Where There's a Will...
Before I really get into the gist of this article, I'm going to define a few terms here for you— or more accurately, tell you how I think they should be defined. That's currently not how they're used, but it should be, in my humble opinion.
Now at least you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about when I use these definitions in the article that follows.
I read an article that first appeared in the "Omaha World-Herald". It was reprinted in our local paper under the title "Court bows to condom cult". Four parents decided they didn't want the school their kids attended to sell condoms in a vending machine in the restrooms. But to read the article, it sounded as if every parent in the school objected and the Supreme Court ignored them all by allowing the practice to continue.
This is just one example of how a minority sect of people are attempting to mislead the American people into believing they are the victims of a sex-craved, amoral, godless court system. It's also proof that the media is not, as radical right wingers would have you believe, "liberal". (That's a whole new article that I'm not going to get into here: suffice it to say the media follows the money.)
Having condoms in a vending machine isn't forcing these parents' kids to buy them. A vending machine isn't encouraging sex— it's a machine! It can't encourage anything! It is simply providing those who have no other means of acquiring this most fundamental form of birth control with a means to do so. Would these parents who object prefer that young men engage in unprotected sex and then have the young girl get an abortion? Girls are physically maturing earlier these days— and this entails an increased curiosity about sex. That's just nature. It's obvious these kids can't talk to their parents about it— the parents choose to hide their head in the sand and pretend there is no problem. I applaud the Supreme Court decision and if the parents object, let them send their kids to a private school. Do they really think that's going to stop them from having sex? It will simply prevent them from having access to birth control— unless they go into their old school and go to the vending machines.
Another article ran on the "morning-after" birth control pill— a misnomer, since they can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. They prevent ovulation or prevent an egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus. I'm virtually positive the ant-choice people won't find this an acceptable alternative either. The fact that untold numbers of fertilized eggs do the same thing every day doesn't seem to matter. We're told by those in the anti-choice movement (at least I am) that they're not seeking to outlaw abortion but to find alternatives. Yet the only alternatives they will accept is to give birth or to not engage in sex. Not a big choice.
The reason this form of birth control isn't very popular is because no one is allowed to advertise it as "morning-after" pills (also called ECPs— emergency contraceptive pills) because the combination of medications has not been tested specifically for this purpose in this country. A doctor can legally prescribe it for this purpose, but it can't be advertised as such. I'm willing to bet that it's not one of the alternatives given to those who seek counseling regarding "crisis" pregnancies. In order to get FDA approval for this specific purpose, the manufacturers would have to spend many years and millions of dollars despite the fact that it's been used like this for years with few side effects.[And that is exactly what they had to do.]
According to an article in the "National NOW Times," family planning experts estimate this form of birth control could prevent 1.7 million unplanned pregnancies every year. Holland, which routinely uses the "morning-after" pills, has an abortion rate only about one fifth that of the United States. The success rate of this method is 70-80%. Which means there could be a 70-80% drop in abortions.
The anti-choice movement has also lobbied long and hard to prevent the use of RU486 in this country. [Note: This has now changed since this article was written. In fact, the FDA just approved an ECP that works up to five days after unprotected sex.] Called an abortion drug by these groups, it actually works very much like the ECPs if taken within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex. A study in Scotland that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a zero failure rate and none of the side effects of other ECPs.
The irony of this entire debate is that nature has provided us with its very own ECP. For the last several centuries, the women of Sri Lanka and India have used papaya in the same manner as an ECP. Eaten once a day for a week, menstruation begins with no side effects. Maybe the anti-choice group will find this an acceptable alternative. But I seriously doubt it.
The point of this article? The goal should not be to ban abortion or to make the rest of the country believe what the anti-choice groups believe. The goal should be to eliminate the NEED for abortion. To that end, we must address the issues that make abortion necessary.
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