Your eleven-year-old daughter can walk into any Walgreen’s or CVS, buy a bottle of Tylenol, take six or eight or ten tablets because she has a really bad headache (and hasn’t yet learned about proper dosage)–and die.
Tylenol is available over the counter. It can kill you.
Plan B can’t kill you. But because of Kathleen Sibelius’ massive overreach, and in defiance of everything we know about its safety, it won’t be available over the counter to any one younger than 17.
Not because it’s dangerous. It isn’t. But because parents, notably our Commander in Chief in a burst of deluded paternalism, don’t like the idea of their younger-than-seventeen daughters engaging in sex-related decisions. It implies that sex has been had, and this is something we just can’t deal with.
I completely get this. I wouldn’t want my eleven-year-old daughter to buy Plan B without telling me. I wouldn’t want her to need Plan B without telling me. As a parent, I want my daughter to know that she can always come to me no matter what she’s done. And I’d like her wait a really really really long time before she has sex.
But guess what, parents, Plan B isn’t about you. It’s about the twelve-year-old girls who can’t go to their parents about the fact that they might be pregnant. It’s about the girls who might be pregnant by one of their parents. It’s about the girls whose parents would impose pregnancy and childbirth on them against their wills. To impose a restriction like this is an attempt to legislate a parent-daughter relationship that some girls will never have. You’re not helping these girls. All you’re doing is ensuring that even more of them will be pregnant now. Well done.
If you don’t want your daughter buying Plan B without you, engage with her. Make sure you’ve established a non-threatening open channel through which she can communicate with you about her sex life. But don’t pretend that every girl out there has the benefit of a parent like you. A lot of them don’t.
Until someone proves that Plan B is actually dangerous for girls younger than seventeen, there is no medical reason to restrict it. Note that a boy, of any age, can waltz in to a drug store and buy condoms, Robitusson, and cheap aftershave, which no doubt is the reason why some girls will wind up returning to the same drug store the next day to buy Plan B. You don’t hear anyone trying to move the condoms behind the counter, do you? Or the Robitusson? Or the aftershave? Of course not. That would be foolish.