The FDA has approved the availability of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception, also referred to as the “morning-after” pill, for girls 15 years and older to access the pill without prescription.
The pill will be sold in stores with pharmacies, and will be available outside of pharmacy hours, to anyone who can prove age verification.
Intended to be taken within 24 hours (but may be taken up to 72 hours after) as emergency contraception, the morning-after pill works by preventing an egg from being released from the ovary, or preventing fertilization of the egg by sperm. If there has been fertilization, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from embedding in the uterus.
As the mother of three daughters ranging in ages from five to 24, I wasn’t really pleased to hear that the FDA has approved the morning-after pill for teens. Before I get a bunch of hate comments on this post, let me say that I’m not talking about adult women who can make decisions for themselves. Nor am I delusional enough to think that 15-year-old girls aren’t having sex. However, I do have some concerns about 15-year-old kids having access to this without prescription or parental consent.
You may think that your teen is making bad decisions just to make you crazy, but did you know that the teen brain is actually programmed that way during the teen years? One study shows that adolescent brains are most receptive during this time to the risk-reward stage, which is what makes them do stupid things under peer pressure. If they perceive the reward as great, even if they know they’re not supposed to do it, they’re probably going to choose it. The study states:
A major reason why teenagers often respond to those influences with irrational decisions is the presence of a brain chemical known as dopamine. The brain releases dopamine when something makes us feel good, whether it’s receiving a teacher’s compliment or finding a $20 bill. Dopamine levels in general peak during adolescence. In teenagers, the strength of this “feel good” response helps explain why they often give in to impulsive desires.
Putting drugs (of any kind) into the hands of kids who are incapable of making good decisions at that age just seems … like a bad decision.
I’m concerned that kids will give less thought to having sex and the complications that may arise from it. Will kids use it as an excuse to be less careful thinking, “Who cares? I can always get the morning-after pill … and my parents won’t even know!”
Like any oral birth control, the morning-after pill doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted disease. Here are some eye-opening facts from the Centers for Disease Control:
Parents can be lazy in talking to our kids about sex. For some reason, we can cover everything else from college to bullying, but refuse to be open about something as natural as sex. If we know our kids have easy access to the Plan B One-Step pill, will it make us even less likely to talk to our kids about sex because they can just take care of it alone without us knowing?
What are your thoughts about the new FDA approval on the morning-after pill for ages as young as 15? Good idea, or do you have concerns? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.