5:03 PM CDT, June 14, 2013
The Obama administration's decision to allow Plan B to be sold over the counter without an age restriction, forced by a judicial ruling, has many people aghast by the horrors it will unleash. But really, it's nothing to fear. Consider the claims:
1) We will see grade-school girls having sex and taking emergency contraceptives. The number of very young adolescents having sex is extremely small: 0.3 percent of 10-year-olds and 0.6 percent of 11-year-olds. Any kids that age who have sex are not likely to be weighing the costs and benefits carefully. If they weren't doing it before, they aren't likely to do it after. Plan B, by the way, normally costs between $35 and $60. Not many fifth graders can pay that out of their allowance.
2) It undermines the authority of parents. If kids who haven't yet reached high school are having sex, they clearly aren't paying attention to what their parents expect -- or else they have such negligent parents that they aren't getting the message to wait. They can already buy condoms. Granting kids access to emergency contraceptives without their parents' knowledge merely acknowledges that if they are old enough to make decisions about sex, they should be able to make decisions about pregnancy. Under federal laws protecting medical privacy, kids may already get regular contraceptives without their parents' knowledge. In many states they can also get abortions.
3) It empowers pedophiles and rapists by letting them destroy the evidence of their abuse. Wrong. Older males who prey on underage girls can already buy Plan B without a prescription, if they want to avert an incriminating pregnancy. The new option empowers girls, not their abusers, by letting them make the decision whether to get pregnant. They can avoid being victimized twice -- once by the abuse and once by the resulting pregnancy.
Even teens have the right to control their own bodies. The courts and the administration are right not to let themselves be led astray by groundless myths about Plan B.
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