Double Speak on Freedom and Personal Responsibility

I guess it’s not news, but it’s probably worth pointing out anyhow. It seems that to be a good Republican you must advocate personal responsibility and freedom. Unless, of course, you find an adult behavior personally offensive.

The latest outrage in point is in today’s news. It seems the FDA, which recently has gone out of its way to rush drugs to market (sometimes at the expense of public safety) feels it must unnecessarily delay putting the over the counter “Plan B” morning after birth control pill on the market.

Although it has been repeatedly proven as safe and effective as any generic drug, this article suggests the neocons are getting the willies. Due to political pressure from the usual neoconservative twits, our administration is looking to find ways to make it harder for women to get “Plan B”. Yes, fungal removers and antihistamines get to stay on the drug aisle as always. But some people feel the need to look down their noses at women. They want them have to go through the hassle and needless embarrassment of asking their pharmacist to retrieve the medicine from behind the pharmacy counter. They are convinced that if “Plan B” is put out there in the open then gosh, it might encourage teenage promiscuity. Or adult promiscuity. It doesn’t matter. Promiscuity is bad and they’ll have none of it if they can stop it.

Never mind that it might discourage a woman from getting the medicine in the first place. Never mind that woman may then carry a child to term. Never mind that no similar requirement is laid on men in search of a prophylactic.

Well, news flash to the neocons: you can’t have it both ways. Either adults have the rights and privileges of real adults or they don’t. But the latter seems to be the way Republicans prefer it, although they will talk out of the other side of their mouths. Whenever a certain activity, like a morning after birth control pill or pornography feels personally disagreeable to them, their solution seems to be to make it illegal or, failing that, difficult or shameful to acquire.

Pity the poor women attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Their health clinic won’t dispense the morning after pill to their 100% legally adult women. Apparently it’s more important to placate our conservative anally retentive Virginia legislative representatives instead. Yes, JMU women if you were such a slut as to sleep with a guy (possibly even before marriage — and remember the man you slept with was, well, just sowing his wild oats) then you must be kept at arms length by society. You must certainly not be treated with any compassion by state officials. Even if you had an episode of date rape, if you are so vile a woman as to want to have flush your uterus because there is a small possibility you may be pregnant, you better take a bus into town and hope you can find a pharmacy to sell you that perfectly legal morning after pill. (Hint: check behind the pharmacy counter!) Hey, it’s nothing more than a couple regular birth control pills you take all at once that are safe and effective but it doesn’t matter. You can’t get it on campus and God forbid that you get it as part of any health insurance that you pay as part of your student fees.

Alas, here in the Old Dominion it is only too easy to find other examples of the Nanny State in high gear. Yes, you can have the freedom to buy the most obscene, smog polluting gargantuan SUV on the market. Load up your driveway with Hummers. While you’re at it, you have complete freedom to rot your lungs with as many cigarettes as you like. Here in Virginia you can buy a pack of cigarettes and pay only two and a half cents in taxes (the lowest in the country). When you turn age 21 you can drink yourself silly and carry away as much liquor from your local ABC store as you can haul. You can tear down acres of virgin forests to build your estate in the woods. But apparently if the issue is certain kinds of contraception, the state wants to make you go out of our way to acquire it.

And also here in Virginia we care about our kids. Because some child might possibly see a smutty image while on line we have to take action. So naturally we have a law so broad that potentially any consenting adult looking at smut on the online could violate it. (Thankfully a federal court recently overturned this ridiculous law.)

Well, this is government as usual for Virginia. Although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned our sodomy laws our legislature refuses to remove them from the statutes. And yes, adultery is still a criminal offense here and is used selectively to target people the state doesn’t like. Meanwhile, cohabitation between unmarried people who are not related to each other is also a criminal offense.

All this and Virginia purports to be a model state of rugged individualism. Alas, if it were so. Here in Virginia, and in many parts of the United States, you are always an adult on probation.

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