The Washington Post reported that sales of Plan B have increased radically since the FDA approved the drug for over-the-counter sales to women. It did not mention whether abortions have decreased during the same time period. Given that the drug is available only by prescription to girls under the age of 18, there is a natural control group for such a study. In the UK, over-the-counter access to Plan B has not reduced the abortion rate.
It also mentioned that NARAL has pressured pharmacies into stocking the drug:
Overall, activists are pleased with the chains’ response, but they say women continue to encounter pharmacies which refuse to stock Plan B and individual employees who, for reasons of conscience, refuse to sell it.
There is no right – legally or morally – to have access to a pharmacy that sells every type of drug that one may wish to obtain, much as there is no requirement that every CVS stock one’s favoured brand of shampoo or antihistamine. Moreover, the focus on preventing pregnancy at all costs (including the religious freedom of pharmacists) is misplaced:
“Pregnancy is not a disease,” [Deirdre] McQuade said. “There is no absolute duty to dispense a non-therapeutic drug, but there is a basic civil right of conscience.”
In related news, Mitt Romney is being criticised for his seemingly changing stances on abortion. He stated that he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned and to let states make their own decisions; that he supports a human life amendment to the Constitution; and, during his tenure as the governor of Massachusetts, he refused to change the abortion laws of the state.
These statements are not necessarily contradictory. When Romney ran for governor, he held himself out as a pro-life candidate who recognised that his future constituency was pro-choice. The compromise was his promise to not change the abortion laws of Massachusetts, either by attempting to restrict them or by allowing for their expansion.
Likewise, Roe is bad law. If it were judicially overturned, the issue would revert back to each state (as is correct under the Ninth Amendment). Another pro-life alternative is to ratify the Constitution to provide for a human life amendment, which would nullify Roe. The issue is not whether one person can both hope for the overturn of Roe and desire a human life amendment, but the validity of incrementalism as a pro-life strategy.
Women who wear headscarves have a difficult time finding jobs in Turkey and parts of the Middle East. Turkey’s “secular” laws prohibit women from wearing headscarves in public-sector jobs and universities. Roughly 60% of women cover their heads; it is not surprising that only 27% of women participate in the labour force.
The (obvious) issue of headscarves aside, there is no valid reason for a “secular” law to expressly discriminate against members of one religion; it is especially gruesome for such a regulation to effect only one gender. A secular law ought to allow citizens to practise religion to the extent that such practise does not interfere with the rights of other citizens; however, such laws should not be extended to the prohibition of certain religious practises, merely because they are religious in nature. Such a restriction is akin to prohibiting a public employee from wearing a cross pendant on a necklace or eating kosher food in the cafeteria.
Yet another San Francisco ban: bottled water in city departments. This does make more sense than banning, say, plastic bags or incandescent light bulbs, as bottled water is environmentally inefficient. Nearly half of it is purified tap water; the other 60% of water is transported from long distances. It takes roughly 18 million gallons of crude oil to create plastic water bottles that are used in in America every year.
Even the elderly lie about their sex lives. 84% of men reported having sexual contact in the past year, while only 62% of women reported the same. C’mon, people, you are all between the ages of 57 and 64; this is no time to be coy. One wonders about the NY Times publishing such a statistic a mere week after its assertion that similar disparities among younger people are the result of non-truths.