The Food and Drug Administration will make a decision by Wednesday on whether to allow Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill, to be sold over counters to customers of any age.
The debate comes after the manufacturer of the drug, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, has put the request to the FDA to make the drug more accessible to those who need it.
Plan B is a one step pill that contains high doses of progestin and estrogen, which are intended to inhibit or delay ovulation in order to prevent the implantation of the fetus. These hormones are typically found in regular birth control pills, however in much smaller doses. Many fear that such high doses could have very adverse affects, especially in young girls.
Many medical providers disagree. Due to the “critical importance of timely access” the American Medical Association has supported over the counter access of the drug since 2003, when a previous request to make it more accessible was denied.
AMA also resolved that not only access to but also information regarding emergency contraceptives should be provided to all patients including “as part of the emergency treatment of sexual assault victims.”
Conservatives and parents alike disagree and feel that increased accessibility to the drug encourages sexual irresponsibility. Eric Scheidler, a member of Pro Life Action stated that drugs like Plan B have “promised to lead to a decrease in abortions but fail to do so because the availability of such drugs alters human behavior.”
He said, “Why be responsible today for what you can handle tomorrow.”
Leeann Pruett, a pro-life proponent and mother of two says it’s a hard issue, “Kids shouldn’t be relying on pills, but it’s a better alternative than bringing a baby into the world that isn’t going to be loved.”
Still, The Pro Life Action League maintains that emergency contraceptives disrupt potential pregnancies and interfere with the life of the fetus, reigniting a very long battle over abortion and women’s rights.
However according to Rachel Kramer Bussel, author and editor of Passion and Gotta Have it, “The time has come (and is actually long overdue) for women to not have to worry, panic, and risk harm to themselves after unprotected intercourse, no matter what the reason behind it.”