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Always Have a Plan B
“If all else fails, always have a plan B.”
It could be safe to say that truer words were never spoken but whoever originated the term couldn’t have been referring to birth control, especially when speaking to a 15 year old. Truth be told, age has no limits when it comes to back up plans and protection but when describing the difference to youth, one would have to finesse an answer simple enough to understand yet accurately factual. Sex and body image isn’t easy to speak to young kids about but would it be easier to be a young grandparent taking care of your teen and their child?
This past May, the Obama administration announced that the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, would be available to teen girls as young as 15. The teen would have to show some sort of identification, being birth certificate or passport, proving age and would not need a prescription from a doctor. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received the approval to lower the age from 17 to 15 and to publically display the contraception on shelves rather than behind the counter and hidden.
Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, is an emergency contraceptive pill that prevents pregnancy before it happens. It is to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse or birth control failure and the earlier you take it, the better it works. Contrary to popular belief, Plan B is a form of birth control but isn’t intended to be used consistently as other forms of birth control and will not terminate an existing pregnancy. It is not the abortion pill and will not protect against any STD. Plan B was created to prevent unexpected pregnancy due to unprotected sex and inaccuracy of birth control but not as an excuse for irresponsible behavior. The proper definition and facts explain what Plan B’s intentions are but, as expected, controversy of the age drop was to follow. Many parents and politicians worried about what the change in age difference would do for young girls and the message it would be sending.
The reality of young teens having sex is a hard pill to swallow for most. According to the Center of Disease control’s statistics in its last study in 2011, teen birth rate was 31.3 live births per 1,000 teens, ages 15-19 which was significantly lower than their last study in 2007, which calculated teen birth rate as 41.5 live births per 1,000 teens. Seemingly, teen pregnancy has been dropping for the past few years and with emergency contraception available to those a bit younger than 17, one could hope that the rate may continue to drop. If there is more of a possibility for college graduates and young professionals than teen parents, shouldn’t the prevention of the latter be embraced?
Proper information is the key. The more you know, the better protected and smarter you are. If teens are informed about sex, birth control and options of safety, the drop in teen birth rate may continue and better decisions will be made. During the G20 summit in Mexico, President Obama stated, “As the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.” I’m very comfortable with the decision they’ve made right now based on solid scientific evidence for girls 15 and older.” A realist speaks!
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