I know this probably won’t shock many here, but still, it’s good news:
The popularity of the morning-after pill Plan B has surged in the year since the federal government approved the sale of the controversial emergency contraceptive without a prescription.
Plan B sales have doubled since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the switch for women 18 and older last August, rising from about $40 million a year to what will probably be close to $80 million for 2007, according to Barr Pharmaceuticals, which makes Plan B.
The sharp rise was hailed by women’s health and family-planning advocates, who say it illustrates the value of easing access to birth control to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
“This is exactly what we hoped would happen,” said Susan F. Wood of the George Washington University School of Public Health. As assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Office of Women’s Health at the FDA, Wood pushed for the switch. “What we’re seeing is women who needed this product now finally having access to it. For a woman in that position, it can make a real difference in her life.”
So more women are using Plan B, which means fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions. Who could be upset with that?
But conservative groups that fought the change say they are disturbed by the surging use.
“This is very concerning,” said Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council, which is among several groups suing the FDA to reverse the decision. “We think this is putting women’s health at risk.”
Why would that put women’s health at risk? Uh — hey, what’s that? No, behind you! Well, I thought I saw something.
Anyhow, there’s another reason for conservative opposition than the well-documented, completely-not-made-up women’s health issues (which are much worse than, say, the fallout of being raped and having to go through either surgical abortion or forced childbirth):
Conservative members of Congress and advocacy groups strongly opposed the move. They questioned the drug’s safety and argued that easier availability could encourage sexual activity and make it easier for men to have sex with underage girls.
Yes! Because many’s the time I’ve thought, “Boy, I’d love to sleep with that 14-year-old, if only there was some sort of birth control she could take afterward.” Of course, I haven’t thought that since I was about 14, and the second part of the thought (the “if only” clause) actually really didn’t enter my mind at the time, because I was 14, and stupid.
It’s not so much the “men sleeping with underage girls” part as the “encourag[ing] sexual activity,” because Sweet Chocolate Jesus, we can’t have humans having sex. That would be awful.
At least the wingnuts are still making sure that if a 15-year-old is raped, she’ll have to get her parent’s permission to get Plan B. They’ve still got that going for them.
As for me, I’m heartened by stories like this:
Sarah, 27, a school counselor who lives in the District, was glad she did not need a prescription after the condom her boyfriend was using came off last month.
“I just went to the pharmacy, and it was so easy,” she said, asking that her last name not be used. “It’s a really good option.”
It’s almost like some magic pill that lets women not be penalized for having sex. No wonder the right hates it so.