What Scares You?

16 Nov

Unplanned pregnancy scares me – which is why for me, morning after emergency contraception ranks right up there with penicillin for most-amazing-scientific-discovery.  Why?  Because it prevents pregnancy.  It’s not an abortion, because pregnancy doesn’t even occur.  It’s peace of mind, and best of all, it’s available Over The Counter.  Of course, OTC should mean that you can walk into your local CVS and pick it up off the shelf.  It should mean that any woman who needs it should be able to get it well within the five day period after unprotected sex, when it is effective.  Of course, the sooner you take it, the better, so ideally (and legally) you should realize that you may be at risk for an unwanted pregnancy, make a quick stop at the pharmacy, pop a pill, and get on with the rest of your life.  It really shouldn’t be any bigger a deal than taking an aspirin – and there are no medical reasons for it to be restricted based on age.

In fact, there are no reasons for it to be restricted based on anything.  There is not a single medical condition that precludes a woman from taking it.  Plan B has never been causally linked to a single death, or even to any serious complications.  Meanwhile, other over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) have been linked to hundreds of deaths each year, and thousands of serious side effects.
Because Plan B is so safe, the FDA has been court-ordered to allow its over-the-counter sale to everyone.  However, it continues to require pharmacies to keep Plan B behind the counter, selling it only to those men and women ages 17 and over.  They even require a government ID to prove age.  And why?
Why make it more difficult for a teenager to obtain emergency contraception?  What is the purpose in forcing her to find someone over age 17 to buy it for her?  Emergency contraception is safe – it’s not alcohol or cigarettes, and denying it does not make a teenager any less likely to have sex, just more likely to have an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.  So that teenager now has to decide whether to become a teen mother or have an abortion.  That teen now has to raise a daunting amount of money to have an abortion, throw herself at the mercy of her family for financial support for a child, and risk her body for a pregnancy she didn’t want in the first place.

This is slut shaming of the worst kind – government sanctioned, and it must stop.  Today the Center for Reproductive Rights will be suing the FDA to obey the court ruling, and make emergency contraception available to all women – regardless of age.  Show your support by signing their petition, because while you may be over 17 years old, somewhere there is a girl who is not – and neither you nor her deserve to feel shame for asking for a safe, legal, over the counter medication.

Thanks to NYCprochoiceMD for her help with this piece.

3 Responses to “What Scares You?”

  1. jamie November 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    I think this is a good informative post. you raise great points, and it’s important that it be available to all women. One major concern I have is the fact that it is generally very expensive for the morning after pill. $50-$60, which makes availability of this option a class issue. Just something I haven’t heard brought up too often.

  2. Shayna November 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Thanks Jamie – Cost is an important point, since for many women, especially teenagers, $50 is a lot of money!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention What Scares You? | Abortion Gang -- Topsy.com - November 16, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Abortion On Demand and Not Guilty, The Abortion Gang. The Abortion Gang said: new post: What Scares You? http://j.mp/cpHoa1 #prochoice [...]

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