A federal judge has reversed a Food and Drug Administration ruling in order to make the Plan B emergency contraceptive available to women without a prescription, regardless of age.
Although the judge’s ruling hasn’t gone into effect yet, the current restrictions to purchasing emergency contraceptives aren’t that strict.
“Currently, only women aged 17 or older can obtain emergency contraception without a prescription,” an NBC article says. “For those women, the medication is available only at health clinics or pharmacies and they’re required to show identification to obtain it.”
But soon those restrictions could be removed (the FDA has 30 days to appeal the ruling), and emergency contraceptives could appear in pharmacy aisles alongside Advil and cold remedies.
While reproductive rights groups are hailing the decision as a big victory, others are very concerned.
Some health professionals are concerned that the practice of relying on emergency contraceptives will increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. According to NPR, Anna Higgins, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said the ruling sidesteps medical precautions.
“In obtaining these drugs over the counter, these girls are going to be bypassing important medical screenings, which could screen for [sexually transmitted diseases] and also are the first-line defense in screening for girls at risk of sexual abuse,” she said.
And some parents don’t support the ruling because it bypasses parental authority and could decrease communication between them and their teenage daughters. It encourages autonomy within young girls before they are ready for this responsibility.
But not only does the judge’s ruling create health and social concerns, it also creates bigger moral concerns.
The evidence for whether emergency contraceptives actually cause abortion is conflicting. And this concern is alarming for Christians.
But this ruling definitely enforces the mentality that young people can do as they please with even fewer perceived consequences.
Our nation continues to teach teenagers that they can do whatever they want to do, be whoever they want to be, and go wherever they want to go. It fosters the attitude that morals don’t matter as long as teenagers know who they are and feel good about the choices they make.
According to NBC, a pharmacist from Seattle said that Plan B isn’t a big seller at their store, especially because the medication costs around $50.
But the problem isn’t whether the medication is in high demand; it’s the fact that young girls are being entrusted with important moral decisions.
If the emergency contraceptive becomes readily available, girls could believe their decisions have little to no consequences because accidental pregnancy could be avoided. It would be just as simple as going to the corner pharmacy — no questions asked.
Young women need parental guidance and the encouragement to make moral decisions; they don’t need the perceived freedom to engage in activities that can have consequences seemingly erased.