Is There a Plan B for Plan B?

120323-planB-hsml-oom-5p.380;380;7;70;0I don’t have kids.  But if I had a daughter and she was say around 12, would I want her to be able buy Plan B without my say-so or even knowledge?

The Obama Administration has decided to offer Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, to women over the age of 15 without a perscription.  All those under 15 have to get a percription.  That goes against a judge who ordered that the drug be made available to all women without a script.

Of course, most women’s groups tend to favor the judge’s ruling.  It’s about the women’s health, the say.

Yeah.  I’m pro-choice and favor comprehensive sex-ed and I even favor giving kids condoms.  But going back to have my hypothetical daughter (I’ll name her Harriet, because I’ve always liked that name).  I don’t know if I want my little girl being able to go to Target and get birth control when they aren’t even able to drive.

It’s not that I can protect a kid from having sex.  I think parents have to do the best they can in telling kids the good and the bad of sex.  But I don’t know if I want to give pretend-Harriet the equivalent of the car keys when she may not even be ready emotionally.

Columnist Kathleen Parker echoes these concerns:

There’s no point debating whether such young girls should be sexually active. Obviously, given the potential consequences, both physical and psychological, the answer is no. Just as obvious, our culture says quite the opposite: As long as there’s an exit, whether abortion or Plan B, what’s the incentive to await mere maturity?

Advocates for lifting age limits on Plan B, including Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, insist that the pill is universally safe and, therefore, all age barriers should be dropped. From a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, this may be well-advised. But is science the only determining factor when it comes to the well-being of our children? Even President Obama, who once boasted that his policies would be based on science and not emotion, has parental qualms about children buying serious drugs to treat a situation that has deeply psychological underpinnings.

What about the right of parents to protect their children? A 15-year-old can’t get Tylenol at school without parental permission, but we have no hesitation about children taking a far more serious drug without oversight?

These are fair questions that deserve more than passing scrutiny — or indictments of prudishness. A Slate headline about the controversy goes: “The Politics of Prude.” More to the point: The slippery slope away from parental autonomy is no paranoid delusion. Whatever parents may do to try to delay the ruin of childhood innocence, the culture says otherwise: Have sex, take a pill, don’t tell mom.

There’s the question of what is the church’s role in all of this.  Maybe abstinence-only education is a bad idea, but at times it seems the alternative is just as bad.  Do I want Harriet to join the “hookup culture?” I want my kid to have knowledge, but I also want to still be kids and not little adults.  What does it mean to be a follower of Christ sexually?  Sexual ethics has to be more than safe sex.

Of course, I don’t want to see any girl get pregnant at a young age, but having sex is more than preventing pregnancy.  Are the kids emotionally ready?  As Parker notes, this isn’t just about science, it’s about emotions and those matter too.

But of course, I’m not a father and I’m a guy.  But I still feel like making Plan B so easily handy is forcing kids to grow up way too fast.


5 thoughts on “Is There a Plan B for Plan B?

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    1. If I were to have girls, then I’d take them out to an ice-cream shops, the mall, and etc to show them that their Dad loves them. So they’d know how a man should treat them.

  1. Good post. I do want to clarify that painkillers don’t usually ask for ID at the cash register, meaning that there isn’t a minimum age for buying them at the grocery store. Tylenol is on a regular aisle, not behind the pharmacy counter whereas Plan B is at the pharmacy counter. I don’t have kids yet either and I’m with you that I see these emotional problems. Yet, I would also make the regular birth control pill available over the counter. There are regular birth control pills that are cheaper than store brand zyrtec (another medicine that doesn’t trigger the cashier to ask for ID – though surprisingly some children’s cough medicines do because teenagers are known for using them for other purposes) and it seems to me that with all this controversy about whether insurance should have to cover birth control would just go away. It would truly be a woman’s choice to go on birth control. Making it a controlled substance really is kind of patronizing. I pay $7.50 a month for my birth control pill and that’s full price. It seems to me that women would get more health care and be more likely to see a doctor regularly if everyone weren’t so tied up in whether or not we might get birth control at their expense. Over the counter – it’s my choice and my money and then we can spend tax and insurance dollars on subsidizing pap smears and mammograms which aren’t nearly so controversial. On a side note, condoms don’t ask for ID either and you can get them on a regular grocery store aisle and do not have to ask the pharmacist. So let’s just clarify: teenagers planning ahead to have sex buy condoms which are cheaper. Teenagers who did not plan ahead and are now worried about the consequences are the ones who will buy Plan B.

    So if I did have a daughter, I wouldn’t want her going through the emotional heartbreak of having sex in high school. I say this as someone who knew people in college and my twenties who were confused and in successive unhealthy relationships that by having sex too soon and/or with too many partners. But here’s the thing, while I am pro-choice (and it’s a choice I hope I never have to make because for me it would be something horribly wrong with me or the baby), I have also seen that an abortion is a decision that can mess up a young woman even more than the bad relationships. If my daughter were having sex, I would rather she take birth control than have to go through either the pregnancy or having an abortion. I don’t want to encourage kids to have sex and I can see why having it so readily available is kind of like encouraging it. On the other hand, kids don’t plan ahead and sex usually just happens. Better to take the morning after pill (which is really birth control and not an abortion) than have to agonize over whether to have an abortion later and then wonder for a long time if you really made the right choice. But really, even if your ideals are that you shouldn’t be having sex, but you keep falling short of them, it’s better to just take birth control regularly. Although birth control does not prevent STD’s.

  2. I am definitely in favor of Plan B, but I am so completely against letting 15 year old boys and girls getting their hands on them. I feel like the government is trying to take the responsibility of teaching kids about safe sex out of the hands of the parents and are exploiting the younger generation just to make some more money. Those pills aren’t cheap and I think we all know the likelihood of the majority of 15 year olds using condoms if they’re having sex.

  3. If prescriptions are no longer required, it seems a fair compromise might be requiring anyone under 18 to bring along a parent or guardian who is a legal adult. And those over 18 would have to provide identification. It’s already done for several other medications, such as cough medicine.

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