Playing Politics With Plan B?

Dec 9 2011 @ 1:56pm

Rebecca Traister is upset with the president's opposition to the sale of over-the-counter emergency contraception to girls under the age of 17:

The logic expressed [yesterday] by the president, and [Wednesday] by Sebelius, is ludicrous: Medicines like Tylenol – which have been proven to have adverse effects in high doses – are available by the truckload on drugstore shelves, at prices far cheaper than the $30 to $50 it would cost a preteen to purchase just one dose of Plan B, let alone go wild with it.

Sal Gentile sorts through the science surrounding the issue:

Medical experts have for years urged the federal government to make emergency contraception available to teens without a prescription, noting that the drug is safe and highly effective, preventing as much as 80 percent of pregnancies in teens and young women, according to the [American Academy for Pediatrics]. … The AAP also found no evidence that the availability of emergency contraception increases rates of sexual activity, or the frequency of unprotected sex, among teens. …

There’s also a case to be made that wider availability of Plan B emergency contraception could help lower the rate of teen pregnancies that end in abortion, experts say. According to the Guttmacher Institute’s numbers, 82 percent of teen pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and nearly a third — 27 percent — end in abortion.