Target: U.S. District Judge Edward Korman
Goal: Commend judge for supporting over-the-counter Plan B for all ages
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow women and girls of all ages access to Plan B (emergency conception) over the counter. The Obama administration currently necessitates that girls under 17 have to obtain a prescription for the medication.
The FDA had initially ruled the same thing, but Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled that, stating, “there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and girls of the youngest reproductive age.” Barack Obama agreed, stating that one should “not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old go into a drugstore, should be able—alongside bubble gum or batteries—be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect.”
Plan B has undergone many safety tests, and if taken properly is unlikely to cause adverse side effects. Unlike birth control, it only has to be taken once. Obama’s statement sounds almost flippant: a little girl who seeks out Plan B – which she would be unlikely to pick up accidentally because it would not look anywhere near as appealing as bubblegum – obviously understands what it’s for.
Plan B is immediately necessary in cases such as rape or incest. For example, some girls live with a caregiver that is sexually abusing them. These girls’ caretakers don’t have the girls’ best interests in mind, and might not allow such a girl to obtain a prescription. Even if these girls were able to get a prescription themselves, Plan B is only effective within 72 hours after unprotected sex. It is likely that they couldn’t get the prescription in time anyway.
The law is set to take effect next month unless the FDA appeals. The FDA did not comment, and the Justice Department stated that “The Department of Justice is reviewing the appellate options and expects to act promptly.”
Whatever happens next, we should commend District Judge Edward Korman for allowing minors to make responsible choices when there is nobody of age to help them.
Dear Mr. Korman,
We commend you for ruling in favor of emergency contraception being available over-the-counter for all ages. While your decision may not be approved by President Obama or Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, you have the support of millions of people, including all of those unfortunate young girls who fully understand both why they need emergency contraception and that no adult they know is going to help them get it.
Because Plan B only works within the first 72 hours, it would be difficult for girls to obtain a prescription within that time if they don’t have parental support. We are happy to see that someone is looking out for these girls, and allowing them to make responsible decisions when there is nobody else to help them do so.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Bryancalabro via Wikimedia Commons