As I have grown older, I have learned a few things. One of them is sage advice I have shared with many other elderly persons: we have to deal with things as they are, not as we may wish they were. At my age, there are many things I used to do that I can't now.
Earlier this week, the NC General Assembly voted to override Governor Roy Cooper's veto of the state's new abortion ban after 12 weeks.
I'm not going to detail the specific elements of the new law, nor am I going to argue the issue. Some say the decision will cost Republicans in thhe 2024 election; I'll also not speculate on the validity of that opinion.
One thing is certain: it is now the law in North Carolina.
I'll admit to having a mixed view of the abortion issue. I do not like abortion being used as a method of birth control, but I also don't like the legislature making morality decisions that I believe are more appropriately decided on a personal basis.
My life story includes a variety of experiences that color my opinion on the issue. I know that was 'an accident.' Both my brothers were breach births; and there is no way my father would have put my mother through that ordeal a third time intentionally.
I was born in a Catholic hospital in part because due to religious beliefs, the staff there would have saved the baby and not the mother if that choice had to be made.
I, too, was a breach birth--the worst of the three. My mother suffered terribly and risked her life to bring me into this world. She was so injured that she was unable to attend her father's funeral when he died a few days after I was born.
Another life experience that helped mold my opinion was the way my father, a good man who would not have wanted any animal to suffer, handled unwanted puppies. When one of our female dogs was in season, he would pen her up until it passed. Even so, on some occasions accidents happened and puppies were born. I remember my father eupehmising puppies because we were poor and couldn't feed more dogs. [There was no veterinarian in our area those many years ago, and we couldn't have afforded to have our dogs spayed or neutered if there had been.] I know it was puppies and not human babies, but I know he did what he did out of kindness.
None of that has anything to do with what this editorial is about. What it's about is dealing with things as they are--whether we like it or not.
So now that abortions after 12 weeks are mostly illegal in our state, some may want to seek an abortion procedure in other states where they are still legal. But let's talk briefly about other methods of birth control.
At this point, IUDs are still legal. Of course, many use condoms. [I remember when the big push against Planned Parenthood by some was that they were giving out condoms to teenagers. Hopefully, they worked and we avoided some abortions that might have occurred.]
Despite the teachings of many churches, the idea that sex is only intended to create life just doesn't coincide with human nature or reality.
So beyond abstinence (which, believe it or not, some of us have been practicing for years), what else is there?
For one thing, there's the so-called morning after pill.
The morning after pill is supposed to be a bit of a miracle - a pill which can prevent you from getting pregnant even if you've had unprotected sex. Here's how it works: you take it, it delays ovulation for long enough that the sperm inside you die, so by the time you ovulate they're unable to fertilize your egg.
After ovulation you are fertile for around 24 hours. So you'd be unlucky to have had unprotected sex during those 24 hours, but it's certainly not impossible and it does happen. Which is how women who took the morning after pill end up pregnant despite having taken steps to prevent it.
A 2017 review of the evidence estimated that around 1 to 2.5% of women who take a morning after pill after unprotected sex will become pregnant.
So what do you do if the morning after pill doesn't work? The first indication you may be pregnant is missing your period. Most home pregnancy tests can be done from the first day of your missed period. If you're not sure when you're having your next period—or if your period is irregular– take the test at least 10 days after you had unprotected sex.
By the way, for anyone who doesn't know, you don't need a prescription to get the morning after pill--although your doctor may provide you one; and your insurance may pay for it.
If you don't like the new law, you can vote in 2024 for candidates who may change it. But for now, it's not 1973...it's 2023 and we've got to deal with the reality.