Teen Immaturity Is Not the Problem with Plan B. The Immaturity of Politicians Is.

See all our coverage of the Administration’s 2011 Emergency Contraception Reversal here.

Teenagers get a lot of crap for going above, under, and around the laws that are established to keep them “safe.” Some of these laws are completely well-founded. Others are not.  President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, betrayed millions of teens and young people (along with their doctors, parents, and supportive adults) by telling them that they were not mature enough to decide to prevent a pregnancy.

As a recent teenager, I want to set the record straight on some things that our politicians may not have realized. Teenagers do have the maturity to know how and when to take Plan B. Teenagers know that emergency contraception is what you use when the condom breaks, when pulling out doesn’t go as planned, when contraception wasn’t available. They know it can stop pregnancy from occurring and that they shouldn’t wait until Monday when they MAY be able to go to the doctor to get a prescription.

Because let’s face it, sex for teenagers happens more often when their parents are out for the night, when they don’t have school the next morning, and when they have the most free time. Monday isn’t going to cut it and while teenagers may want to go to the pharmacy and pick up Plan B because they want to protect themselves or their partners from becoming pregnant, they can’t. Not because they are going to abuse it, not because they don’t know how to use it, not because they lack the maturity to know what consequence the lack of action could have, but because politicians have deemed that it’s immoral to let teenagers to access Plan B. They are denying teenagers access to something that could help them continue being teenagers, because isn’t that what every parent, neighbor, and president wants?

Teenagers under 17, who can’t legally access Plan B, do sometimes have access to it. The majority of people that I know who have used Plan B were not 17 and they didn’t go to a doctor to get a prescription to get emergency contraception. Teenagers know that there are faster ways to get Plan B and so, while millions of adults don’t have the maturity to admit simple (or big) mistakes, teenagers admit to their friend, their sibling, their cousin that they messed up and they need that person to buy them or their partner emergency contraception. These teenagers use their birthday, babysitting, or lawn- mowing money to buy a $50 pill that will prevent a pregnancy and enable them to continue being teens.

They are forced to do this through a network of texts, Facebook chats, late-night phone calls and other means, because our politicians don’t believe that they have the maturity to use this pill correctly or safely despite what doctors, parents, and teenagers themselves are saying. However, the unlucky teenagers who don’t know or trust anyone old enough to access emergency contraception are forced to face the stress of a possibly pregnancy and, sometimes, an unintended pregnancy that can derail the life of the teen and her partner.

Teenagers know the what emergency contraception does, how it can help them avoid teen pregnancy, and why and when they need it and are unable to access it because of political immaturity, not their own.

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  • prochoicegrandma

    President Obama has the luxury of having 24/7 Secret Service for his daughters – a surefire method of preventing teens from having sex.  The rest of us – not so much.

    Very few 11 & 12 year olds actually have intercourse, but a large number of 13 & 14 year olds will have their first experience at “making out” which may get out of hand and go further than they planned or expected.  Most of these first experiences are not prepared with condoms, and had not been previously sexually active to even ask their parents to get them a birth control prescription, if they even dared ask.  It is a myth that you can’t get pregnant the first time, as many young girls have unfortunately learned the hard way. 

    Of course we don’t want our teens having sex – but they do and they will.  The best we can hope is that they have a realistic and comprehensive sex education, stressing that they wait, but also informing them of STDs, condoms and PLAN B emergency contraceptives to avoid a pregnancy from occurring!!  We have wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds on “Abstinence Only” programs that are a proven failure.

    I am sick of the kowtowing to Puritanical fruitcakes who impose their unrealistic beliefs upon society.  To them, if a young girl has sex and becomes pregnant, she should be punished by carrying to term and experiencing childbirth – which not only risks her life, but in most cases forever ruins her opportunities of completing her education.

    For anyone claiming to be “pro-life” and anti-abortion, Plan B is the answer to your prayers.  It is NOT an abortion pill like RU486, and it would substantially decrease the number of abortions from unplanned pregnancies in teens, IF it is available to them.  The US has the highest rate of teen (15-19) pregnancies in the developed world.  Are you proud of that??

    If you want to prevent your teen daughter from having sex, get elected as POTUS.

  • katwa

    Of course we don’t want our teens having sex

    Why not? Most people start having sex as a teenager, I don’t see why that’s a problem. You really think no one should have sex until they are 20?

  • beenthere72

    From a parental perspective, even a step parent perspective in my case, we don’t want to even think about our teens having sex.    I surely don’t want her to have the same experiences I had as a teen, which were often pretty ugly and very bad for me emotionally, sometimes physically.   So yeah, I’d rather her wait until she’s in a committed, loving, trusting relationship and it’s apparent she’s not taking boys seriously right now so if she can wait then by all means!  

  • equalist

    I think the idea of not wanting to think about our teenagers having sex comes from the fact that when you look at your teenage daughter or son, you see the baby you brought into the world, the toddler you taught to walk and talk, and the child you watched grow into the teenager you see now.  I think this goes on through our whole lives and the lives of our children.  Think about it, even parents of adult children don’t like to think about the fact that their children are having sex, even when they’ve got the grandchildren to prove that it’s happening.  This isn’t by itself a bad thing, it’s part of being a parent, loving your child, and wanting to protect that child.  The problem comes in when rather than choosing not to dwell on what our children are doing as teenagers and adults while acknowledging that it is happening, parents instead deny that it’s happening at all, and instead choose to pretend that this teenager or adult is still their innocent toddler and needs to be protected from all things sexual, including education.

  • beenthere72

    I don’t even want to think of my *parents* having sex.  LOL.

    Agreed, I certainly am not sheltering her from reality.   She’s on the pill, she’s had the HPV vaccine, and I share as much as I learn on here, and of the experiences I had growing up, that she’s willing to listen to.    Now if I can only get her to re-friend me on Facebook…

  • ljean8080

    problem with otc for 15 and up.

  • equalist

    Why 15 and up?  What happens at midnight on one’s 15th birthday that somehow makes them magically more mature and ready to decide if they need plan b than they were fifteen minutes or even 24 hours before?

  • ljean8080

    most states and i think its availability as a otc drug should tie-in to the age of consent.

  • equalist

    The age of consent to sex in most states is 16-18, so even then the argument is invalid.  In addition, teenagers do have sex before the age of consent, as we all know from the teenage pregnancy statistics.  Preventing them from protecting themselves from pregnancy won’t prevent them from having sex.  If that worked, abstinence only education wouldn’t be a massive failure.