A couple of weeks ago I appeared on CNN in Español as a panelist, discussing the question of dispensing Plan B to teenage girls without a prescription. I was sent by the Archdiocese of Miami to put forward their point of view.
I am a doctor by profession, a scientist, not a lawyer or philosopher. The other panelists expected me to argue that Plan B (an "emergency" contraceptive) sometimes causes chemical abortion and that this violates the dignity of the human person, and their right to life itself.
Now, these things are true of course. But my objections, on the show, to the dispensing of the drug were medical and scientific, not philosophical or theological. Objections like the fact that we never dispense drugs to minors without their parents’ consent, because minors don't have the wisdom or experience to make important medical decisions. And also, the fact that legitimate, well conducted medical studies have shown no significant decrease in unintended pregnancy amongst adult populations.
It's not popular, in this modern culture that values self-expression above all else, to stand up for the old fashioned ideas that linked sex to marriage and marriage to children. But science is not about popularity, but about results.
So the health risk our teenagers are taking may be for no gain at all. Let's also not forget that we have no clinical trials to prove that these hormonal interventions taken over many years by girls and young women will be harmless to their health. Remember when all menopausal women were put on hormone replacement? Those days are over, because years later we realized we were causing cancer.
Plan B takes its place in a long line of "scientific" solutions for social problems. Social problems like non-marital births, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and abortion. But this is not science, really. This is ideology. The ideology of sexual expressionism, which promotes a sexual license whose victims are the poor, women, and minorities. These "scientific" solutions are cheap fixes that don't even put a band aid on the problem. The problems continue to mushroom, no matter how many condoms and emergency contraceptives are applied.
Scientific studies have shown, and really, our own life experiences have shown, that linking faithful sex and marriage with parenting promotes the individual and common good. Yes, a faithful, committed Mom and Dad and their great joint project, the kids, is the simplest and most direct route to ameliorate all those social problems.
How do we go about this? First of all by realizing that the "scientists" that promote these cheap solutions to complicated social problems are ideologues. And that facts and science, when applied dispassionately, will show what really promotes the flourishing of men, women and children. It's not popular, in this modern culture that values self-expression above all else, to stand up for the old fashioned ideas that linked sex to marriage and marriage to children. But science is not about popularity, but about results.