Girls Gone Wild…on EC

In other choice/teen news: make sure to check out The New Republic’s article on all the recent brouhaha surrounding emergency contraception, Morning-After Sickness. Outside of discussing legislative threats, author Jonathan Cohn also takes on the fear of teen sex that seems to be behind much of the opposition to EC:
The other serious argument against Plan B is that it will increase risky sexual activity by young people. But peer-reviewed studies published in mainstream medical publications (like one just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association) have repeatedly found no such link. Of course, conservatives argue that making emergency contraception available sends a broader cultural message about the acceptability of premarital sex…
…When conservatives talk about Plan B, they conjure up images of lust-crazed college girls engaging in one-night stands, then reaching over empty beer bottles to grab their supersized Plan B jars. But the one group to whom emergency contraception would make the greatest difference is rape victims. According to Trussell, who studied statistics from 1998, about 22,000 of the 25,000 women who became pregnant from rape could have prevented pregnancy with emergency contraception. Unfortunately, the new federal hospital guidelines for rape treatment released in January mysteriously omitted Plan B, even though a previous draft had included it. In Colorado, conservatives have fought efforts to impose a guideline that includes emergency contraceptives…

I’m glad that Cohn points out that women who are suffering most because of the lack of EC availability are rape victims and not crazy spring breakers, as the conservatives would have us believe. But don’t crazy spring breakers deserve EC, too? By focusing on victims of sexual assault as the primary users of emergency contraception are we somehow bolstering the argument that “irresponsible” teen girls shouldn’t have access to it? Just putting it out there…

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8 Comments

  1. Posted April 28, 2005 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure why conservatives think that hungover 19-year-olds are perfect candidates for motherhood.

  2. Jessica
    Posted April 28, 2005 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    well us diry whores have to learn our lesson somehow, right?

  3. randomliberal
    Posted April 28, 2005 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    No, it doesn’t bolster that argument. But we’re not going to get anywhere if we focus a whole lot on drunken Spring Breakers. If we focus more on EC as being helpful to rape victims, I think we are bound to get much more sympathy from the general public. This isn’t to say that the drunken Spring Breakers shouldn’t have access to EC. We just should not focus our arguments for allowing over-the-counter EC on them.

  4. C
    Posted April 29, 2005 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Actually I think focusing on rape victims to the exclusion of less sympathetic women (be them springbreakers or someone who has the scary experience of having a condom break) will harm our position in the end. Too many times we leave some women behind while we try to garner sympathy from the public, and we are seeing the effects of this: poor women and minors cannot get access to safe and early abortions, rapists who know their victim and/or have had sex with the woman before are less likely to be brought up on criminal charges (much less convicted), etc.
    No, I think we need to make our argument for EC availability on grounds that do not separate out subsets of women. Surely if we can educate more Americans that increased use and availability of EC will bring down the number of abortions needed later on and the number of teenage pregnancies, this can only bolster support for EC. Or maybe I’m overestimating the foresight of my fellow countrymen/women…

  5. phisrow
    Posted April 29, 2005 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    That is a somewhat tricky issue. One really hates to think of rape victims being denied contraceptives because we had to preserve the rhetorical high ground(Although, given the prevalence of the idea that rape is what happens to provocative harlots who don’t know their place, I’m not even sure that focusing on rape victims would help as much as it ought to); but it does seem most unfortunate to conceed, if only by implication, the point with regard to discretionary users.
    It has much the same flavour as the issue of the naturalness of homosexuality. It is useful to know that it is natural; but to emphasise that point too heavily is to suggest that that is the only reason to tolerate its existence.

  6. Steve22
    Posted April 29, 2005 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts…
    1. It’s pretty scary that in a country as supposedly advanced as the United States that this debate even exists. The US scares the crap out of me.
    2. Don’t focus too much on the ‘rape victim’ arguement. The only requirement for getting this pill should be that, for WHATEVER reason, you were potentially and accidently impregnated. That can happen to rape victims, drunk kids on spring break or soccer moms who have a condom break on them.
    3. From what I’ve read, the thing makes you puke your guts out… I don’t see people using it for ‘recreational’ purposes.
    4. It’s soon going to be available over the counter here in Canada :) I’m a guy, so that decision doesn’t really affect me, but I’m happy to see my country taking the lead on this.
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1113957548534_60/?hub=Canada

  7. Steve22
    Posted April 29, 2005 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    More accurately, I should have said that it will be available “behind the counter” in Canada. You won’t need a prescription, but you have to talk to the Pharmacist to get it. Over the counter implies that they will have it up at the cash… beside the Pez dispensers and Mars bars :P

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    Posted August 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

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