By Caitlin Kelly
I was debating whether or not to blog this major news, but decided to do so anyway:
The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block
over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after
contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with
political repercussions for President Obama.
The government’s decision means that any woman or girl will soon be able
to walk into a drugstore and buy the pill, Plan B One-Step, without a
The essential issue, which never changes for women, is control of our bodies and their reproductive ability.
Our lives, in short.
The most fortunate of women have a few choices, many of them culturally pre-determined:
Never have sex unless or until you want to become pregnant
Never have sex unless or until you are married and have a partner to help you raise a child
Never have sex
Have an abortion
Put your unwanted child(ren) up for adoption
Many of us have, or will have, a sexual life beyond the boundaries of marriage or the explicit, specific desire to become someone’s parent. For some of us, it may result in an unplanned pregnancy — or pregnancy scare.
Ready access to Plan B means any woman who fears she might face an unplanned pregnancy has the option to forestall that terrifyingly, permanently life-changing event.
It is not an abortion. Plan B’s exact method is unclear — except that it does what it promises. It makes sure you will not become pregnant.
Those of us who delay marriage — or may never even choose it — and wish to have a sexual life without the result of children must have access to safe, affordable, accessible choices beyond the Religious Right’s favorite method — snapping our knees safely shut from puberty to menopause.
Managing one’s sexual impulses and desires, let alone those of our male partners/husbands, is sometimes challenge enough. STDs are rampant and add another layer of worry or concern, as they should.
Then there is the matter of one’s fertility, for some a coveted gift, for others a burden. Shit happens. Condoms slide off, or break or, yes, sometimes never get used at all.
And I am speaking only of consensual sex, not the many women suffering rape and its aftermath, emotional and physical.
Plan B is a much simpler choice — on ever level — than abortion for many women.
This is huge step for American women’s reproductive rights, and one that’s only — really — about 40 years later than what Canadian women took for granted when I was in college and needed access to Plan B. There, it was an easy, quick, non-political issue.
I moved to the U.S. when I was 30, still unmarried. I have been nauseated, enraged and wearied ever since by the relentless, ferocious, get-the-the-fuck-away-from-my-uterus political battles in this country over when, where, or even if a woman should have ready, safe, affordable access to birth control information, birth control and/or abortion.
It’s my body.
I do with it — tats, piercings, hair color, shape and size, clothing (or lack of it) — as I wish.
Those who remain utterly determined to control and manage women’s sexuality, by trying to demonize and/or politicize our most personal and private decisions, are anathema to me.