The Obama administration has betrayed its Democratic base once again. The Justice Department plans to appeal a ruling made by the federal court that will allow morning-after pills available to women of all ages without a prescription. This drug has been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration for all females able to to bear children. The Justice Department’s appeal aligns this administration with conservative and anti-abortion groups in that they want to keep the morning-after pill out of the hands of females under the age of fifteen. This decision is not scientifically based.
Now, I may be mistaken, but I have the distinct memory of Barack Obama giving a speech about a week ago, claiming that he was in support of women’s reproductive rights and wanted to keep politics out of an issue that is clearly scientific. Maybe I should not be surprised at this kind of political lip-service. This seems to be just another action by the Democratic Party to remain moderate, knowing that a liberal democrat like myself will vote for it anyway.
A quick glance at PolitiFact.com can reveal the staggering amount of broken promises given by President Obama. It’s a fun list – take a look. Some of my favorite broken promises include: his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, his promise to restore habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants, and my favorite lie by far was his promise to keep lobbyists out of his administration. Now, I understand that Washington is a difficult place to get things done but this list is simply laughable.
How can I be anything but angry when he promises to keep lobbyists out of his administration and then promptly fills his cabinet with Goldman Sachs Wall Street lobbyists? This is disgraceful and quite simply a slap in the face to anyone that voted for him in hopes for “change”.
However, as hilarious as this list is, I do not want to digress too much.
I think it is important to focus on what is currently at hand; mainly the appeal of the federal court ruling. Though it has been argued that regardless of this appeal, we are still headed in the right direction concerning women’s reproductive rights (a position I agree with), I would argue that it is not good enough. Why limit the availability of life altering medicine to a segment of the population without scientific justification? Secondly, if there is an age requirement, then clearly some form of identification would be required, which is something most teenagers do not have.
As a result, the Obama Administration has decided to ignore an important segment of the population which could have been helped largely with unwanted pregnancies.
Now, I am a statistical guy. I like to think about how a change in federal law would affect our country in statistical terms. So, I hopped onto the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Here’s what I found: A study published in 2011 states that in 2006, 49 percent of pregnancies were unintended, and “the proportion of pregnancies that were unintended was highest among teens younger than age 15 years, at 98 percent.”
These numbers are staggering. Consider the implications of refusing to give access to the morning-after pill to all females, regardless of age.
A child younger than 15 becomes pregnant, carrying the child of another adolescent. Both of these young parents will mostly likely need to drop out of school and find work in order to feed this child.
As the CDC states, “large increases in unintended pregnancy rates were found among women with lower education, low income, and cohabiting women.” So, we have undereducated children having their own children that will almost inevitably be born into lower income households. The process is cyclical and we need to find a way to intervene.
There is good news though. We have a miracle drug that can drastically reduce the amount of unintended pregnancies in young women. Now if only we could think of a way to convince our president and his Justice Department, a president whose platform was predicated on “change”, to help us systematically empower these underprivileged women.
But sadly, I’m afraid politicians are much too concerned with playing politics and winning the moderate vote.
Nick Castine can be reached at