Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Something is wrong

Something is very wrong.

It’s been 40 years since Griswold v. Connecticut.

It’s been 33 years since Roe v. Wade

Women’s reproductive rights in this country seemed finally, if not assured, at least settled.  The battle to outlaw abortion seemed restricted to the far fringe, which showed their desperation with violence.  The rights to access to contraception seemed rock solid, with no meaningful opposition.

Now, with the rise to power of a GOP that is beholden to a small, but well-heeled and vocal, minority seeking a fundamentalist theocracy, not only is access to safe and legal elective abortions endangered, but those same elements are fighting access to basic contraception, and contraceptive information.

Along with the effort to deny access to effective family planning choices, a woman’s right to emergency contraception (EC) is being endangered under the guise of “moral choice” laws for pharmacists and an FDA that is adamant that it will keep EC from being offered over-the-counter.  

And proving that not only do the would-be theocrats have a staunch ability to completely ignore facts, and showing the true agenda of control over women’s choices, the stated reason for much of the opposition is that access to these contraceptives is because it will “increase the likelihood of teen sex.”

Considering the actual rate of teen pregnancy in the Bible Belt, where “just say no” and “keep your knees closed” is often the sum total of sex-ed, it doesn’t appear that access to Plan B would have much impact. And it won't. This resistance to contraceptive choice is really the battle for who will control a woman's body -- she, herself or a pharamacist who doesn't even know her face, but, for their own sense of entitlement want to control what a woman can do with her own body, out of some supposed moral outrage.

As an indication on how difficult it is likely to be for a woman who needs EC to have access to it over-the-counter or find a doctor to give a written prescription in the 72 hours for best effectiveness, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is now advising women to get a preemptive prescription to the morning-after pill.

Get an advance prescription for emergency contraception so it will be on hand if you need it, the nation's largest gynecologist group advised women Monday.

The new campaign aims to increase access to the morning-after pill following the Bush administration's refusal to allow the emergency birth control to be sold over the counter nationwide.

"We want women to be prepared, well before a contraceptive failure or unprotected sex occurs.  Afterward may be too late," said Dr. Michael Mennuti, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Something is very, very wrong.

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