Newsweek Promotes Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill

Should it be easier for your teenage daughter to get birth control pills without your knowledge? One Newsweek contributor thinks so.

In a July 7 op-ed, Meredith Melnick praised the “movement” to make the Pill more accessible by making it available over the counter, in part because it would remove parents from the equation.

 “Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to access problems because it is harder for them to get to a doctor without a parent's help,” Melnick said.

“Almost 20 percent of sexually active teens who do not want to become pregnant are not using contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute,” Melnick wrote. “And teenage girls who do not use contraception during their first sexual experience are twice as likely to become teen mothers as their counterparts who use protection.”

Melnick did not inform readers that the Guttmacher Institute is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, a liberal pro-abortion organization.

Melnick highlighted complaints that prescription-based access to birth control is “patronizing to women, limits contraceptive freedom, and is ineffective against intractably high teen-pregnancy rates.”

But she never mentioned the fact that the pill does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). Melnick glossed over the side effects of birth control hormones, suggesting that an over-the-counter, progestin-only pill “might be safer to use” than so-called “combined” pills, which include progestin and estrogen.

Melnick's report and others like it, including June 21 New York Times op-ed Ibis Reproductive Health President Kelly Blanchard, have joined what has been a month-long media celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pill. Media outlets have used the anniversary to provide one-sided coverage of the Pill, promote more potent hormone contraceptives and criticize abstinence education.

Like this article? Sign up for "Culture Links," CMI's weekly e-mail newsletter, by clicking here.