As a father of three, the most impetuous being my 15 year old daughter, Plan B emergency contraception offers me a modest sense of assurance that our lives will not be unexpectedly complicated by her youthful and probable sexual self exploration.
Putting the moral politicking and naïve policy making aside, this dad will deal directly with her youthful indiscretions and any concerns about potential increased promiscuity. In other words, back up, that’s my job.
We don’t need a government chastity-belt or, for that matter, self righteous pontificators to tell us what our daughter needs. These people haven’t been wiping butts at our house or paying her doctor bills for the last 15 years and I don’t have any reason to believe they’ll start picking up the pieces of her lost youth in the event of an unexpected pregnancy.
Bottom line, I don’t want or need to hear the moral judgments of politicians who want to instill their questionable sense morality on my children, particularly my daughter. From where I’m sitting, it seems that the President and the FDA’s sudden interest in the Plan B initiative have been generated behind the religious right’s furor about access to birth control. It’s an anti-abortion drug, get it?
Federal law has made the pill available without prescription to anyone 17 or older for at least the past two years. An under 18 years of age legal precedent has been set. The legal capacity of a 17 year old is no less or more than a 15 year old under the law—with or without a prescription. It’s a non-issue unless you want to ignore human nature and thousands of years of evolution.
It would be naïve for me—or anyone else for that matter—to think that my daughter would not explore her sexuality. Plan B contraception mitigates—in a most humane way—the inevitability of chance. Simply said, if other forms of birth control—whether with or without prescription—fail, the Plan B “morning-after pill” offers a choice of emergency contraception and the dignity of some privacy.
As far as I’m concerned, put a “morning-after pill” vending machine on the corner and one in the vestibule at your church too.
While Obama may be comfortable with the decisions he and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have made for girls 15 and older, his middle ground position smacks of politics that attempt to balance women’s groups supporting the expansion of contraception options against the appearances to abortion opponents—neither instills confidence in this father.
The real concerns that I have are about the poll-watching politicians who want to advance their self-serving interests at the expense of our family. Add to my concerns, those who feel they’ve been anointed to preach morality and judge others.
Add one other concern, how reliable and accurate are the scientific studies and available medical data on this “morning-after pill?” We’ve just witnessed an entire global society march down the austerity road on the shoddy research of two Harvard professors only to have a couple graduate students at the University of Massachusetts discover, as part of a class project, a whole host of problems—including coding errors and exclusions of relevant data—about their claims on economic growth and the national debt-to-GDP ratio.
These were not merely minor errors without consequences and I, for one, have a difficult time believing that the evil hand of politically driven deficit hawks didn’t somehow bend that study. Yes, my concern is complete conjecture, but I’m in no better position to evaluate the national debt-to-GDP ratio study than I am the medical research of the “morning-after pill.” I’m going with instinct on this one just because of how I see policy makers, like President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now responding—poll watching is my take.
The New York Post recently reported that 12,721 doses of Plan B were handed out to New York City Public School students as young as 14. Tell me how many, if any, of these students experienced side effects, died or were harmed in some way within that pool. That’s the type of information that would influence me more than the rhetoric now surrounding the Plan B initiative.
On the other hand, it takes very little imagination for me to envision how the lives of those young girls and their families might forever change without this after-the-fact contraception.
Now, tell me why in their last report, New York City school officials only claimed that 567 girls had received the emergency contraceptive as of September? I want to understand whose hiding the data and why, otherwise I’m going with instinct. If I were to hazard a guess at why the conflicting reports it would be that more than 567 of them were under 17, which is just fine by me.
If I understand the available information on the morning-after-pill, taking it within 72 hours of forgetting regular contraception, a broken condom or worse, rape, the chances of avoiding an unplanned pregnancy is up to 89 percent.
All I’m asking is that we be given reliable data. I want my daughter to have the dignity of some privacy and am willing to trust that she won’t be too embarrassed to speak with her parents about her decisions. Having to go to the doctor and then a pharmacist only complicates the challenges of a parent.
Once again, as a dad who can wipe butts while driving a four-speed, pay the doctor bills and take seriously the responsibility of raising a daughter, I’m seeing more politics than reliable information on the Plan B initiative.
Nothing I’m hearing on this subject is alleviating my concerns about the politicking that surrounds Plan B and, please, don’t tell me about your morality—mind your own damn business!