Kathleen Parker writes in The Washington Post that she's horrified at the thought that the morning-after pill might be freely available to teenage girls:
They lost me at the word "women."What's curious about this is that Parker didn't always feel unmitigated horror at the thought of teen sexuality -- or at least she wasn't always horrified by the thought of some teenagers having sex. And by "some teenagers" I mean "male teenagers."
As so often happens in contemporary debate, arguments being proffered in support of allowing teenagers as young as 15 (and possibly younger) to buy the "morning-after pill" without adult supervision are false on their premise....
Fifteen-year-olds, where the Obama administration wants to set the limit, are girls, not women.
Specifically, her own sons.
Back in 1999, the state of Oklahoma was considering a law that would define sex with a person too intoxicated to give consent as rape. Parker wrote an outraged column about the bill; she expressed scorn for one provision that didn't even make it into the final bill:
Another deleted provision defined rape as sexual intercourse with any female younger than 18. You think our prisons are overflowing now? Imagine prosecuting 17-year-old boys for having sex with their girlfriends.To Parker, this was personal:
As it stands, the bill draws the line at 16. In other words, any female younger than 16 who has sex with any male of any age, ipso facto, has been raped. Never mind that the girl may have been equally responsible. I've heard that sometimes girls actually request sex with their boyfriends, but it's probably just a vicious rumor....
As a mother of show-stopper sons who are natural-born chick magnets, I'm outraged.How old were her sons at the time? I don't have a full answer, but two years earlier, she wrote a column in which she mentioned that one of her sons was 12. So by the time of the Oklahoma column, he was presumably 14.
So, to sum up:
Back in 1999, Parker was horrified at the thought that young men could be charged with rape for having sex with partners under 16. She cited her own sons, one of whom was 14 and a "chick magnet."
Now she's horrified that 15-year-old girls might be able to buy emergency contraception because, dammit, they're just kids.
I don't think she's become more prudish about teen sex over the years. I think it just appalled her back in 1999 that teen sexuality could lead to negative consequences for her sons, and boys like her sons, who might attract sex partners just by dint of being "chick magnets." (They're not even seeking partners! Slutty girls just swarm to them!)
But now we're talking about girls facing consequences for ten sex. That's different. They're the same kinds of tramps who preyed on her entirely innocent sons; if something goes wrong for them, they have to pay.
Just to be clear about this: I don't think a teenager who has non-coercive sex with someone close in age should be charged with rape -- I agree with Parker about that.
But I also think it's appropriate to make emergency contraception available to teenage girls. Because, yes, boys will be boys and girls will be girls -- and I don't want to punish just one of those genders.