Apr 08, 2013 @ 3:26 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 0 Comments
The U.S. District Court ordered on April 5, 2013 that the FDA make emergency contraception available over-the counter for women and girls without any restrictions. This means that a 30 year-old women who has had unprotected sex, failed to take her birth control, or has reason to believe that her birth control has failed her now has the option of going to her local pharmacy, and buying the Plan B p/k/a levonorgestrel. This also means that a sexually active 12 year-old girl can as well. Here in lies the problem. Now, before I go into the politics surrounding young girls and sexuality, let us make sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to what is emergency contraception.
EC=according to the Planned Parenthood EC is” birth control one uses up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex.” EC stops the egg and the sperm from fertilizing. It will not prompt the body to abort a zygote or fetus if there is one present in the body already. It is not an abortion pill.
The science clearly shows that EC is safe for women over 18 and for girls. Unfortunately, having science on your side doesn’t always quell a political frenzy. You see female bodies are considered public property from the day of birth until death. Property of parent(s), the government, religion, the media, partner/lover, and etc. There is always someone trying to police, legislate, and occupy female bodies. If that body happens to belong to a woman of color, then it is that more fervently policed.
Many conservative liberals and Republicans alike have a problem with young girls being able to access EC without the consent of a parent. I understand the trepidation and the cause for concern, but the fact is young people are having sex. The GuttMacher Institute reports that 13% of teens will have been sexually active by the age of 15. Among young women ages 18-24 who’ve had sex before the age 20 they report that it was nonvoluntary and there partner was older. This means these young girls are being preyed upon. Teen pregnancy rates in the United States has been declining dramatically, but the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy, teen STD’s, and abortions of any other westernized country. Teen pregnancy isn’t just a heterosexual teen girl issue. Lesbian and bisexual teens are twice as likely to become pregnant than there straight peers. There are lots of reasons for this. Lesbian and bisexual teen girls may in fact be in the questioning process of their sexuality, and are actively engaging in unprotected sex with both a males and females. Internalized homophobia can be another reason. These young people may feel the need to act as if they’re straight to avoid harassment. Non-consensual sex may be a factor, or they can be simply bisexual. There is no one-size-fits all answer when it comes to sexuality and teens.
The truth remains is that pre-teens and teenagers are having sex and they’re not getting the proper information that they need. Young girls are taught to be ashamed of their bodies, fear their bodies, and fear what their bodies can do when it unites sexually with a male body. For young men/boys they’re taught that sex is natural and pleasurable. Condoms are everywhere. One can get away with being a healthy sexually active adult and never buy male condoms. They give out male condoms at free clinics, community centers, college campuses, and other places. Male condoms are available at every major box chain store like Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. You can buy your condoms from Amazon and if times ever get tough, you can go to the corner store in the hood, and buy a solo condom for a dollar.
The point is men never have to interface with a doctor, pharmacist, lawmaker, or the FDA to enjoy themselves sexually. However, for us women there is always a gatekeeper that we must interface with in order for us to access our sexual agency. Female condoms aren’t given out freely as male condoms, they aren’t sold everywhere, and they cost more than male condoms. I am happy that EC is available to us all. I don’t think that EC takes the place of regular condom use, regular birth control usage, or an in-depth conversation with a healthcare professional about healthy sexual practice. It is time that parents, lawmakers, and the government starts dispensing accurate sexual information to both girls and boys. Both girls and boys need uniform sexual information and uniform access.
Categories: Venus vs Mars