Today, in what surely must be an early holiday present for millions of women of reproductive age, theWashington Post is reporting that the FDA is considering making Plan B contraception available to girls under the age of 17.
I, for one, won't have to continue to pledge to supply young women with birth control. They won't have to ask one of the morally disapproving pharmacists for Plan B; they will be able to select it from the shelf the same way they can buy Monistat to cure a yeast infection.
While the writer of the WP likens buying Plan B now to "[being]...as easy to get as toilet paper and toothpaste," (and I wonder if he has any experience with Plan B, given that the writer of said-article is a male?), I think comparing the buying of Plan B to being able to take care of your reproductive system is the much more apt analogy.
One woman who does get it, Susan Wood, who resigned from her job after the Bush administration IGNORED its own scientific recommendations from the FDA to continue to deny women Plan B, says
“If you got into a Wal-Mart and the pharmacy is closed, you’re out of luck,” said Susan Wood of George Washington University, who resigned from the FDA a few years ago to protest the agency’s delays in making Plan B available without a prescription. “By having it on the shelf, more women will become aware of the availability of emergency contraception and won’t have to ask someone in an emergency situation about a very private and personal situation. Hopefully, that will help women when time is of the essence.”
Of course, those who are opposed to any woman having sex for any reason other than to get pregnant already have their quivers full of indignation:
“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.
(I have a long history of writing about the CWA, too, but that's another story.)
See? The opponents of Plan B contraception love girls so much that they think if you make it available over the counter, you'll make it possible for rapists and pedophiles to exploit girls and then get them to take Plan B to cover up the crime.
I would argue that if that's the best argument CWA can produce, then they're really scraping the barrel, but that would be a waste of words. And so, I'm just going to let their idiocy sit there by itself.
Plan B is safe. It is 89 percent effective. I have used it twice. Nobody is perfect, condoms break, women get raped and don't want to report it, and sometimes, things happen. Plan B is precisely what it says it is: Plan B for when Plan A went awry.
So, let's hope that the FDA approves the sale of Plan B on counter shelves everywhere, and then we won't have to worry about the folks at places like Ralph's Thriftway and the Pharmacists who Don't Want to Do Their Jobs anymore.