Denying Access to Plan B: An Act of Political Cowardice


See all our coverage of the Administration’s 2011 Emergency Contraception Reversal here.

Fool me twice. I’m an idiot.

I keep thinking someone in this administration is going to take a stand that will mean something.

It’s a small thing, really, but a huge thing when you’re a teenager. You need access to emergency contraception and you can’t get it because your government is controlled by fundamentalist body haters who think that sex is for procreation only. 

*****

I’m still hunting for the right words to say. Nearly 40 years after abortion was made legal in this country, 50 years since we’ve had the Pill, and women are still told, day-after-day, that the only thing that matters about them is their ability to bear children. And if bearing a child costs you your life, well, what greater sacrifice can you make? (And besides, there are plenty of women to replace you.)

*****

To visit the local cemeteries is to see this philosophy carved in stone–acres of stones that tell the same story. One man will be buried with two, often three, wives. He died in his 80s. The first two wives died in their 20s or early 30s, but the third wife grew old with him. Frequently, there are newborns whose death dates approximate the death dates of their mothers. 

We tell ourselves that this was before modern medicine. That puerperal fever, or ruptured uteri, or hearts weakened by childhood diseases and then too weak to bear the strains of pregnancy, that these things are all things of the past. 

But, we maintain maternal mortality statistics because pregnancy is still potentially deadly. And lest any American think that we have the best health care system in the world, ask yourself why our rates of maternal death are among the highest in the industrialized world?

****

The FDA cannot find a single reason why Plan B contraception can’t be on a shelf where anyone can buy it. Katherine Sebelius, and her boss, Barack Obama, they moved the football again.

We were all so happy when Obama chose a pro-choice champion to head HHS. But, it turns out, just like her boss, she’s a political coward. 

So what, the right wing thinks teenagers shouldn’t be having sex? How has that changed in all the years that we’ve been talking about it? 

Sebelius, no doubt ordered to by her boss, overruled the FDA, denied scientific evidence, to make moralistic assholes happy. 

I really thought you were going to hold the football steady this time, Obama. I really did.

I’m an idiot. I keep hoping against hope that you’re not going to throw women under the bus. That you can stand up to the ladies who swoon at the Concerned Women for America. You think they’re going to vote for you because you said no to Plan B?

I know you’re not stupid. 

You’re a coward. 

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

  • veggietart

    Do you mean that there are babies whose BIRTH dates, not DEATH dates approximate the deaths of their mothers?

    For many women, an abortion is safer than childbirth, but the antis don’t care about that because they really don’t care about women. Or the children who will be left behind without a mother.

  • fourmyle

    …are an easy target for the anti-choice crowd since most of them are still dependant on their parents. Too many parents will put their politics and religion before the needs of their children, so the anti-choicers rely on regressive parents to further their agenda.

     

    The fact is, a teenage girl is the utmost authority on whether or not her parents are mature enough to “handle” her pregnancy and respect her wishes on how to deal with it. Any law or policy that affects a minor’s right to privacy and autonomy in such matters is incredibly destructive.