Friday, May 3, 2013

plan b

     Pressured by a court deadline and women's groups, the Obama administration had to make a decision about the availability of emergency contraceptives for women, also known as the morning-after pill. Before, women had to be 17 or older (and prove it) to purchase the pill behind counters without a prescription. Now, the Obama administration is allowing women 15 or older to purchase it as long as they prove their age with a driver's license, birth certificate or passport. The contraceptives will now be accessible beside other women's health products.
     While this may be a significant step in women's rights (the right to have control over their own bodies), it is also a very small step and it's incredibly frustrating that the pill hasn't been made accessible to all women, whatever their age. Girls are physically capable of conceiving children from as young as eleven years of age and while it's quite frightening to think of sixth graders becoming mommies and daddies, it has happened, and will continue to happen unless contraceptives are made ready and available. Contrary to some people's opinions, these measures wouldn't encourage early or irresponsible sexual activity. Early sexual activity is caused by media influences, sexualization of young girls, and hormones. It isn't going to stop, but at least we can address the massive problem of unwanted pregnancies. A good sex education and accessible contraceptives would cause the number of unwanted pregnancies to drop dramatically.
     Even with this new law (which quite a few people were rightly disappointed with) even fifteen to seventeen year olds will have have trouble purchasing the Plan B pill. If they don't have a license yet, bringing a passport or birth certificate to the drugstore will prove ridiculous and cumbersome. Not to mention, older girls can purchase the pill for younger friends and siblings, so the restrictions are hardly going to be effective.
Emergency contraceptives are called so for a reason-in an emergency, everyone should have access to it, easily, anonymously, and regardless of age.