Being a wonky data type I thought I would start out with a statistic. According to a CDC study, 50% of pregnancies in the US are un-planned. I am sure most are welcome news, but what of those that are not? In the US, unlike China till recently, we have the unfettered right to reproduce. We also have a less protected right not to reproduce, and that is where it gets tricky. Obviously, abstinence works. But there are two issues: 1) If everyone practiced it there would be no more human race, and 2) Depending on your views, we are either designed by God or genetics to want to have sex at some point in our live. So what do we do?
I am thinking about all this as I am driving through rural Pennsylvania on my way to West Virginia. These are overwhelmingly red counties I am visiting, but right now none are more than an hour from a clinic. Fittingly PA has the most incongruous motto for my road trip: Virtue, liberty, and independence. So far no one I have met in PA actually knows the virtue part of the state motto. The focus seems to be on independence. Regardless of age or gender, everyone I talk to is against an intrusive government. However, if you are on the right the commitment ends with regards to your sex life.
My just-past-millennial waitress thinks anything beyond a first trimester abortion should be punishable by prison, and people pop over the counter plan b pills rather than “being responsible for their actions”. Whereas, the millennial woman in the ice cream parlor bemoans the lack of easy access to plan b or c medication. She recounts a friend who ended up having a medical procedure because it was too difficult to obtain a pill. Despite the lower income status of both women neither thinks price is an obstacle.
What ever your views on reproductive rights or religion are, for most people consensual sex is fun. If it were not, then we as a species would have died out long ago. This is probably why we have been having this debate for over 3,000 years.
On to West Virginia….