The FDA has given approval to make the pill known as Plan B -- a progesterone pill -- available to teens age 15 and over on an over the counter basis and without a prescription. This will be put into place almost immediately. This pill is taken after sex when an individual is concerned that they may be at risk for pregnancy.
This news has been met with diametrically differing opinions. Womens rights groups are saying yay while other groups are emphatically saying nay. As a clinical psychologist who has worked with teens for over 20 years I say right on! I listen to your teen daughters all the time. Listen, many of the teens are having sex. We have to get our heads out of the sand and acknowledge that.
I have been with teens in my office after they have had abortions and while they have been fretting over what to do with an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, I have spent countless hours with them.These girls are feeling tortured emotionally. They do NOT take these matters lightly. Perhaps Plan B is not the best and healthiest thing for teens to do but the emotional suffering that accompanies abortion and a sense of helplessness is in my opinion far worse.
I do not expect teenage girls to start increasing how frequently they have sex or the number of partners they have sex with simply because Plan B is available. Trust me when I tell you that I know how teens think. And, taking a pill after a sexual event is not going to be a source of delight for them. Instead it might provide a bit of comfort to an anxious girl who may have had a contraceptive accident -- forgetting to take her birth control pills or even a broken condom. It happens. I also do not expect teens to use Plan B as birth control. They are not stupid but they do make mistakes.
Let's face the reality and support the girls. After all, they need all the support that they can get during these trying years. I stand firmly behind the FDA's decision. We must and should support our teen daughters in all possible ways. The emotional toll that abortion and unwanted pregnancy take on them is dreadful. And, no we cannot preach abstinence because it is unlikely that our sexualized culture supports that stance.