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)

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  • Elizabeth

    I have to say I disagree with most of this. First of all, you can’t possibly know Obama’s true intentions (if there even is an ulterior motive) behind his decision to support HHS unless you miraculously share his thoughts. If I were a parent, I would be extremely concerned about the over-the-counter availability of the Plan B drug. Allow me to explain why.

    I have been raped seven times in the course of my life. Every single time I have required medical treatment. I’m not sure how it is on the US side of the border, but here in Canada part of the emergency treatment for rape victims is Plan B to ensure there will be no pregnancy as a result of the crime. Plan B is very hard on a person’s body. It can cause severe nausea and vomiting, as well as diarrhea and many other adverse side-effects. If the person taking it is young and has never before experienced what it’s like to take the drug (I was terrified the first time I had to take it and I was 19!) it could be quite traumatic. It’s for that reason that I feel Plan B should have a reasonable age restriction.

    I’m not saying a sex life needs to be discussed with a parent or guardian. After all, that’s why schools and hospitals have nurses and councilors on staff. A young person can go to any one of a number of trusted professionals for advice or information. All of which would be kept in strictest confidentiality, even from the parent/guardian of the child. And I believe that if an age restriction is enforced, that young person who falls under the age limitation can simply get a note or letter of some kind from one of the above mentioned professionals to gain access to the medication. OR schools, hospitals, clinics, etc. can carry the drug and use their own professional discretion for the purpose of turning it over to an under age person.

    I think a greater focus needs to be put on protection, though. I know the condom companies and birth control are not infallible, but that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded. If these young females are so concerned about pregnancy, they should be making the right choices when it comes to lessening the chances of it in the first place. Note that I’m not saying they should stop having sex. By all means, the body is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed (and this coming from a victim of violent sexual crime!). However, there is being smart, and being stupid. Plan B should be controlled and used reasonably, issued by an adult. It should be available to ANY sexually active female, but until they are “adults” it should be distributed by someone who knows the full use and dosage of the drug to ensure there are no accidents.

    On a final note, because everyone’s body and internal system is different, there is no way of knowing how the drug will affect an individual. While one young person might suffer no side-effects at all, another might become so violently ill as to require serious medical treatment. THAT is why I agree with the decision to put an age limitation on the drug, but to provide any and all health care professionals with it so that if there is a young female in need, they will still have access and it can not be denied!

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. (^.^)

    • Elizabeth

      One additional note as an experienced friend has just brought this to my attention: Plan B, if used too frequently, can cause serious hemorrhaging. One more reason that it needs to be treated with caution.