Parents across the country may want to consider contraceptives and birth control pills for their teens’ back-to-school supplies, according to a new USA Today column.
The column, under the headline “Not your average back-to-school supply list,” suggested that high school and college students likely already have their pens, calculators and binders – but may need much more.
“What's less likely to appear on school supply lists, however, are health-related items for teens and young adults, whether they're heading to high school or college,” the column said. “But the health landscape has changed drastically over the past three years, and it has become more difficult to know how to prepare. However, experts say, there's more information and resources parents can use than ever before.”
The columnist, Adrianna Rodriguez, then listed four broad categories for parents to consider: contraceptives, fentanyl test strips and naloxone, COVID-19 and mental health.
“Looking ahead to the spring semester, parents can consider the newest addition to over-the-counter contraceptives: a progestin-only birth control pill, called Opill, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month,” the column said.
Parents also can consider purchasing condoms, spermicide, contraceptive sponges and emergency contraceptives for their teens, the column said.
On fentanyl test strips, the column paraphrased a doctor who said it’s “important to know where to access these tools and how to use them to avoid preventable deaths.”
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the host of The Briefing podcast, said the column crossed a line.
“Parents are no longer the moral authorities who are understood to have the responsibility to say, ‘This is how you should live. If you're going to college, by the way, if I'm going to pay your college bills, this is how I fully expect you to live.’ What you're seeing here is the redefinition of parenting where parents are basically the enablers of their own adolescent and post-adolescent offspring in whatever behavior or identity or whatever activities the young person may choose, and that includes sex and drugs, just understand that,” Mohler said on the Wednesday edition of The Briefing.
“It doesn't say that parents are to celebrate sex and drugs and misbehavior by their kids, but it does say they are to facilitate it,” Mohler added. “That is a major redefinition of parenting. I can just tell you that my parents wouldn't have recognized this conception of parenting. Their parents wouldn't have recognized it either, and they certainly wouldn't have expected a newspaper like USA Today to put this on the front page. The fact that it is on the front page tells us not just a lot about USA Today. It tells us a lot about what USA Today thinks about the USA today. Christians' understanding that we are to be in the world but not of it, understand we face a whole new challenge as this front-page article in USA Today makes abundantly clear.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.