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I hope with all of my might that my daughters don’t someday
get pregnant before they actually want to be pregnant. Which is to say—I hope
they don’t become teen moms, and for ease’s sake, I also hope they wait until
after they’re in loving, committed relationships before becoming parents.
However, since “hope” is hardly an effective strategy, when
they are old enough to start hearing it from me, hear it from me they will. A
lot. Sex is a big deal. Momentary pleasures are nice and all, but they’re way
too short-lived compared to a child to call your own forever and forever.
That the Department of Justice is dropping
its appeal of a ruling from earlier this year allowing girls of any age
to buy emergency contraception over the counter is a good thing, as far as I’m
concerned. I hope my girls will never need the Plan B pill, but since we’ve
already established “hope” as a poor strategy, my Plan A is education, more
education and then a little bit more education after that.
I have nothing against the Plan B pill. In fact, I’m all for
it. As a last resort, of course. As a staunch pro-choice supporter, I hate the
idea of limiting any woman’s access to information or services that she might
need concerning her body. No one wants to think of a young girl needing the
Plan B pill, but if a teen girl doesn’t want to become a teen mom, it can be
a necessary evil.
If a girl’s parents couldn’t educate her enough to not become pregnant, then they don’t automatically get to be part of the decision-making process
Here’s what's an unnecessary evil: a young girl needing a
doctor’s—or her parents’—permission to decide to not become a parent. If a girl is old enough to be having sex, then
she’s old enough for her doctor and parents to be counseling and educating her
on the precautions she should be taking. If a girl’s parents couldn’t educate
her enough to not become pregnant,
then they don’t automatically get to be part of the decision-making process if
she wants to become un-pregnant.
The Plan B pill is as safe as aspirin and also effective in
preventing pregnancy within 24 hours after having unprotected sex. It’s not
ideal that a girl younger than 15 would take it without the knowledge of an
adult, but neither is her having sex.
It’s not surprising that many social
conservatives don’t want Plan B to exist without a prescription for young
girls, but it seems ridiculous that that’s also the group that often argues
that abstinence trumps information. Talk about misplaced outrage.
Abstinence is ideal, of course, but it’s usually not
reality. Look at any statistic about teenagers, sex and pregnancy, and you
realize quickly that abstinence-only education is up there with unicorn
sightings in terms of success stories. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep trying
to teach abstinence (and search for unicorns), but in the meantime, talking
about safe sex actually prevents pregnancies and STDS.