There’s a shift occurring in the conversation around abortion and it might surprise you whose script is changing. It’s not just the Republican Party that is talking about how to dial into women’s thoughts in a way that doesn’t cost them elections. Or the far right which now claims to be “lonely” but mighty in holding steadfast to its religious convictions and the hold they have on politics. You wanna talk about lonely? How about the lone Republicans still hoping to see separation of church and state? At least somebody is listening to women. And right now, the “good listener” award goest to Planned Parenthood for changing its messaging to reflect the fact that we do need to “agree to disagree” on abortion. And that it doesn’t make you anti-women to be pro-life. In fact, if you look at their website, PlannedParenthood.org, you might be surprised that the out front messaging right now is about abstinence and preventing unwanted pregnancies … and the ensuing abortions unwanted pregnancies can lead to.
The current flap over the age at which teenage girls should have access to the Plan B pill is pitting Planned Parenthood against its friends, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That is after a New York Judge said any age limit on access to the pill is arbitrary and hurts the girls at greatest risk for becoming pregnant, those under 15. And it is creating a classic “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” scenario as religious conservatives and Planned Parenthood wind up on the same side, both criticizing the decision to eliminate any age limits on access.
Unlike some of the other restrictive measures that have made headlines around abortion recently, this latest battle has more politicians running for cover than heading to the microphone. And curiously, it’s a conversation that hasn’t necessarily ignited among Moms.
A New York judge has ruled that the age limit for access to the Plan B pill, which the FDA set at 15, is arbitrary and doesn’t reflect the reality that kids younger than that are sexually active. 15 is probably two years younger than the age that any Mom wants to acknowledge that her kids could be sexually active. But, that is exactly when you are supposed to start talking about sensitive topics. The question is what about situations that are beyond someone’s control or what about the kids, and we know this is happening, who may be active and at risk for pregnancy at 12 or even 11.? The fact is it may not be happening in your house or even at your school or in your community but it is happening.
Jezebel.com is celebrating the unapologetic activism of this judge. According to the site, Judge Edward Korman said, “And the bottom line is is that it’s not possible to provide the data on 11 year olds and 12 year olds. That’s the bottom line. And that’s what the FDA found and if that’s going to be the decision of the Secretary – and by the way, if it were possible to somehow separate it out, it wouldn’t make a difference to me. The issue is you’re using these 11 and 12 year olds to place undue burdens on the ability of older women to get this emergency contraceptive.”
So, where are the Republicans who are willing to stand up and talk about Plan B? Banning the morning after pill was part of the GOP’s platform at its convention last August. But many in the Party are now recognizing that that emphasis on social issues may have cost them a lot of women voters. This is a conversation that Moms will want to dial into where they definitely have a voice. At the very least, it is in an important issue that bears discussion.
Below are links to two articles that might be worth reading.