Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pissing on the President: Joan Walsh, Katha Pollitt and Katrina vanden Heuvel, STFU!

Well, there's an election year next year, and I wonder what the hyper-vocal Professional Left will do if Newt or Mitt come to sit in the Oval Office. They whine and whinge and name-call and block the people they perceive to be unwitting plebs of little knowledge, those of us who call out their short-comings and their less-than-subtle race issues. Maybe they think they'll be loved and listened to once more if the Republicans win the White House.

They can think again. There are those of us who know who screwed this pooch, and your names have been taken.

Not a week goes by that the Professional Left doesn't go actively looking for a stick with which to beat this President.

This week's stick come in the form of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius's overruling the Food and Drug Administraton's decision to allow girls under the age of seventeen to buy the Plan B morning after pill without prescription.

That got some people's knickers twisted.

The publisher and editor of The Nation, who has never known a day outside of One PercentLand tweets:

Politics of birth control trump science + wise policy w/ HHS overruling FDA decision to make "morning after"pill available w/o prescription

Joan Walsh, taking time from finishing her long-awaited book, had to put her two cents in as well:

The point is, ALL women have restricted access to Plan B now. You have to wait in line to ask a pharmacist. When time matters.

Katha Pollit went rank, writing in the Professional Left's society rag The Nation:

Did you assume the politicization of science was gone with the Bush Administration and the reality-based community was back in charge? Think again. In a surprise move that has outraged women’s rights activists, HHS head Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s proposal to make Plan B one-step, a single-pill form of emergency contraception, available over the counter. According to the New York times, this is the first time in our history that a health secretary has overruled the FDA.

Sebelius claims that her reason is that the FDA didn’t show that 11 year old girls, some 10 percent of whom are fertile, understand how to follow the EC directions. Here are the instructions, courtesy of an alert commenter at www.nytimes.com:

"Plan B One-Step dosage consists of a single tablet taken once. A second tablet or dose is not required. The Plan B One-Step tablet should be taken as soon as possible and not more than 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure."

If a sixth grader can’t understand those elementary, crystal-clear instructions, we should just move back to the caves, because civilization is finished. As has been pointed out, we assume middle-schoolers can handle Tylenol, which is not only easy to overdose on but has been used in suicides. If Sebelius is really worried about what kids can purchase at Duane Reade, she should start with products that actually can be used dangerously.

Barack Obama says that as the father of two daughters, he wants the government to “apply common sense” to rules about over the counter medications. Well, I too have a daughter, and so many many pro-choice women. Who died and made Barack Obama daddy in charge of teenage girls? Would he really rather that Sasha and Malia get pregnant rather than buy Plan B One-Step at CVS? And excuse me, Mr. President, thanks to your HHS, acquiring Plan B is prescription-only not just for 11 year olds but for the 30 percent of teenage girls between 15 and 17 who are sexually active, and is a cumbersome process for all women, who have to ask a pharmacist for it and, as many news stories have reported, be subjected to fundamentalist harangues and objections. Apparently it’s okay with you if Michelle is treated like a sixth-grader. I’m trying to think if there are any laws or regulations affecting only men in which unfounded fears about middle-school boys deny all men normal adult privileges. Needless to say no one suggests that underage boys get a prescription if they want to use condoms, or that grown men have to ask the pharmacist for them and maybe get a lecture about the evils of birth control and promiscuity.

This is politics. Pure politics. The Obama administration values the Catholic bishops, the Family Research Council, Rush Limbaugh and the swing voters of Ohio more than the pro-choice Democratic women who make up way more than their share of his base – women who campaigned for him, donated to him, knocked on doors for him, left Hillary Clinton for him. He must be assuming that we are captive voters – we have no place to go. That may be true, but there’s trudging to the polls and there’s passion. Obama is never going to get passion from anti-choicers and swing voters. And it looks increasingly likely that he won’t get it from pro-choice women either.

OK, I came of age when feminism was reaching its cusp. I finished college in the 1970s, taking a degree from a university which, only a decade before, had been all-male, all-white and all-rich. My generation was the first to be told, with confidence, that we could have it all, if we wanted. We were the first to take junior years abroad in places like Spain and France, with the Pill in our pockets and dozens of Spanish and Italian boys grateful for the arrival of the americanas.

I know that teenagers, not all, but a goodly proportion, will have sex, and therefore, sex education, both at home and at school, should be about responsible sex, both for males as well as females.

With all this in mind, I find the reactions of the above three women absolutely despicable and an embarrassment to liberal-minded women everywhere. Either they're suffering from a singular lack of common sense or Obama Derangement Syndrome (be thankful, ladies, I didn't call you out on your underlying racism, because I'm sure it's there), or both. Probably both.

I live in the UK, where abortion is on demand and free at source on the National Health Service. All you need is consent of your GP and another doctor. Girls under sixteen can have abortions without parental consent. Your folks need never know. The same is true for the morning after pill. You can even get it dispensed by your school nurse, no questions asked. And The Pill is free too, on prescription from the NHS.

Sound civilised?

Then tell me why the UK has the largest percentage of underaged births in the EU. Girls as young as eleven become pregnant. I've seen twenty year-olds with five children from five different fathers. Women are grandmothers here at twenty-seven.

With all of that, you'd be surprised to know that the number one method of birth control in the UK is abortion. That's right. Rather than take the Pill (which is free on prescription), rather than go to a pharmacy and ask for the morning after pill (which, as in the US, is kept under the counter), it's so much simpler, if you find you're up the duff, to get two doctors' signatures and book a morning at the local Planned Parenthood centre. I am as Pro-Choice as anyone on the Left, but even those three harpies ladies would have to admit that it's pretty dire, almost immoral even, to use abortion as a means of birth control.

Notice I said that a woman here has to ask, actually ask the pharmacist, to dispense the morning after pill. Every woman, whether she's an eleven year-old, asking after "experimenting" with her thirteen year-old boyfriend behind the bike sheds or a twenty-two year-old the morning after a drunken night on the tiles, experiencing a knee-shaker down an alleyway with a nameless pick-up from the pub; and whilst the twenty-two year-old might be brass enough to ask for the dosage, you can bet your bottom dollar that schoolgirls certainly won't.

And that's one of the reasons Britain has so many gymslip mums.

So when Walsh sets up a catterwaul about "all women being restricted," she's just talking to hear her brain rattle and to get in a little piss on the President. All women have always been restricted in buying this sort of medication. It's under the counter. They have to ask.

Pardon me, if I don't buy into feminine delicacy of being embarrassed to ask for this contraception. If you're over seventeen and you dance to the music, you ought to be able to pay the piper. This is the 21st Century, after all; and women's sexuality and the accoutrements of contraception are nothing new. But if you are shrinking violets, there is a way to achieve this discretely, without any shame or shyness attached. According to the website contraception.about.com, this is what you can do to avoid any - shall we say - embarrassment:-

If You Are Embarrassed to Ask for the Morning After Pill: You will have to ask the pharmacist for Plan B One-Step (since it will be stored behind the counter). If you don’t feel comfortable asking for it out loud, there’s a helpful tool that will help you make a private purchase. You can print out a Patient Request Card. This way, you can request Plan B One-Step, ask to speak privately with a pharmacist, or let them know you’re there to pick up an order you called in earlier. Just hand it to the pharmacist/pharmacy tech along with your ID and you won’t even have to say a word.

Easy-peasy! Honour salvaged.

Katha Pollitt's screed is one step short of a Limbaugh award, especially in the way she aims low and brings the President's daughters into the fray, as well as insulting the First Lady's intelligence. I realise Pollitt is a clever woman from a clever background. I realise that she, Walsh and vanden Heuvel all have daughters. They're probably the sort of mothers who sat their daughters down at the onset of puberty and told them the facts of life in great detail and with much love, assuring them that they would always be available for advice, even imploring them to come talk to them first, when the daughters felt they were ready to have sex, in order that Mom could make sure they did this responsibly.

That's great. But with the best will in the world and even with this advice, not all teenage girls do this. Would any of them be comfortable, knowing that their daughters, were they indulging in underaged sex, could get this contraceptive without their knowledge? This is not some candy-coated aspirin, this is a controlled substance. And even though they do it, it's a fact that really, underaged kids shouldn't be having sex, full stop. A chlamydia infection can affect a girl's future fertility, and that's at the minor end of the STD scale. And reiterating, most very young adolescents would be too embarrassed to ask directly - simply filling a prescription handed to a pharmacist would be much more circumspect; but it would mean having to tell a parent. Rock, meet hard place - unless Mmes Walsh, Pollitt and vanden Heuvel would rather have looked the other way or pretended to be too busy to know what their daughters, when adolescents, were about.

I actually agree with Pollitt's point about male responsibility. For all of us who call ourselves feminists, the fact remains that far too much contraceptive responsibility falls on the shoulder of women and girls. Boys and men need stepping up to the plate as well - and, yes, underaged boys do get the fish eye from pharmacists when asking for a condom. If you're going to engage in the sexual act, have the maturity to take responsibility for your actions. If a girl finds her fella doesn't have a condom to hand, if she's not taking precautions, herself, then intercourse is a no-go, at least for that particular situation anyway. That's not abstinence, that's common sense.

In fact, responsible sex education should be a matter of course in public schools - responsible sex education, emphasizing male as well as female responsibility.

But I would surmise that the real wailing, moaning and complaining about this decision taken by a woman, Kathleen Sibelius, who was heading the appropriate department, who made that decision as head of that department, in and of her own right, and who probably had to submit her reasons behind this decision to the President, is less about thirteen year-olds being denied their "rights" as women to have access to the morning after pill or the fact that this ruling changes absolutely nothing for any other woman, aged seventeen and older. It does have everything to do with this particular cat that Katha Pollitt let out of the bag:-

The Obama administration values the Catholic bishops, the Family Research Council, Rush Limbaugh and the swing voters of Ohio more than the pro-choice Democratic women who make up way more than their share of his base – women who campaigned for him, donated to him, knocked on doors for him, left Hillary Clinton for him. He must be assuming that we are captive voters – we have no place to go. That may be true, but there’s trudging to the polls and there’s passion. Obama is never going to get passion from anti-choicers and swing voters. And it looks increasingly likely that he won’t get it from pro-choice women either.

The first part of Pollitt's first sentence is patently absurd. The President isn't pandering to anyone. If Pollitt, vanden Heuvel or Walsh are OK with twelve and thirteen year-olds having unprotected sex and then having access to a controlled substance which has really been manufactured for women who have reached sexual maturity, then they aren't very responsible or sensible human beings, let alone, mothers. The first part of that sentence is pure, hate-filled hyperbole. The second half speaks what all of this ueber-reaction - at least from Pollitt and Walsh - means: the Hillary Factor.

It's true that Hillary's most Progressive policies lay in the realm of women's issues, but even Hillary, who was the most responsible of mothers to her daughter, wouldn't have condoned this substance being made available to underage adolescent girls without prescription -which means, not without a parent's knowledge.

Some people let their blind and raw hatred for this President cloud over their sane judgement. So I would say to Pollitt, vanden Heuvel and Walsh ... don't bother trudging to the polls. Vote for Ron Paul or some third party hack. Or don't vote at all. But shut the fuck up when a Republican President makes personhood the law of the land, makes a woman's right to choose a thing of the past and makes all manner of contraception illegal. Just shut up, because your insipidity and masked racism enabled this.

Suck on this: Because you were so busy pissing on a President, your daughters won't have the luxury of choice when they have to piss on a stick and the result is not to their convenience.

13 comments:

  1. Love it, Emilia! Neither of these women stopped long enough to think about the fact that the FDA and HHS are independent agencies with the ability to set policies without being required to seek any president's advice. Before they go off on rants, they should FIRST learn how our system of government operates.

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  2. "..All women have always been restricted in buying this sort of medication."

    The dishonesty comming from these types have reached the absurd. And Emiliana, I have taken to telling these firebaggin' clowns to please go vote for someone else, cuz I sure as hell am not begging them to vote for PBO, I am way past tired of their bullshit.

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  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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  4. Great post Emilia

    Sadly, for the frustrati nothing, not even the safety and wellbeing of girls and young women is sacred. Rather than approach this matter responsibly, they instead use it a weapon to attack the president. Fortunately, there are enough sensible men and women who see this for what it is and ensure that this absurd line of attack does not gain traction.

    Kath

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  5. HEEY Emilia - -**BIG HUG*** :>)

    GR8! -THANK U!! :>) Any time I C these 3 ---HARPIES NAMES ---I EXPECT ---KRAP!! geesh!!

    - - -THIS: - - -Joan Walsh, [taking time from laundering her white sheets]- - taking time from finishing her long-awaited book, had to put her two cents in as well: LOL. LUVIN' IT!!

    THANK U 4 this BRILLIANT ANALYSIS!! :>) GreenLadyHere

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  6. It always comes back to Hillary, doesn't it? These hags (and that's the nicest thing I can call them) need to realize that their precious patron saint lost in 2008 and get over it.

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  7. Thank you for this article. What is wrong with these women? I want to attribute their thinking to menopause - oh yeah I went their because I'm old enough to - or are they just plan willfully ignorant - or is it pure hatred for the President. I'm really sick of the these firebaggers and I don't see seem any different than the teabaggers.

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  8. Great post filled with righteous truth!

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  9. Continue speaking truth Emilia. These women are ignorant nutjobs.

    nospin

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  10. Great editorial and analysis, Emilia. This is my first time visiting this site. I'm glad I did. I shall return.

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  11. Thank you Emilia!I guess their aim is to get Newt or Mitt in there so there'll be justified gnashing & wailing and they'll get paid more.

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