Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

Morning- after contraception for teens is another attack on parental rights

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It is really no surprise that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for teenage girls to receive prescriptions for morning after contraception so they’ll have it just in case. I say it’s no surprise because a 1993 study revealed that 60 percent of the academy’s membership favored abortion for teenagers with “undesired” pregnancies and because the academy has jumped on the “free contraception for all” bandwagon mandated by President Obama’s health-care law.

As Catholics, we oppose both the use of artificial contraception and sex outside of marriage. As pro-lifers, we oppose this “morning after” contraception because, in fact, it can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, by which time fertilization has occurred. To interfere with the cycle at this point is to cause a direct abortion.

I also oppose morning-after contraception as a parent. This recommendation from the physician’s group represents another attack on parental rights. A doctor who sees a teen as infrequently as once a year has no business, and no right, to insert himself or herself into a discussion about values and morality. That’s the job of a parent.

Think about the things we warn our kids about:  Smoking, drinking, experimenting with drugs. The accepted wisdom in combating these things is that we must talk to our teens, often. Hundreds of web sites and several ad campaigns have been built to promote the idea that parents are the best defense. Drugfree.org used to have a campaign called “Parents: The Anti-Drug.” Remember that?

So why, when it comes to teenage sexuality, should we asked to abdicate our responsibilities? And why should we allow doctors to second-guess us? If we have made it clear to our teenagers that sex is something sacred and meant to be enjoyed by two people who have made a lifelong commitment to each other through marriage, we shouldn’t accept the interference of a physician – however well-meaning – who tells our teens that “accidents happen” and here’s a way out.

Morality aside, morning after contraception is a powerful drug that no one should be encouraging teenagers to use.  Here’s what the well-respected Mayo Clinic has to say about it:

The morning-after pill isn’t appropriate for everyone. Tell your health care provider if:

  • You’re allergic to any component of the morning-after pill
  • You’re taking certain medications that may decrease the effectiveness of the morning-after pill, such as barbiturates or St. John’s wort
  • You’re breast-feeding (Plan B One-Step and Next Choice can be used during breast-feeding, but Ella isn’t recommended)

In addition, make sure you’re not pregnant before using Ella. The effects of Ella on a developing baby are unknown. However, if you’re already pregnant when you take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice, the treatment will simply be ineffective and won’t harm the developing baby.

Side effects of the morning-after pill typically last only a few days and may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramps
  • Diarrhea

As parents, as pro-lifers, as people of conscience, we cannot allow this recommendation by a group of doctors to become the law of the land.

As Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote in the National Review Online:

“Could we actually take a few steps back together here? Toward something healthier than a wholesale surrender of innocence, medical knowledge, and common sense? Could we ask for a cultural second opinion? It will require a little critical perseverance in the face of attractive, distracting rhetoric about health and freedom. But, ‘for the children,’ can we afford anything less?”

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Posted in Family, Parental Consent |
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Parental rights under attack, again

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

If you have been a parent in New York City for more than 20 years, you might remember “Heather Has Two Mommies.” That was one of the books public school children were going to be required to read in order to learn tolerance toward the homosexual lifestyle. It also marked one of the most public fights over the education system’s attempt to strip parents of their rights. Parents couldn’t be trusted to teach tolerance, the reasoning went, so teachers would do it for them. I was a public school teacher at the time, and I was among those leading the charge against that curriculum.

New York schools are at it again, but it’s worse this time. Now teenage girls in 13 high schools are being given hormonal contraceptives, by pill or injection, and morning-after pills upon request, and without the express consent of their parents. This has been going on since last year. The New York Post first reported on it this past weekend and the outrage has been growing ever since. This program, called CATCH – Connect Adolescents to Comprehensive Health Care – is wrong in so many ways that it’s hard to know where to start.

According to what’s been reported on this program, parents can opt out. But many parents — including a woman who works with me at Priests for Life and whose daughter attends one of the 13 schools — have never been told about CATCH. They missed their opportunity to opt out. If the Health Department deemed this program so vital, at the very least, parents should have the opportunity to opt in.

It would be interesting to see how many parents would opt in to a program that hands out known carcinogenic drugs to their teenagers. Birth control pills and the powerful morning-after drug are not health care by any definition. They are dangerous drugs, according to the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health. Do school nurses have accurate information on every student’s health history? Do they ask if a student is a smoker? Has a history of heart attack, stroke or blood clots in her family? If she has a mother or grandmother or aunt who has breast cancer? The Pill is bad for everyone, but it’s especially bad for women and girls with certain red flags in their health histories.

The aim of CATCH is to reduce the city’s teenage pregnancy and abortion numbers. Those are good goals. But what CATCH is doing to making it OK for teenagers to engage in sex, when what schools should be doing is reinforcing the message that sex in high school is not a good idea. Public schools obviously are not going to teach children religious or even moral reasons not to have sex. But if they just accurately taught about the dangers of sex, both physical and mental, many kids might get the point. Have we somehow forgotten AIDS? The message of CATCH is that sex is a good thing as long as you’re using contraception, and even if you mess up, there’s a way out. Is that what we want our teenagers to learn in school?

Schools require permission slips for everything and they won’t give a Tylenol or a Midol to a student without a parent’s say so, but school personnel in some states, including New York, can take your teenage girl for an abortion without your knowledge or consent. Obviously it doesn’t make sense, but those of us who work in pro-life are used to it. When it comes to contraception and abortion, there’s a whole different set of rules. And the people making those rules don’t have your teenager’s best interest in mind.

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Posted in Contraception, Family, Health Care, Parental Consent |
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