A federal judge ruled yesterday that women of all ages can purchase emergency contraception without a prescription. This ends the ban that kept young women under 17 from being legally allowed to buy the morning after pill.
If you’re surprised this ban existed, that makes sense, as the morning after pill has been proven safe for young women. Not only that, but the drug does not cause abortions, as some have claimed, but instead works by preventing fertilization.
Sadly, counterintuitively, the contraception backwardness that led to the ban affects both the left and right. Obama-appointed U.S. secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius denied the last challenge to the age restriction, despite having no evidence to offer regarding any potential adverse effects of lifting the ban.
The right has also supported using government force to keep girls under 17 from purchasing emergency birth control.
Right-wing writer Katie Pavlich has called the ruling an “exploitation of girls.” She recently wrote, puzzlingly, that making more contraception choices available to young women disempowers them. Her claim that it causes “negative psychological and physical consequences,” is supported by only one Daily Mail article profiling a total of two women who “regularly use Plan B as their Plan A when it comes to sex.”
What strikes me about right-wing opposition to the ruling is its willful disregard of the law of unintended consequences. You can find article after article about the unintended consequences of, say, Obamacare on the site Katie writes for. But won’t artificially limiting the availability of emergency contraception also have consequences conservatives might not intend?
I have a fundamental question to ask Katie and other supporters of reproductive interventionism: what do you think the ban accomplished? Surely you don’t think teen girls chose not to have sex because they needed their parents’ permission for the morning after pill? No, the most likely result of making emergency contraception harder to find was more unplanned pregnancies, which undoubtedly led to more abortions.
We will never probably never know the actual results of the ban. We can only surmise. But conservatives, if you understand how the law of unintended consequences applies to the health insurance market, gun control, energy and other pet issues, can you not take a second to do young women the service of trying to understand how it applies to them as well?
Because as crappy as it is that small business owners will be dissuaded from expanding by Obamacare, is it not as crappy that a 16-year-old girl had to choose abortion when she could have avoided pregnancy because she couldn’t get in to see a doctor in 72 hours?
Is her freedom to be able to choose the medicine she needs not as vital as your choice in firearms? Seriously, I’m asking.