Today, the Associated Press ran with a story headlined "Rift Grows Over Unintended Pregnancies." Meanwhile, via Feminist Weekly News comes this encouraging bulletin: An overwhelming percentage of Americans believe "that birth control should be available without discrimination and that schools should provide comprehensive sex education." Well, hmm. It seems the real "rift" is between lawmakers -- those who are listening to the general public's beliefs about pregnancy prevention and those who aren't.
The root of this political rift is the Prevention First initiative, which would create better access to and information about contraceptives, boost family planning and comprehensive sex education funds, and make emergency contraception available to rape victims at all hospitals. Conservatives are fighting the initiative because it would, uh, allow women more reproductive control: "There's a utopian view that women ought to be able to have sex any time they want to without consequences -- that's the bottom line of all these bills," Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America told the AP.
But most Americans actually share this "utopian" view. Feminist Weekly News summarizes the results of a recent survey of Americans' views on pregnancy prevention thus: Eighty-six "percent of Americans believe that safe birth control, including emergency contraception, should be available to couples. Comprehensive sex education in schools receives the support of 88 percent of Americans. Eighty-one percent of Americans say that women must have access to family planning services in order to achieve equality."
Conservatives hope that the president will veto the initiative if it actually makes it to his desk. But, if he does, as Rep. Louise Slaughter says, he "will show himself to be extremely outside the mainstream."