By: Sr. Clare Hunter
I heard two news reports on WETA the other day that made me want to throw something – so like a good nun, I prayed. It wasn’t necessarily shocking or surprising news, just ridiculously ironic. Here were the two most important things the good people of Metropolitan D.C. needed to know at 7:30 a.m.: In Paris, dogs and their owners marched for more off-leash space and access to public transportation; oh, and little girls can now buy the super-duper contraceptive Plan B at the drug store without adult notice or supervision. Why are we talking about dogs protesting in Paris but treating young women so carelessly? Seriously, is it me?
To refresh your memory on the Plan B saga, I refer you back to my blog posts, “What do Girls Need?” and “Washing The Pill down with Organic Milk…and Other Mental Gymnastics.” Bottom line, “emergency contraceptives” can now be purchased and taken by any woman, regardless of age. My heart goes out to all young women and their parents. The FDA had good reasons for prohibiting non-prescription access to Plan B One-Step, as the powerful dose of hormones has such radical effects on the body of the woman that it should be monitored as it works, with the potential for blood clotting or hemorrhaging. Imagine the fear in a vulnerable young woman as her body reacts adversely to the medication. I still say what she really desires and needs is someone to talk to for love and support. And the poor parents who will not understand why their daughter is suffering emotionally, physically, or spiritually. In addition to the physiological effects, I worry about her heart and her soul as she is dealing with sexual activity (chosen or forced) and the fears of an unintended pregnancy or the distinct possibility of the pill causing an abortion.
I am frustrated that our current government administration wouldn’t fight harder to protect our girls. But I also find myself confused over what I think sounds like contradictory sentiments. The New York Times article, “U.S. Drops Bid to Limit Sales of Morning-After Pill,” seemed to indicate that President Obama and the Health & Human Services Department wanted the Plan B pill to have more restrictions, reporting that “Mr. Obama had expressed personal concern about making the drug more broadly available last year….He said that as the father of two young girls, the idea of making the drug available to them without a prescription made him uncomfortable.” Yet, in April, President Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood conference and said: “Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you. No insurer should get to decide what kind of care that you get. The only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you.”
That doesn’t sound to me like he wanted to have responsible limits on Plan B’s accessibility. In fact, his concluding statement at the conference rather sounds like he was bent on fighting for easy access to Plan B for underage women. He stated “as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a President who’s going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way.” Mr. President, I wish you would see that this is not helping our young women – this merely isolates them in their time of crisis. I pray we all have the wisdom and strength to deal with the repercussions of this decision. And we should pray for the young women whose lives will be deeply affected as they are left on their own with dangerous “remedies” in their times of need.