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Liberalizing 'morning-after' pill availability sends dangerous message

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A former Texas high school coach and teacher has been charged with allegedly giving ‘morning-after’ pills to one of her students, MyFoxAustin.com reported.

In January, 32-year-old Tracy Steinberg, a math teacher and basketball coach at LBJ High School in Austin, offered to get emergency contraceptive pills for a 16-year-old student who told her she feared she might be pregnant after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend, The Austin American Statesman reported, citing the affidavit.

Steinberg allegedly collected money from the student and her boyfriend and later returned with the ‘morning-after’ pills and a Sprite. She gave them the pills but kept the box to avoid getting into trouble, according to the report.

The student reportedly began suffering from side effects after taking the pills and texted Steinberg, who allegedly told her that the side effects were normal and to “take a hot shower and relax.” But when the side effects – like nausea, light-headedness and back pain did not subside – the student became worried and decided to tell her mother what had happened.   

This is a perfect example of the dangers associated with liberal usage of medications – especially the ‘morning after’ pill.  

When the public sees a push by government agencies to liberalize medications to be obtained without a prescription, they forget what they are putting into their bodies is a chemical that can have serious side effects and complications. Just last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was pushing to make over-the-counter Plan B One-Step emergency contraception available for young teens under the age of 17. And even though the Department of Health and Human Services stepped in and overruled this decision, all the publicity surrounding it sent a message to the American public that the ‘morning after’ pill was just as safe to take as any other over-the-counter medicine.

The truth is, the ‘morning-after’ pill is a hormone, and for some people, it could have significant side effects and potentially hurt them. And while studies show it may be safe to take for most people, you can’t account for what could go wrong if it’s not taken properly under the guidance of an adult.

Whether it’s offered over-the-counter or placed in a vending machine, the message we’re sending to people is very clear that there are no complications or side effects they have to worry about – and that’s simply not true.

Many teenagers today stand outside liquor stores or convenient stores, waiting for some carefree adult to obtain cigarettes, beer – you name it – because they want to have a good time. It’s happening all over the place, so why should we treat this any differently?  

I understand Steinberg may have thought what she was doing was in the best interest of the student by supplying her with the ‘morning-after’ pill on the side, but the bottom line is – she was wrong. She should have advised the student to talk to her parents and have a conversation about the issues she was facing.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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