published Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Protecting young girls

Views on the so-called "morning-after pill" vary. Some consider it a form of abortion. Others argue that it is an "emergency contraceptive" that merely prevents pregnancy.

But whatever you think of the pill, it should not be provided without restriction to children.

And that is the gist of a recent commonsense decision by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

She has appropriately halted plans to allow virtually unrestricted over-the-counter drugstore sales of the morning-after pill to even very young girls.

There are excellent reasons to forbid such sales to children. If a very young girl is seeking that sort of pill, she is obviously in a potentially dangerous intimate relationship -- possibly with a man who is much older than she. In fact, a sexual predator could provide a girl money to buy the pill in order to cover up the evidence of his wrongdoing and continue the harmful relationship.

Sebelius pointed out that girls as young as 11 years old are capable of becoming pregnant, but that scarcely means they are capable of wise decision-making on such matters.

It is irresponsible to encourage girls to remain in improper relationships by giving them easy access to the morning-after pill.

If a young girl is seeking the morning-after pill at a drugstore or anywhere else, the response certainly should not be to furnish the drug to her. Rather, it should be to contact authorities and report the possible sexual abuse of a child.

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