Two years ago, a presidential appointee overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow young teenagers unfettered access to an “emergency” contraceptive known as the morning-after pill. This was the correct moral decision and future administrations should uphold it.
The pill, Plan B, halves the chances of pregnancy when taken in the immediate days following unprotected sex and is available without a prescription to women 17 years and older. That is acceptable. But, allowing teenagers access to the pill without adult involvement sends the wrong message, and is irresponsible considering the pill’s possible implications regarding cancer and abortion.
First, the message: Yes, contraceptives should be used; people should be able to plan for the future. The decision to have children is among life’s most serious ones. But the means for doing so is sometimes the least considered decision people make. If society wants to right its moral ship (and there is talk of a desire to do so), it can begin by taking sex more seriously. And parents must step up to this difficult assignment.
“The task of teaching moral values has become increasingly difficult in today’s materialistic sex-saturated society,” states Parenting.org.” Sex is a moral issue that has serious consequences for your teen.”
Thus, allowing easy access to the pill is not okay because it tells teenagers it is okay to have unprotected sex (for which there are consequences) because you can just take a pill in the morning, without even talking to an adult. (In cases of rape, however, the victim, no matter the age, should have access to the pill, but should consult with an adult, whether a parent, counselor or law-enforcement officer.)
Second, the issues concerning abortion and cancer: Yes, abortion is legal in the U.S. But in a majority of states, teenagers need adult consent. While Plan B is not an “abortion pill,” some believe it technically could abort a human life. According to Pro-Life Physicians, if taken before a woman ovulates, the pill “may act as contraception.” But, if taken during, the pill prevents implantation of a newly formed embryo. And, in that case, it does not prevent contraception, but rather aborts the life of a week-old being.
Finally, the pill contains a hormonal steroid called progestin proven to cause breast, cervical and liver cancer. Yes, a former FDA commissioner said Plan B was safer for women than acetaminophen. But is allowing teens the ability to privately make life-changing decisions worth the risk? The lines of communication between teens and adults need to remain open, especially in regards to sex, and selling Plan B over-the-counter unnecessarily cuts one of those lines.