The Morning After Pill: Whose Right Is It Anyway?
The morning after pill is the new topic creating a ground swell in public outcries due to the latest decision to restrict its access to girls under 17 years. This polarizing announcement from Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary has taken on a political intensity, set to equal the rhetoric along the lines of prolife and prochoice heated debates.
Those who agree with Plan B pill’s access to girls under 17 years cite reasons such as unplanned pregnancy due to rape, condom failure, and general forgetfulness of taking a contraceptive to validate its release to the younger group. While those against it argue that girls 11-13 years are not at the same maturity level as a 17 year old. Therefore, they are less likely to understand and adhere to the recommended guidelines stipulated in the labeling.
But this was the argument used by makers of the morning after pill, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited to get the pill on the market “citing label comprehension and safety studies that show women of all ages can take the drug safely and effectively.”
To the contrary, HHS Secretary, Sebelius stated “I do not believe that Teva’s application met the standard. The label comprehension and actual use studies did not contain data for all ages.”
The drug, levonorgestrel is a progestin-only emergency contraceptive, commonly called Plan B, and works by preventing a fertilized egg from being attached to the uterine wall if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Religious groups have come out strongly against Plan B, calling it an abortion pill while advocates are calling it a safe alternative to unwanted pregnancy.
Currently the lines are drawn in the sand by those for and against the emergency contraceptive being placed alongside condoms and spermicides in drugstore shelves.
This whole argument begs the question though, why in this era where AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are rampant, are individuals knowingly engaging in reckless acts of unprotected sex? If you separate criminal acts, such as rape and carnal abuse from the argument, then the rhetoric should be should be this: what business does a pubescent have in taking on the adult responsibility of having a sexual partner, when she is barely able to understand the changes occurring within her own body.
This should be the time to remove the argument from the political front and back into the homes of competent parents.