Kathryn Lopez

Have you heard about the holiday gift some American girls could be getting? Emergency contraception!

During Thanksgiving week the American Academy of Pediatrics announced their recommendation that "morning- after" prescriptions be issued to adolescent girls in advance of need, as a matter of routine.

"There's no good reason" to disagree with the recommendation, the San Francisco Chronicle asserts. But there are actually plenty of them.

Besides being deeply insulting to the dignity of adolescents, this approach exposes the reality that when we talk about sex, we all too often put good health and sense aside. "Women's health" routinely assumes promiscuity, whatever the age, despite the physical and mental health risks involved in such a lifestyle.

"Taking Plan B (a common name for emergency contraception) on the side in the hopes that no one will find out will lead to girls suffering and struggling on their own long past the time that medical care is indicated," says Anna Halpine, founder of the World Youth Alliance and CEO of the FEMM Foundation. "Plan B needs a prescription because it includes high levels of hormone dosage that can lead to serious side effects, particularly in certain populations."

"Further, counseling regarding sexual activity needs to be provided, and should not be taken lightly," Halpine insists. "Girls are 50 percent more likely to contract infections and sexually transmitted diseases than boys because of immature and underdeveloped cervixes, and they and their parents need to have this information.

"Women and young girls often need support in order to avoid coercive, early sexual activity, and the support of parents and medical providers is critical to enabling them to make such healthy decisions," Halpine observes.

This should be common sense. This should be the fundamental rallying cry for anyone who claims to be an advocate for women and children.

Particularly perplexing, the AAP policy recommendation doesn't even address the problem it claims to solve. As Greg Pfundstein of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a conservative nonprofit, points out, the AAP itself admits, "There is no evidence, anywhere, of access to Plan B resulting in a decrease in teen pregnancy. It is important to note that this fact is not in dispute: No study claims to have shown that access to emergency contraception decreases teen pregnancy rates."


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.