Science, Morality and Plan B

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reversed a policy decision of the Bush Administration. Seventeen-year=olds will soon be able to buy a “morning after” pill to be used as an emergency contraceptive. Fox News reported the story this way on April 22:

WASHINGTON — Seventeen-year-olds will soon be able to buy the “morning after” emergency contraceptive without a doctor’s prescription, after the Food and Drug  Administration bowed to a federal judge’s order Wednesday.

Reversing a contentious policy of the Bush administration, the FDA said in a brief statement it will not appeal a judge’s order that overturns restrictions limiting over-the-counter  sales of “Plan B” to women 18 and older.

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that Bush administration appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.

Korman ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds get the birth control pills. He also directed the agency to evaluate whether all age restrictions should be lifted.

Just last month, President Obama, in reversing another policy of the Bush administration, cited science as the basis for allowing embryonic stem cell research. This theme of divorcing science from morality seems to be catching on. Judge Korman also opened the door to removing all age restrictions from purchasing Plan B-type medications. So potentially, in the name of science a 13-year-old may be able to purchase Plan B pills without a prescription and without any parental oversight. In a political climate dominated by economic issues, these types of “scientific” decisions are flying under the radar screen.

Using Judge Korman’s logic it is fair to say that the decision to have sex is is considered a scientific issue, not a moral issue. This may seem to be a stretch, but it is not. If science can be cited as the reason to provide contraceptive medication without age restrictions or parental oversight, then science must also be the basis for having sex in the first place. In other words, if one is physically able to engage in sex, then there is no reason to restrict sexual activity for anything other than scientific reasons. Certainly, age and parental consent are not appropriate criteria to make these decisions! What is left but science? In the judge’s decision, moral and ethical standards have been reduced to political standards. These political standards are then obviously subject to change with each new election cycle. What remains constant is science.

Welcome to 2009 and secular America! The actions of this judge and the FDA indicate that the role of the family is nothing more than that of a caregiver. Morality has become a function of science. Without a biblical worldview, the family exists simply as a convenient social institution to provide food and shelter for children. The family itself can be defined as the political climate dictates. Father and mother are not terms that can be used to define family. The new understanding of family must be directed by science and defined by what it allows. Moral absolutes, like the Bush administration, belong to the past.

We can be grateful to God that folks like Judge Korman do not determine how we should live. The Judge has done the church a service. He has reminded us that government is not a refuge and is not the place to look for safety. The American way has become the way of the pragmatist. This has not happened overnight. Eighty years ago, John Dewey said that the time for moral absolutes has passed. From a human standpoint, his labors have been successful.

Thankfully, our citizenship is first in heaven, and only secondarily on earth. The church has a clear mission to be salt and light. This is a time for Christians to rejoice that we have a clear vision of the family to bring to an increasingly broken world. We have Plan A contained within the pages of Scripture. This plan is neither determined by nor subject to elections or court rulings. Your family is an important trust from God; it is under attack. But the church will prevail against the gates of hell itself. Our King is the One who can bring peace to a world enslaved by the desire for change.


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