Bubblegum and the Date Rape Cocktail

04/10/2013 01:31 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2013
  • Mark Morford Columnist, SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle; Author, 'The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism', ERYT yoga instructor

Panic! Fainting! Pearls-clutching galore among the easily terrified and the never-orgasmic as it was announced that a federal judge just spanked the Obama administration -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in particular -- for being so surprisingly backasswards when it comes to emergency contraception for women.

Did you hear? After years and ridiculous politicking and inexplicable delays, a federal judge just ordered Sebelius' FDA to finally allow emergency contraception (Plan B, et al) to be made available over the counter for women and girls of all ages.

It's true. And it's sort of a big deal. Barring an appeal, girls under 17 can soon get emergency contraception without a prescription, without their parent's permission, without any sort of pinched howling from the religious right who would far prefer to snuff out all young women for daring to have an active uterus in the first place.

It must be hereby noted: The stuffy FDA first recommended such contraception be made available over-the-counter to all ages back in 2011, years after such drugs have been proven safe, years after they've been readily available to women in smarter countries all over the world. Women's groups in the U.S. have been clamoring for easy availability for over a decade; but, being America, the powers that be fretted and delayed due almost exclusively to the flat-out ignorance and hysteria of the religious right.

Finally, along came Brooklyn judge Edward Korman, who ruled in favor of unrestricted access, because he clearly wants more 11-year-old girls to have irresponsible sex, doesn't give a damn for teen health or morality, and wants lots of teens to contract STDs during drunken date-rape parties during which they watch "Teen Mom" marathons and huff glue. He's also probably a closet pedophile.

Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe none of those things is the slightest bit true and Korman is actually a highly intelligent Reagan appointee who, based on his two decisions on the matter, has studied the case thoroughly and found zero moral or legal justification for Sebelius to block such safe drugs from being made immediately available to all ages. Sort of amazing, really.

Can you guess the immediate reaction? Can you guess the sort of reply Korman's piercing decision prompted from right-wing anti-choice groups?

I bet you can't. I bet you can't even come close to conjuring such a pitch-perfect line as uttered by one Karen Brauer, president of something called Pharmacists for Life, which I'm guessing is basically three very unhappy humans living in a barn somewhere in Ohio who never see sunlight, feel joy or suck wine from a lover's tongue.

"When these [drugs] are right out there with the bubble gum, they're going to be part of the date rape cocktail," Brauer actually said, aloud, with a straight face, as lightning did not strike her dead on the spot.

Isn't that fantastic? Isn't that just the sort of perfectly dumb, weirdly fantasy-projecting sort of statement you've come to expect from fundamentalist Christians who understand sexuality about as well as littleneck clams understand quantum physics?

But wait! Not so fast, snarky pro-sex columnist. Before we get too cocky, we must remember, it was Obama who supported Sebelius' widely panned decision to override her own agency's recommendation in 2011, and it was Obama himself who first uttered something about Plan B being sold in the vicinity of bubblegum. Stupidly.

And while it took a goofball of Brauer's caliber to add the part about date rape, we must remember, the judge specifically scolded Sebelius -- not the religious right -- for messing with women's rights for obvious and foul political reasons.

This much we know: Sebelius' decision came about a year before the 2012 election, so it seems obvious Obama was trying to deprive the competition of an easy weapon. By all accounts, it was a decidedly cowardly choice, given Obama's otherwise relatively stellar track record with regard to women's rights.

Meanwhile! Shooting straight through Camp Obama and all anti-sex, right-wing, alarmist parents' groups comes a small but shocking blast of factual awesomeness that merely proves just how politically motivated and/or sexually pathetic both groups really are.

Remember all the hysteria about Generation Facebook having riskier and more frequent sex at younger and younger ages? All the panic that 12-year-olds are making homemade porn on their iPhones and SnapChatting photos of their genitals to each other in the mall?

A lie. A myth. Inane, world-class sensationalism. Just as you suspected.

"We are seeing teens waiting longer to have sex, using contraceptives more frequently when they start having sex, and being less likely to become pregnant than their peers of past decades."

Did you catch all that? That's a quote from one Lawrence Finer, lead author of a new study just published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, which basically declares that most alarmist beliefs about modern teen sex are essentially full of crap. To reiterate: On the whole, teens in every age bracket are using more protection, being more careful, having sex less than anytime since around 1990, and getting pregnant less frequently. I blame the Internet.

What to make of it all? For once, an (older, white, Republican, male) judge rightly stepped in and slapped everyone's BS upside the head, and suddenly...

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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate, and the creator of the new Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...