Plan B in schools is a win for everyone
Pill will be available without parental consent.
BY KRISTEN GOLEMBIEWSKI, Opinions Editor
On Monday, the New York City Department of Education announced that they will be making Plan B available to high school girls at 13 public schools. The pill will be available without parental consent, however, parents have been notified about the program and how their daughters can opt out of it.
This means that girls as young as fourteen can get the emergency contraception without a lecture from their parents. This means that they can get the medication without being judged by the pharmacist at their local drug store.
Most importantly, it means that these girls can bypass the necessary prescription for the pill. It means that they can take care of their health needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. It means that girls won’t have to worry about if they’ll have an abortion, or if they’ll give the baby up for adoption, or if they’ll have to raise the child for the next 18 years.
It’s a win for everyone.
Besides the obvious win for these sexually active teenage girls, it’s a win for pro-life activists, since the City of New York estimates that 7,000 girls get pregnant, with more than half choosing to get an abortion. It’s a win for young men who don’t want to deal with the possibility of parenthood when they’re barely old enough to drive.
Really, it’s a win for women everywhere. There’s the possibility that other schools will adopt this measure, ensuring that more women have control over their reproductive choices. But more importantly, this opens a dialogue for when and how Plan B and other contraceptive measures should be available.
I’ve never understood the restrictions we place on oral contraceptives. Yes, they are medicines with sometimes serious side effects and so yes, women need to understand the risks before taking them. But if there’s no legal age for buying condoms, why is there a restriction on getting Plan B over the counter if you’re under 17? This restriction doesn’t do anyone any favors.
If you need Plan B, you need Plan B quickly. You have about 72 hours to take the pill after unprotected intercourse. The clock might run out before a younger girl gets the courage to tell a parent who will take her to a doctor who will give her a prescription which she then has to take to a pharmacy. If this girl has been sexually assaulted, it’s very likely that she won’t want to tell anyone at all, making it even more likely that the clock will run out on her. Then, she has to deal with a whole ‘nother unpleasant situation.
At the end of the day, I would rather trust a 14-year-old girl to make a decision to take a pill and deal with the side effects than trust her to raise a baby she didn’t even want. Measures like NYC’s CATCH program are a step in the right direction, one that I hope other school districts across the country adopt.