Contraceptives at a pharmacy in Toronto. (Flickr/Cory Doctorow)
This article was originally published by the Institute for Policy Studies’s OtherWords project and is reposted here with permission.
Good news for advocates of sensible birth control policy: The Obama administration announced that it’s dropping the fight to impose an age restriction on sales of Plan B One-Step, the emergency contraception pill.
Reproductive rights advocates are celebrating this move toward empowering all women to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies.
It’s about damn time. Considering the glaring need for safe and available contraception for all women, I’m glad the government finally has our backs on this one.
But don’t let your guard down just yet.
Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) said recently that the percentage of pregnancies resulting from rape is “very low,” so victims of rape shouldn’t be exempt from his proposed ban on abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy.
Thanks to the uproar his remarks made, the bill did wind up with exceptions for survivors of incest and women who are raped and report the crime within 48 hours. The House passed his legislation 228-196. Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, made yet more weird comments in the course of the debate: He implied that male fetuses masturbate at fifteen weeks.
There’s no chance the bill would clear the Senate and President Barack Obama is threatening to veto the measure if it somehow did. But, seriously? This is happening again?
Franks’ ban involves radically shifting the deadline for legal abortions, making it weeks earlier than the standard set by Roe v. Wade.
It’s safe to say that not all Republicans learned from the fiasco caused by Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) and his incredibly offensive theory of “legitimate rape.” Or the electoral disaster that befell Richard Mourdock, an Indiana Republican who lost his Senate bid last year after implying that post-rape pregnancy was some kind of gift from God.