The Washington Times

Every so often appears a piece of writing that just takes your breath away for the way in which it encapsulates the vacuous self-centeredness and resentment into which our world of unprecedented convenience and comfort invites the human personality to dissipate. Such was The Post’s “Outlook” piece Sunday, “What Happens When There is No Plan B?”  

It begins with the following claim: “The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn’t want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.” OK, so we know from the second sentence that “conservative politics” and/or its Bush administration agents had not “literally” overpowered the woman, hauled her off to the clinic, and “forced” her to undergo the involuntary termination of her pregnancy. Still, the explanation of how you come to make such a claim even figuratively has just got to be a doozy.     

And so it is. Of a Thursday evening in March, our overworked author and her overworked husband found “some rare couple time” together and found themselves “in a sudden rush of passion,” in the course of which she “failed to insert her diaphragm.”    

So she called up her doctor the next day to get a prescription for “Plan B,” the hormone pill that prevents pregnancy if taken within 72 hours. Her ob-gyn, however, does not prescribe it, she found out, nor does her internist. The midwifery practice she had used before would prescribe Plan B, but not by phone, and she couldn’t get an appointment that day. “I was pretty much out of options — short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book.” So she decided to take her chances.     

Weeks later, the home pregnancy test came back positive. “When I realized the seriousness of my predicament, I became angry. I knew that Plan B, which could have prevented it, was supposed to have been available over the counter by now.” But conservatives at the Food and Drug Administration held up approval. So now she had to get an abortion.  

It turns out that that’s not so easy, either. If she did it in Virginia, it would be a two-day process, first a counseling session followed by a 24-hour waiting period. She didn’t have two days to take off from work. So she came into the District to a clinic, where she had run a gamut of pro-life demonstrators “who chanted loudly about Jesus.” She found herself thinking, “This all could have been stopped way before this baby was conceived if they had just let me have that damn pill.” The clinic was crowded and the doctor was an hour and a half late, caught in Saturday cherry blossom traffic. She got there at 10 and didn’t get out until 4:30.   

“It was,” she writes, “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.”     

Awesome. Let’s play a little game, shall we? Taking the facts as stated, complete the following sentence: “This all could have been stopped way before this baby was conceived if…” 

If the author had inserted her diaphragm. If she and her husband had an agreement not to engage in potentially baby-making sex without contraception. If she and her husband had brought their amours to a climax on a non-baby-making note. If she had availed herself of an advance prescription for emergency contraception to have on hand for such a case, a practice recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. If she had been willing to dial a few more doctors from the Virginia phone book until she found one who would sympathize with her predicament. Perhaps if she had impressed the urgency of her situation on the midwifery practice.     

But all of these “ifs” would suggest that the author of this article bears some personal responsibility for her situation, which would seem to be completely out of the question, at least when you can blame the “conservative politics of the Bush administration” for your “unwanted abortion” — for which, in the final indignity, the doctor was late.

I wonder what would have happened if Plan B was available over-the-counter but the CVS was out of stock. Can you imagine the bother of having to go to another drugstore, or perhaps a third?     

Our author is one “Dana L.,” who identifies herself in the piece as “a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary schoolers” and whom the contributor’s note identifies as “a lawyer and writer living in Virginia” who out “of concern for her family’s privacy requested that her last name not be published.” To all the 42-year-old lawyer-writer mothers of two grade school kids in Virginia named Dana L. who are not the author of this article, my heartfelt condolences. What an ordeal you must be going through.