Plan B in the Crossfire

Plan BGil Bailie writes:

The FDA lowers to 15 the age at which girls can buy the Plan B morning after pill without a prescription. That’s the pill that wreaks havoc on a young woman’s body, potentially affects her later fertility, and induces an early abortion when fertilization has occurred. We live in a culture where children are robbed of their childhood and adolescence is prolonged almost into middle-age. We are now providing 15-year-old girls with the wherewithal to behave immorally, act irresponsibly, and endanger their future health and happiness, all for the sake of testing just how far we are willing to sink in deference to the sexual revolution’s normless nihilism.

Dan Hansen responds:

Some inconvenient truth: No one wants young girls and boys to be robbed of their innocence or pushed into experiences they are not ready for. That especially includes the experience of abortion.  This kind of misplaced sentimentality that restricts knowledge under the guise of parental protection is dangerous and ultimately futile.  Trying to shelter young people from reality by denying them legitimate knowledge about sex and procreation paves the road to ongoing disappointment. As for the morning-after pill, Plan B is safer than aspirin. The only thing it wreaks havoc with is the endless drama generated by conservative religious panic designed to control other people’s lives. Unwanted and unplanned pregnancies don’t have to happen.  The unborn don’t have to be the “preborn” or the “soon to arrive” waiting for a scalpel or a vacuum pump. With all the false thresholds thrown up as evidence for the wanton destruction of life and the endless moving of goal posts to sustain them, it makes little sense to argue against the prevention of an unwanted pregnancy after intercourse has already taken place.   A prevented life is not a destroyed life. It is at best a postponed one, at worst an unwanted one. Not everyone wants, needs, or feels fulfilled by having children, or by continuing to have them when additional pregnancies would strain their resources to the breaking point. For those who choose not to have children, postponement is a form of emancipation from the constraints of religious and moral opprobrium passed down by the church that tell both men and women that they can only be truly happy or fulfilled as human beings if they walk some imaginary party line instituted, ironically, by a group of celibate octogenarians whose sexual experience is more than occasionally limited to abusing the children of those who still believe them. This is the result of having marinated oneself in ageless proclamations about sexuality being either immoral, sinful or nihilistic. The kind of norms conservative members of the church are petulant about and endlessly long to see the return of possesses one major flaw: If they truly made us happy, or brought settled meaning into our lives, we wouldn’t have abandoned or redefined them in pursuit of something better.  If priests who claim to be captives of Christ can feel this way, so can anyone else.

The morning-after pill, marketed under such names as Plan B, Next Choice or Ella, are all preventative measures with high degrees of safety and reliability. They ensure that abortion is unnecessary and that pregnancy does not have to be an automatic consequence of sexual activity.  IUDs are even more desirable in terms of their long range effectiveness. They have a 99% success rate at preventing pregnancy. Those who argue vehemently against abortion are really arguing for it by obscuring and obstructing these medical facts. The best way to ensure a means of “wreaking havoc” on women is to pile endless guilt on them in the futile and divisive attempt at distracting them from their decision-making power and by so doing, divesting them of a moral agency that isn’t flat, one-dimensional or lacking in vision or empathy.

Perhaps Mr. Bailie would like every teenage girl who gets pregnant to deliver a child regardless of her circumstances, but that’s where his moral concern for life and his refusal to think beyond the severe constraints of his paleo-orthodoxy  takes a sharp drop off the moral precipice. What if she’s a drug addict who got pregnant from prostituting herself to support her habit and dreads supporting the unwanted child that results from that enterprise? Will he adopt it? What if she lives with her parents and they decide to kick her out of their house because “we didn’t raise our daughter to be a tramp?” Will he welcome the fruit of her womb into his home? What if she was made pregnant by a rapist? You might ask the women who were nearly killed by their abusers if they believe those little bundles of joy growing inside their collective bellies are “sacred and precious in God’s eyes.” Is he going to raise one of them to prove it is so? Excuse my cynicism, but I feel confident in assuming the answer is no in all these cases.

I believe that almost every high-minded, pro-life advocate is just one unwanted pregnancy away from being pro-choice.  Until that happens, having a better system of addressing the unchanging facts of our sexual lives is already with us. And it doesn’t involve useless and wasted ablutions to a God who gave you the capacity to think for yourself and use the common sense he already bestowed on you.

In sharp contrast to the tribal nihilism inherent in Bailie’s endless denialism about climate change and the very real havoc it will unleash on us if we continue to do nothing, he manages to invoke the same mental habits he clings to as descriptors of anyone who is sexually active outside the rapturous confines of the mystically-charged nuptial bed. In case Mr. Bailie and others who share his views haven’t noticed, teenagers are already sexually active in large numbers at increasingly younger ages. They did not stumble into the widening gyre of nihilism and immorality because they discovered they were sexually alive.  That’s when they made an earnest attempt to assess their futures without purging what it means to be human in the process. Science attempts to provide women with the tools to keep that future intact. The god Bailie claim to know understands this. Why in heaven’s name doesn’t he?

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