Tonight, the CW network will air an episode of Veronica Mars that is based on misleading right-wing claims about contraception. The show is about a young woman named Veronica Mars, who is both a college student and a part-time private investigator. This week, Veronica is hired by Bonnie, “a promiscuous classmate, to find out who secretly slipped her the morning after pill, causing her to have a miscarriage“:
The basis for tonight’s Veronica Mars episode is more than just an innocent factual error. It dangerously confuses the facts on women’s health and furthers incorrect right-wing claims.
The morning-after pill — also known as Plan B — is not an abortion drug. It is a form of emergency contraception that when “taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the two-pill series can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent.” It cannot cause a miscarriage. Plan B works only when taken before a woman becomes pregnant.
While Plan B is now available over the counter to women ages 18 and older, it comes after three years of political stonewalling by the Bush administration. In 2003, a panel of independent advisers told the FDA that it “overwhelmingly backed nonprescription sales [of Plan B] for all ages.” But the Bush administration interfered and blocked Plan B sales in a pander to the right wing, which argues that the drug increases promiscuity. (See the real facts here.)
Veronica Mars is extremely popular among young women, the very women who need accurate health information. E-mail Paul Hewitt, CW’s Director of Publicity, and tell him that CW needs to correct its information on emergency contraception.
UPDATE: In tonight’s episode, Bonnie makes clear that a friend slipped her RU-486, the abortion pill. But as of the show’s airing, CW’s website still lists the morning after pill as the cause of the character’s miscarriage.