Friday, December 09, 2011

President Obama Decision Fear-Based, Disappointing


From the AP Newswire on December 8, 2012:
"President Obama said today that 'as the father of two daughters' he supports his health secretary's decision to block over-the-counter sales of the Plan B 'morning after' birth control pill to girls under 17 years of age."

My response:
As the father of two daughters, Bubba once considered investing in chastity belts.
As the father of two daughters, Bubba has mentioned more than once that he is counting on me to talk him off the ledge when he considers shadowing Eve on her first date.
As the father of two daughters, Bubba is uncomfortable recalling what it was like to be a hormonally-driven teenage boy.

As the mother of two daughters, I realize that my girls may not always be completely honest with me about the pressures they face to do things that they aren't ready for LIKE HAVE SEX.
As the mother of two daughters, I am certain that my girls will make mistakes and I hope that they have the opportunity to clean up their messes and learn from them without it changing their lives forever.
As the mother of two daughters, I am appalled that President Obama, the man I voted for, would let his own discomfort with the notion of one of his daughters needing Plan B cloud his judgement on this issue.

I wish there were a world where girls as young as 10 and 11 couldn't possibly need access to Plan B.
If there is, we don't live in it.
And if I'm being totally honest, with this move, I can't honestly say that I trust Obama to protect abortion rights without requiring parental consent for girls under the age of 17. I don't see that that is much of a leap from this position, frankly. And that scares the crap out of me.

From the AP Newswire on December 8, 2012:
"Sebelius, overruling the Food and Drug Administration, said there are too many questions about the safety of Plan B for girls who can bear children as young as 10 or 11 years old."

My response:

Are you kidding me? Where to begin?
1. Overruling the FDA? Honestly? One person decided, despite the legions of scientists and policy-makers at the FDA who actually TESTED THE DRUG, that she knew more than they did? I don't think so.
2. What about the safety of a 10 or 11 year old child GOING THROUGH PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH? Isn't that a consideration?

From the AP Newswire on December 8, 2012:

"He [Obama] and Sebelius decided 10- and 11-year olds should not be able to buy the drug 'alongside bubblegum or batteries' because it could have an adverse effect if not used properly. He said 'most parents' probably feel the same way."

My response:

Bubblegum and batteries can have an adverse effect if used improperly, too, President Obama. When I used to work with mentally ill populations of children I can remember a rash of attempted suicides where the kids would purchase - you guessed it - batteries and ingest them so that their stomach acids would break down the batteries and release the acid inside, killing them.

And since when is policy made based on an assumption that "most _________ probably feel that way?" The reason we have organizations like the FDA is so that policy will follow accepted guidelines of rigorous testing and examination of the implications of different actions. We don't make decisions based on how we THINK other people PROBABLY feel.

Yes, as a parent, the notion that Lola would need to sneak down to her local drugstore to buy an emergency contraceptive is terrifying. Because she is so young. But what about when she is sixteen? I hope against hope that both of my daughters will feel as though they can come to me if they are in any kind of trouble and I am working hard to create an atmosphere like that in our family. And I'm damn lucky. And so are Eve and Lola. Scores of girls don't have the luxury of a stable, supportive family. Some girls are neglected, abused, and even sexually exploited by their family members. So, please, Mr. President, don't use the emotionally evocative image of a 10-year old girl to justify your decision based on fear. Your daughters will grow up. And I hope that they feel comfortable coming to you and Michelle for support when they screw up, no matter what form that mistake takes. In the meantime, there are so many other girls for whom you are creating a hardship and a barrier to taking some control of their own lives, girls who are 13, 14, 15, and 16. Girls who we know, thanks to information professional organizations like the Guttmacher Institute, ARE HAVING SEX and are AT RISK FOR UNWANTED PREGNANCIES.

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Thank you for writing this. This decision left me reeling. We're turning into a Handmaids Tale society.

Elizabeth said...

It's politics, baby. That's all it is. Gross, overbearing, bald and ugly politics.

Wanda said...

I can appreciate your point about fear-based decisions, and I agree. The issue for me is "OTC"--I just don't know how I really feel about it. The fact that the FDA approved it doesn't put my mind at ease. There are no easy answers here. I don't claim to know what is best or right. I do know that the FDA tends to err on the side of the pharmaceutical companies quite often and take away choice from the consumer when there is no real reason to do so other than greed on the part of Big Pharma.

Dee Ready said...

Dear Kario,

YES!

The following paragraph epitomizes what's wrong with President Obama's decision. I, too, voted for him, but his reasoning on this and his defense of Sibelius's decision boggle my mind.

Here's that paragrpah I wish I had written:
"And since when is policy made based on an assumption that "most _________ probably feel that way?" The reason we have organizations like the FDA is so that policy will follow accepted guidelines of rigorous testing and examination of the implications of different actions. We don't make decisions based on how we THINK other people PROBABLY feel."

Thank you for taking a stand on this.

Peace.

Kathryn Grace said...

Well said, Kario. You nailed it. It is interesting to note, and telling, that Sebelius overrode the FDA's decision less than 24 hours after she took a ride on Air Force One with the president.

This entire decision smacks of politics and has little to do, I suspect, with any concern whatsoever for girls of childbearing age who may need this option.

Any time a candidate comes out wishy washy on the subject of abortion and reproductive rights, he or she loses the election. It's that simple. They never get the anti-choice vote, and they lose the confidence of the pro-choice vote.

This sets up a tragedy-in-the-making for young women who are raped or who are violated by family members. I recall the case of a pregnant 12-year-old girl some years ago who had been repeatedly raped by her father. Because her state required parental consent for any contraceptive, morning after, or abortion procedures, a judge denied the abortion that could have saved her tiny body from a life-threatening pregnancy and childbirth.

The president is changing things all right. He's changing much of that for which he stood during his campaign. Coffee Party anyone?

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