Birth control in peril
When I picked up the April 11 edition of The Spectator, one headline especially caught my eye. “Bill could ban morning-after pill from System,” the headline read. Intrigued, I kept on reading. The more I read, the angrier I became.
Why would anyone even think about getting rid of emergency contraception pills on a campus? Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Oostburg – a man – drafted this bill. This really irks me.
He, as a man, does not have the right to say what a woman can and cannot take. He can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and think, “Could I be pregnant?”
Then, with that thought, come questions such as, “What am I going to do? How am I going to tell my parents? What about school?”
According to the Planned Parenthood Web site, about 78 percent of teenage pregnancies are unintended. In addition, 40 percent of women become pregnant before the age of 20.
There are many reasons besides knowingly having unprotected sex that may bring about the use of emergency contraception; the condom may have broken, your diaphragm could have slipped, you may have missed a pill or you were busy doing homework one day and missed an appointment for the Depo-Provera shot.
On a scarier note, what if a woman was raped?
Women need the right to readily available emergency contraceptives so they don’t have to turn to abortion in these cases.
Emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B, prevents pregnancy by temporarily stopping eggs from being produced and released. It also may stop fertilization or stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. It does not work, however, if you are already pregnant. Therefore, emergency contraception does not terminate an established pregnancy.
The morning-after pill is not the same as RU-486, also called the abortion pill. RU-486 is taken after you missed your period and causes the uterus to expel the eggs, ending the pregnancy.
Even the Food and Drug Administration has approved the morning-after pill as a safe choice that can greatly reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex.
It is also being pushed to sell Plan B over the counter, according to Laura Chellman, the director of UW-Eau Claire’s Student Health Services.
This bill would not only affect the morning-after pill, it also would interfere with all contraceptives. LeMahieu feels universities aren’t in the role of handing out either Plan B or other birth control.
There are more reasons for women to go on the birth control pill other than preventing pregnancy. Some women take it to regulate their menstrual cycle and others rely on it to regulate hormones.
OK, so what if the bill does pass? People are going to be having sex on this campus regardless of the availability of contraceptives. That’s just the way it is.
Getting rid of emergency contraceptives is not going to stop students from having sex by any means. Actually, it could just put more students in harms way. Is that what LeMahieu wants? Does he want there to be more unintended pregnancies in this state? Does he want more women to get abortions?
Considering the morning-after pill is a legal drug in the United States, I am sure even if women couldn’t obtain it by Eau Claire’s Student Health Services, there are alternative places in Eau Claire to pick up emergency contraception.
Despite LeMahieu’s claims, having contraception readily available on campus does not promote promiscuous behavior. Rather, it impels students to have safe sex.
With all the sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies in the world, shouldn’t college students be given plenty of chances to have the opportunity to engage in safe sex?
I believe the answer is yes. So, it would be a good thing to have plenty of prophylactics on campus.
Whether it’s emergency contraceptives, the pill or condoms, any form of birth control that can be handed out at a UW System clinic is nothing but a smart idea.
No student on this campus, or any other, should be denied the opportunity to be given any one of these. It is a right we all should have.
Every time I go to Hilltop to buy milk, I always smile at the fact that there are plenty of rubbers for sale right at the check out lane. It’s a good thing, and it’s especially good when I see people are buying them!