Parents’ Concern Over Emergency Contraception Bill Should Prompt Better Communication with Kids
If Gov. Gray Davis (D) signs into law a bill passed by the Legislature, California women could "walk up to their pharmacist's counter without a prescription and get the 'morning after pill,'" a Sacramento Bee editorial says. But "[m]any parents ... bristle at the idea" that their teenage daughters will have access to emergency contraception without their consent. The editorial says that teenagers' "right" to emergency contraception already exists, "with or without this bill." According to the editorial, state law "already allows teenage girls to get a Pap smear, birth control or an abortion without anyone's consent." Further, "whatever family planning methods are available to a 25-year-old are also available to a 16-year-old," the editorial states. The law will make it easier for women to gain access to emergency contraception "in time for it to be effective," but the editorial notes that the pills "won't be available for easy pickup on shelves next to the Band-Aids and toothpaste." Rather, "specially trained pharmacist[s]" will counsel women prior to dispensing the medication. The editorial concludes that parents who are troubled by the new law "should find it yet another reason to talk to their daughters and sons about sex and responsible behavior" (Sacramento Bee, 9/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.