Great Britain has good news and bad news for teenage girls who might desperately need the morning-after pill.
GOOD NEWS: Girls under 16 can get the morning-after pill in the UK.
BAD NEWS: The girl will first be interrogated by the pharmacist before being able to purchase it. The pharmacist gets to choose whether or not the girl really needs the morning-after pill.
How is this even the pharmacist’s business or right to authority over the girl’s body? Sure, one reason for needing the morning-after pill is because of unprotected sex. But maybe it wasn’t unprotected sex. Maybe the condom broke. Maybe it was rape. Maybe it was incest by a relative. Whatever the story is, the girl will have to recount the tale while standing in line at the pharmacy and hope that the pharmacist is not a misogynist or religious nut who will impose his/her personal feelings on the girl’s need for medical care.
According to the article in The Guardian:
A girl hoping to buy the pill will be asked whether she is willing to tell her parents that she has had unprotected sex, or if not, whether she is willing for somebody else to tell them. There will be questions intended to ascertain whether the girl is “Gillick competent” – meaning she has sufficient understanding of what has happened to her and the consequences of taking the morning-after pill.
So much of women’s rights seems to take us two steps forward and one step backward. Why is the guy never penalized or embarrassed or harassed? It is ALWAYS the female who has the burden of embarrassment and shame when dealing with the consequences of sex or rape.
Every teenage girl has a right to body autonomy. Her body. Her choice. Give girls the pills without the third-degree.
It’s a difficult one! Girls have an absolute right to choose how they control their fertility and deal with their life situations in a way they find acceptable.
But we’re talking about young girls… children. As you said, Trish, what if they’re the victim of a circumstance where they are being abused and their ability to choose is being denied. In such situation a girl might need warmth, support, protection, and empowerment; not just a cold retail transaction over the counter.
And of course… your local pharmacist is the first person you would turn to, aren’t they?
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