Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a story about a pharmacist who has filed a federal lawsuit against Target after they fired him for refusing to dispense emergency contraception.
I’ve heard of the case before, and yup, it’s certainly going to be interesting when a ruling is made, and either way I’m sure that it’s going to be appealed. Both sides will probably try to take it to the Supreme Court (though I can tell you right now that such a move would not end well). This is precisely why we need a national law mandating that pharmacists — who are actually preforming a public service — do their damn jobs. And a Democratic president to actually sign the thing.
But what caught my eye here isn’t the story itself . . . it’s the comments made by the anti-choicers defending their position not only that pharmacists have the right to stand in the way of patient health, but also that all birth control is akin to abortion. Really, it’s fascinating:
Richardson said the case isn’t just about birth control: it could have far-reaching effects on an employer’s rights to enforce policies for workers, he said. If Bundy is successful, he warned, it could also set a dangerous federal precedent for allowing pharmacists to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship. Richardson does not believe pharmacists should block a woman’s access to contraception and said the morning-after pill is a contraceptive.
“It does not cause an abortion,” said Richardson. If a pharmacist doesn’t want to give out the pill, Richardson said he or she should give the prescription to another pharmacist. “Pharmacists should not stand in the way of a woman having access to medications that are prescribed,” he said. The argument could be expanded to conventional birth control pills or any kind of treatment, he warned.
That’s an argument that has split even staunch anti-abortion camps.
Both Flint Right to Life and Right to Life Lifespan oppose the morning-after pill and want the state constitution amended to declare that life begins at conception.
The Michigan and national Right to Life organizations remain neutral on the topic.
[Right to Life Lifespan director] Zabik said the federal case could fan the flames of that divide, sparking renewed discussion of conventional birth control pills by re-igniting the controversy over when life truly begins. Both types of pill “make the womb a hostile environment,” said Zabik. “I hope this case does change and totally open the dialogue on the birth control pill because one is nothing more than a double dose of the other,” said Zabik. “It’s all very political. Some of the other groups don’t want to have to deal with it because they know many, many women consider themselves pro-life who are using birth control pills. We’re trying to stay true to the message of life.”
Admittedly, those of us paying attention know that anti-choicers are not just anti-abortion, they’re also anti-birth control. Why? Because sex is for procreation purposes only, women are for breeding, and any act of female sexual pleasure must be punished through forced pregnancy. (No, that’s not a joke). But usually they won’t say that to anyone other than their own supporters. To declare it proudly to a newspaper, that using birth control is “anti-life” and directly comparable to abortion? Damn, lady, I have to give you some credit there. That takes a special kind of fervent delusion. Also, could you please say it more often? To larger newspapers? And on television? That the “pro-life” agenda is actually, truly about making sure that women have no control over their uteruses whatsoever? I’ll even help you do the legwork, book you some interviews. Call me.
But amazingly enough, the most stupid comment in this article was not from Zabik. Her comments, though certainly stupid, are more politically and ideologically stupid than anything else. But the comments up ahead, from the director of another “pro-life” organization, well . . . they’re just plain old stupid.
Flint Right to Life Director Judy Climer agreed, saying Target was trying to force Bundy into participating in an abortion by ordering him to hand out morning-after pills.
“He has the right to object to that,” Climer said. “The morning-after pill is clearly an abortion pill. If it’s not an abortion pill, why do you take it the morning after?”
This strikes me to be on the same intellectual wavelength as “what do you mean BET isn’t racist towards white people? It’s called BLACK Entertainment Television!” In other words, it’s the kind of comment based in the most shallow depths of human thought, that any reasonable person — if they had sat down to think for at least 2 seconds before the words left their mouth, or did the intelligent thing and quietly asked another person about the issue before publicly embarrassing themselves — would realize is truly moronic. But Climer not only said this, she said it to a newspaper when she knew she was going to be quoted. And then the newspaper actually printed it! (Without, you won’t be surprised to hear, ever stating the fact from an objective standpoint that EC is not an abortive medication).
Ms. Climer, I’m going to try to explain this to you as simply as possible, so could you please do your best to concentrate? I know, I know, but try for me. Thanks.
Now, I know that you’ve grown up and lived your whole life under a world view that sex is for men to enjoy and women to endure. When it comes to sex, you think that men are the ones who control all of the action, that penises have some kind of innate control over vaginas. But, Ms. Climer — and this is where it gets difficult — when the magical powerful penis ejaculates inside a vagina (I’m sorry, a woman’s “down there”), it doesn’t actually result immediately in pregnancy. No, really. You see, in order for a woman to get pregnant, she has to be ovulating. And usually, despite the penis’ incredible power, a man doesn’t ejaculate right at the same exact moment that a woman is ovulating. In other words, semen has a way of hanging out for a while. It’s not actually a man’s ejaculation that does the legwork. The sperm can scurry around all it likes, but it’s not going to get anywhere if the egg doesn’t come out to play. EC works by preventing ovulation.
The reason that this so confusing is because when it comes to reproduction — and therefore sex — women’s bodies aren’t “supposed” to take the initiative. But despite all of that cute and highly useful patriarchal indoctrination, it’s just not so. The woman’s body is the one that directly initiates pregnancy. Not the man’s. And this can and usually does take up to a couple of days.
The sad thing is that while I’d like to believe that people would look at Climer’s statement and think to themselves “that’s the most stupid argument I’ve ever heard,” a lot of them are probably more likely to think “hey, good point!” That’s what you get from an underfunded education system that focuses obsessively on how to fake out multiple choice questions instead of how to think critically. It’s also what you get when, for some reason, Fox News is allowed to pass for actual journalism. Otherwise, we’d be facing outrage over the fact that a newspaper would print a debate about medical facts without actually bothering to publish the medical facts. We’d face mass understanding of the fact that, if your job requires you to do something that you are morally opposed to, you probably ought to pick a different profession (this is the reason why despite childhood fantasies, I never became either a lawyer or a politician). It would be common knowledge that every single word uttered at a Republican debate is absolutely ludicrous (in addition to at least half of the words at a Democratic debate).
But unfortunately, this is indeed the world we’re working with. Read it and weep.