Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is Best for our Daughters?

I do not have a daughter. I always wanted one, but it just never happened, so I celebrate my son and wish to one day hold a granddaughter in my arms. Maybe if I had a living, breathing daughter, I would feel differently, but I do not have a problem with 17 year old girls having the ability to buy Plan B. I, personally, do not have a problem with girls younger than 17 having the ability to buy Plan B. Without their parent's permission. Without a doctor.

There are those who disagree with me.

Mike Galanos, who hosts "Prime News" from 5-7 pm ET Monday-Friday on CNN's Headline News apparently disagrees with me.

He argues that because a prescription is required for birth control pills, one should be required for Plan B. He argues that states that allow abortion without parental consent are wrong and that wrongness should not be perpetuated by other wrongs.

The argument he uses that really gets to me, though, is this one:

We are making it available to high school girls. We're enabling teenagers to act carelessly with an easy way out. During a recent discussion on my show, Jackie Morgan MacDougall, supervising producer of the Web site, said it best. "Teenagers are known for thinking they're untouchable and here we are saying that they can continue to do that and that there aren't any consequences." With Plan B, they can do it now and deal with it later.

Don't tell me high school dynamics won't play in here. The boyfriend will talk his girlfriend into unprotected sex with the promise of buying the "morning after pill" the next day. Any 17-year-old boy will be able to buy this drug, just as any 17-year-old girl will.

Isn't this the same logic used by the right wingers to deny their daughters Gardisil? That vaccinating a teen against HPV is giving them permission to have sex? And what teenager, in the throes of passion, is thinking long term consequences? I would rather have my daughter (or my son, for that matter) wake up the next morning and think, "Oh crap, we didn't use a condom," and head right down to the pharmacy.

In a perfect world that teenager would want to speak with a parent about what had happened. Would want the parents input into their lives. In a perfect world, the parent would already know that child was sexually active and would not come unglued. How many of us live in a perfect world?

And the child who has been raped? By her father or step father? Whose own mother does not believe her? Who is going to take that child to a doctor for a prescription for Plan B? No one. Who is going to sign the paperwork allowing her to have an abortion? No one. So now she has been raped twice, once by the rapist and once by society.

Teens are going to have sex. There is nothing we can do to stop it short of locking them in the basement. I prefer that those teens have 100% of the information available and 100% of the alternatives available. Maybe that will stop unwanted pregnancies. Maybe that will slow down the downward spiral into poverty in this country.


andante said...

Well, I have a daughter (23 yrs) and I'm glad the problem never arose. But I would have felt much beter if she had needed Plan B, it would have been available to her.

End of my story. These yayhoos are all about controlling women.

LeftLeaningLady said...

And if she had ever needed it, she probably would have come to you about it. But, yes, you would have still wanted it available if she had chosen not to come to you. Because you have a brain AND a heart and you care about your daughter. What more can be said?

Angel said...

Warning a bit long winded.

This type of subject, anti-Plan B, anti-abortion, anti-birth control always gets me a bit worked up.

First off is the double standard we see in society regarding these issues. The expectation for those opposing these procedures and methods is for the females to control sexual contact to prevent pregnancy primarily through abstinence rather than pills or abortions, some even go so far as to make comments such as if your old enough to have sex and get pregnant your old enough to deal with the consequences....well some girls become fertile as young as 9 years old, as in the case of the Brazilian girl and mother who were excommunicated from the church after the mother allowed her 9 year old daughter to have an abortion after being raped by I believe it was her step father. Another people will come up with is "well if she didn't want to get pregnant she should have kept her legs together"

On the other hand when it comes to male sexuality our society as a majority still views sex as a right of passage for males. Just take a moment to count the ad's for male enhancement on TV or the radio, you can't escape it. We live in a society that accepts young males to be sexually active, bragging about how many girls they've supposedly "had" is considered cool, they aren't expected to marry or even love the girl, it's about them scoring as many as possible and being a MAN. As was mentioned in response to Mr. Galanos's article, condoms are sold over the counter and no big deal is made over them. Yet people can have severe life threatening reactions to latex.

Our women and girls are being deionized for their actions to prevent carrying an unwanted or planned for pregnancy but they didn't end up in this situation through emaculate conception. These articles primarily portray the females using these products and procedures as being in this position due to lack of forethought, responsibility, consideration for consequences, etc...basically all willingly. And such is not necessarily the situation.

Consider this:
1 in 3 young girls are sexually assaulted (against their will) before they graduate from High School. Worse yet, that number is based on the ones who can actually bring themselves to talk about it. Due to the double standards when it comes to teen sex, these crimes are not viewed with the same gravity as they would if it was an adult assaulting a teen, so the victim is often seen on some level not so much a victim as a participant, yet the emotional damage can be equally as destructive. And unfortunately no matter how close of a relationship you have with your children, no matter how often you've assured them that they can always come to you, feelings of guilt over not being able to stop it, the embarrassment, the fear can be so traumatic that they can't face it themselves, let alone tell you about it.

For the record those figures I researched in December 2007. After 3 years of watching my daughter first physically become more and more ill, putting her through countless medical tests with no answers, watching that progress to panic attacks and agoraphobia, watching all the light in her fade away, watching her try so hard to overcome it to go with her best girlfriends to a formal dance only to fall apart last minute unable to leave the house, it took 3 years of hell, before she could bring herself to tell anyone she was forcibly sexually assaulted on the last day of her Freshman year of High school in 2005.

Adding multiple insults to injury, she had at that point only "dated" one boy they had been together since they were both 13, she was honest with the detective that they had experimented a bit sexually nothing "serious" though, but the detective after supposedly interviewing the boy who assaulted her pointed out to me that "well she was sexually active anyway" then went on to tell me the statute of limitations was past and he got off scott free And the greater irony of this....although the guy that assaulted her has no remorse for the harm he caused her to him it's what guys do...he's majoring in law enforcement in college with plans to be a police officer.

All things considered, If he had actually raped her and left her potentially pregnant, as opposed to just forcing her to perform oral sex on him, even if she couldn't bring herself to tell me, I would have been grateful for Plan-B to be available for her.

I also think people need to start putting more focus on the other 1/2 of the problem of potential unplanned pregnancies

LeftLeaningLady said...

Angel, Wow! Thank you so much for the comment. Obviously this is an important topic for you and your daughter. And I agree with you 100% I don't care how close kids are with their parents; there are just things that are not going to be shared. And our children need to be given all of the knowledge in our arsonal to ensure they make informed decisions, whether it is the choice TOO have sex or not to.
Obviously that choice is taken away far too many times to count and, in those cases, it is especially important for our children to have the information. I can only imagine the pain and horror your daughter was forced to endure. I hope she is doing better. I know you are doing everything in your power to help her.

You will both stay in my thoughts.

Bird said...

argh. and argh again.

i weary of all of this.

yeah - so the punishment for having is disease or unwanted children - and that's just the way it is.

"easy way out." yeah, right.

this issue of parental consent rears its head in california frequently. i do think it is rather absurd that i had to sign a release for my daughter when she was 16 to have a needle put to her toe by the podiatrist, yet she could have had an abortion without any consent from me at all.

and i would want to know.

but i gladly give that up in order to keep other girls safe. my daughter could and can talk to me about such matters, and i would gladly give my consent - and i would prefer to do so. and i would gladly take her myself to the doctor to get a prescription for birth control, or pick up Plan B for her at the drugstore.

but so many girls cannot speak with their families. and to punish them with illness or a pregnancy they are not prepared for is insane - not to mention puritanical and oppressive.

how about trusting ourselves and our daughters? if we are providing, to the best of our ability, advice and lessons in morality, sexual health and responsibility - then let's trust that our daughters will follow our lead and make the right decisions. and if they do not - we needn't punish them for that. teenagers make mistakes.

knowledge & wisdom often comes from making mistakes.granted, we'd all like to mitigate the mistakes, but that's not always realistic.

good post LL.

LeftLeaningLady said...

Thanks for the comments Bird.

I have obviously struck a cord with many on this post. And I said in the beginning, I do not have a daughter so I absolutely appreciate those of you who do weighing in.

But I WAS a teenage girl once, many many many many years ago. And my mom was the absolute best in the world, open, honest and compassionate. She was the one all my friends went to with their questions, because their mothers wouldn't give them the information. My mom rocked then and she rocks now. And she still has absolutely no idea when I lost my virginity. None. She thinks it was a year later than it really was and with my ex husband.

So no matter how great are moms are or how close we are to them, sometimes we just can't talk to them.

On the other hand, I know exactly when my son lost his virginity and can name both girls he has had sex with in his life. And my friends find it out that my SON can talk to me about these things.