Should emergency contraceptives be allowed to and given to minors

without parental consent?

Emergency contraception is the use of medicinal hormones to prevent
unwanted pregnancies. Emergency contraceptives are sometimes called
‘the morning after pill’. This is usually done between 72-120 hours
after unprotected or under protected sexual intercourse has occurred.
There are various emergency contraceptive methods that are mostly pills
taken by the female involved. Most teenagers and youth use the various
methods of emergency contraception to ensure that they still have a
normal youthful life without having to stop due to the need to raise a
child. These methods are deemed safe but also carry with it the risks.
Minors are considered children under the age of 21. This paper seeks to
argue whether emergency contraceptives should be allowed to and given to
minors without parental consent
Most of the teen pregnancies, of up to 90% are unplanned. These
pregnancies pose a high risk to the individual and to some extent also
increase the economic needs of an individual. In the United States, in a
survey carried out in 1999, up to 95% of the teen pregnancies are
unplanned and just under 60% of them ended in still births (Amnerican
Academy Of Pediatrics, 2005). The rest were mostly aborted. So, in the
move to avoid abortion, contraceptive methods were legalized by the
government to ensure abortions do not occur or are reduced to a
significant level. Initially, abortion was not illegal. But due to
religious acts, constitutional amendment was necessitated and thus it
was illegalized. However, abortion is only allowed if it is medically
proven by a certified medical expert that the life or lives of the
mother or child or both is at risk if the pregnancy is allowed to
proceed to birth (New York Times, 2010).
The various religious groups in the society educate on moral values in
the society. According to most of these teachings, sexual intercourse
among minors is prohibited and is liable to punishment. This is because
in most cases it leads to consequences that have a negative impact to
the society and the individual. In some religious societies, e.g. the
catholic, contraceptives are prohibited since to them life begins at
conception and thus using contraceptives is equal to abortion. This also
means that there is no particular case, to them, that amounts to reason
enough for the use of contraceptives to both minors and adults.
Emergency contraceptives have a number of advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages include giving one the opportunity for family planning.
For example, women who use intra uterine devices can have the
opportunity of enjoying their sexual life with the intent of family
planning and can easily switch to having children when they need to. But
since the ECs work within a limited time, it means that it requires one
to be prepared in advance. This therefore means that emergency
contraceptives are means mostly for adults. Children should therefore
not use them without parental consent. This is because they will
genuinely use it for sexual exploitation and in the end contract
sexually transmitted diseases. ECs will also tempt the teens to have
multiple sexual partners and this just increases the risk of getting
STIs and STDs. However, in some cases like rape or having sexual
intercourse under influence of drugs like alcohol, the ECs come in handy
(US Food and Drug Administration, 2013). This is because the child has a
chance to remain young and not have a child or go through abortion. It
also increases awareness of the children in ECs and brings the need of
educating them.
Emergency contraceptives have a number of side effects. Though, no long
term or serious side effects have yet been found (Lab Space). Emergency
contraceptives (EC) usually are of two types, those formed with
progestin only, and those with both progestin and estrogen. ECs with
both estrogen and progestin have been found to have more side effects
than those with only progestin. Most of the side effects involved in
either of the ECs are nausea, headache, low abdominal pain, vaginal
bleeding, tiredness, lightheadedness and breast tenderness. A few women
may experience light vaginal bleeding. This normally stops within three
days of taking the medicine. In some cases, the bleeding intensifies,
and this is usually a sign of a very serious problem. Most of the above
problems resolve within two to three days. This therefore means that
these effects are not good for children (US Food and Drug
Administration, 2013). This might led them into missing school for
health reasons. In some cases, the children might end up having serious
health issues, e.g. the excessive vaginal discharge and in the end die
or develop permanent reproductive damage.
In conclusion, emergency contraceptives are used to prevent unwanted or
unplanned pregnancies. Majority of the population that uses them are
minors, who in many cases use them for the wrong reasons or during
desperate times. These reasons are usually brought about by immoral acts
in the society that usually lead to unprotected sexual behavior. The
society therefore has the role to ensure that the moral standards of the
youth are increased to avoid the need to use the contraceptives. The
minors are therefore supposed to be more responsible in their lives and
always have the consent of their parents when they face the need to use
contraceptives.

References
New York Times. (2010, July 10). Goverment on emergency contraceptives.
The New York Times. New York, New York: New York Times Magazine.
Pediatrics., A. A. (2005). Emergency Contraception. Pediatrics Lab Space
Family Planning HEAT Module., 1038-1047.
US Food and Drug Administration. (2013, June 20). FDA approves Plan B
one-step emergency contraceptives for use without a prescription for all
women of child-bearing potential. FDA news Release. Silver Spring, MD
20993, 0903 New Hampshire Avenue: FDA Voice.
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