On April 5 federal judge Edward Korman ordered the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B – the Morning After Pill, to be sold over the counter to woman of any age.
Currently, a woman must be 17 or older and must show identification to retrieve the contraceptive but girls younger than 17 could get Plan B only with a prescription.
Starting next month, however, girls and woman of any age will be able to make their own private decisions to use the emergency contraceptive, and it’s about time.
In 201 a total of 329,797 babies were born to teens aged 15–19 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For years teens have had other people make the decision for them, now they have the choice that they should have had a long time ago. This is not only a win for women, but for freedom.
I am not advocating that Plan B should be the only means for contraceptive for women, Plan B should only be used when plan A, the condom, goes awry. Plan B is to be used 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Those who are opposed to this ruling are only showcasing their ignorance at this point. This ruling comes after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA when it recommended that Plan B should be sold over the counter in Dec. 2011.
The FDA spent 10 months reviewing scientific data before making its decision, but Sebelius said there wasn’t enough data to declare the product safe.
Scientists, including those at the FDA, have recommended the contraceptive be sold over the counter for years, along with the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They contend that the restrictions effectively keep adolescents and younger teenagers from being able to use a safe drug in a timely way to prevent pregnancy.
Plan B has been sold over-the-counter in China with no age restriction since 1998, and a study, published in 2011, in the journal “Human Reproduction” involving 2,521 women found no adverse side effects. Minor side effects were vaginal bleeding and headaches.
The next step would be to make Plan B – which now costs up to $70 – more financially available for girls who are sexually active at the ages of 14, 15 and 16 who do not have many sources of income.
Science has prevailed over politics and religion, and hopefully this is the first of many cases where science prevails victorious for the sake of this country and planet Earth.
Christian Orozco, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.