Thursday, August 24, 2006

Now There's a Thought...

Ed Kilgore has some good news today:
The big news out of Washington today is that the FDA, after years of politically motivated foot-dragging, suddenly approved over-the-counter sales of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, a so-called "morning-after" pill. According to the Washington Post, this decision was part of a deal that will allow Bush FDA appointee Andrew von Eschenbach obtain a permanent position (the nomination had been held up by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray precisely to obtain this result).
Now, this isn't great news as the drug is still behind the counter, the purchaser in question still has to ask for it, and no one under 18 is going to be allowed to purchase it at all, eliminating the group who is probably most in need of instant birth control, but it's a damn sight better than allowing the home-grown Taliban to refuse to dispense it (or return the prescription) whenever their little self-righteous and all-to-prurient noses get out of joint. I can also add, on a purely practical note, that I've been a retail manager and can predict this would be a high-theft item if left on an open rack. Kind of like cigarettes and other OTC medications.

Thank you Senators Clinton and Murray for keeping the administration's feet to the fire.

(Of course we all "know" that Hillary only did this out of cold-blooded political calculation, not because she wants to ensure women have access to safe, affordable birth control. Oh no, uh-uh, we all "know" she's a ruthless pol whose every liberal vote is just a sham.)


Kilgore then delivers a delightful smack up side the head to the other participant in the moral pas de deux:
One thing is clear. Over on the demand side of the equation, the decision should encourage Men of Conscience to exercise a little responsibility for their own contributions to potential unwanted pregnancies by trotting their own butts down to the pharmacy and buying Plan B for their worried partners. Let them deal with the disapproving glares at the drug store counter for a change.
Well, shuckie darns and slop the chickens, imagine that. If you don't need a prescription, then anyone (over the age of 18) can go pick up a pack. Which brings us back to the issue that pregnancy takes two. Women have been bearing the burden of birth control for far too long. If unprotected sex happens or a regular prevention method fails, it is women who have had to deal with the medical, financial and moral situation.

Men need to stop being such moral cowards and do some very public things to indicate that birth control is a mutual effort and nothing to be ashamed of. Like going and buying some Plan B to go with the pack of condoms. You should care enough about your partner to wear a condom in the first place (hint - large doses of hormones are really nasty to take) , and be man enough to look some cashier in the eye and pay for the pills.

If you can't do that - taking care of your partner now and your children down the line - keep your pants zipped. You're no kind of man.


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