ABC show asks: would you buy the morning after pill for a desperate girl?

Pills in Black Woman's hand

My brother is a fan of the ABC show “What Would You Do?”. It’s a “Candid Camera”-like show that has actors staging realistic, but ethically challenging situations in public. The show seeks to catch people’s honest responses to everything from an albino being bullied in public to an attractive woman openly shoplifting. Although I enjoy some of the scenarios, I found a recent one rather upsetting. It featured a young girl posing as a scared, sexually active 18-year-old. She was in a drug store asking fellow customers to buy her the Plan B pill.  (Plan B is an emergency contraceptive also known as “the Morning After Pill.) She told those she talked with that she was an adult and could pay for the pill, but was afraid to be seen buying it.

The young woman’s plea received mixed reactions. Some outright refused her. One lady said she wouldn’t purchase it because she was a teacher, while another said in good conscience that she just couldn’t buy it for her. Others willingly bought it, believing that it was the right thing to do. One woman remarked that she wanted to help the girl buy the pill out of empathy, as she remembered being in a similar situation when she was younger.

On a practical level, I wondered why no one asked the girl to show an ID and prove her age. She said she was 18, but she could have been 14 with a 27-year-old partner for all they knew. These women didn’t even know the girl’s last name, but they willingly bought her a drug that could seriously affect her body. That doesn’t seem helpful; rather, it comes off as irresponsible and harmful.

I wondered how I would respond if the girl had approached me. I know I’d try to talk with her about her life and why she was in a sexual relationship in the first place. I would have encouraged her to talk to her mom, or given her info on a counselor or a safe person to speak with. I would have told her the facts about Plan B–little-known side-effects and all. Under no circumstances would I have ever bought her that drug or encouraged her to purchase it.

Our nation’s quest to make birth control easily accessible has gone way too far. A recent article in the Stone Mountain-Redan Patch proves this. It discusses Shippensburg University’s decision to put a vending machine in their health center to dispense the Plan B pill. You put $25.00 in the machine, and you get the drugs. The only requirement is that you must be 17. The school argues that it’s a cheaper way to let students get the the Morning After Pill without embarrassing them.

This is a shocking reminder of how much has changed in 50 years. Contraception was once was illegal in our nation, even for married couples. The Griswold vs. Connecticut case that went to the Supreme Court changed that by striking down the 1879 law against contraception. History shows that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was known as the Birth Control Champion of our nation. She knew America wasn’t ready for abortion, so she pushed birth control instead. That led us down a dark path to where we are now. Some call this progress, but I strongly disagree.

We are in a crisis. We need better solutions. What will you do about it?

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