Uncivil Unions: August 2006: Archives

August 24, 2006

FDA: 18 & Older Can Purchase Plan B OTC genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

FDA & Plan B

The Food and Drug Administration, after numerous delays that many felt were politically motivated, has approved Barr Laboratory's Plan B contraceptive for over the counter sales to women over the age of 18 years old. Read the full article here. The age restriction is in line with remarks made by President Bush at a recent news conference whereby he suggested he was in favor of approval so long as minors were excluded. Thought Theater has previously discussed the rancor over the approval as well as the opposition expressed by numerous religious groups based upon the contention that the over the counter sales would lead to promiscuity here and here.

The Food and Drug Administration today said Barr could begin selling the drug, called Plan B, over the counter to those 18 and older. Plan B is designed to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of sex.

The decision capped a prolonged fight over whether the pill should be available without a doctor's permission, and which age group should get access. Some doctors' groups and Barr called for over-the-counter sales without an age limit. Some social conservatives said easy availability could increase promiscuity among teenagers.

Under the FDA's decision, Plan B will be kept behind pharmacy counters and can be dispensed only after customers provide proof of their age. The drug has been available with a prescription since 1999.

The FDA has been considering Barr's over-the-counter bid since 2003. An agency advisory panel recommended approval of Barr's application to sell the drug without a prescription to all age groups. The FDA rejected that approach, saying there wasn't enough evidence young teens could safely use Plan B without a doctor's supervision.

While the approval is long overdue but a welcome decision, I personally feel the decision to limit the sale to women over the age of 18 to be an absurd accommodation of those who insist upon viewing sex as an evil. At the same time, these same groups and individuals are living in full denial of the fact that preventing minors from purchasing the product will simply place underage women at risk for unwanted pregnancies as well as potential abortions. Further, the notion that a 16 or 17 year old woman would be unable to safely use the product is nothing more than irrational babble used to impose moral judgments and religious values...it has no scientific basis.

Anyone that believes 16 and 17 year old women haven't the ability to use the product properly must be oblivious to the fact that many of these same women are experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes...all products that have detrimental health implications but because they are not associated with religious and moral judgments, they are often overlooked or condoned by the same parents that oppose the availability of Plan B. Additionally, should there be any doubt that 16 and 17 year old women will find the means to obtain the drug if they find themselves in need? Isn't it time this country have an honest discussion about sex and begin to approach it with maturity and reasonability instead of making it a divisive subject that simply serves to alienate children from parents?

How a parent can decide that they would prefer to place sexually active children at risk rather than provide them the means to prevent a pregnancy is beyond my comprehension. I understand that parents may prefer that their children not engage in sex prior to marriage but that desire is simply not founded in reality. If parents would simply accept that their children are apt to engage in sex just like they did, they might find the courage to set aside their antiquated moralistic judgments and begin to deal with sex in a proactive and positive manner. Why sex must be vilified in a world that is filled with divorce, crime, violence, wars, and numerous other clearly negative behaviors is unfathomable to me and it fully demonstrates the hypocrisy that permeates the entire debate about sex, contraception, and abortion.

Daniel DiRito | August 24, 2006 | 7:49 AM | link | Comments (1)
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