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June 04, 2006

The DimWittery Chronicles, Part I

Who was it who once said it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?

Top ten signs you should not be allowed to wade into the gene pool:

1. You passed your 40th birthday without acquiring enough common sense to realize that birth control only works if you use it all the time:

I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.

...and your husband failed to use a condom. And you both failed the impulse-control test. Big time.

2. You compound your initial error in judgment with further acts of blithering stupidity:

The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy -- but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we're both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren't planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception. I wanted to make sure that our momentary lapse didn't result in a pregnancy.

In other words, you wanted to preserve the delicious thrill that comes from taking risks, while absolving yourself of the messy consequences that so often result. Doubtless this explains why, though you were sure you wanted no more children, you didn't have a tubal ligation as I did at 23 when it became obvious my husband wanted no more children. I'm sure this must also be why your husband didn't have a vasectomy.

3. Last time I checked, hope was not an effective family planning strategy:

The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given. Neither did my internist. The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day. The weekend -- and the end of the 72-hour window -- was approaching.

But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options -- short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book -- I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best.

Hmmm... have an unwanted abortion, or miss the kids' school bus one day? It's the choices in life that kill you. And after that, the rest of the day was completely shot. Letting your fingers do the walking is so time-consuming.

4. And they say denial is just a river in Egypt:

Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.

5. I've always heard it said the best defense is a good offense. Don't get mad. Just blame someone else:

I knew that Plan B, which could have prevented it, was supposed to have been available over the counter by now. But I also remembered hearing that conservative politics have held up its approval.

Perhaps if you find the idea of having an abortion so upsetting, you should have thought ahead. This is what adults do:

In most states, the morning-after pill is available only by prescription. Also, it is important to note that some pharmacies may not stock the medication. Because the pill works best when taken quickly after unprotected intercourse, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to get an advance prescription — to have on hand, just in case.

6. And once again, a self-absorbed woman who can't be relied upon to take responsibility for her own reproductive destiny is pissed because the law wants to protect underaged girls... such as, perhaps one day, her own daughter:

My anger propelled me to get to the bottom of the story. It turns out that in December 2003, an FDA advisory committee, whose suggestions the agency usually follows, recommended that the drug be made available over the counter, or without a prescription. Nonetheless, in May 2004, the FDA top brass overruled the advisory panel and gave the thumbs-down to over-the-counter sales of Plan B, requesting more data on how girls younger than 16 could use it safely without a doctor's supervision.

Apparently, one of the concerns is that ready availability of Plan B could lead teenage girls to have premarital sex. Yet this concern -- valid or not -- wound up penalizing an over-the-hill married woman for having sex with her husband. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

The truth of the matter is that the FDA was concerned about the medical effects of unsupervised, repeated use of Plan B by young girls who might misuse the drug. They were also worried because there have been no clinical trials on adolescents:

Advocates argue that women know better than to use the morning-after pill often, so there is no risk of over-use of this high-dose drug. Yet, in the label comprehension study submitted by Barr Labs to the FDA, a full one-third of adult women who read the instructions for Plan B did not understand that the morning-after pill is not to be used as a regular form of birth control. The number increased among those with low literacy and less than high school education. Over one-third did not understand the need to take the second pill at 12 hours after the first.6 The chairman of the FDA Advisory Committee that reviewed the comprehension study called it an “overall failure.”7 The maximum safe dose for levornorgestrel (the active ingredient in Plan B) has not been determined by scientific study, or the effects of overdose.8 It is unknown whether there is a maximum safe daily dose, monthly dose or yearly dose. The health risks for those who may use Plan B repeatedly (ranging in age from menarche—as young as 9—to women in their 50s) at one time or over years are unknown.

While advocates brush away concern over repeated use, stating that women will use it only in “emergencies,” experience shows that, when easily available, the morning-after pill is relied upon often. In fact, promoters of the morning-after pill describe “emergencies” as suspected contraceptive failure or “any time unprotected sexual intercourse occurs.”9 Repeat use is only discouraged based on its insufficient efficacy as a birth control method, not due to safety concerns.10 Dr. Ben-Maimon of Barr testified at an FDA Advisory Committee hearing: “Well, I think that there is no question that the data suggests that women who have emergency contraception use it more frequently.”11

I suppose it is understandable that a 42 year-old mother of two who hasn't figured out how to prevent conception, get an advance prescription, or use the Yellow Pages in a time-sensitive situation might not possess the critical thinking skills to see how children might fail to exercise good judgment if OTC morning after pills were available. Birth control pills are not dispensed except by prescription and under a doctor's supervision, yet a high-dose birth control pill is supposed to be available OTC to anyone - even children - who wants to buy it.

No problem - you have needs too. The hell with worrying about what a frightened or irresponsible child or a marginally literate woman might do to her own health. It's more important to protect affluent adults from the inconvenience of having to deal with their own irresponsibility.

7.

To this day, I don't know why my doctors wouldn't prescribe Plan B -- whether it was because of moral opposition to contraception or out of fear of political protesters or just because they preferred not to go there.

In any event, they were also partly responsible for why I was stuck that Friday, and why I was ultimately forced to confront the decision to terminate my third pregnancy.

To this day, apparently you still have not figured out that it was a combination of your own cluelessness beforehand and laziness afterwards that caused your predicament.

8.

Calling doctors, I felt like a pariah when I asked whether they provided termination services. Finally, I decided to check the Planned Parenthood Web site to see whether its clinics performed abortions. They did, but I learned that if I had the abortion in Virginia, the procedure would take two days because of a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, which requires that you go in first for a day of counseling and then wait a day to think things over before returning to have the abortion. Because of work and the children, I couldn't afford two days off, so I opted to have the procedure done on a Saturday in downtown D.C. while my husband took the kids to the Smithsonian.

Ending a human life can be so inconvenient. Embarrassing too. Interesting how "the procedure" became "termination services" when you were shopping for doctors (something you didn't have time to do on Friday when it mattered) and "abortion" when you called Planned Parenthood.

9. ...and worst of all, they treated me just like some clueless teenager who'd been knocked up by her baby-daddy:

I arrived shortly before 10 a.m. in a bleak downpour, trusting that someone had recorded my appointment. I shuffled to the front door through a phalanx of umbrellaed protesters, who chanted loudly about Jesus and chided me not to go into that house of abortion.

All the while, I was thinking that if religion hadn't been allowed to seep into American politics the way it has, I wouldn't even be there. This all could have been stopped way before this baby was conceived if they had just let me have that damn pill.

After passing through the metal detector inside the building, I entered the Planned Parenthood waiting room; it was like the waiting room for a budget airline -- crammed full of people, of all races, and getting busier by the moment. I was by far the oldest person there (other than one girl's mom). The wait seemed endless. No one looked happy.

10. But every cloud has a silver lining. If all else fails, simply blame the BushReich:

The procedure itself took about five minutes. I finally walked out of the building at 4:30, 6 1/2 hours after I had arrived.

It was a decision I am sorry I had to make. It was awful, painful, sickening. But I feel that this administration gave me practically no choice but to have an unwanted abortion because the way it has politicized religion made it well-nigh impossible for me to get emergency contraception that would have prevented the pregnancy in the first place.

They prevented you from getting an advance prescription as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists?

The White House prevented you from discussing this in advance with your doctor?

The President's religion prevented you using birth control in the first place, or from having your own "Plan B" in case it failed? Perhaps it broke your dial-y finger so you couldn't contact another doctor that Friday? Oh yeah. The school bus was coming.

If only it had been the Clue Bus.

Update: Darleen does Dana. Go. Now.

Posted by Cassandra at June 4, 2006 09:06 AM

Comments

it was like the waiting room for a budget airline -- crammed full of people, of all races, and getting busier by the moment.

Poor lass - she even had to wait for this abortion with people of other races. That was certainly the racist Bush's fault.

James Taranto is right - The Roe Effect is making Democrats extinct, (but not soon enough).

Posted by: MathMom at June 4, 2006 12:16 PM

Actually, after reading this I felt that my own IQ had been reduced by at least 50 points and I found myself wishing that the Clue Bus had hit this woman.

I think the federal government should have had some kind of program in place to prevent the psychic damage I've suffered as a result of reading this mind-numbingly cretinous op-ed. More proof that Bush is the worst president ever.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 4, 2006 12:32 PM

Well, such women have to be somebody's victim -- and since admitting that she was the victim of her own bad choices would be so demeaning.

http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/179852.php

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at June 4, 2006 01:14 PM

Plan B is only a different doseage of conventional birth control pills, equal to something like ten of the low dose variety. I knew at least one sexually active female doctor back in the mid '90s who just kept a supply of pills around. If she had unprotected sex, she would take ten birth control pills the next morning. According to her, doctors rarely revealed that birth control pills could work this way. Their motivation, however, was not religious, but that they thought the widespread use of the pill as a "morning after" contraceptive would cause more women to have unprotected sex, which would be bad for other reasons.

Point is, there are all sorts of reasons for paternalism about Plan B, some religious, some not. So, should Plan B be easily available because some people are too stupid to plan ahead, or should it be by prescription only so that doctors can counsel stupid people not to have unsafe sex? It seems either way that the policy is hostage to stupid people.

Posted by: TigerHawk at June 4, 2006 02:17 PM

Stupid people can look out for themselves.

I'm not so sure about children. That's what bothers me. And it still seems a logical inconsitency to require a doctor's supervision for birth control pills but not for Plan B when they're essentially the same thing.

If I have to weigh the convenience of idiots against the safety of children and teens, guess what I'll pick, every time?

Posted by: Cassandra at June 4, 2006 02:33 PM

You could solve the issue with children by requiring the presentation of identification. We do that with booze, to greater effect than I think necessary, I might add.

Posted by: TigerHawk at June 4, 2006 02:53 PM

I don't get it. Did I not get the memo that says having unprotected sex was government directed? It must have gotten stuck behind the memo that says it's not your fault that eating 6 Big Macs a day made you fat, it's Ronald McDonald's fault. Jeez.

Posted by: SFC D at June 4, 2006 05:31 PM

Spd-o,
It's not stupid, just ironic.

The bitter irony of lost human potential, of those that were never born.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 4, 2006 06:16 PM

Among all the idiocy that this female engaged in, she made only THREE phone calls in an attempt on Friday to get a prescription. That's about 30 minutes, max.

She probably spends more time shopping for shoes or having her hair done.

*itch (first consonant of your choice)

heh.

My take.

Posted by: Darleen at June 4, 2006 07:35 PM

The truly sad statistic in this poor woman's commentary is that the dumb-ass has already reproduced....and the disgusting part is that the MSM will give her a pass on stupidity.And laziness.And self-pity.And hail her as a g-damn "victim".

I can hear her now--"Since we are in the worst economy since H. Hoover, my hubby works such long hours that we had to take the commercial break half-way through American Idol to grope each other.Well, one Miller Lite led to another, and I barely had time to put the Cheez-Whiz down,let alone find my diaphragm under the dirty clothes.It's just so wrong!".

Posted by: WildBlueYonder at June 4, 2006 08:34 PM

Well said, Don. All of it.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 4, 2006 08:40 PM

Geez Greg.

Sounds like Wednesday nite around our house, leaving out the diaphragm part... :)

Posted by: Cassandra at June 4, 2006 08:56 PM

I've read her rant twice now and missed the explanation how, after two kids, Bush somehow caused her to forget how babies are made.

Damn Republicans and their memory hole.

Posted by: Deb at June 4, 2006 09:22 PM

Among the many things that irk me about this woman is her outrage that a physician would dare to refuse to be an accomplice in her moral crime. 'Plan B', if used as designed, will often function as an abortifacient (and if anyone who supposedly should know, like a physician or pharmacist, would disagree with that statement, you might find it telling to get them to declare their position on pregnancy 'termination'). To say that I am somehow ethically required to provide a woman with an abortifacient, or tell her where to go get one if I am unwilling to provide it, is ethically ludicrous.

Posted by: Doc at June 4, 2006 10:58 PM

This woman is unbelievable. Something struck me, though. What if she had obtained the prescription, and taken the drug, and become pregnant anyway? Would she take responsibility for her actions in:
A. Getting pregnant and
B. Having an abortion?

Or, would it somehow, some way, still be Bush's fault??

Posted by: JannyMae at June 5, 2006 12:48 AM

My Catholic mom used Plan D on me--she disfigured my face when I was 6 as her abstinence only excuse to dad. This wrecked my chances for ever marrying. Anti-choicers conveniently ignore Christ's silence on birth control. His women followers relied on Jerusalem's RU-486-like Queen Anne's Lace weed to avoid divorce-causing smelly bladder and bowel childbirth tears (fistulas). Early Christianity was hijacked by pedophile heretics who demonized "selfish baby-killers" for criminal self-serving reasons. This led to torching 9 million women for stretch marks and cellulite "proof of witchcraft." The Church also pronounced sinful sex on Sundays as the cause of all birth defects. It's time couples put their health and dignity before the matricidal fraud of pedophile preachers and GOP adulterers. If abortion is good enough Henry Hyde's mistresses, it is good enough for all women not servicing GOP hypocrites.

Posted by: Heil Mary at June 5, 2006 02:29 AM

Is this previous comment even comprendable? Geepers. And I'm usually the worst around these parts.

A) If you aren't Catholic there's no problem with many things about contraception. I'm Catholic. Your milage may vary.
B) In a modern society, with contraception so bleedin' avaialable, there's no reason for this woman to get knocked up. My wife and I don't want children. We're both grad students who work 15 hour days in different depts, with LOADS of secondary responsibilities that come in between us synching up our schedules(like she's sleeping at 2:30am while I'm in lab). There's no bloody f'n reason for someone over the age of 18, barring rape, who doesn't want to get pregnant to get pregnant.
C) It's time for people to use their bloody frickin' brains for once to ENSURE their dignity and health instead of being bloomin' idiots and then panic after the fact. Being human means you can deny primal urges. But that's just no fun now is it?


When i was an undergrad I knew a girl who had to use RU-486. After her first dose she was laid out. On the floor sweating. VOmmiting. Cramping to the point she couldn't move. I lived downstairs and heard her cries for help. Had to call 911 for help. SHe could've died. Now, imagine this is a scared 14-18 year old HS girl trying to hide it all from her family. We call that a corpse. Where's the dignity and good health in that?

Woman had at least a dozen options to CHOOSE from, she had CHOICE, she chose not to exercise any of them. Bed. Made. Lay. It. And because of that, somehow, some of us who actually do give a _hit enough to kick in a frickin' door of someone we barely know but don't want little girls who would be silly and hide while taking this drug so we want it restricted(hell, we restrict things far less dangerous than this. Like ritalin which requires massive doses to cause damage over a period of months.).
But hey. Why let real dangers get in the way of agendas and Catholic bashing?
Sorry troll. No omelettes for you.

Posted by: ry at June 5, 2006 02:55 AM

Don't know why anyone would be surprised that Dana L. seems incapable of taking personal responsibility for her actions. After all, she's an attorney, and in their "business" it's practically her lawful duty to find someone else to (blame, sue, whatever).

Posted by: CayuteKitt at June 5, 2006 07:20 AM

Is she Liberal Larry's wife?

Posted by: Carrie at June 5, 2006 10:13 AM

No, but I can hear Liberal Larry's rant now that hys lyfe partner and he need to have a plan all because of that shrub in the White House. That they will need to take responsibility for their actions.

I wish the clue bus had hit this persyn. She is married, has money but goes to Planned Parenthood as her only option since she didn't want counseling to remind her of the consequences of her actions?

Posted by: Cricket at June 5, 2006 11:47 AM

Why didn't she go to the local hospital and cry rape and get it?

Posted by: Cricket at June 5, 2006 11:50 AM

Went to Darleen's and just about lost it. Finely delivered rant. One other reason I finally have unbent about pro-life: It seems that the pro choicers want to make sure that those who seek abortion services (screw calling it 'termination' or whatever euphemism that takes away the sting of what it really is to me, murder) do so because there is no other option. Not Darleen's twittiness, or other selfish morons who have the means to surgically prevent pregnancy.

Posted by: Cricket at June 5, 2006 11:58 AM

Apparently this woman and her husband made it into their 40s without ever hearing of the totally free, always available, 100% organic method of birth control known as "oral sex" -- now legal for consenting adults in all 50 states thanks to Lawrence v. Texas.

No one ever got preggers from a "pearl necklace," honey.

Posted by: Throbert McGee at June 5, 2006 12:22 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/06/02/DI2006060200911.html

This is Dana L's heartfelt discussion with all us mean spirited poopy headed conservatives. In one diatribe, she says she would have had the baby but she was concerned about the effects of high cholesterol meds on the baby. Well, that is what
diet and exercise are for. Oh, and people are so judgmental!

One other thing: If your family is complete, and you are sure, then why in the hell didn't either ONE of you get fixed so you don't forget the diaphragm, condom or to call the White House to get either the Shrub or Laura to take care of it for you?

Idiot and she added to the gene pool. Good night, this woman is a lawyer? I bet she works for the ACLU or some other liberal left wing think tank.

Posted by: Cricket at June 5, 2006 07:47 PM

Heil Mary,

You said My Catholic mom used Plan D on me--she disfigured my face when I was 6 as her abstinence only excuse to dad. This wrecked my chances for ever marrying.

I am very sorry for your misfortune when the mothers were handed out. No child should be abused. At the same time, I have a friend from when I lived overseas who was badly burned in a house fire. His arm, leg and hand are mangled, and his face is only about half human-looking. I believe his disfigurement caused the breakup of his first marriage. But, you know what? He has a personality that is infectious, so much so that he found a second wife. Yes! He didn't hide behind your excuse, that he'd never marry because of his disfigurement, he concentrated on the inside, and someone who was looking for a good man found him. I'm sure she had to think about it, but in the end, the wrapping paper didn't make a difference to her.

Another friend, this one my neighbor, was the foster mother to a child whose mother poured gasoline on him when he was a baby and lit him on fire. She and her husband adopted him to be their own child when he was two. He is now 15. They are in their late 60's. He has had to undergo annual surgeries to graft skin over the burned areas so there will be room for him to grow, since the grafted skin doesn't grow with him. His life is not perfect, but he's developed character and a personality, too. In time, some young woman will see that his scars do not define who he is, and will love him for who he became in spite of the evil that was visited upon him.

Your bitterness and sour outlook emanate from your post, and I'll bet they emanate from your face, as well. I hope that in time you develop a character that entices others to look beyond whatever happened to you, to see what's inside. In the process, I hope you develop something inside that is worth finding.

Posted by: MathMom at June 5, 2006 09:10 PM

Heil,

Peace... though you know none now.
I will think of you and pray for you.

Posted by: Ali at June 6, 2006 12:04 PM

First, I think the story is bogus. It is too pat, too complete. If someone could investigate the claimant and her whereabouts, I think it is possible that much of the story is made up to exagerrate the circumstances.

Second, I also thought my family was complete. The doctors told us so. Because of my wife's health, we were using the sponge. Now, I have three (!!!!) sponge babies (actually they are teenagers now).

How could this woman excise out of her body something that was put there with so much love? If there was rape involved, if there was her consenting to sex just to "please her man," maybe I would understand, but, she says

in a sudden rush of passion
Passion is the active processing of love.

So, she killed her love-child. How................... liberal of her!

Posted by: Izzy at June 6, 2006 01:11 PM

She didn't want to make the abortion decision, you see. Her husband is the one to have to have a vasectomy but they couldn't schedule it. If rare couple time is so precious that you don't want to be faced with the consequences of sex, then you make the time to see to it that you don't. And that means surgery or getting a prescription.

She didn't even address the fact that Plan B is available if you want to get it ahead of time Just in case.

Posted by: Cricket at June 6, 2006 01:18 PM

I've read and reread the article and the online discussion that followed and finally decided that some of it is make up. It is just too illogical, on one hand, and pat, on the other. This was written to be a cautionary tale for all of us nice, educated, married woman about what happens when the government interferes with open distribution of Plan B. (Notice she has to have her abortion around all those icky women who ARE NOTHING LIKE HER). I challenge the Wash Post to track down the docs and confirm this story, which strains all credulity.

Posted by: Beth at June 6, 2006 03:33 PM

You're not the only one Beth. Hours after reading it, I was still saying to my husband, "I cannot *believe* this woman!"

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2006 03:41 PM

My wife has missed picking up the kids from school a few times for various reasons.

Now I find out that having this happen may be worse than the prospect of having an abortion...along with people of different races....on the weekend!

I guess I should get her some flowers or something.

Posted by: Walsingham at June 6, 2006 04:02 PM

Flowers, sir, are *always* appropriate :)

And I think that wins Comment of the Day.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2006 04:12 PM

And notice, that the choice to have an abortion she never wanted to face, but when she did, she felt sullied and violated, as well as compared to a group and class of women with whom she has only her gender and pregnancy in common.

Posted by: Cricket at June 6, 2006 04:28 PM

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