This is my TIME.com column today on the furor over Plan B in the New York City Schools. (But before I even begin, I just have to remind everyone that Plan B is not, and never has been, an abortifacient!):
It was a delayed reaction, but the uproar was predictable as news spread that New York City public schools are providing free birth control pills (including Plan B, the so called morning-after pill) to teenagers without their parents’ consent. The program had been running since last year (and parents do have the right to opt out,) but timeliness and accuracy come secondary with stories that have all the ingredients for controversy and moral judgment-flinging: parental rights denied, unnecessary intrusion into the sanctity of the family; medical concerns (some factually incorrect) about the risks and mechanisms of hormonal contraception.
Of course, what we rarely hear the reverse arguments: that pregnancy poses a huge burden on government resources; that teenagers have legal rights and protections, too; that the health risk of using birth control pills is surely outweighed by the much greater medical risks of adolescent pregnancy and childbirth; that this latest disproportionate — and even shaming — focus on the sex lives of girls over boys seems more of a piece with recent headlines about “forcible rape.” ….