Politics this week: Plan B
By Matt Mitterhoff '16
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 15:05
I got into a pretty heated debate with friends regarding Tuesday’s FDA approval of the Plan B emergency contraceptive device to be sold to girls ages 15 and up. This decision was spurred on by federal judge Edward Korman’s ruling to allow the “morning-after” pill to be sold over-the-counter.
First, my friends said girls that age should not be having sex, due to underdevelopment of their emotional well-being and moral complications that come with having intercourse at such an early age. While I understand their discomfort, they must accept the fact that sex at that age does happen in this country.
Plan B is meant to be an emergency contraceptive if complications arise during intercourse, which can happen with the younger, undereducated population. Sometimes the government must be a force that deals with the issues facing the country at that moment, ones like teen pregnancy and a woman’s right to choose.
The second argument they made was that this decision promotes sexual activity at an early age. As stated before, the “morning-after” pill is not meant to be the primary choice of contraception. The U.S. has multiple methods of contraception: condoms, birth control pills, spermicide, plus a plethora of other options. Having the Plan B pill for purchase over-the-counter does not promote sexual activity – rather, it’s a safety net; it gives the option of preventing pregnancy within a specific time-frame (72 hours) if something goes wrong.
Finally, my friends said that if someone makes a mistake in the bedroom, it’s too bad. They must live with the consequences of their actions. Well, what if it were their sister? Would they still think the same thing? Would they want her to have a child too early, limiting her options for the future?
I think we should have mandated sex, STD/STI, and contraception education state by state. Nevada’s teen pregnancy rate is the fourth highest in the country. In recent weeks, the Nevada Assembly passed an updated sex education bill. It is a long-term solution that likely will not have any immediate impact.
The FDA decision could make it easier for women, who had been allowed under previous policy to to buy Plan B, to get the “morning-after” pill.
But, even with some regulations lifted on the non-prescription pill, requiring proof of age still might be a significant barrier when trying to purchase Plan B.
“The[re] are daunting and sometimes insurmountable hoops women are forced to jump through in time-sensitive circumstances,” President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights Nancy Northup said. “And we will continue our battle in court to remove these arbitrary restrictions on emergency contraception for all women.”