Imagine this . . . you’re a young woman, perhaps one still in high school. You’re not an irresponsible girl, but something happened one night, out of your control.
In the more typical scenario, you were having sex with your boyfriend (who you love, and who loves you) and the condom you were using broke. On the harsher end of the spectrum, you were raped
– and are too scared to go to the police, or your parents. So what do you do?
In the past, you may have been able to address the possible risk of pregnancy by simply going to the pharmacy and getting some form of emergency contraception, something like the morning-after pill. Problem solved, right? Well, that option may not be available to you anymore. And it’s at the government’s hand.The Administration Takes a Stand
Though it is not a new issue among voters and politicians, the topic keeps disappearing and resurfacing; exactly who should be able to buy emergency contraceptive pills, and should it even be allowed as an over-the-counter purchase. The issue was recently brought up again when America's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announced that emergency contraceptive pills would no longer be sold over the counter to young teenagers.
President Obama was pleased with the decision, which he claims he was not involved in, and cited that "reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able to, alongside bubble gum or batteries, be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect." Next Steps
The decision will mostly impact the contraceptive pill known as Plan B One Step, which is among the most widely used "morning after" pills by women of all ages. It was approved fairly recently by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and was released in July of 2009. A potent drug, Plan B requires just one pill to be taken orally in order to serve as an emergency contraceptive. For best results it must be used within 72 hours after intercourse. Pros and Cons
The adverse effects that President Obama was referring to in the comment are numerous for frequent users of Plan B One Step and other, similar emergency contraceptives. A large number of women experience heavier than normal menstrual bleeding and nausea, and many women complain of severe lower abdominal pain, fatigue, dizziness, breast tenderness and a delay in their menstrual cycle. After taking it long enough and fairly frequently, some women might even become infertile
or have their menstrual cycles shift entirely, causing the body much confusion.
The decision came at an important time in President Obama's term as it nears its end and the 2012 campaign draws ever closer. Many families might accept this decision easier once they picture their own little girls walking into the local pharmacy and picking up a powerful emergency contraceptive. Of course, there’s also the argument that availability could even encourage more risqué behavior
as drugs such as Plan B seem like an easy solution to a potentially big mistake.
On the other side of the coin, where does that leave the young women who truly need an answer to a mistake – or a crime? Sure, they may be “underage” but that doesn’t mean that they’re without reasonable judgment.
Just one more example of how the government’s intervention might not have everyone’s
interest in mind.