Teens and the Morning-After Pill

Teens and the Morning-After Pill

The rate of teen pregnancies has been a growing epidemic for a number of years. Television programs like Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant and other shows, do little more than glorify and promote this behavior. Sex education classes are being taught to children at increasingly younger ages. Now, Federal Judge Edward Korman lifted the age restriction for the “morning-after” pill.





Decisions

Judge Korman made his decision public by stating parents have no legal say whether or not their daughters should use hormonal pills to avoid pregnancy, no matter how old they are.

He goes on to say the drug is perfectly safe for any female within child-bearing age. He claims the ban was initially put in place for political reasons, which held no regard for scientific guidelines.

However, Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said she did base her decision on science. When the FDA petitioned to make the pill widely available, Ms. Sebelius halted the move. This was grounded by the fact that the drug hadn’t been properly tested on girls as young as 11 years old.

Arguments

Scientists, including those in the FDA and AMA have been pushing for unlimited access for years. They believe the restrictions keep teens from using safer methods to prevent pregnancy. Without the pill, the young may resort to unsafe drugs or even abortion.

On the other side, conservative groups feel that lifting the restrictions may be given without consent. Subsequently, this will allow teens to bypass required doctor visits for their prescriptions. By not needing to visit their doctor, conservatives believe sexually transmitted diseases will go undetected and in turn, untreated.

Parents

Responsible parents hope to delay their children’s sexual activity until they are properly mature. Most feel having this information is not an intrusion on the child’s privacy. Parents believe they should know how their daughters are coping as they begin the transition into adulthood.

Most parents think lifting the restrictions undermines their authority. Parents worry about losing control over that which they feel is an important development in their teen’s lives. Lifting the ban adds to those feelings.

The FDA and the Health Department

The judge determined the FDA holds obligations to promote safe drugs. In this, there’s no difference between aspirin and contraceptives. Judge Korman also added that the FDA should hold no bearing on the “behaviors that cause people to take these drugs.”

New York’s health department distributes the morning-after pill to women between the ages of 14 and 40. With this program, parents are able to opt out of the distribution. However, unless someone else overturns Korman’s decision, parents will be less able to raise their children responsibly.

According to Judge Korman, “Underage children shouldn’t be engaging in conduct that necessitates the use of such drugs.” While this is a widely accepted thought, actions speak louder than words. The only answer is to be a responsible parent. Take notice of your teen’s activities, and make sure you have open communication channels.


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