Clear double standard in government policies

The article in the June 28th edition of The News, “Agriculture Department wages war against sweet treats,” once again raises the question of what precisely is the proper role of government.

This policy is obviously well-intentioned because it is aimed at curbing childhood obesity, which has grown to epidemic proportions in our nation.

However, is it appropriate, let alone constitutional, for the federal government to dictate to every school in the country that all junk food as defined by the USDA be banned from cafeterias and vending machines? The USDA has long held sway over improving the nutritional value of foods sold at schools, which is laudable. But this new policy of an outright ban on all foods and drinks deemed unhealthy by the we-know-best bureaucrats in Washington strikes me as going too far.

Meanwhile, liberal groups press the Food and Drug Administration to allow the Plan B “morning after” pill to be available over the counter without a prescription regardless of age. So it is supposedly OK for the USDA to have strict control over all food and drink purchases at public schools, yet the government will stay out of the way of teen or preteen girls buying a high-dose birth control pill without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

The Plan B pill is very effective in preventing pregnancy, but its safety has not been proven for young girls, and it does not protect against STDs. Parents must give consent for any medical treatment of children because legally they are considered too immature to make these decisions for themselves. But supposedly it is just fine for a 12-year-old to have sex, then pop a pill without her parents’ knowledge. Is it just me or isn’t there a double standard here?

Peter McNeela