Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Progressive Father's Thoughts on the Plan B Decision

I find the recent caterwauling about Health and Human Services Plan B decision by the professional left somewhat amusing. It ranges from legitimate concern about the decision to the extreme left suggesting that President Obama has completely abandoned women.

In the interests of fairness, I must inform you that I am a father of two girls, ages 11 and 5. My wife and I have always given our girls frank and honest information about sexuality. They call body parts by their correct names. The fact that my 5 year old struggled with her V sounds for a long time so it was pagina, not vagina, notwithstanding.

My 11 year is starting puberty (yay me) and because we have been open and honest, if something happened and she required Plan B, I'm confident she would come to her mother or I for help. I should also note the boy in question might meet with Plan DOA, I'm progressive, but not that progressive.

As to the broader decision, I understand the people who are upset. The science is sound, the pill is at least as safe as regular birth control. I think the overall decision is flawed. I wish that Secretary Sebelius had simply said, "there are moral and legal issues regarding this contraceptive for use by children." She should have made it over the counter for adults and perhaps girls as young as 15 or 16. Other first world countries have age limits of 15 or 16 for similar meds.

Another point that most people have missed. Around the country, pharmacists are mandated reporters of child abuse. If a minor comes to them for morning after contraception, they must make a report to authorities. Again if an 11 or 12 year old needs this medication, someone needs to check into it. In most states its a crime for children to have sex with anyone, even if the partner is also a child. I think this is why a 15 or 16 year old age limit is appropriate. The pharmacists could still be reporting to authorities about younger children, but the older teens would be able to deal with their behavior in an anonymous way.

When it comes to government decisions that affect women's health, I'm no authority, but I don't think President Obama should be characterized as anti-woman. People like Katha Pollitt and Joan Walsh are out of their minds if they think he and his administation are abandoning women.

Those who are most shrill on the issue should remember that for the last 2 years the GOP controlled House and GOP state governments everywhere are actively trying to force their way into the uterus and are treating women as brood mares and chattel.

By comparison it seems to me that the Plan B decision, well not the best decision ever, is not the first volley in an Obama lead war on the pagina.

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