Even since Plan B was introduced, I’ve been interested in it. Over the last several week as it’s attempted to make it’s journey to an over-the-counter non-prescription medication I’ve been trying to keep an eye on it. I say trying because my brain has not been wanting to cooperate very much. I must say, it’s very annoying.
I have to say, in the years since I’ve been aware of the “morning after” pill the arguments against it have seriously frustrated me. Some, such as Janet Woodcock, have told us that Plan B would cause “extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.”(emphasis mine.)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not really aware of many teens forming sex-based cults surrounding this medication. And if I’m really being honest, for me being a teen centered mostly around sex (and not being able to want it.) So I’m not sure what Woodcock was imagining with these cults. Satanic worship, perhaps? Tribal dances where a package of Plan B is elevated to a position of honor? Because the lives of a lot of people I knew revolved around sex in some way, shape, or form.
This morning when I was reading Time magazine while eating breakfast I came across this little blurb.
“A policy change that would expand access to emergency contraception has hit a snag. In a surprise move, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overrode the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to remove age restrictions on the morning-after pill Plan B Once-Step, which would have made the drug available without a prescription to all women. (Those under 17 currently need a perscription.) In rejecting the advice, HHS cited concerns about putting weighty reproductive decisions in the hands of girls as young as 11.” (emphasis mine.)
I have to admit, this is not a surprise move to me. Concerns about young women becoming “promiscuous” have been touted since before Plan B was available. I would even feel confident in saying that almost every reproductive control technology that has ever been developed has come with the “concern” that young women will sleep around. While completely ignoring the fact that people have sex and it would be wise to make it safe for everyone involved.
What was honestly disappointing to me was the fact that HHS said that they didn’t want to approve it for non-prescription status because they were afraid 11-year-old girls were going to use it accidentally. That they were simply going to pick it up off the shelf and possibly start a sex-based cult. Indeed, this argument completely ignores the fact that 15% of rape & sexual assault victims are under 12. And while those children probably have someone to talk to, obtaining emergency contraceptive should not be a problem.
In short, the fact that young women (who seem to be getting younger every day) are under so much scrutiny is ridiculous. When are we going to live in a society where women are trusted to make their own decisions? When are they going to be supported in those decisions?