Planning to Have an Emergency

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

August 29, 2005

It is called emergency contraception.  By any other name, Roget’s Thesaurus calls it a crisis, a highly volatile, dangerous situation requiring immediate remedial action.

We’re all familiar with emergencies.  The water pipe that breaks and floods the house…

…the car brakes that fail, sending you sailing through the intersection right under a red light…

…the flames erupting from the skillet on the stove, burning oil popping onto wood cabinets and kitchen curtains…

…the category four hurricane bearing down on your coastal home…

…the tight chest pains making you collapse onto the snow bank you’ve been shoveling…

…all of them…dangerous situations requiring immediate remedial action.

It used to be called emergency contraception for a good reason.  It implied that thoughtful, careful people were going about their lives, following prudent actions, taking care to avoid emergencies…when all of a sudden…an emergency happened…totally out of the blue…unexpected…unanticipated…and outside of our control.

Emergency contraception?  Where is the emergency?

The campaign to provide emergency contraception over the counter to all women, and the girls who would one day be women, belies the very essence of its name.  The Morning After…in the light of day, with both feet on the ground, when it comes to mind that we had an emergency last night…there’s a better remedy for this type of emergency than taking a little pill

The remedy for the morning after is engaging the brain on the night before.  Yet, the biggest fans of emergency contraception are those who oppose abstinence education, who reject the idea that children should learn sex is best inside marriage.

Repackaging “the morning after pill” as emergency contraception is a public relations game of the first order.  Sheila, the director of a pregnancy clinic, attests to this.  As the media blitz first put emergency contraception on the front page, calls to her clinic skyrocketed…calls from men.  Over three-fourths of the questions for Sheila about using the “emergency” pill came from men.

Like professional hucksters, proponents for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception point to the married woman whose birth control failed.  They point to rape victims.  Yet for these emergencies, we can create effective access to emergency contraception.  It doesn’t require putting this pill in easy reach of teen girls.

Truth is, if you think you might be planning to have an emergency, there’s a better way.  Plan to not have an emergency.  Plan sex for the right time and with the right person.  The Centers for Disease Control says the healthiest time for sex should be in a lifelong, monogamous, faithful relationship.  Mom and dad call it marriage.

Plan B, for emergencies, works best when we know what a real emergency is.  And anyone who wants to give us a plan for emergencies owes us the best plan of all…a plan for avoiding them.  Plan A.  Abstinence until marriage.


June 6, 2005 – Planned Parenthood’s War Against Choice

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