A federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift age and other restrictions on the sale of the morning-after pill, making the drug available over the counter and to women of all ages.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman reverses a 2011 decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius not to allow the sale of emergency contraception without a prescription for women 16 and younger.
The news will likely prompt a backlash from conservative groups that oppose young women’s access to birth control without the involvement of their parents. Many of these groups also see the morning-after pill as equal to abortion.
Korman blasted Sebelius’s 2011 order as “obviously political” and designed to avoid a fight with religious groups ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
“Even with eyes shut to the motivation for the Secretary’s decision, the reasons she provided are so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith,” Korman wrote.
“She has failed to offer a coherent justification for denying the over-the-counter sale of levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives to the overwhelming majority of women of all ages who may have need for those drugs.”
The most recent decision means that, barring further legal proceedings, the FDA will make “Plan B” and other versions of the morning-after pill available over the counter to all women within 30 days.
This is one of those areas where ideals and morals crash headlong into common sense.
No responsible parent wants their fourteen and fifteen year old daughters to engage in sexual intercourse. But some of them do. Usually it is consensual but not always. They also smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs. Frequently those activities are done in combination with each other.
Teenagers are both rebellious and horny as dogs in heat. That’s Mother Nature’s fault and she doesn’t understand concepts like “age of majority”. For most of human history “adult” meant “post-pubescent”. Once girls started menstruating they were old enough to get married.
Having been a teenage boy and the father of a teenage daughter I know know what both sides look like. While we don’t want our teens having sex, if they are gonna do it anyway then we want them to be smart and responsible about it. We want them to act like adults.
If a 15 year old girl needs Plan B then it’s a little too late for abstinence. She’s obviously had unprotected sex. She can wait and find out if she’s pregnant but then she has to choose between motherhood, adoption and abortion. Medical science has provided a fourth option but only if she acts quickly.
If she didn’t feel comfortable asking your permission to have sex it’s doubtful she’ll ask you if she can take the morning-after pill. If we want teens to behave responsibly then we have to give them the same options as a responsible adult.