Fightback: How French Deal With Teen Pregnancy

by Sylvia Weinstein

Once again the French have shown more common sense than this country. The government of France is going to dispense the morning-after pill to young women in junior high schools and high schools.

A nonprescription pill called Norlevo will be included in the school nurse’s kit along with band aids and iodine. Norlevo is described by the French government as a “late-contraception” pill because it prevents an already fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Though the French minister of education made the decision to dispense the morning-after pill, surprising even the inventors and manufacturers of the pill, public commentary on the issue involved nurses’ unions, students’ unions, cardinals, parents, doctors, women’s groups, and representatives of the ruling Socialist Party.

All seemed to accept the assurances of the education minster that while no solution was perfect, on balance the decision had been “carefully considered” and “humanely necessary.”

Humanely necessary-did you get that folks? The government education minister wanted to act humanely toward teenage women. How unusual, especially here in the good old U.S. of A.

We have a presidential campaign with four men running around like chickens with their heads cut off-all trying to win the support of pro-lifers. McCain and Bush both oppose abortion; Bradley and Gore both say they are “pro-choice”-with qualifications. Gore says although he’s personally opposed to abortion he will uphold the law of the land-that means Roe v. Wade.

This means that if Al Gore gets pregnant, he personally will not have an abortion-and that’s all right with me.

Why is a women’s right to choose being debated in an election campaign? What about the right to own slaves-does that belong in an election campaign? What right do right-wing, religious male bigots have to say anything about a women’s right to choose? You might as well allow Adolph Hitler a say in circumcision of Jewish males.

What is happening in this country is a serious attempt to do away with Roe v. Wade-the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that said the issue of abortion is between a woman and her doctor.

Since that time, law after law has been passed by states to chop away at “choice.” States have passed parental rights laws that only allow women under the age of 18 to have an abortion with their parents’ consent. States have passed laws that require women to undergo counseling by anti-choice forces 24 hours before getting an abortion.

States are passing laws that will not allow late-term abortions that might save a woman’s life. More than 25 years after Roe v. Wade, 86 percent of all U.S. counties have no abortion provider. Family planning clinics have been fire-bombed; clinic workers have been murdered-all in the name of saving the fetus.

The pill that is being given away in French high schools has been banned in this country and is still forced to undergo testing before getting approval from the FDA.

Unfortunately, the women’s’ movement, which used to organize demonstrations of hundreds of thousands in the streets demanding abortion rights, is now giving wine and cheese parties for presidential candidates who should all be neutered for the sake of humankind.

Only when women and their supporters take the streets again will they be able to regain all the rights they have lost these last few years. For themselves and for their daughters-for their rights.

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