By Tim Peacock
By this point it’s no secret that the majority of the conservative movement is severely anti-woman. Just look at their virulent opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, the contraceptive mandate contained in Obamacare, and now this. On her radio show yesterday, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham lambasted the move to remove age restrictions on Plan B arguing that it is “a good deal for pedophiles” as well as “people who commit statutory rape against young girls.” The outrage followed an announcement by President Obama that his administration will no longer fight age restrictions placed on over-the-counter emergency contraception (such as Plan B).
Despite the fact that multiple creditable studies have shown that over-the-counter emergency contraception is completely safe
(safer than asprin, in fact), conservatives like Ingraham seem to think that it’s the worst thing ever created. Case in rather than discuss the scientific merits of the medication – or anything that would have even an ounce of provable evidence to back up her point – Ingraham argued that making the widely-used contraceptive will actually be beneficial to the men who assault women and girls. She said
“It’s a good deal for pedophiles, a good deal for people who commit statutory rape against young girls. If mothers and fathers across this country hear this, and they think, ‘Well, I guess my daughter or her boyfriend or her rapist can go out to a pharmacy and get a bunch of, you know, hormone pills to give a little girl’… We don’t really know the effect of a spiking or dropping a little girl’s… in many cases a young woman’s or a little girl’s hormonal levels. It’s outrageous!”
Once again a conservative mouthpiece spouts off an argument before actually checking the available information on those arguments. Increasing access to emergency contraceptives don’t empower sexual abusers – no credible or rational line of thinking leads to that conclusion. Exactly zero peer-reviewed studies have been released to support her point. In fact, those in the scientific community (as they are wont to do with these sorts of conservative scientific claims) seem to be shaking their heads in disbelief at the blatant misinformation and propaganda Ingraham and other conservatives seem to be spewing over contraceptive access.
The group bemoaned the FDA’s decision, falsely labeling Plan B an “abortion pill” (for more on how Plan B works please see here) and announced a theory that increased access to birth control will somehow “cover up rapes.” This line of argument is not based in reality: forensic investigations do not require a pregnancy to confirm an assault and women’s bodies are not incubators for evidence in rape cases.
The conservative logic behind the “it inspires more rapes” argument lies in the false belief that a woman must remain pregnant (or “fertilized,” at very least) to prove the rape happened. This isn’t just inaccurate – it’s dangerous to promote the idea that rape kit DNA collection has anything to do with emergency contraception. One has nothing to do with the other. Young women aren’t going to be dissuaded any more or less by access to contraception if they intend to report a sexual assault. One thing that does dissuade sexual assault victims from coming forth, though, is the constant attack on access to affordable health care that includes emergency contraception.