Yesterday, an Alabama Senate panel approved a measure that will require women who take the morning after pill to do so in the presence of a physician. The pill's available over the counter to women 17 and over and it could not be simpler to take unless you absorbed it by thinking spermy thoughts, so either Alabama state Senators think that women are so stupid that they can't be trusted to swallow a single pill without accidentally putting it in their eyes or butts, or they're enacting yet more laws to interfere with a sexually active woman's right to not be pregnant. I'm not into gambling, but if I was, $10 says it's the latter.
The measure will now proceed to the full Senate for a vote, and if recent behavior of the Alabama legislature is any indicator of how they'll handle this, it'll probably die, but only after they embarrass themselves debating it for awhile. This isn't even the worst iteration of the Women Can't Take Their Own Damn Pills bill; an earlier version would have required ladies to undergo a completely unnecessary medical exam before taking the pill.
It's not rocket science to understand that this measure isn't designed to promote anyone's health; it's just designed to inconvenience women who are already in a stressful Morning After Pill situation and waste precious time, which is of the essence after the condom breaks. Forcing women to make an appointment with a doctor and then wait and then take the pill in front of the doctor isn't "protecting life," it's just "promoting unwanted pregnancy" and "making getting emergency contraception a huge pain in the ass." And I'm sure doctors don't appreciate being told what to do by moralizing, votemongering legislators, either.
Questions remain about what stupid pro-life charade legislators want to force doctors to act out this time. Will they have to point a woman in the direction of her own mouth? Tell her how to use her swallowing mechanism? Make her write "I must not let him bust a nut in my hoo-ha" a thousand times? Show pictures of adorable zygotes and tell her scary stories about how the morning after pill causes having your period in front of your crush, a la every entry ever in a teen magazine's embarrassing moments section?
And if it's cool to require women to have a doctor supervise her take an over-the-counter medication, what's next? Tampon insertion assistance? I'm good with tampons, Alabama. I don't need legislative help with that, too.
Update: The requirement that a woman take the pill in front of a doctor applies to RU-486, the abortion pill, not the morning after pill. Sources we consulted in writing this post conflated the two — the morning after pill does not lead to abortion. It just prevents pregnancy.
Laws requiring women take RU-486 in the presence of a physician unfairly disenfranchise rural women and endanger access to the abortion drug for women who otherwise would have difficulty accessing the care they need.