Growing up has never been easy. But in today’s culture young people have more challenges to face than ever before, especially in the area of sexuality. The basic issues may be no different, but the speed of life and the multiple pressures teens face make the risks even greater.
A few sobering statistics: according to the Centers for Disease Control and TeenHelp.com, 48% of high-school students report having had sexual intercourse. One in four teens contracts a sexually-transmitted infection every year. One-third of young women have been pregnant by the time they are age 20, and 80% of those pregnancies are unplanned. The long-term costs of these realities are very high, in terms of higher rates of infertility and poverty, not to mention the emotional costs.
A week ago the Food and Drug Administration made the decision to approve Plan B – the so-called morning after pill – for sale over-the-counter to anyone age 15 or over. Some women’s groups howl that even this minimal restriction is infringement on women’s rights, and is inconsistent with good medical science. Other groups are just as angry that such medications can be made easily available to teens who need parental consent for just about anything else.