be a possible monopoly of the drug by the manufacturer. Hopefully that gets cleared up so everyone can profit from this.
The federal judge and abortion rights activists claim the pill should be made accessible to girls of all ages based on science. In other words, because this drug will not physically harm those who take it, there is no sense in making restrictions on it. Unfortunately some pro-life groups have fell into arguing along this line and tried to make the case that there could in fact be possible harmful physical effects of this drug. While this is most likely the only reason prochoice groups would be opposed to the sale of Plan B to minors it truly is beside the point.
In a Pacific Standard article the author writes, “where teens need help is in avoiding situations where they might lose control and in coping with situations when things have not gone as planned. Parental guidance can help with the former. Easy, informed access to Plan B can help with the latter.” So a young woman must listen to the wise advice of her parents so she does not find herself in a bad situation. If she inevitably finds herself in a tough situation she can rely on the wonderful Plan B pill, because an uncomfortable and tough talk with her parents goes against her rights as an individual. Common sense right?
There are only two reasons a girl under the age of seventeen would find herself in a situation where she may be pregnant. One, she is in a sexually active relationship. See, I am not afraid of science. Two, she has been sexually abused or raped. Actually, for younger women, it is the latter situation which is more likely. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, friends of Planned Parenthood:
“Concerns about statutory rape are particularly acute in regard to the youngest adolescents. Although relatively small proportions of 13-14-year-olds have had intercourse, those who become sexually active at an early age are especially likely to have experienced coercive sex: Seventy-four percent of women who had intercourse before age 14 and 60% of those who had sex before age 15 report having had a forced sexual experience. As policymakers and the public have become increasingly aware that the sexual partners of minor adolescent women are often not adolescents themselves but men 3-6 years older, concern has grown that protective measures, in the form of increasing enforcement of statutory rape laws, are necessary to guard these young women from abuse and exploitation.”
Whether a young girl is sexually active or has been raped, what she needs is guidance and support from her family, not an okay from the government and liberal women’s groups to run and hide from them. By making the Plan B pill available to girls of any age, we are telling our young women they can face these situations alone and if they cannot, well they might not be strong enough. Maybe it is not “fair” that it is the female portion of our species who must be “burdened” with these decisions about pregnancy. All men have to do is put on a condom or just say no thank you when the pregnancy starts. So what does Plan B do to remedy this? Nothing except give boys another get out of jail free pill. Casual, emotionless, unprotected sex just became a little bit easier—with our children.
Some would say that giving young girls access to Plan B will prevent them from being forced to tell an abusive, authoritative parent or guardian about their sexual activity and therefore risk shame or ostracizing. Unfortunately this may happen and we should never forget about girls in those situations, but should we take this worst case scenario and apply it to the culture as a whole? I have another worst case scenario. An extremely close person to me has a daughter who has begun menstruation at age seven. Her potential for pregnancy will come at an extremely young age. God forbid she is approached by a predator male who gains her confidence through fear and does the unthinkable. Now this predator can coerce her into making a quick stop at Walgreens, tell her to remain quiet and continue a horrific relationship. Unfortunately, which worst case scenario is worse has been left to common sense.