I like to listen to progressive talk radio. There’s a radio show on in the afternoon (while I’m spending quality time with all my freeway friends) hosted by David Cruz on our local prog talk station, KTLK. Normally, I don’t call talk shows for a variety of reasons – they keep you on hold for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes before you get your 30 seconds on the air before they cut you off in mid-word. That’s not my idea of a good time.
Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Cruz was going on about a court ruling by a judge who ruled that the Plan B pill should be available over the counter at pharmacies “without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age, including those younger than 17.” He was horrified by that idea, and used his 15 year old granddaughter as his reason why. He said that our daughters and granddaughters should be able to talk to their parents – rather than be able to simply go to the nearest CVS and buy Plan B. He also opined that parents should be notified.
I vehemently disagree with that opinion. So I called in to his show and tried to get my point across, i.e., that what we really need to do is make sure our teens are educated about sex AND have birth control freely available – because teens are going to have sex, just as the sun comes up every morning. Of course I was cut off in the middle of a sentence, and Mr. Cruz went on to call me a “fatalist” and a “cynic” and implied that I was saying that talking to parents was stupid and unnecessary and that all teens wanted to do was “screw, screw, screw.”
This was totally not what I said. I burned the rest of the way home, and when I flung myself into my chair in front of my computer, I sent Mr. Cruz the following email:
Hi, David – I’m Kate from Santa Monica; we spoke on the air this afternoon with regard to the availability of Plan B.
After our call, as I listened, I realized that you completely misrepresented my point. You called me a cynic and a fatalist – and neither are true. I am a realist.
I completely agree with you that kids/teens should have loving parents who are involved in their lives. That is a precious gift that I never had. I was beaten and abused and molested by my stepfather. Neither of my parents gave a damn where I was. I had my first boyfriend at 16 – I believed that he was the first person in my life who truly loved me. Of course I had sex with him. Fortunately for me, even as a 16 year old, I was intelligent and well-read enough to protect myself. 16 going on 40, you know?
Girls who have loving, caring parents, David, are NOT the ones who need Plan B. They aren’t the ones who are most at risk of getting pregnant at 15 or 16 or 17.
Girls who have abusive, alcoholic, uncaring, absent parents ARE the ones who need the protection of Plan B.
Those girls are the ones who are most likely to look for love and take it wherever they find it, even if it means having sex at 16. If those girls get pregnant, where are they to go? To their abusive parents? All sorts of very bad things happen to those girls (I know – they happened to me); she could end up pregnant and alone on the street – easy prey for pimps and criminals. She could have a back alley abortion and die. She could drink Drano because someone told her that they read on the internet that it would end her pregnancy. Or she could end up as a prostitute, hooked on drugs and pregnant. She could go ahead and have that baby and perhaps it would end up brain damaged from drugs/alcohol or dead at the hands of the girl’s abusive boyfriend – because that kind of abuse perpetuates itself.
Because abuse is all you know, that’s the kind of man you end up with. It happened to me. I married an abusive man who beat me and threatened to kill me on many occasions.
These are the girls who need Plan B. They can go to the drugstore, buy the pill, take it and NOT get pregnant – and perhaps survive their miserable childhood – like I did – and go on to make something good out of their lives.
All this does NOT make me a cynic or a fatalist. It does not mean that I don’t think parents are important – oh, god, they are so very important, and that is something I never had. What this makes me is a woman who is very, very fortunate to have survived my childhood and my marriage who doesn’t want any other teenaged girl to go through what I did.
Sorry for the long email, but hearing you misrepresent what I said pissed me off.
That brings me to President Obama. I believe he’s completely wrong on this one, too. This excuse that we don’t know the effects of the morning-after pill on young girls is ridiculous – because we most certainly know the long term effects of pregnancy on young girls.
Women – of all ages – have the right to make their own choices. As it turns out, Mr. Cruz has a daughter who got pregnant at 17. Perhaps if she had had access to Plan B, her life might have gone a different direction. Having a child at 17 is almost guaranteed to destroy any opportunity a girl has to go to college and have a career. If it doesn’t completely destroy a young woman’s opportunities, it most certainly puts huge obstacles in her way.
I am not a fatalist or a cynic. I am a realist – who lived through hell and was lucky to have survived my childhood. So, Mr. Cruz? Remember this: girls who have those wonderful loving parents don’t need Plan B. The girls who had ugly abusive parents like mine are the ones who do need Plan B.