You may be wondering why I've placed this picture on the blog today. If you read the fine print at the bottom it states: "He's hot, he lights you up inside, you can't switch it off and before you know it, the sparks are flying...
The thing is, we see more women with an unplanned pregnancy in January than any other time of the year. We don't want you to be one of them. Getting hold of a morning after pill over Christmas can be difficult so it's useful to have it before you need it. bpas is giving away FREE morning after pills in advance throughout December."
Today's post is all about Plan B and the current controversy over whether there should be age restrictions on it's over-the-counter availability.
Since 2005, Plan B (commonly referred to as the morning after pill) has been in the middle of politics. Now it seems the dispute is between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the government. On Wednesday, the FDA recommended Plan B be made available over-the-counter with no age restrictions. The decision was not made lightly. Margaret Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner, took 10 months in making her decision. The FDA is supposed to base their decisions entirely in science, and she found that Plan B is safe and effective.
Following this decision, however, an Obama administration official, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, used her veto authority and rejected this initiative, instead contending that the age restriction was necessary. Sebelius argued that adolescents may not have the "behavioral maturity" to know how to use Plan B. She said there is not enough evidence to be sure adolescents can understand the instructions on the label. It doesn't seem that hard really. It's a pill. Put it in your mouth, rinse around with water. Swallow.
Plan B is a hormonal contraceptive found to be 89% effective at safely preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. Acquiring this drug is easy for individuals 17 and older (ask a pharmacist for the drug); however, individuals who fall in the 16 and younger category must get a prescription from their doctor in order to get Plan B.
While it might be easy, you think, to make such a decision. I would argue there are quite a few things to consider on the side of both opponents and proponents.
First, does Sebelius have a point? Young people are choosing to engage in sexual intercourse younger and does providing Plan B (just as is the argument about condoms and abortion) suggest to these young people that this is okay?
Also, as a society we have seen a massive increase in the number of teenage mothers and fathers. I've mentioned before that I assisted in a research project on this very topic. In many of the interviews, the teens stated they didn't know their options, didn't know how to access their options, or didn't feel they could talk to anyone (especially their guardians) about their options for preventing pregnancy. So, is our abstinence-only message really working? I think not. Is the solution Plan B? Perhaps society should be more open about providing condoms? Education?
I've got two questions for you. The first is whether Plan B should be available over-the-counter at all. And, the other is about the issue in this blog regarding age restrictions.
There are many other arguments (which I'd be happy for you to tell me about in my comments), but in the end, I am asking you, do you think Plan B should be provided over-the-counter without age restrictions?