Putting parents back in charge of their adolescent daughters

From the “Cheers and Jeers” section of Women’s eNews:

The Republican-led New York State Senate passed a bill Wednesday to allow local pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception to women without prescription, according to combined news reports.

Fabulous. Now both my “home” states — Washington and New York — have sensible rules regarding access to EC (assuming that Gov. Pataki signs the legislation, which he likely will).

But in not-so-great news:

Female teens who try to obtain contraceptives may have to wait at least five days for their parents to be notified, according to the Parents’ Right-to-Know Act, which was re-introduced Tuesday in Congress.

The key quote, though, is this one:

“This bill does nothing but put parents back in charge of their adolescent daughters, said Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who introduced the legislation, reported CNSNews.com, an online news service.

Do I even need to comment on that statement? Of course, parental notification will mean that fewer young women will try and obtain contraceptives before having sex — but it won’t mean that fewer of them will have sex. And forty percent of sexually active teens turn to Title X-funded clinics for their contraceptive needs. So for people who supposedly want to prevent abortion, it’s striking that they would try and limit contraceptive access — when increased contraceptive use accounts for 80 percent of the recent decline in teen pregnancy. And a decline in unintended pregnancy = a decline in abortion.

People like Coburn, of course, would like to see contraceptives highly limited (even illegalized) and abortion banned. This, despite pretty substantial evidence of what happens when abortion is illegal:

An estimated 60 percent of abortions in Nigeria, where the procedure is illegal, are performed by non-physicians in unsafe facilities, according to a study by the Lagos-based Campaign against Unwanted Pregnancy, a community-based organization in Lagos, reported the Lagos Daily Champion on Thursday. Approximately 610,000 abortions, a rate of 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. occur yearly in Nigeria, the study found.

But as long as parents have control of their adolescent daughters…


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7 comments for “Putting parents back in charge of their adolescent daughters

  1. June 27, 2005 at 1:05 pm

    I think the 5 day waiting period is ridiculous. I can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with the morning after pill. If I’m not mistaken, EC is best taken within 3 days but can still be taken within 5 days of intercourse (with a lower success rate, of course). If a 5 day waiting period were mandatory, that would pretty much eliminate the possibility of using EC.

  2. June 27, 2005 at 3:56 pm

    In the wonderful (cough) state of South Carolina the governer is offering legislation that will permit pregnant teenage girls to be considered legal adults while on medicaid so they can make thier own medical decisions. The governer has stressed that this is only for medicaid purposes.

    I find it silly that a pregnant girl can make her own medical decisions but a girl who wants to prevent a pregnancy cannot.

  3. Anna in Cairo
    June 28, 2005 at 4:40 am

    I may just be really, really out of touch but why the hell are people not up in arms about the fact that it is only females that are supposed to tell parents about contraceptives? The only way this bill would make any sense would be if male teenagers buying condoms also had to wait 5 days and tell their folks. It’s really blatantly sexist – is this not an issue? Personally I think both genders should have full access to BC in any form they need and without parental involvement but as long as they are monitoring teenagers why just girls? It does take two, after all.

  4. michelle b.
    June 29, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    Anna: that was my first reaction!

    Is this just for hormonal contraception (which is only available for females) or is it also condoms – which absolutely anyone could get in the U.S., AFAIK. What’s to stop a teen from picking up a box along with some Vick’s and buying it along with the rest of her purchases at the check-out?

    I suspect this does not apply to condoms, which are OTC. Cashiers are not going to be enforcing this rule. It’s only pharmacists who have that power with prescribed drugs.

    Doesn’t make it better, but it’s nothing new for hormonal contra to be highly restricted. Heck, just having to go to a doctor, get an exam, and receive a prescrip is extremely restrictive. As usual, men’s sexual choices are unrestricted while women have to take what they’re permitted.

  5. michelle b.
    June 29, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    I’m too impatient and can’t read. This stupid law applies to prescription contra (apparently girls aren’t going to buy condoms, because Real Men don’t use condoms. I guess.)

    “This bill does nothing but put parents back in charge of their adolescent daughters.”

    These people never mention boys or sons in these statements. Never. From the way they talk, you’d think all women were lesbian and all men were celibate, because only girls and women seem to be having sex. Except for all those horny, out of control males (of mythic proportions it seems) whose mere existence means women must remain sexless until they’re given permission by their church. And being gay is bad, so that rules out the lesbian bit. Anyone else confused?

    “A girls’ school in Afghanistan was attacked and burnt to the ground by armed men, BBC News reported Thursday. The attack is part of a series of assaults on newly established girls’ schools as the country continues to cope with security issues since the U.S. ousted the Taliban in 2001.”

    Why do they hate us so much? Why?

  6. Flamethorn
    July 2, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    Why do they hate us so much? Why?

    Because we have TEH VAG1NA.

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