…I’d want Plan B to be available over the counter.
I say this realizing there are great moral complexities involved here. I’ve thought about it a lot regarding under-age girls seeking abortion. When it comes to abortion, I ask myself, “Would I want to be notified if it were my daughter? Would I want the doctor to insist on my consent if it were my daughter? My husband’s consent? If my daughter was 15? What about if my daughter was 13? 12?” Of course the answer to all of these questions is “Yes.” While most parents I know would also answer “yes” to these questions, I realize there are girls who aren’t living in healthy families.
I also, however, have done everything I know how – used everything in my parental arsenal – to make it clear to my daughter (and sons) that when they are in trouble of ANY nature, we are their allies. Not their crutches. Not their protectors. Not their enablers. Not their shields from consequences. Their allies. We know more, we’ve lived longer, we have better access to resources, etc., etc., etc. “We will ALWAYS be prouder of you for calling/telling us you’re (insert a stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situation here) and you need help than we will be mad at you for having found/gotten yourself into (insert stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situation here) to begin with.”
So far, this has served us fairly well. We’re not delusional – we assume there are still plenty of stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situations they have not told us about, and will be in the future. There have been times, however, when we’ve gotten calls from them. And as strange as it sounds to say, I hope we continue to get those calls. I’d rather get calls from them than from the police or the hospital. This is what we have hammered home, and hopefully has set the tone for the basis of trust and confidence they have in us.
I hope this would extend, for my kids, to sex and unwanted pregnancies. In an ideal world, they’d come to us first. In a slightly less ideal world, they’d go to a doctor first. In an even less ideal world, they’d have their friend drive them to a drugstore to buy Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill. But in a world I’d consider unacceptable, they would have no access to Plan B. And then, once a pregnancy results, they’d have no access to Planned Parenthood. Safe abortion would be hard to come by, and god forbid, they’d seek a back alley.
Just because I think I’ve done a good enough job making my own kids comfortable coming to us with their problems and mistakes, doesn’t mean they would. Just because I wish all kids felt comfortable going to their parents doesn’t mean they do.
What of the kids whose parents aren’t there for them? What of the girls who’ve been raped and whose parents would throw them out of the house for being a slut in their eyes? What of the girls whose fathers are womanizers themselves, but would beat their daughters if they got pregnant? What of the daughter of a prominent family that cares more about outward appearances than helping their kid? Just because my daughter is not in one of those families doesn’t negate the fact that other daughters are.
Plan B (and even more medically significant, abortion) is something of which I hope my daughter wouldn’t avail herself without my knowledge. If, however, my daughter is in a situation where she is too afraid/embarrassed/shocked/traumatized to come to us first, all the MORE reason I would want safe emergency contraceptive (and safe prenatal care or abortion) available to her. And if I want it for her, how can I not want it for those daughters who are less fortunate than she?
Aliza Worthington grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now lives in Baltimore. She began writing in 2009 at the age of 40. Sometimes her writing follows The Seinfeld Model of “no learning, no hugging.” Other times it involves lots of both. She blogs about Life, Liberty and Happiness at “The Worthington Post.” Her work also appears in Catonsville Patch, Kveller, and has been featured in the Community Spotlight section of Daily Kos under the username “Horque.” Her writing has also landed in the “Winner’s Circle” on Midlife Collage twice. Follow her on Twitter at @AlizaWrites.