The need for Plan B for all

By Kathleen Adams

I am absolutely outraged with President Obama for supporting the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to enforce age restrictions on Plan-B One Step (emergency contraception) for individuals 17 years of age and younger.

Essentially President Obama is afraid that 10 and 12 year old girls will take/use Plan B (the morning-after pill) without supervision or guidance and get hurt. President Obama is afraid that young girls/women can go inside a drug store alongside bubble gum and batteries and buy a medication, which if not used properly could potentially have an adverse affect. President Obama says, “And I think most parents would feel the same way.”

President Obama, I think you are wrong. I believe most parents would rather have their daughter have unrestricted access to PlanB than to find them pregnant. It is already difficult to have conversations about sexual activity with one’s parents. Plan B is most effective if used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. If a young person who is sexually active has had difficulty talking about sex for their entire upbringing, why would President Obama assume the young person would come up with the courage to have this conversation within recommended time frame?

So if the young woman cannot have this conversation with her parent/guardian so she can get Plan B, then where will she go? It only makes the situation more difficult, and I believe this will lead more young women to make more difficult decisions in the future.

Why are we punishing young women for engaging in sexual activity? I believe President Obama decided to oppose the FDA’s recommendation because he is worried political opponents will accuse him of “giving young girls permission to have sex.” But his fears won’t stop young people from having sex – and it won’t stop them from needing Plan B. President Obama needs to understand that people are sexual beings and sex is an action that occurs, and young people engage in sexual activity. He is trying to not make Plan B be a panacea for young women who choose to have unprotected sex. I understand this, however, he needs to provide another option, and there is no other option on the table at this moment for young women 17 and under.

The fact is that he is hoping that young people will communicate with their parents regarding their sexual life is a difficult feat in itself, and could potentially lead to young women having to turn to abortion because the former option of preventing pregnancy through the option of Plan B has already been taken off of the table.

(Cross-posted from Amplify)

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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