I’m Just a Pill: A Schoolhouse Rock Classic Gets Reimagined to Defend Reproductive Rights in 2017

Like many Amer­i­can chil­dren of the 70s and 80s, my under­stand­ing of how our gov­ern­ment is sup­posed to func­tion was shaped by School­house Rock.

Immi­gra­tion, sep­a­ra­tion of leg­isla­tive, exec­u­tive and judi­cial pow­ers and of course, the promise of the Con­sti­tu­tion (“a list of prin­ci­ples for keepin’ peo­ple free”) were just a few of the top­ics the ani­mat­ed musi­cal series cov­ered with clar­i­ty and wit.

The new world order in which we’ve recent­ly found our­selves sug­gests that 2017 would be a grand year to start rolling out more such videos.

The Lady Parts Jus­tice League, a self-declared “cabal of comics and writ­ers expos­ing creeps hell­bent on destroy­ing access to birth con­trol and abor­tion” leads the charge with the above homage to School­house Rock­’s 1976 hit, “I’m Just a Bill,” recast­ing the original’s glum aspi­rant law as a feisty Plan B con­tra­cep­tive pill. The red haired boy who kept the bill com­pa­ny on the steps of the Cap­i­tal is now a teenage girl, con­fused as to how any legal, over-the-counter method for reduc­ing the risk of unwant­ed preg­nan­cy could have so many ene­mies.

As with the orig­i­nal series, the prime objec­tive is to edu­cate, and com­ic Lea DeLar­ia’s Pill hap­pi­ly oblig­es, explain­ing that while peo­ple may dis­agree as to when “life” begins, it’s a sci­en­tif­ic fact that preg­nan­cy begins when a fer­til­ized egg lodges itself in the uterus. (DeLar­ia plays Big Boo on Orange is the New Black, by the way.) That process takes a while—72 hours to be exact. Plen­ty of time for the par­tic­i­pants to scut­tle off to the drug­store for emer­gency con­tra­cep­tion, aka Plan B, the so called “morn­ing-after” pill.

As per the drug’s web­site, if tak­en with­in 72 hours after unpro­tect­ed sex, Plan B  can reduce the risk of preg­nan­cy by up to 89%. Tak­en with­in 24 hours, it is about 95% effec­tive.

And yes, teenagers can legal­ly pur­chase it, though Teen Vogue has report­ed on numer­ous stores who’ve made it dif­fi­cult, if not impos­si­ble, for shop­pers to gain access to the pill.

(The Repro­duc­tive Jus­tice Project encour­ages con­sumers to help them col­lect data on whether Plan B is cor­rect­ly dis­played on the shelves as avail­able for sale to any woman of child­bear­ing age.)

There’s a help­ful foot­ball anal­o­gy for those who may be a bit slow in under­stand­ing that Plan B is indeed a bonafide con­tra­cep­tive, and not the abor­ti­fa­cient some mis­tak­en­ly make it out to be. It’s NSFW, but only just, as a team of car­toon penis-out­lines push down the field toward the uter­ine wall in the end zone.

The oth­er bills who once stood in line await­ing the president’s sig­na­ture have been reimag­ined as sperm, while song­writer Hol­ly Miran­da pays trib­ute to Dave Frish­berg’s lyrics with a piz­zazz wor­thy of the orig­i­nal:

I’m just a pill

A help­ful birth con­trol pill

No mat­ter what they say on Cap­i­tal Hill

So now you know my truth

I’m all about pre­ven­tion

If your con­dom breaks

I’m here for inter­ven­tion

Join me take a stand today

I real­ly hope and pray that you will

Drop some facts

Tell the world

I’m a pill.

Let’s hope the resis­tance yields more catchy, edu­ca­tion­al ani­ma­tions!

And here, for com­par­ison’s sake, is the mag­nif­i­cent orig­i­nal:

Via BUST Mag­a­zine

Relat­ed Con­tent:

School­house Rock: Revis­it a Col­lec­tion of Nos­tal­gia-Induc­ing Edu­ca­tion­al Videos

Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry Rock: The School­house Rock Par­o­dy Sat­ur­day Night Live May Have Cen­sored

The Birth Con­trol Hand­book: The Under­ground Stu­dent Pub­li­ca­tion That Let Women Take Con­trol of Their Bod­ies (1968)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • Randy says:

    So what Plan B do guys have? What repro­duc­tive rights do men have? None.

    After con­cep­tion, women decide every­thing. If she does­n’t want the child, she can abort it. But if HE does­n’t want the child, she can bring it into the world any­way, and make him pay for it.

    That’s wrong.

    We should not be talk­ing about repro­duc­tive rights as if it’s a wom­en’s issue. It’s not. It’s an issue for every­one.

  • E. Derksen says:

    I see three involved.

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