I’m a big news app junkie, and while until yesterday I wasn’t aware that the Plan B One Step pill (otherwise known as the morning after pill) was on its way to counters next to condoms and KY. However, after Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the move, my news apps were full of articles about angry women’s rights advocates and drug makers.
Let’s consider a few things…
1. Women’s rights advocates are angry, BUT let us remember, women can still get the pill. They can get birth control. They can get abortions. In fact, in many states they can have legal late-term abortions. We are not talking about women getting the Plan B pill. We are talking about young women and sometimes children (kids that get their periods in the 3rd grade can get pregnant-yes they can) obtaining this pill. There are emotional and cognitive differences between a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old. We don’t trust even 17 year olds at the ballot, we don’t trust them to smoke, or serve in the military. We don’t trust them to get married without parental consent. We don’t trust them (or anyone until 25) with rental cars. I personally, don’t think we should trust them to drive (largely based on my own horrific driving in the late 90’s). WHY, when it comes to Plan B, are we considering children to be women? Oh and PS, girls GIRLS under 17 can still get the Plan B, they just need a….prescription.
2. We all know that pregnancy is not the only consequence of unprotected sex. In my opinion, and call me crazy, but HIV is a little bit of a bigger deal than having a baby (keeping it or giving it up). Not to mention the other slew of sexually transmitted diseases that are still spreading…because people don’t use protection. If Plan B is OTC, teenagers will use it regularly and it is not intended to be used regularly. It is intended to be used in an emergency, a whoops. Condoms are the safest way to have sex and in my opinion, should be used 100% of the time until marriage. If my teenager was having sex, I’d want them to use a condom. Birth control is not, nor has it ever been a form of protection against disease.
3. In this article Women’s Groups Outraged…(NPR), a doctor at the Boston Medical Center, claims that asking for a Plan B from a pharmacist is embarrassing for women of all ages, thereby deterring its sale. That, rather, they should be able to buy them with their birthday cards, etc at check out. There are a lot of embarrassing things we have to buy in life: buying Tucks pads after you have a baby, buying tampons when you are a teenager and that cute guy from English works at the grocery store, buying condoms, buying KY, buying meds for Shingles that happens to be the same prescription people with Herpes buy. I mean, get over it. Life is embarrassing. Just ask for it from a pharmacist.
4. All of us, 17 and older or younger, have to march our butts to the doctor to get birth control. When I was in high school, girls used to park behind the Planned Parenthood so they could get birth control without their parents spotting their cars (we lived in a REALLY small town). I think everyone would agree, that if you are sexually active, you need to visit a physician. And if you need a Plan B and can’t get into an ObGyn, your friendly ER doctor will see you, too.
5. I mean, I know that drug companies are always always concerned about the well-being of their clients and not money, I know they never push anything but health and wellness, ever. But, could this push to make Plan B OTC, have a little something to do with….revenue? I don’t know, I’m just saying.
I’m not living in the dark ages, I’m not. Half of my friends lost their virginity by 16 or 17, the rest by college. In choosing to remain a virgin until marriage, I was almost completely alone. Even so, I KNOW kids are having sex. Actually, I just assume most kids/college students are having sex unless they tell me otherwise. But let’s think about this as adults (and parents or future parents). When I have the infamous sex talk with my little girl, more likely sooner than later in this culture, I will advocate abstinence for a million emotional, physical, and spiritual reasons. Having done that, I realize that my child lives in a sex crazed world and if she has sex, I hope as a parent, that I have fostered a relationship with her in which we can talk about it. This is unrealistic, yes. But it is my hope and prayer. Maybe I’m in the minority that believe that it IS my business what my child is doing until she moves out (and even then I really hope and pray she does the right thing). I want to know what her Facebook looks like (someday, no my 22 month old does not have a FB), I want to know her friends and their parents, I want her boyfriend (oh God, please don’t let her date until she’s 25) to come over and get to know us. I want to have open and loving communication with her. But loving, also means honest, and honest means I’ll have to teach her hard truths. Truths like: sex is great and awesome, but not when you are 16 (or 17 or 20), and not with a crazy teenage boy who doesn’t really love you, but if you do have sex (which I don’t approve of) use a condom, there is no cure for HIV or Herpes, and come talk to me, not your little friends who don’t know anything about sex. But no matter what I love you and that will never ever change, no matter what you do.
Being a mom puts a whole new spin on life. A terrifying new spin on life. It puts things in perspective.
So, all that to say, way to go Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama. Thank you for protecting our little girls.