Giving kids morning-after pills “can make some people uncomfortable,” New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn says. As she was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood of New York City Political Committee, Quinn indicated she’d be open to expanding current public-school programs to ensure that eleven-year-old girls have access to “Plan B” at school, just like the the public-high-school girls who currently do.
“Uncomfortable” is probably a more adequate description of Anthony Weiner fielding questions involving Twitter and Snapchat (the mobile-phone messaging services that deletes photos seconds after they’re sent – that there is even such a thing might itself be a commentary on the times).
We do children a disservice when we don’t help them expect more for themselves, and know that they can demand more than going to a school that will shoot the girls up with Depro-Vera so everyone can satisfy their hormonal urges.
How about instead of being “uncomfortable” at best, doing something more like standing athwart history yelling Stop? (As has been suggested, life after the introduction of the pill these past decades has lead to depths of denial about its devastation possibly reminiscent of what we saw in the Cold War.)
In medicine, sometimes what is needed is a paradigm shift — not just small changes but a radical re-evaluation of the problem and the assumptions and presuppositions relating to it.
If we had the courage to look honestly at teen pregnancy, we wouldn’t be satisfied with a mandate that does the equivalent of placing a tiny band-aid on a gushing artery. If we had the courage to admit that we don’t have a solution, we’d be unwilling to spend more money on an old model that has pretty much failed.
If we had the courage, we’d challenge our preconceived ideas about teenage behavior and sexuality and would go back to the drawing board.
Could it be that teens really are capable of self-control, moral decision-making and goal-directed behavior? That teens would adopt healthier behaviors if they got a consistent message from parents, teachers, doctors and the media that risk-avoidance, rather than simply risk-reduction, is possible and would maximize their happiness? Could it be that we — the adults who discount their potential for acting with integrity and maturity — are part of the problem?
In every other public-health intervention, an ideal is promoted: no-smoking campaigns, no-soda-drinking campaigns. Why not in the area of teen sexuality?
I don’t believe that this mandate springs from some hidden agenda to increase teen sexual behavior by saturating them with information about sex. It isn’t part of some hidden plot to undermine society or the rights of parents or religious organizations. I just believe that it isn’t going to work — and that our teens will continue to pay the price for our lack of courage.
New York, a state where the governor was pushing for a radical, unnecessary abortion expansion earlier this year, needs leaders who would reject the Planned Parenthood paradigm and consider something much healthier.