Parents losing influence: Morning-after pill ruling removes parental involvement Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

Last year, the state of New York became the 32nd state in our country to require that young people under age 18 must have written parental consent before obtaining body piercing.

A member of the state legislature said that “body piercing can result in severe health risks and it is our obligation as New Yorkers and parents to make sure that our teens are taking every precaution to remain healthy and safe.” Besides body piercing, parental consent is also needed for those under 18 to get tattoos or visit tanning beds in the state of New York.

It is good for our elected representatives to be concerned about the health of teenagers and to allow parents to be involved in decisions affecting their health.

Ruling on morning-after pill

However, it seems as if the federal government isn’t so concerned about teenagers’ health or parental involvement, especially when it affects the area of sexuality. On June 10, the Justice Department announced that it will allow girls of any age to buy the Plan B one-step morning-after pill without a prescription and without parental consent. This pill can be bought over the counter, and in most pharmacies it will be will be available on shelves near the condoms.

What is happening in our country? Not only are we encouraging irresponsible behavior, we’re also encouraging teens to purchase drugs that they know very little about — and all without their parents’ knowledge or involvement!

Deirdre McQuade, a spokeswomen for the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Secretariat for Pro Life Activities, was quoted in a Catholic News Service article as saying, “Many studies have shown that wider access to ‘emergency contraception’ among young people does not reduce pregnancy or abortion rates, but can contribute to higher rates of sexually transmitted disease. No public health consideration justifies the unregulated distribution of such drugs to children.”

Using the gift of sexuality responsibly

Our Catholic teaching emphasizes the beauty and sanctity of our sexual nature and encourages us to use the gift of our sexuality responsibly. “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul,” points out the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Sexuality in all its ramifications should be one of the most important matters about which parents and children should be communicating. Parents should not be cut out of the process of dealing with their children’s use of emergency contraceptives.

We need to speak out against this ruling. It makes no moral sense that parents must be involved in decisions regarding body piercing or tattoos, but they have no say in a much more serious matter — namely, their child’s use of an emergency contraceptive pill at any age.