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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 3, 2013/ 23 Iyar, 5773

Hormonal birth control and 15-year-olds. Seriously?

By Betsy Hart



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Our culture has abandoned the protection of our girls. That, of course, has huge implications for the well-being of our boys, too.

As a mother of four -- including three girls, ages 11, 14 and 16 -- few things scare me more.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that girls as young as 15 can get the Plan B One-Step (or so-called morning-after) pill without a prescription, or even having to go to the pharmacy counter. The pills are not designed to abort, but to provide emergency hormonal contraception following unprotected sexual intercourse.

A report in a recent edition of the journal Pediatrics says that about 14 percent of teen girls have had sex by their 15th birthday. While some find that number low, I find it shockingly high.

In any event, the FDA decision would be silly if it weren't so serious. These are girls who cannot work without a permit, can't drive a car by themselves, can't choose to drop out of school -- or, in many cities and towns, avoid a legal curfew. We don't trust them to make good decisions about any of these things on their own.

(By the way, unless a girl brings a passport to the drugstore, she's not going to have ID to show she's 15, as school IDs typically show only a girl's current school year, not a birth date. So even this ridiculous age "limit" will be abused.)

Yet FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement: "The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease."

Are they serious? These young women weren't responsible enough, if that's the right terminology, to use birth control before sex, but we have no worries that they will use it properly afterward?

Putting aside the health issues, here's an even bigger problem:

Is it really likely that a 15-year-old girl -- a child -- is seeking out full sexual intercourse in the first place? Or is it more likely that her fantasies revolve around romance and kissing, petting, being told she's beautiful and loved?

Well, the data backs up what we know intuitively: According to a Guttmacher Institute report published in late 2011, 60 percent of girls who had first sex at the ages of 15 to 17 either didn't want it to happen at all or had mixed feelings about it. Sixty percent. For boys in that age range, that number is only 34 percent. That's still significant, but yes -- duh -- there's a difference between men and women, and young men and young women, when it comes to sex.

Do the math. Do you think there's some pressuring going on here?

Also significant, an older Guttmacher study says that when it comes to girls 15 to 17 years old, some 30 percent of the time their sexual partners are three to five years older. (Though this particular subject matter has not been revisited by Guttmacher since its late-1990s report, there is no reason to think the cultural trends have changed.)

Now let's put all this together.

Most women who experienced their first sex at those ages say they were NOT eager for the experience -- they had mixed feelings at best -- or didn't want it at all. The data show that their sexual partners, sometimes several years older, were much more likely to be eager for the experience. So when sex happens, that, of course, suggests that seduction or even pressure is in play.

That's one thing for adults to deal with. But children?

Instead of protecting these girls and giving them the tools they need to walk away from sexual activity they are not fully ready for, we've just abandoned them yet again. We've created a culture that encourages the notion that this is what they should "want." A culture that tells boys their girlfriends should want sexual intercourse. We've allowed these fellows to be able to say to a 15-year-old girl, "Don't worry. You can run over to the drugstore in the morning!"

But 15-year-olds are children, and when it comes to sex, girls are even more vulnerable than boys. We have a responsibility to protect all of them. To help parents find ways to know what is going on in the lives of their kids. To let them turn to us for help. By letting a girl who can't get an antihistamine at the drugstore get birth control after a sex act she didn't -- by definition -- plan for with all that that means, we adults are acting like, well, children.

Of course, that has huge implications for our kids.

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