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
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.
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.
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.
I see three involved.