Parents don't even like to think about their teenage daughters being involved in sexual activity. But their angst cannot be translated into preventing it. Yes, parents can offer their children the facts of life. They can give stern warnings, mixed with loving support. They can set curfews and try to monitor activities. In the end, though, young women must make decisions on their own. And sometimes the (risky) decision is unprotected sex.
The federal government - the Food and Drug Administration, to be precise - has ordered that women as young as 15 now have over-the-counter access to the morning-after birth-control pill. It's difficult for us to argue with this.
As fellow citizens, we cannot imagine telling a teen girl the following:?Sorry, you have to tell mom and dad and get their permission to get this product; or, sorry, you have to wait around to see if your decision to have sex results in pregnancy; or, sorry, if you get pregnant, you face even more harrowing choices.
Yes, we understand there are parents (and other citizens) with belief systems opposed to the whole gamut, from contraception to abortion. But a woman capable of bearing a child either "owns" her body or she does not. To us, it is unfathomable to tell her that she does not. She must choose her own belief system and live with the consequences. Parents and others certainly can try to influence her into making a given decision. In the end, it has to be her own.
The morning-after pill is a product with the potential to drastically reduce unplanned pregnancies, and thus reduce abortions. That, it seems to us, is a more humane, life-affirming path than the nation currently travels.