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OPINION

Monday December 3, 2012 The Daily Aztec

from DEMOCRATS page 3

You need money to push a liberal agenda and (Filner) doesn’t have any. Brian Adams Political science professor

also be stumbling blocks on two other major issues facing Filner and the city council: pension reform and a new football stadium. Voters passed Proposition B in June’s primary election, which opponents estimate will increase pension costs by $54 million during the first three years. The city paid $231 million in pension payments last year. A new football stadium is a necessity if San Diego wants to keep the Chargers from moving to a different city. Currently, the Chargers are demanding a public subsidy for a new stadium, but the city lacks the revenue to provide it. Los Angeles already plans to build a new stadium in the City of Industry, and has been actively looking for a team since the departure of the LA Rams and LA Raiders in 1995. The city is being pressured to keep the Chargers from moving to LA, which will be a difficult task. LA is the nation’s largest media market, which would provide the team with a large revenue source. The Chargers’ lease on Qualcomm Stadium expires in 2020 and it would have to pay a termination fee if it left the city early. Despite some tough talk from Filner during his campaign, don’t expect him or the city council to easily let the Chargers move out of San Diego. No one wants to be in power when a professional sports team leaves the city, nor do they want to be remembered by it. The council has its hands full for the new session. From selecting new leaders and welcoming new members, to facing major city problems such as pension and redevelopment, the new session promises to be an interesting ride.

Birth control should be a right not a luxury health

Madison Hopkins Staff Columnist

D

uring an emergency, you must take immediate action. When an intruder breaks in late at night, nobody would tell you to wait days for police approval and call 911 later. You just call. Obviously, in this situation, it’s common sense to protect your well-being as soon as possible. It doesn’t make sense why the same criteria cannot be utilized in an emergency situation thousands of teenage girls face each year: unplanned pregnancies. Emergency contraception, more commonly known as the morning-after pill, is a birth control method created as a backup plan after unprotected sex or a birth control failure. Currently, it’s only available without prescription to women ages 17 and older, but the American Academy of Pediatrics is working to change that. The AAP, along with the Food and Drug Administration, recently announced support for doctors to provide advance prescriptions to girls younger than 17 in order to allow for timely usage. Increased access to birth control of any kind is positive enforcement in young girls’ control of their bodies. In this case, it’s even more essential because emergency contraception is most effective within the first 24 hours after sexual intercourse. For girls younger than 17, this is a pretty brief window to see a doctor, obtain a prescription and get to a pharmacy; especially considering many of these girls may not even have a driver’s license or a comfortable-enough relationship with their parents to ask for help. Yes, the possibility of kids too young to drive having sex is not ideal, but it’s happening whether we like it or not, so we might as well protect them the best we can. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advocates for the current standard of prescriptions on need basis only. Many opponents are concerned that, with increased access to different birth control methods, teenagers are going to suddenly realize what sex is and a teenage sex craze will most certainly ensue. This is no new argument in the teen birth control debate,

but is irritating as ever. It seems some people are either completely ignorant of what it’s like to be a hormonal teenager, or just choose to block out those memories from their distant and apparently prudish past. In reality, studies show increased access to the morning-after pill generally doesn’t change the sex frequency of an individual; it only increases her independence in a baby-free future. This ignorant attitude unfortunately correlates with many doctors and pharmacists giving false information to girls requesting the medication. According to Reuters, a study released this year indicated several 17-year-old girls called pharmacies and questioned their access to the morning-after pill. Less than 60 percent of pharmacists accurately reported the policy of over-the-counter access to ofage women. Even girls who go directly to their doctors do not always receive the legally correct response. Many health care providers refuse to provide prescriptions to underage girls, except in the case of rape. This is because morning-after pills are often equated with abortion, an entirely false allegation promoting an inaccurate view of emergency contraception. However, if it becomes common policy to give advance prescriptions to underage girls, it would force a dialogue on the topic based on facts instead of personal opinions. The availability of advance prescriptions for underage girls would be a positive step toward the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, but I would take it one step further. Prominent obstetrician and gynecological groups have come forward with support for making birth control pills an over-the-counter drug. Similar to emergency contraception, oral contraception is now only offered with a prescription. If both birth control methods were offered overthe-counter, individuals who either didn’t have the money or time to visit a doctor could still protect themselves. The downside to cutting doctors out of the equation is the lack

of medical guidance. Choosing the right birth control is an individual decision, which can take professional aid and many failed attempts. By breaking down birth control barriers, we can bring sexual education to a whole new level. If birth control use becomes more mainstream, we can increase the normalcy of sex education dialogues as well. Doctors have the responsibility to share information whenever possible, as do schools, by incorporating comprehensive sex education programs. By reversing the taboo regarding sex discussions, we can create a significantly more educated generation of teenagers who understand, respect and take care of their bodies on their own. Those who feel unprepared without medical advice are entirely free to seek the attention of their own doctor. On the other hand, those who do not have this luxury would still be able to access

adequate birth control. There is no perfect solution to provide birth control to teenagers or adults alike, but the bottom line is this: the more opportunities, the better. The U.S. has the highest teenage pregnancy rate out of all developed countries, but has one of the lowest number of 15to 18-year-olds who report ever having sex. There is obviously an issue with sexual education and availability. Birth control doesn’t have to be the horrifying sexual gateway drug our society makes it out to be. It’s time to accept sex as a natural occurance for everyone, including teenagers. All we can do is provide the most opportunities for sexual safety without the unnecessary stigmatization of individuals who utilize their right to make their own choices.

I coasted through three years of online education with a 3.76 GPA. I’ll be lucky to complete my first semester at SDSU with a 3.0. The difference between online and traditional college is about the same as the difference in the cost of a tank of gas between an SUV and a compact car. Unlike traditional college students, a lot of online college students are also employed full time. I’m a father of two children, so it’s a necessity I continue to work full-time. My online courses didn’t require a lot of time commitment. As long as I had an Internet connection, I was able to “be at school.” I didn’t even have to read most of the textbooks because almost every test was open book. In addition, I enrolled in one class per semester. SDSU, I quickly discovered, was not as easy. None of my courses can be completed via online assignments. Three of the five consider classroom participation in overall

grades and only two utilize open book tests. Of those two, one is philosophy—and student better have an understanding of the source material if they have any hope of earning even a C. Plus, I clearly didn’t comprehend the time commitment involved with five courses requiring chapters-worth of reading each week. None of this factors into my two biggest struggles. My first struggle was finding myself surrounded by college freshmen. Worse, my Communications 103 course required partner and small group speeches. Not only did I have to find something—anything—to be able to relate with my peers, I had to work after class with them. I could only imagine the phone conversation a coed would have with her parents as she explained why she had to meet a 44-yearold man in the library, at night. I found myself living in fear of being ambushed by Chris Hansen, the host of NBC’s “To Catch a

Predator” series. The second hardest obstacle to overcome has been writing essays. Most of my online courses required papers, so I was used to writing. What I wasn’t used to was writing them for a professor who actually cared about content and grammar. It’s another area where my advanced age came back to haunt me. It took weeks for me to recover from the anger and embarrassment of getting a B in a freshman-level course. But I’m glad I was graded this way because it provided a welcome eye-opener for me. Not only do I like drama, I love a challenge. I’m now up-to-speed on the flow of an SDSU semester and synched in to the way our professors grade assignments. I figure this kind of knowledge will make the upcoming spring semester a breeze. And should I meet Chris Hansen, I’ll merely shrug and say the condoms and Happy Meal aren’t mine.

Older students face steep college learning curve college

I

was wrong. I don’t admit this often. This college semester— my first in a traditional campus since (gulp) 1989—nears its end and I’m forced to admit it was more difficult than I expected. I figured it was going to be easy. After all, I began the year after a successful naval career. Plus, this wasn’t my first collegiate rodeo. I transferred in with 74 credit hours so really, what could San Diego State throw at me? I submitted my retirement request in August last year. I initially planned on doing what many naval retirees do and trade my service khakis for Dockers khakis. It was the safe play because I wouldn’t be losing much income. Only, I don’t like doing the safe thing. I have too much prima donna in me, so I decided retirement provided an opportunity for something riskier. It didn’t take long to realize I

Mike Heral Staff Columnist

wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree. And this is where I went wrong. I figured going back to school would be a two-year vacation. The bulk of my 74 credits came from an online school—not a “diploma mill” but a bona fide extension of a college founded in 1851. I quickly found the rigors of my online classes to be as hard as recess. The typical week involved reading one or two textbook chapters, completing a discussion board question and responding to two others’ responses. Instructor participation varied, but most merely provided a discussion question and counted the number of responses. Some, but not all, were quick to correct when I would call them professor. They considered themselves facilitators. It was a difference I didn’t understand at the time.


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