Plan B aka The Morning After Pill
The Plan B pill is always a highly controversial issue because it ultimately comes down to the abortion argument. The FDA may soon relax the restrictions placed on obtaining the Plan B drug and this is stirring up all the Pro Life and Pro Choice advocates.
According to the Washington Post, the federal government is exploring the possibility to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.
The Food and Drug Administration has until Wednesday to respond to a request from the drug’s manufacturer to make the pill as easy to get as toilet paper and toothpaste, a move pushed by some doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, members of Congress and others to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.
If it is approved, the Plan B pill would move out from behind pharmacists’ counters, eliminating the requirement that women produce a prescription or prove that they are at least 17 years old to get it without a doctor’s order. Buying the Plan B pill would then be as easy as buying condoms.
“Hopefully, it will be right on the shelves between the condoms and the pregnancy tests,” said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a Washington-based advocacy group. “We think its good news for women’s health and long overdue.”
Plan B consists of a synthetic form of progesterone; this hormone is found in many standard birth-control pills, but Plan B contains it at higher doses.
Those that are against making this drug more accessible are the ones that feel that the hormone isn’t just preventing the egg from being fertilized, but that it prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.
“It’s not a drug that prevents life — it’s a drug that destroys life,” said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group. “If we define life as beginning at fertilization or conception, then this drug can be an abortifacient.”
Conservative lawmakers and advocacy groups argue that wider availability could encourage sexual activity and make it easier for men to have sex with underage girls by forcing them to take the drug to prevent any pregnancies that could result.
“When anybody can buy an emergency contraceptive like this over the counter, you open the door for all sorts of abuse, and especially so when it comes to child abuse and child exploitation,” said Janice Crouse of Concerned Women of America, another advocacy group.
In addition, by removing the need to see a doctor, women and girls would miss an opportunity to receive diagnoses and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and parents would have less influence over their children’s behavior, critics charge.
“Parents have to sign a permission slip for their children to go on a class trip or get their ears pierced,” Crouse said. “When you are talking about selling something like this over the counter, you are opening up a can of worms when it comes to parental involvement in their children’s lives.”
As a parent, wouldn’t you prefer your child to be able to get proper contraception over an unwanted pregnancy? Condoms are acceptable because they prevent fertilization but what if the condom breaks?
Conservative groups would certainly be angry if the FDA relaxes the restrictions because then it would actually give the woman a choice to make—and apparently that would be wrong, according to them.
Women who frequently use prescription drugs to prevent pregnancies might develop a prescription drug abuse problem in the future.
I wonder if the drug companies are throwing some “influence” toward the FDA to help with their decision on plan B pill. Aside from any moral consequences, a decision like that definitely affects business. We’ll find out this week.