Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Obligatory Plan B Post

My head nearly exploded yesterday morning listening to some chauvinist fuck on the radio speaking against Plan B on behalf of the Concerned Women for America. Evidently if Plan B is available over the counter women everywhere will turn into a bunch of dirty sluts faster than you can say, "Jezebel." These people believe that a safe and effective medical treatment should be withheld from the public because it may (which is a stretch) encourage certain perfectly legal behavior with which they don't happen to agree.

What's the "logical" extension of this philosophy? Let's take cholesterol medication off the market because it encourages people to eat unhealthy food. How about banning medications to prevent heart attacks since they encourage people to be lazy. We should stop treating head injuries because that just encourages people to ride motorcycles without helmets. Hell, Viagra is going to turn Americans into a bunch of erection-having man-whores, so let's ban that, too.

Let's be very clear. This debate is not about science or medicine. It's about controlling women's sexuality and limiting reproductive choices. Finally having Plan B available over the counter - only to women over age 18 and only through a pharmacist if he or she is willing to sell it - is only the tiniest of victories. Women all over this country don't have access to affordable health care, including contraception. 86% of counties in the U.S. have no abortion providers. And, current policies do little to support women who want to make the choice to have a family. 20% of children in this country live below the poverty line. A living wage and quality, affordable childcare are nothing more than pipe dreams for many mothers.

Depending on the study you look at, economic problems are the reason given for at least 25% of abortions and probably many more. Other women choose to have abortions because becoming a mother will force them to lose their jobs or to drop out of school. Abortions are declining among women with higher incomes, but are increasing among poor women. You want to reduce abortions? Make sure women have the resources they need to be responsible mothers and successful human beings.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to get the other side of the story but every link on the CWA's website is 404ing (running IIS of course). Oh well, I guess you must be right.

UnrulyDuckling said...

You can listen to the program here: http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/06/08/28.php#11903

I freely admit that I was not able to listen to the whole thing. This post is reponding to certain comments Bob Knight (the chauvinist fuck in question) made, positions held by the Pro-Life Action League, Focus on the Family, and other similar organizations, as well as conservative rhetoric in general surrounding contraception, abortion, and women's behavior.

Anonymous said...

Two additional comments after getting through to the CWA's site.

The MAP uses the same primary drug as the common birth control pill. The pill is associated with certain medical risks such as blood clots, stroke and heart attacks and is contraindicated for women in certain groups. The CWA claims that testing has not been done on the MAP to determine if the same risks are involved and in particular, if there may be problems with prolonged and repeated use. Nothing I read from the FDA or the makers of the MAP mention these risks.

The MAP may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. This is confirmed by Duramed's "Prescribing Information" but not mentioned in their consumer orientated brochures. Many people believe that life begins at conception and that preventing this fertilized egg from having its chance at life is morally equivalent to murder. Although I do not agree with this opinion, I do think that it is a legitimate concern.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify my second comment above. Abortion is legal in the US so even if the MAP has the potential to cause an "abortion" that is not really relevant to the debate except to say that there may be other explanations for opposition to the FDA's decision besides feminist conspiracy theories.

UnrulyDuckling said...

It's not a theory that influential religious and conservative groups seek to control women's sexuality by denying medical treatment. One of the most obvious recent examples is that of the HPV vaccine controversy. HPV is a common virus which is usually transmitted sexually and causes most cases of cervical cancer. There is an effective vaccine against several of the more dangerous strains of HPV, but it must be administered before a woman becomes sexual active. Therefore, the CDC recommended that girls be vaccinated at age 11. Groups such as the Independent Women's Forum and Focus on the Family are protesting making the vaccination available because it will *supposedly* encourage teenagers to be promiscuous. Evidently they believe women deserve to die of a preventable cancer if we have the nerve to be sexually active.

Anonymous said...

teenagers are not women.

UnrulyDuckling said...

So, anonymous, teenagers who have sex deserve to eventually die of cancer that could have been prevented? And don't give me that "if they'd kept their legs together it wouldn't be an issue" crap. Sex is not a crime to be punished, and cancer shouldn't be a consequence. Cancer is a disease to be prevented if possible and treated if necessary. It is a medical issue and not a moral one.