|Type of paper:||Research paper|
Different people view the use of contraceptives in different ways; some believe that contraceptives are unethical because they are a way of taking a life. Others think contraceptives are justified because it is much easier to kill a fetus rather than letting it mature and become a child who is brought up in an unwanted environment. I agree that morning-after pills should be sold over the counter to whoever requires them. However, this research paper is going to explore the pros and cons of selling over-the-counter morning-after pills to individuals under the age of 17: and why people are divided on whether the move should be allowed or discouraged.
What is the Morning-after Pill?
Also known as emergency contraception's, morning-after pills are taken by someone of the female gender to prevent pregnancy. They are a form of birth control mostly used after unprotected sex. Although the pill is more effective when taken sooner after sex, it remains effective up to five days after engaging in unprotected sex. However, the morning-after pill is not identical to abortion pills, therefore, not a guarantee of terminating an existing pregnancy. Sperm can live up to six days inside the body of a woman waiting for an egg. The pill temporarily prevents the ovary from releasing eggs and thereby preventing fertilization from taking place; without fertilization, women cannot get pregnant (Furstenberg 35).
Pros and Cons Building Arguments around the Morning-after Pill
The pill has its advantages and disadvantages that may make or break the lives of not only underage girls and boys. There are important questions that must be probed when trying to understand why girls under 17 should or should not be taking morning-after pills. Agreeing whether or not girls under the age of 17 years should take morning pills is a matter of how, why and when people should be given the freedom be in control of their bodies.
Advantages and Misconceptions
Any female considered fertile needs a plan B. Women who are too young to have children deserve this option. Others argue that having Plan B will encourage teens to have unprotected sex more, but this is not the case. The truth is, it is natural that teens are going to have sex with or without a means of birth control (Gonsalves and Michelle, 394). Thus, for everyone involved it is best if Plan B is available to anyone, regardless of age.The use of contraceptives does not decrease or increase a teen`s sexual activity, but increases the safety young person.
Also, not having a Plan B as a legal option causes sexually active teens to find other ways to access them: both ethical and unethical means. For example, the underage can any of their friends seventeen years of age or older to buy for them or opting for the black market. Not being able to get protection exposes many young girls to broken dreams and unhealthy lifestyles due to early pregnancy. More so, asking a friend to buy Plan B is merely irresponsible; friends should not have that kind of pressure or power bestowed to them. However, if a teen cannot find a way to get emergency contraception, she is left with two options to get pregnant and give birth to a child or have an abortion (Grindlay and Grossman, 40). Although the latter is worse, the first option is not much better either as the young girl's futures are torn. Teen moms are less likely to finish school, they acquire low self-esteem, and they often develop depression. The analysis confirmed that teenage mothers are more depressed than other teenagers. Eight out of ten teen dads do not marry the mother of their kids. To be able to have a happy life, these teenagers should be allowed to access the emergency pill (Hickey and White, 29). Having a baby as a teen puts both men and women at a financial disadvantage, and having a child from a previous woman can often cause problems with future spouses.
Furthermore, teen dads face a higher probability of dropping out of school when compared to their peers. All adolescents should have a chance to complete their education so that they can adequately provide for the children that they do plan on having. Having an education before childbirth also increases the chances of the newborn being informed of the right choices by being told or learning from parents who act as role models.
Also, getting an abortion will lead teen girls to turmoil. Even worse, they may try to perform abortions if their parents do not allow them to get safer means. There are various risks faced by the adolescent girls involved in self-induced abortion attempts. The latter can lead to serious injuries, infertility, and even death. As stated before, teens will take a different, and often more dangerous, route to get what they want.
The morning pill is also not dangerous. But like any other drug the pill has side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and cramping, there are no long-term side effects. It also does not affect fertility. Some parents believe that it is dangerous because the adolescent may have an allergic reaction to the pill, and her parents should know. However, one can be allergic to anything. If someone aged fourteen or older is allergic to hazelnut, she/he should not be banned from purchasing hazelnut. It is the same with the morning-after pill. And treatment for an allergic reaction to anything is available and effective. As young adults, they are permitted to make informed and safe decisions such as this one.
The use of contraceptives by underages is also partly due to the broken parenting system in the society. Parents should be responsible for teaching their children the values which directly influence their engagement in sexual activities. Matters of social respectability and protection from detrimental sexual reproductive health outcomes should also be the role of parents. The current society makes it hard for most parents to cater for their children's emotional support about their sexuality. The need to work and provide physical support has continued to be paramount in most families making it even hard to monitor the sexual behaviors of the youth. Therefore, by the age of ten children with poor impulses are already engaging in sexual behaviors. Such cases are made even worse if one of the parents had a history of sexual abuse as they tend to act the same way their parents did (Alexander et al., 836). Therefore, getting rid of contraceptives may be eliminating part of the solution to saving young lives instead of solving the main contributors to inappropriate sexual conduct: the parents.
Many people have mistaken the pill for some abortion technique; this notion is inaccurate. The pill blocks the sperm from ever fertilizing the egg, or it can prevent or delay ovulation. This is why it must be taken within seventy-two hours. Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy. It primarily performs the same task as birth control or condoms do, which is blocking. Plan B is a high dose of birth control (Khan et al., 210). Many women take three to four birth control pills at once instead of Plan B because they have the same effect. Contraceptive helps women to avoid getting pregnant; they can, therefore, reduce the need of getting an abortion. Plan B protection is what most young sexually active people need.
There are some religious people do not want this available to minors for faith-based reasons. But the thing is, having a baby outside of wedlock is also against religious beliefs in all monotheistic religions. Also having a child has more long-term effects, such as financial cost, loss of education, and even excommunication or shunning from the church. Plan B can be taken and forgotten all about within a day or two. Also, many Christian faiths are recognizing that it is not immoral. Legally, morning pills do not assist in murdering an infant as they prevent the egg from being fertilized by the sperm blocking further child making processes. Therefore, the pill does not break the 1861 Offences against the person Act practiced in nations such as England and Ireland.
One must also keep in mind dire circumstances where the pill is vital. Most rape victims keep silent about their ordeal for a long time. One out of every five American women has been a rape victim of either completed or attempted sex. 15 percent of those women are aged between 12 to 17 years old (NSVRC). They should not suffer through childbirth when they did not consent to create the child. Teen, as well as most victims of sexual assault in general, more than often do not tell their parents within seventy-two hours when they are raped. The pill only works for seventy-two hours before ejaculation. Underage victims of sexual assault should have access to buy the morning-after pill themselves, so they can take precautionary steps that will prevent more emotional and physical pain. Many victims feel that their power and control over their lives have already been stolen from them; nobody should take anymore. It is their right to take care of themselves.
The morning-after pill seems to be controversial mostly because many people do not understand its benefits, but the risk of taking Plan B is truly minimal. Allergic reactions can be handled and are still not a great risk-factor. Using the morning after pill is a guarantee to preventing teenage pregnancies and pregnancies resulting from rape. The medication gives teens the right to an education and a happily married life in the future (Lloyd et al., 266-267). Even religious leaders have recognized the contraceptives as a helpful and efficient tool. Emergency contraceptives have changed the modern world. One's body is her own from the moment she is conceived, and she should have a say in what she does with it, regardless of age.
The Negative Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill
However, the emergency contraceptive pills have side effects too like any other pills. These side effects include breast tenderness, ectopic pregnancy, vomiting, blood clot formation, and even infertility. The morning-after pill does not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. Another dispute against selling morning-after pill over the counter is that pharmacists cannot check the medical record of the patient before prescribing or selling the pill. These rules out the chance of doctor reviewing medical records that would show if the patient might have anything which might make the pills dangerous to the patient. For example, people with a history of thrombosis, stroke, hereditary blood cholesterol, and focal migraine should not be taking the contraceptive. Likewise, it would be very hard for the pharmacist to be able to determine if the girl is less than 17 years old. The pill should be passed out like the anti-acids as there is no limit on how long and often a person is supposed to use them.
Consequently, some women can be at the risk of taking an overdose of hormones on a regular basis as side effects of these morning-after pills. Some women may think that the pills can prevent sexually transmitted diseases thus misleading them into self-taken risks. More studies have shown that the pill causes massive disturbances of the periodic cycle of women. As newly developed means of birth control, extensive efforts were dedicated to marketing the morning after pills. Those efforts are no longer visible today. The efforts by the Women Capital Corporation/Barr Laboratories to convince the FDA to accept morning-after pills to be counter distributed further exasperates negative values behind the pills by making it evident that selling of the pills is mainly for profit reasons and not for the sole purpose of considering a woman's health.
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