The Plan B One-Step Emergency Contraceptive, better known as the Morning After Pill, will soon be available to women and girls of any age without a prescription. The Obama administration announced it will cease all efforts to fight a judge's ruling allowing unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step.
This is a great victory for women because contraception has probably done more to liberate and empower American women than any other single event. Brilliant women like Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, devoted her life to fighting for the right for access to safe and legal contraception.
Ninety nine percent of American women use contraception at some point in their lives, but it wasn't always this way. In the late 1800s, women were giving birth to eight to 10 children, with no way to prevent pregnancy outside of abstinence. Margaret Sanger, a nurse who had witnessed too many unwanted pregnancies, opened the first birth control clinic in 1916, designed to educate and empower women so they could take control of their own bodies and futures. It was closed down shortly after opening, but the gutsy Sanger fought back and the first legal birth control clinic opened in 1923.
Contraception has taken many forms since, but the breakthrough that changed the world was the 1960 creation of the birth control pill. Margaret Sanger, who died in 1966, lived just long enough to see the pill legalized in 1965. This gave women an unprecedented level of control over their lives. They were now empowered to plan their lives without the burden or risk of pregnancy. They were free to launch careers outside the home and even to choose whether or not to have children at all. Men had ruled America since its founding, and the pill was the beginning of the rise and equalization of women. The bottom line is that the pill gave women choices they never had before.
The pill generates billions of dollars in sales per year, and is more popular than ever. Like the delusions of the drug war, which states that legalizing drugs will set off an epidemic of drug addicted people, religious leaders were certain that the legalization of contraception would create a society of rampant promiscuity. Fifty years later, the results are in: it didn't. As a matter fact, there is no evidence that the pill changed sexual behavior in any way, outside of family planning. The critics were wrong again, yet they still insist that passing out condoms or any form of birth control promotes promiscuity. Birth control doesn't promote promiscuity; hormones promote promiscuity. Birth control just increases the odds that people will have safe sex.
Not too long ago sex was extremely taboo, but then came the pill followed by the sexual revolution and open rebellion to control and manipulation. It wasn't a perfect progression, but it was progress. Today, we have women running Fortune 500 companies, becoming self-made millionaires and raising beautiful healthy families... all by choice, with or without the consent of men. In the near future, America will elect a female president, and for the first time in history a woman will be the most powerful person in the world.
Don't expect the old church establishment or the good old boys club to embrace it or help make it happen. On the contrary, they will kick and scream with all their might. But in the end, they will lose. This will catapult all women to heights of credibility and respect the likes of which they've never seen. We've already seen how the election of Barack Obama lifted the African-American community, and whether or not you like his politics, you can't help but be overjoyed at how blacks around the world rejoiced at the ascension of one of their own. The election of our first black president was a day to be celebrated. It will be the same when we elect our first female president, and without the pill, it probably wouldn't have happened.
Critical thinking says the human sex drive is the most powerful force on earth. Harnessed and celebrated, it's a beautiful, natural phenomenon that produces unparalleled pleasure. It's time to celebrate sex, releases people from the guilt of engaging in it consensually and educate Americans on how to safely enjoy it. The only area where the government should engage is in comprehensive sex education in the public school system. We should all be able to make our own choices and live life on our own terms.
By allowing emergency contraception available at any age, we're truly allowing women to have total control of their bodies, minus interference from the church, state, doctors or anyone else. Today is another step forward for women's rights!