Tag Archives: birth control

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

 

My reaction to this article is multifaceted: on the one hand, I am glad that Damon Linker made these points, and on the other hand, I would like to argue against some of the implications and assumptions he makes.

To start with, I would like to clarify the difference between liberalism and libertarianism. Linker conflates the two concepts, and, while they are similarly related, they are not altogether identical.

According to wikipedia:

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the idea of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and a right to life, liberty, and property.

while

Libertarianism is the group of political philosophies which advocate minimizing coercion and emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with significantly less government compared to most present day societies.

These definitions suggest that liberalism has a stronger focus on equality, while libertarianism is more strongly focused on small government. My take is that liberalism is more willing to explore the options for achieving equality, whereas libertarianism is staunchly wedded to the idea that small government will produce equality. It’s arguably impossible to know which camp is “right.”

The problem that I have is Linker (who is directly influenced by Mark Lilla’s essay) conflates the two concepts without fully examining the differences.

He is correct, however, in identifying that the libertarian concept can be aptly applied to both sides of our bipartisan political systems:

“…Libertarianism in this sense fuels the American right’s anti-government furies, but it also animates the left’s push for same-sex marriage — and has prepared the way for its stunningly rapid acceptance — in countries throughout the West…”

Linker then goes on to say:

“…What makes libertarianism a dogma is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it. On a range of issues, liberals seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life — and sometimes coerced into compliance by the government…”

Now, I don’t know much about those who espouse libertarianism. I’ve only had the chance to talk in depth politics with one self-assigned libertarian and so my knowledge of the matter is limited. However, I have a much deeper understanding of liberalism as I was raised in a liberal household, have liberal friends, and generally support “liberal causes.”

And, yes, I would say that I have witnessed a trend of liberals who “seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life.” I experienced this type of liberal primarily when I was attending college and they, more often than not, came in the form of well-meaning feminists who wanted so badly for women to be “liberated from the oppressive regime of Western society” that they would criticize any and all who remotely participated in seemingly “oppressive” actions, thoughts, and social roles. For example, I was “looked down on” for wearing makeup and shaving my legs.

And, yes, I can see that that kind of liberal is in the public eye right now thanks to the media and high-profile liberal groups who, although fundamentally well-meaning, insist on casting blame instead of focusing on shared hardships (see my previous blog post “The Day I Became a Men’s Rights Activist” for further examples).

However, that loud-voiced minority does not accurately represent all liberals as a whole. And it is always unfair to utilize synecdoche when describing any group of human individuals.

Linker acknowledges this point without actually realizing it when he says:

“…The latter tendency shows how, paradoxically, the rise of libertarian dogma can have the practical effect of increasing government power and expanding its scope…”

This is where Linker’s previous mistaken conflation of libertarianism and liberalism comes into play. Again, I don’t know as much about libertarians as I do liberals, but if they were interchangeable they would not have different guiding principles.

He then brings in some examples of “liberalism’s dogmatism… in recent months”:

  • “Brendan Eich resigned as the chief executive of Mozilla, a company he helped found, after gay rights activists launched a boycott against the company for placing him in a senior position. Eich’s sin? More than five years earlier, he donated $1,000 to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in the state. It didn’t matter that he’d explicitly assured employees that he would treat them fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation. What mattered was that Eich (like the 7 million people who voted in favor of Prop 8) had made himself a heretic by coming down on the wrong side of an issue on which error had now become impermissible.
  • Liberals indulged in a wildly overwrought reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, with seasoned journalists likening the plaintiffs to the Pakistani Taliban, and countless others taking to social media to denounce a government-sanctioned theocratic assault on women’s health — all because some women working for corporations that are “closely held” by religiously conservative owners might have to pay out of pocket for certain forms of freely available contraception (as, one presumes, they currently do for toothpaste). Apparently many liberals, including the Senate Democrats who seem poised to gut the decision, consider it self-evident that these women face a far greater burden than the conservative owners, who would be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs. One highly intelligent commentator, inadvertently confessing his incapacity to think beyond the confines of liberal dogma, described the religious objection as “trivial” and “so abstract and attenuated it’s hard to even explain what it is.”
  • Beyond the Beltway, related expressions of liberal dogmatism have led a Harvard undergraduate to suggest that academic freedom shouldn’t apply to the handful of conservatives on campus — because their views foster and justify “oppression.” In a like-minded column in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania argued that religious colleges should be denied accreditation — because accrediting them “confers legitimacy on institutions that systematically undermine the most fundamental purposes of higher education,” one of which is to pursue “skeptical and unfettered” (read: dogmatically liberal and secular) inquiry…”

His portrayal of these events is arguably myopic and one-sided. Linker presents each event in an overly-simplistic way that distorts the reasons behind them.

First, Brendan Eich was only CEO of Mozilla for two weeks. Yes, he was one of the co-founders of Mozilla, but the original revelation of his donation was back in 2012. It only became an issue recently because he was promoted to CEO. According to the New Yorker:

“…While Eich attempted to defuse the problem with conciliatory blog posts and interviews about diversity and inclusiveness, he didn’t actually say that his views on gay marriage had changed. That, inevitably, provoked a uprising within the Mozilla community: a public petition was circulated demanding that he step down, the dating site OkCupid recommended that its customers stop using Firefox, and some Mozilla employees (though far from all of them) called for his resignation…

 

The problem was that Eich’s stance was unacceptable in Silicon Valley, a region of the business world where social liberalism is close to a universal ideology. At this point, a tech company having a C.E.O. who opposes gay marriage is not all that different from a company in 1973 having a C.E.O. who donated money to fight interracial marriage: even if there were plenty of Americans who felt the same way at the time, the C.E.O. would still have been on the wrong side of history. And since the role of a C.E.O. as a public face of an organization is more important than ever these days, Eich’s personal views were inevitably going to shape his ability to run the company.

 

That’s especially true because of the unusual nature of Mozilla. Mozilla is not like most companies. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, and is just one part of the broader Mozilla community, which includes thousands of open-source software developers and other volunteers around the world. These people still do much of the work behind Mozilla’s products—contributing code, technical support, design improvements, and so on. This means that Mozilla depends on the goodwill of its supporters more than most corporations do; it relies on their willingness to donate their services in pursuit of the broader Mozilla project, which is all about keeping the Web transparent and accessible. If it alienates them, Mozilla’s entire mission will be at risk…”

Furthermore, board members at Mozilla didn’t even want to have Eich as CEO in the first place. They had wanted “an outside CEO, presumably to shake up the organization”:

“…Three of the company’s six board members actually resigned before Eich was appointed… Eich himself told VentureBeat that the board had interviewed twenty-five candidates before settling on him; he even wondered aloud why they didn’t pick Jay Sullivan, who was the other internal candidate for the position…”

In other words, Eich’s resignation was much more multi-faceted than Linker implies.

Linker’s second bullet point is even more blatantly sensationalized, as obvious in just the first seven words:

“Liberals indulged in a wildly overwrought reaction…”

“Indulged”? “Wildly”? “Overwrought”? Really, Linker? That’s how you present a balanced report on recent events?

“…all because some women working for corporations that are “closely held” by religiously conservative owners might have to pay out of pocket for certain forms of freely available contraception (as, one presumes, they currently do for toothpaste)…”

Now that’s a new low, your biases are showing Linker.

Hobby Lobby stated from the beginning that it isn’t against all forms of birth control, just certain ones such as Plan B, Ella, and intrauterine devices. Hobby Lobby does provide insurance coverage for 16 other forms of birth control, including pills that prevent ovulation. They object to these certain forms of birth control because they are supposedly “abortion-causing,” which is “against their religious principles.”

These contraceptive options in fact do not cause abortion, they merely prevent the attachment of a potentially fertilized egg to the uterine wall. Some intrauterine devices don’t even regulate or administer hormones. Their science behind the decision is blatantly wrong, regardless of what their actual argument is.

Yes, those forms of contraception are “freely available” but they are also highly expensive if you don’t have insurance to help cover the cost. I personally have an IUD and it cost me $300 out of pocket, it would have cost me $800 if I hadn’t had health insurance to help. That is significantly more than “toothpaste.”

For Linker’s third bullet point, I would agree that it is unfair to deny accreditation to religious colleges. But, again, that is one individual liberal that Linker is using to characterize the entirety of liberals. Synecdoche, much?

However I should give him some credit since he does acknowledge this:

“…But wait, some will object: You can’t reduce contemporary American liberalism to the illiberal outbursts of loudmouthed activists, intemperate journalists, foolish undergraduates, and reckless Ivy League professors!

 

To which the proper response is: True!..”

He goes on to say:

“…Still, I wonder: Where have been all the outraged liberals taking a stand against these and many other examples of dogmatism — and doing so in the name of liberalism? I’ve been doing that in my own writing. And I’ve appreciated the occasional expressions of modest support from a handful of liberal readers. But what about the rest of you?..”

I have to admit I agree with the sentiment, but the way Linker phrases it stinks a bit like egotistic intellectual masturbation: “I see it, why don’t you see it?”

Linker then goes on to offer an explanation for why, in the first place, we find ourselves “in a world dominated by libertarian dogma.” He says that,

“…From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.

 

Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.

 

With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good…”

I would first like to point out that Linker uses the phrase “religious thinkers” to mean “Western society’s religious thinkers.” Not all religious thinkers follow “Judeo-Christian monotheism.” That aside, his use of the word “religious” is a bit ambiguous. Religious can mean a variety of things, according to dictionary.com:

re·li·gious

adjective

1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with religiona religious holiday.
2. imbued with or exhibiting religionpious; devout; godly: areligious man.
3. scrupulously faithful; conscientious: religious care.
4. pertaining to or connected with a monastic or religious order.
5. appropriate to religion or to sacred rites or observances.
 

More often than not, most arguments, opinions, and statements boil down to semantics and it’s very difficult to fully and accurately understand or convey meaning in today’s rapidly evolving language environments.

The phrase “religious thinkers” is obviously referring to thinkers associated with specific, established, recognized religions. And, if we are to extend that meaning to his later statement that “human beings will be religious one way or another,” then we are to understand that he really means that “human beings will be associated with a specific religion one way or another.” However, I don’t think that’s what he wants to say.

Thus, the phrase “either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things” is inherently contradictory: he is changing the meaning of “religious” from one sentence to another. He then extends this new meaning to the next paragraph to make his point.

Thus, I have to admit that I have little understanding of what he means by, “liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.” And, consequently, I don’t understand what he means by,

“…But liberalism’s leading theoreticians (Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Mill) never intended it to serve as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. On the contrary, liberalism was supposed to act as a narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good…”

Wouldn’t a “narrowly political strategy” be one aspect of “a comprehensive view of reality and the human good”? I don’t know. 

Linker concludes by saying that “the proper response to the distinctive dogmatism of our time is to urge liberals to return to their tolerant roots.” However, I would instead urge them to logically and thoroughly follow their liberal ideals which would then result in a “return to their tolerant roots”. I’m disputing Linker’s method, not end goal.

More often than not, people don’t follow the logic structures of their arguments and opinions to their logical conclusions. This plagues liberals, libertarians, and conservatives alike. They get so caught up in advocating for “what they believe in” that they often don’t examine why they believe what they believe and what further implications come along with that. 

Take the minimum wage debate as an example: If you are against the minimum wage raise, you are hurting your own prospects as well as the prospects of others. If wages were raised, money would be pumped into the economy making life better for EVERYONE. Just look at the states that have raised the minimum wage this year, they’re seeing higher employment growth than the states that didn’t. A recent article on Salon.com is a perfect example of this: “I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame“.

Overall, I think Linker has a great message to send to the masses. However, I think he could have thought a little bit more about his delivery and wording to make his meaning clearer and could have made an effort to not sound biased. But that doesn’t mean his article should not be read and shared and discussed.

Even if you agree with someone’s overall point does not mean you should not critically examine what they say.

 

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Just so we’re clear…

Just so we're clear...

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July 1, 2014 · 8:16 pm

“In America, ev…

“In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted,”

– U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II 

 

Found this quote in reference to KY’s acknowledgment of same-sex marriages, but it has so many more relevant applications to current social justice issues. For instance, it could definitely be used in reference to the recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.

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July 1, 2014 · 5:12 pm

Ohio bill would restrict abortion coverage

After reading the above article, I decided to write a letter to Rep. John Becker. For contact info, please visit http://www.ohiohouse.gov/john-becker.

 

Representative John Becker, District 65

77 S. High St 
12th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215

 

Mr. Becker,

I recently read an article on House Bill 351 and your intention to ban public employees or those on Medicaid from having coverage for certain forms of birth control. As someone who was born and raised in Cincinnati, I wanted to add my voice to the others who are asking you to rethink your decision.

Firstly, IUDs do not cause abortions, they merely prevent pregnancy like other birth control methods. If you are not a medical doctor, your personal views on the matter are not relevant. You are literally forcing your personal, misinformed views on the Ohioan populace. If you want to rule Ohio effectively, you must use verified facts and evidence to back up your claims.

Secondly, if you’re still convinced that birth control should not be covered, then how do you feel about male-based birth control such as Vasogel? It’s a gel for men that renders sperm immotile and ineffective, thereby preventing the fertilization of an egg and consequent implantation of said egg. Nearly all birth control methods, whether for men or women, prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If you’re going to ban IUDs, then it would follow logically that you would ban all forms that prevent implantation.

Thirdly, birth control is necessary for many women who have medical conditions like endrometriosis or for lowering the risk of cancer. If you’re so concerned about not wasting taxpayers’ money on prescription drugs relating to sexual activities, then why have penis pumps and other male-oriented sexual prescriptions received millions of dollars of federal funding over the years? Medicare has spent $172 million on penis pumps in the last five years alone. Viagra has also received $819 million and Cyalis (erectile dysfunction medication) more than $782 million. Should taxpayers pay for old men to have erect penises and not for women either to have sex without the risk of getting pregnant, to not get pregnant from sexual assault, or to treat a medical condition?

And, lastly, if rapists should be executed instead of the human products of rape, then it would logically follow that you intend to execute all rapists, including the teenage Steubenville rapists. Out of Ohio’s population of 11,485,910, there were a total of 4,419 reported forcible rape cases in 2008. And, in 2007, the average age of an arrested rapist (both men and women offenders) was 31 years old. The largest age range is 54.6% that were 18 to 29 years old, so you would be executing a significant amount of young men and women who are in the prime of their lives.

Please rethink your decision to pursue this bill. It could have huge, long-lasting consequences on the Ohioan populace. If your focus is “the right to life,” think about what quality of life you’re forcing these children and parents into. Just because they’re simply alive does not mean they are living. You are forcing these parents to forgo further education and to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, leaving no time for attentive and worthwhile child-raising. These children who are products of rape and incest put an enormous emotional and financial strain on their parents, possibly forcing them into a love-less and abusive marriage for the sake of the child. Children from unhappy families tend not to succeed in school or in life, thereby forcing down the success of the state of Ohio. If you were truly invested in their “right to life,” you would understand that it’s the quality of life that matters. Please rethink your decision.

Best Wishes,

Claire Jones

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June 4, 2014 · 7:04 pm

Birth Control Rule Altered to Allay Religious Objections

By 

Published: February 1, 2013

“WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday proposed yet another compromise to address strenuous objections from religious organizations about a policy requiring health insurance plans to provide free contraceptives, but the change did not end the political furor or legal fight over the issue.

The proposal could expand the number of groups that do not need to pay directly for birth control coverage, encompassing not only churches and other religious organizations, but also some religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and social service agencies. Health insurance companies would pay for the coverage.

The latest proposed change is the third in the last 15 months, all announced on Fridays, as President Obama has struggled to balance women’s rights, health care and religious liberty. Legal experts said the fight could end up in the Supreme Court.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the proposal would guarantee free coverage of birth control “while respecting religious concerns.”

But Kyle Duncan, the general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, which is representing employers in eight lawsuits, said the litigation would continue. “Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious freedom of millions of Americans,” Mr. Duncan said.

Religious groups dissatisfied with the new proposal want a broader, more explicit exemption for religious organizations and protection for secular businesses owned by people with religious objections to contraceptive coverage.

The tortured history of the rule has played out in several chapters. The Obama administration first issued standards requiring insurers to cover contraceptives for women in August 2011, less than a month after receiving recommendations to that effect from the National Academy of Sciences. In January 2012, the administration rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided by Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities. After a firestorm of criticism from Catholic bishops and Republican lawmakers, the administration offered a possible compromise that February. But it left many questions unanswered and did not say how coverage would be provided for self-insured religious organizations.

Under the new proposal, churches and nonprofit religious organizations that object to providing birth control coverage on religious grounds would not have to pay for it.

Female employees could get free contraceptive coverage through a separate plan that would be provided by a health insurer. Institutions objecting to the coverage would not pay for the contraceptives.

Insurance companies would bear the cost of providing the separate coverage, with the possibility of recouping the costs through lower health care expenses resulting in part from fewer births.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who helped develop the proposal as deputy director of the federal office that regulates health insurance, said: “Under the proposed rule, insurance companies — not churches or other religious organizations — will cover contraceptive services. No nonprofit religious institution will be forced to pay for or provide contraceptive coverage, and churches and houses of worship are specifically exempt.”

Moreover, she said, “Nonprofit religious organizations like universities, hospitals or charities with religious objections won’t have to arrange, contract or pay for coverage of these services for their employees or students.”

But some of the lawsuits objecting to the plan have been filed by businesses owned by people who say they have religious reasons for not wanting to provide contraceptive coverage. Under the proposed rule, “for-profit secular employers” would have to provide birth control coverage to employees, even if the business owners had a religious objection to the idea.

Insurers said they were studying the proposal, but had questions about how it would work. Many insurers asked where they would get the money to pay for birth control pills if — as the proposed rule says — they cannot “impose any premium, fee or other charge” for the coverage. The 2010 health care law generally requires employers to provide women with coverage at no cost for “preventive care and screenings,” which the administration says must include contraceptives for women under most health plans.

The administration says employers must cover sterilization and the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including emergency contraceptive pills, like those known as ella and Plan B One-Step. Employers that do not provide such coverage will be subject to financial penalties.

On Friday, the administration proposed a complicated arrangement to finance contraceptive coverage for employees of religious organizations that serve as their own insurers. The federal government would require health insurance companies to help defray the cost. In return, the insurers would get a credit against the fees they pay for the privilege of selling health insurance to millions of Americans in new online markets run by the federal government.

The government was already planning to charge user fees to the insurers to pay for the operation of those marketplaces, known as insurance exchanges.

Ms. Brooks-LaSure said the user fees were “not a cost to the federal government or to taxpayers.” Rather, she said, the fees are “private dollars paid by private insurers that choose to operate in the exchanges.”

Insurers said, however, that the cost of user fees, like other expenses, would often be passed on to consumers.

The proposal also said insurers could not impose any annual or lifetime limits on the dollar value of contraceptive benefits. But the administration added that “the cost of the contraceptive coverage could include a reasonable margin,” or profit, for insurers.

Administration officials tried to address some objections on Friday by proposing a new definition of “religious employers” that could be exempted from the requirement to provide contraceptive coverage.

The administration affirmed that the exemption would apply to churches and other houses of worship and that it would also be available to certain affiliated nonprofit groups that certify, in writing, that they have religious objections to such coverage.

Now, under the proposal, the administration said, “a house of worship would not be excluded from the exemption because, for example, it provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths.”

The administration had previously agreed to allow exemptions for some religious employers. But church groups said the exemption was so narrow that it was almost meaningless. Previously, a religious employer could not have qualified for the exemption if it employed or served large numbers of people of a different faith, as many Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies do.

Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, said, “The revised definition is an important win for religious institutions because it clarifies conscience protections for entities like Catholic hospitals, charities and universities.” Mr. Schneck was a leader of Catholics for Obama last year.

The administration said that the new definition, though simpler, “would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption beyond that which was intended” in final rules issued last year.

Reaction was wide ranging. Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the policy affirmed that “your boss does not get to decide whether you can have birth control.”

But Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey and co-chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus in Congress, said the proposal represented “neither an accommodation nor a compromise” and provided “no relief for small businesses run by people of faith.””

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February 2, 2013 · 4:39 pm

FDA Allows College Campus To Make Contraception More Accessible With Plan B Vending Machine

By Tara Culp-Ressler on Jan 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

“The FDA will allow a Pennsylvania-area college to continue dispensing emergency contraception to its students through a vending machine, just as it has done for the past three years, after a politically-motivated uproar last spring prompted a review of the university’s practices.

Back in February, Shippensburg University landed in the national spotlight for installing what may have been the nation’s first Plan B vending machine — allowing students to receive the morning after pill by inserting $25 dollars into the machine in the nurse’s office, rather than potentially being forced to delay taking the pill by scheduling an appointment. Under FDA guidelines, Plan B is already available to everyone over the age of 17 without a prescription, so the university simply verified their rolls to make sure all of their students were above that age as well.

After controversy over Obamacare’s contraception mandate first erupted last year, fueled by the anti-choice community’s widely perpetrated myth that Plan B induces abortions, emergency contraception became more controversial. But the morning after pill (which is safer than aspirin) simply prevents pregnancy within the first 72 hours after intercourse. And recent investigations into universities’ health policies have suggested that it’s not as accessible as it needs to be on college campuses. Shippensburg installed its vending machine after 85 percent of the student body said they thought Plan B should be available on campus grounds.

And after reviewing Shippensburg’s vending machine — which now requires students to swipe their IDs, an extra step to verify they attend the college and are above 17 years old — FDA officials have concluded there’s nothing wrong with expanding access to birth control in this way. “FDA looked at publicly available information about Shippenburg’s vending program and spoke with university and campus health officials and decided not to take any regulatory actions,” an agency official told Public Opinion.

Dispensing birth control in vending machines helps make contraceptive methods directly available without an adult intermediary, which can make a big difference for the teens and young adults who may be too embarrassed to ask a nurse or a pharmacist about it. Last spring, when Shippensburg’s vending machine first drew public attention, junior Chelsea Wehking told the Associated Press she supports it for exactly that reason. “I think it’s great that the school is giving us this option,” she said, explaining she has “heard some kids say they’d be too embarrassed” to make a trip into the surrounding small town to purchase Plan B.”

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January 30, 2013 · 4:42 pm