On Monday, the Obama administration announced that it would no longer pursue a policy of enforcing age restrictions on over-the-counter purchases of the emergency contraception pill known as "Plan B" or “the morning after pill” after the policy was struck down in April by a U.S. District Court judge.
Despite the fact that the president fought publicly in favor of age restrictions on the pill for many months, long baffling many of his traditional allies on the left, he was criticized for dropping the policy on Tuesday by Fox News pundit, Laura Ingraham, who said, “It’s a good deal for pedophiles, a good deal for people who commit statutory rape against young girls. If mothers and fathers across this country hear this, and they think, ‘Well, I guess my daughter or her boyfriend or her rapist can go out to a pharmacy and get a bunch of, you know, hormone pills to give a little girl’ ... It’s outrageous!”
In May, Fox News pundits similarly argued that the pill would “cover up rapes” and was “boon for creepy uncles.” As Katie McDonough of Salon has pointed out, “This line of argument is not based in reality: forensic investigations do not require a pregnancy to confirm an assault and women’s bodies are not incubators for evidence in rape cases.” But let's take a minute to appreciate the irony that those who claim to be standing up for rape victims are the same who would deny her the emergency contraception she needs to avoid getting pregnant from such an encounter in the first place.
More bizarre still, take note that the most vocally pro-life voice in the mainstream media is also arguing against one of the main tools that women have to avoid unintended pregnancies and thereby lower one of the major reasons women choose to get abortions.
But none of the reasons mentioned on Fox News have anything to do with the real reason they oppose this pill. It isn’t about protecting young girls from potentially harmful effects because studies have shown that there aren’t any major safety concerns. It’s not about reducing promiscuity because studies have shown users of the pill have the same rate of unprotected sex and STI transmission as those who don’t use it. And it’s most certainly not about protecting rape victims. It’s about clinging to their vision of what “good girls” do, which is not have sex or ever — ever — find themselves in a situation where they would need the morning after pill. But that vision isn’t accurate and it isn’t helpful since half of all pregnancies are unintended and 8.6 million women across the U.S. rely on condoms alone for sexual protection.
Real social conservatives should be praising the administration’s decision. It will allow women to control their own bodies without interference from government and it will in all likelihood lower the number of abortions as a result of unintended pregnancy. But these Fox News pundits aren’t real social conservatives despite what they would have you believe. They’re just the morality police.