Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that girls as young as 15 can buy the Plan B One-Step “morning-after” pill without a prescription. Girls don’t even have to go to the pharmacy counter to get this, as it would likely be located near condoms and other adult items.
That means that teenage girls could go in, without parental supervision or knowledge, and purchase these potent pills.
This idea seems to send the wrong idea to teenage girls, aside from the obvious risks associated with teen pregnancy and sexual activity.
For one, the new policy could open the door to the potential misuse of these drugs. With the pills not located behind a pharmacy counter, teens wouldn’t have the correct consultation with a pharmacist to talk about how to properly use the drug, and what the potential side effects and harms might be.
They also wouldn’t get the correct instructions for when and why to use the pill, which could lead to unwanted pregnancies if the drug isn’t taken in the correct manner.
There is also the problem of enforcement. Most 15-year-olds don’t have a legitimate form of identification aside from a school I.D. or a passport. Unless they have a driver’s license or other I.D. with a birthdate on it, how are stores going to effectively enforce who gets access?
Additionally, this measure seems to eliminate the parent from having a say in their child’s health, as a child could easily obtain this drug without parental consent. And this doesn’t even touch on the possibility of the transfer of STDs and other things due to improper protection.
We urge federal lawmakers to take another look at this ruling and see if it is really the right message that should be sent to kids.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.