Eff yeah France: free birth control for teenagers

Slate reports:

NPR reports that France is adopting a new regulation making contraception and contraception counseling free to girls 15 to 18, with an added provision that doctors must offer this care without notifying parents. Unlike here in the U.S., the free contraception is covered by the state and not a girl's insurance, giving her a further layer of privacy protections. The government hopes that by protecting young girls' privacy, it can increase contraception use and reduce the teen pregnancy rate.

So: Straightforward, almost boring health care policy story about a government taking sensible, cost-effective measures to curb a public health problem. But the story isn't really about health care policy—the underlying narrative here is that the French are yet again making American politicians look like a bunch of out of touch prudes. (Americans don't need the French to point this out: Just wander into an American abstinence-only classroom to hear sexually active kids being told that anything short of waiting the 15-plus years between puberty and the average age of first marriage to have sex is a ruinous choice that will end with the fornicator unable to feel love or dead from AIDS.)

Everybody sensible knows that American politics can't hold up its current bad decisions and wrong positions.  Eventually all the people who care about them will die, or America will slip below first-world status and we'll have a schism, or the NRA will shoot everyone.  Or we'll elect some sane people soon.  Don't want to rule that out.

It's nice to know that, while we flounder, the rest of the world continues to move forward.

contraception = human right

First of all: What the alt-219x4, examiner.com?  Audio and video ad with a 5-second wait before I can close it on a text article?  AND ads that start playing sound if my mouse goes fracking near them?  I'm not even linking to your article.  I'm just going to talk about it. Now, to the point:

For the first time in history, the United Nations has acknowledged contraception as a human right.  That is, women have the right to be able to have sex and not get pregnant.  This declaration explicitly doesn't include abortion, but it's still a huge step forward.

Being able to plan whether or not you're going to be pregnant is a prerequisite for pursuing equality, and I think it's obvious that it needs to be protected on an international level.

This also raises one of my favorite philosophical conundrums, what constitutes a human right?

I think that human rights should be defined by the point of meeting between the best possible baseline of life for humans, and the technical ability of humankind to achieve that baseline through cooperation.  For a while now, contraception has been within that range, and it's good to see that the UN is stepping up to it.