A federal judge has declared that the morning-after pill should be available to all ages without a prescription. He determined that the pill, Plan B, is as safe as any other drug sold-over-the counter, such as aspirin. This reverses the 2011 Obama administration decision that made the pill available only with a prescription to women under 17, a decision which the judge said was "politically motivated." Duh! Of course it was.
Plan B is NOT an "abortion pill." It prevents the egg from being released at its normal time, or from attaching to the lining of the uterus, so it never meets up with sperm. There's no fertilized egg. There's no fetus. No baby. No nothing. It's like putting on a seat belt and then not getting an accident.
I suppose there's always the danger that young girls might not understand that and take the pill after they're pregnant? Well, so what if they do? Plan B doesn't cause abortion. Anyway, like I said, you can't not put a useful drug on the market just because someone, somewhere is going to misuse it. Someone, somewhere can be guaranteed to misuse anything. Plenty of young people misuse cough syrup. You can still buy it!
There is a certain safety standard that a drug has to pass in order to be sold in drug stores without a prescription -- and Plan B has easily passed that safety test. So why would the federal government have overruled the FDA and made a prescription necessary for women under 17, with the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that "11-year-olds might not know how to use the drug"? Kowtowing to right wing political forces, that's it, end of story. Politics has no business deciding what should and shouldn't be available in our drug stores if the FDA approves something.
Meanwhile, young women who do not wish to become pregnant will have a way to prevent it should they need it. That could mean a condom ripped (happens!), or they were raped (happens!!), or even that they just had sex and didn't take the precaution that they should have. Will this pill encourage under-age sex? You could make that argument about ANY birth control method -- including condoms. Notice how no one ever picks on condoms. Because men use them.
Anyway, lots of things could conceivably "encourage" under-age sex. Like alcohol. Like sexy movies. Like teenage hormones! So let's not focus on the morning-after pill, which will do a great service in helping prevent teen pregnancy. Does cough syrup encourage anyone to go out and catch a cold?
Thank goodness for this sensible judge.
Do you agree or disagree with this decision?
Image via meddygarnet/Flickr