General Question

avalmez's avatar

What do you think about allowing 17 year old's to buy a morning-after pill without a prescription?

Asked by avalmez (1614points) April 23rd, 2009

A Federal judge recently ruled that 17 year old girls can buy a morning-after pill without a prescription.

I have several daughters and I’m not certain what to make of this. This is not a question about abortion or abstinence, but rather a question about whether parents who are otherwise responsible for a 17 year old can be taken out of the loop as in this case.

Apparently the judge’s ruling states that if a 17 year old can have sex then she should be able to buy the pill. Does that really make sense to you?

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40 Answers

_bob's avatar

Better than unwanted teen pregnancies.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. If they are legally able to have sex then they should be able to deal with the consequences of that.

avalmez's avatar

@bob obviously better than unwanted pregnancies, but can a judge legislate away a parental right in such specific case?

avalmez's avatar

@Lightlyseared and in that case, what’s magical about 17? why not 15? 15 year olds can have sex? is 17 the legal age for consensual sex with an adult?

gimmedat's avatar

I think it’s a smart move. Giving reproductive options to a segment of society that engages in high-risk behavior is beneficial, in my opinion. Why is the government so incredibly interested in reproductive rights, anyway?

3or4monsters's avatar

Since I will guarantee that my daughters (and sons) will be educated about birth control options before they begin having sex, I would hope that they consider the morning after pill if a condom breaks…. or if they are foolish and forget to take their regular BP on a night they have sex. People make mistakes. I would hope they could talk to me about it, but if they are too bashful, I hope they are wise enough to seek out plan B on their own.

I’m not going to pretend my kids aren’t going to engage in sex or try drinking before the legal age. That’s being naive.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t feel the need to be involved in every single aspect of my “childs” medical rights. I think this is a good thing. Parents need to let their child get the medical care they want. They being the “children”.
I use children in quotations because a 17 year old having sex is on the verge of adulthood. They need to be responsible for themselves if they are making such huge decisions.
I know some would argue that they are not capable of making such decisions…but if they’re already having sex, then they’re already there.
Of course I want to be involved in my childs life and be there if he needs me when he sees a doctor, but if he asks me to leave then I’m not going to force it.
A 17 year old deserves having their own privacy rights.

avalmez's avatar

@3or4monsters totally agree about teens will experiment. and yes, we all need to have those discussions with our kids and when they reach that point (to become sexually active), and hope they will discus that with us so that we can ensure they are responsible about it. my question relates more to some judge making a decision for you as a parent. somehow that doesn’t seem right to me.

Les's avatar

Seems to me that if my kid is having sex at 17, then I have bigger things to worry about that whether or not she talks to me about getting the morning after pill. Not to mention I’d be madder at myself for not raising her to feel that she can talk to me about these things than what she actually did (or will be doing). Note: I know most people have sex before they’re 18. I don’t think it is a good idea, let’s not argue. I wouldn’t hate my girl if she did, I’d just be upset.

avalmez's avatar

@casheroo and i agree teens medical rights should be respected, but that should be a decision a parent can each and put into action. in this case, the FDA (correction to above) removed your right to participate in a decision with your child regardless of how you might decide.

avalmez's avatar

btw topic of discussion on cnn as i write

Qingu's avatar

I say lower the age to 12.

A one-day-old zygote is a clump of cells. It is not a human being. It’s not even a vertebrate. It is not remotely conscious. There is absolutely nothing wrong with flushing a 1-day zygote out of your system.

There is no moral difference between buying the morning after pill and buying condoms. (Unless you’re using the morning after pill in place of condoms, in which case you’ve got some problems.)

Qingu's avatar

I also fail to see what parental rights have to do with this. Unless you’re also arguing that the minimum age for buying condoms should be 18.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not all parents can be trusted. Not all kids feel safe going to their parents about huge issues. In some cases, a family member has harmed the girl. What then? Parents are not unilateraly correct about the needs and best interests of their children

casheroo's avatar

@Qingu I think parental rights come in because of how the question is phrased “allowing 17 year olds…” that’s to say, the parents are the ones responsible for their 17 year olds, and this takes away from a parents rights. Not that I’m complaining.

Qingu's avatar

I understand, but I don’t see why you’d think parental rights come in for morning-after pill, but not for condoms… unless you also believe that disposing of a 1-day old zygote is fundamentally different from disposing of semen.

casheroo's avatar

@Qingu Why do I think it comes into play? Probably because you used to need a prescription for the morning after pill, and now it’s over the counter for anyone over 18…parents will view that as medical care that they have no say in. Condoms aren’t medical care. I’m sure some people do wish condoms were by prescription only though. Not me. haha

adreamofautumn's avatar

In a number of states SIXTEEN is the legal age of consent as well as the age (if not younger) when you will be tried as an adult if you commit a crime. If they can legally have sex and not have it count as statutory rape than I guess they should be legally able to access the morning after pill as well.

mamabeverley's avatar

I think it is great. Technically, the morning after pill just prevents an egg from embedding in the lining of the uterus. It WILL NOT terminate a pregnancy. I am a grown woman, and had to find “Plan B” after the condom broke (within the confines of marriage). You would not believe how many pharmacy’s here refuse to carry it. Better to take the pills and not worry so much than have to make the decision to keep or terminate a pregnancy. A difficult decision as an adult, let alone a teen. Condoms an the pill do fail, and it is unrealistic to think teens will abstain not matter how good their intentions are.

avalmez's avatar

well i’m somewhat surprised that no one sees this as a parental rights issue notwithstanding that in a circumstance where resorting to the morning after pill might be necessary and i would no doubt give consent but that’s cool. my kids always told me i was too protective of them (and that’s not to write the collectives general opinion is not protective). thanks for your responses and glad i have only one more to go under the age of 17!

mamabeverley's avatar

Can a 17 year old girl go to planned parenthood ant get the pill still?? I know I did and that was over 20 years ago…(GOD I am sooo old! I hate saying that, I feel like MY mom.) If she can get the pill w/o parental permission, why not the morning after pill? All it has in it is a super dose of B/C.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s a great idea. period.

exitnirvana's avatar

As long as Plan B isn’t the primary form of contraception, then by all means (mind you that would get pretty expensive and I don’t know many 17 yr olds that have that sort of cash laying around).

I worked as a Pharmacy Technician for a couple years and this topic was always hotly debated…one of the pharmacists I knew flat-out REFUSED to sell it to anyone, regardless of age. I guess the way I see it, I would much rather have my daughter prevent a potential pregnancy by taking the pill than be scarred by having an abortion down the line OR raise a child that she and her pal just aren’t ready for. But that would be her decision, and I would stand by it whichever choice she made.

Facade's avatar

it’s better than getting knocked up.

TaoSan's avatar

Counter question: What do you think about 18 year old mothers?

SuperMouse's avatar

I have absolutely no problem with it, as a matter of fact I think it is a great idea.

vanelokz's avatar

I think it’s great that the morning after pill is available to teens under 18. With all the girls that are pregnant nowadays I think more steps need to be taken to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Many parents aren’t as great as all of you saying that you will make sure you can have open communication to your kids about this issue. Those kids should consider themselves lucky. The lack of parenting and abusive parenting are the major issue with this problem. So it’s great that they can seek out more services without a parent. But also more information should be readily available of such methods.

funky_princess's avatar

Of course taking the morning after pill is better then unwanted pregnancies but as a older teen myself i dont think its right as alot of girls will abuse the priveledge, and i also think as a result of being able to get the pill without percription the number of young people infected with STI’s will increase, i think if it is easy to get hold the morning after pill people wont bother with condoms and more people will be catching unpleasant infections as a result.

tonedef's avatar

I’m actually unnerved that we would characterize forcing your underage child to have an unwanted baby as a parental right.

tinyfaery's avatar

@tonedef I have never thought of it like that. Lurve.

avalmez's avatar

@tonedef you weren’t hearing correctly :) re-nerve yourself as that isnt the question (it’s way up there somewhere)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m all for it. As someone else already mentioned: If a teen is of legal age to have sex, then a teen is also of the age where they personally decide what is best for them regarding all possible outcomes. Parents don’t and shouldn’t have any right to decide in situations like that.

jo_with_no_space's avatar

I’m pretty liberal about these kinds of things, and I agree with @bob_ that it is certainly preferable to another unwanted baby being born into this world.

fundevogel's avatar

Personally, the way I see it is this. If your kid has unprotected sex, as a parent you’re probably going to want them to take the morning after pill. So, complaining about the availability of the morning after pill isn’t really about buying the pill. It’s about parents trying to expose their kids sexual exploits.

There are better ways foster good sex related communication than jeopardizing the sanctity of your daughters’ uterus when she’s freaked out and trying to nip something in the bud.

Amoebic's avatar

I would think “good for them for having the presence of mind to act quickly and take responsibility for their actions.”

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I love it. I think they should do away with an age limit completly. And you’d be surprised at the lack of “parental rights” when it comes to medical decisions.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

If you’re neither concerned with “abortion or abstinence” what is your issue? Clearly it has nothing to do with child slaughter or personal responsibility.

Is it vicarious? Voyeurism? Micro management?

curosity_killed_the_cat's avatar

No I don’t like the idea of it. I work at pharmacy and I would see girl come in almost every month and get the Plan B. To them it was a joke. The girls would say stuff like “me and John Doe are going to have unprotected sex so I need to buy a Plan B”. I think its causing more people to have unprotected sex because of it. Now a days you cant afford to have unprotected sex with anyone.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

It makes sense to me because of how poorly a lot of people treat teenage mothers. A lot of adults these days say it’s okay to have sex (even our teachers say it is, basically!), just so long as we are “safe” about it and “don’t get pregnant”! Is it any wonder this is allowed? They are simply following the advice “Go have sex, just don’t get pregnant! If you do end up having unprotected sex, take the morning after pill as soon as possible!” They probably also don’t want to tell their parents about their sex lives. Can you really blame them? Who wants to do that anyway? How embarrassing!

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