As a young person just starting to explore my own role in the political process, I can tell you that most of what I see regarding my own rights as a women is completely disheartening. I want to vote for and support the people that I think will be good for the economy and advocate for the issues I care about, yet again and again the challenge I confront is a candidate’s stance on my rights as a woman to control decisions regarding my body. Frankly, this shouldn’t have to be a concern for me. It should be a given that, as a citizen and as a human being, my right to privately make decisions that are best for me, my body and my family are protected. I want to see this issue move out of the ‘political wrestling ring’ and be placed where it belongs: with the individual.
This is why I’m so excited to finally see justice and reason winning out over politics, religious extremism and partisanship as access to emergency contraception is finally – and rightfully – being granted. Thanks to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, the two-pill version of emergency contraception will be available to individuals without proof of age requirements or a prescription. In doing so, the Court of Appeals sided with the historic ruling of US District Court Judge Korman, who ruled that the Administration’s opposition to emergency contraception was “politically motivated and scientifically unjust.” The Court of Appeals unfortunately agreed to the Administration’s request to continue blocking availability of the one-pill version of emergency contraception.
Access is critical, because emergency contraception is most effective when used within 24 hours of birth control failure. Obstacles such as prescriptions and age-restrictions prevent women and their partners from getting emergency contraception in time for it to work best. While the FDA attempted to compromise on age restrictions by lowering to 15, Judge Korman and the 2nd Circuit court’s ruling recognized that it is ridiculous to assume that most 15 year old women will have valid, legal forms of identification. Additionally, this measure fails to reconcile the issue of women of any age who don’t have identification cards, or who work difficult schedules and are unable to get to a doctor on short notice for a prescription and subsequently to a store during pharmacy hours. Thankfully, the appeals court ruling recognizes that limiting access to a safe form of birth control that works within a short time limit simply makes no sense. and
This is a tremendous win for all who believe that the government’s role should be to increase—not block—access to safe and effective forms of birth control. Family planning is a moral good and fundamental right that every woman, no matter her age, should be able to control for herself.
Nicole Miller was an intern in our office this month. She attends university in North Carolina and is originally from the DC area.