Explainer: The Emergency Contraception Appeal

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Late last night, the Obama administration appealed a judge's ruling that lifted the age restriction on over-the-counter emergency contraception. This after the FDA had suggested earlier in the day that the age limit be lowered from 17 to 15. Confused? Sarah Kliff of The Washington Post explains the policy and politics of the rulings.

Comments [29]

dkerst from Seattle, WA

Parents do not have the right to dictate when their children do or do not get pregnant. Reproductive rights begins at menarche, NOT at emancipation. Can you force a 13yo girl to get an abortion? So why can you force her to carry a pregnancy? You can no more slip birth control in her food than you can deny her access to it.

Putting barriers in place to access Plan B strips girls of the ability to choose. Every person with a uterus has that right.

May. 03 2013 04:12 PM
mc from Brooklyn

*Plan B* darn typos.

May. 02 2013 12:19 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Lest we forget, this ill-advised ruling from the Obama administration requires a prescription for Plan be for younger girls. Not the same thing as requiring parental consent. The research on this drug does not back up the need for prescription requirement for anyone.

May. 02 2013 12:18 PM
mc from Brooklyn

T&B (as Susan refers to you affectionately) the FDA is not where this kind of regulation should be made. The FDA determines the relative safety of a drug for the population for which it is intended. It does not get into the vagaries of minor children accessing legal substances. If legislatures want to make those rules they are free to do so at their political peril. Not the job of the FDA.

May. 02 2013 11:51 AM
The Truth from Becky

This has to go hand in hand with the "keep it in your pants" conversation with the boys!

May. 02 2013 11:48 AM
Christine from Yorktown

T&B: I'm with you on this. A pharmaceutical option is very different that a condom. A kid can't get a Tylenol at school but it's okay for them to get contraception at a drug store? These are minors. Have you ever met a 15 year old? If they're not capable of asking their partner to use a condom, they're likely not mature enough to decide about taking a drug to end a pregnancy.

I am absolutely in favor of this medication. But I'm a mom. I don't want my daughters taking this wihtout my help. There are side effects. And for those who say "well then parents don't have a good relationship with their children" perhaps. But these are not "women" making a decision. They're children.

May. 02 2013 11:45 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Susan: You are quite mistaken about my intentions. I wouldn't give an aspirin to a minor child without knowing for certain that that child was not allergic. I even keep Benadryl in my home specifically so that if someone visiting me should eat something or get stung by a bee or even be allergic to cat furr, I can provide prophylactic care until emergency services arrives. Imagine, for example, a 12-year-old who engages in sexual relations, purchases the pill, goes somewhere to take it alone, and then suffers "hives, swelling, shortness of breath, etc.," all of which can be signs of anaphylactic shock, and no one knows that she's taken medication or what medication she's taken. No one is there to assist her and by the time someone notices she's missing, she's dead.

Again, I am not against the pill, per se; I am against minor children taking potentially dangerous medication without adult supervision. Perhaps it would be advisable to add instruction on the use of the pill to standard sex education given in schools. But it is important to remember that this method of protection against pregnancy is medication and needs to be treated as such. No medication is 100% safe for all the people who take it and this is no exception.

May. 02 2013 11:33 AM
John A

Does having to call thirteen year old girls women, so as to be able to apply the slogan "woman's right to choose", does that trouble people? Good, because it should.

May. 02 2013 11:16 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

T & B: I read all your comments and they only convince me that you don't want girls having the autonomy to take care of themselves and you hide behind flimsy excuses like allergic reactions. Please. If you read the side effects/risks of Plan B, they are pretty typical: hives, swelling, shortness of breath, etc. Same as someone could endure with an allergic reaction to other OTC meds, or even food. Before you jump on me about the seriousness of food allergies, I get it, but we don't keep certain foods locked away in the grocery store.

POINT BEING, there is a safe, effective means for young, sexually active girls to take care of themselves in the wake of unprotected sex and failed birth control, and we won't embrace it because we are too stupid, too uptight, too naive and just too.......stupid.

May. 02 2013 11:07 AM
mc from Brooklyn

This is purely political on the part of the Administration. Contrary to some comments here, part of the scientific process in authorizing this drug was studies on young girls. So there it is. And the scientists agreed there was no scientific reason to discriminate against them. The issues of minor children accessing the drug are not issues for the FDA. Someone mentioned during the O'Connor discussion that the way Gore handled the situation contributed to his dropping out of the Dem party. I have to say this administration has had a similar effect on me.

May. 02 2013 10:56 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Susan: You need to read both my early comments. We are talking here about medication, taken internally.

We now pack even Tylenol in child protective wrap and people still manage to put poison in the packaging. We have people who are so allergic to peanuts that they die after being kissed by someone who's eaten peanuts relatively recently. And you think it's perfectly okay to give medication to a young woman who may turn out to be allergic to it and there would be no one there to administer CPR or call 911?

My objection is not the reason they use the pill, but that they are minor children and that for their own benefit, they should be supervised.

And keep in mind that the first time some young person suffers serious adverse effects from this drug, the manufacturer(s) will be sued and probably stop producing it.

So, let's try to think about ALL the effects of this product, in addition to the prevent of pregnancy, and keep ALL the users safe.

Condoms are a different story entirely, and there are still young boys who buy them for use as water balloons.

May. 02 2013 10:55 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

My point is, Susan from North Salem, NY, it's gotta be tough for a young child to hit puberty at such a young age, when the majority of her peers are still playing with dolls.

May. 02 2013 10:52 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

Diana, she was not have sex at 8. What she said was, "I COULD have had a baby at 8. Was I gonna go out and start having sex, probably not. But people need to face the facts that teens are having sex, and having sex young."

Young teens are having sex. If you think they're not, you're a fool. Educate them on the options, prevent unwanted pregnancy at the source but if accidents happen (and they do - condoms break, pills fail, it happens), they need to know what the options are there as well.

May. 02 2013 10:52 AM

The only thing sadder than a 17 year old pregnant belly is a 15, 12, or even 9 year old pregnant belly. Why not allow all women of child bearing age to prevent contraception over the counter? Plan B is effective in the first 72 hours.. By the time the girl gets the prescription to obtain Plan B it may already be to late.

May. 02 2013 10:50 AM

The caller said that she got her period at age eight and could have had a baby. Was she having sex at that age? If so, I am horrified!

I am for this pill being available over the counter to teenagers and am comfortable with those 15 and above making that decision. However, if 11, 12 year olds are going to be allowed to purchase this without parental involvement, I think there are serious issues that need to addressed. Should parents be made aware of the sexual activity of their elementary school child? Can this crisis be a teachable moment for the child to drawn into a discussion with a parent or trusted adult of the seriousness of engaging in sex at such a young age? I feel that for the 11,12,13 year olds there needs to be some intervention.

May. 02 2013 10:49 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

T & B: that's the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard.

May. 02 2013 10:48 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

Yes, she got her period at 8, my mother got it at 9. I was 11. Your point is?

Truth & Beauty: those same "minor" boys, have access to condoms. Any drugstore, any time, a whole aisle, an ARRAY of styles, brands and types. No parental involvement, no note from dad, no doctor's exam and prescription. Just walk in and buy, or get someone else to buy for you. So why do they get free choice and not girls?

May. 02 2013 10:46 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Susan: This pill is taken internally; condoms are used externally. The biggest risk from a condom is allergic reaction (rash) to latex or sheepskin (lanolin). BIG diff.

May. 02 2013 10:46 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Does anyone remember Becky Bell, who died in 1988 at 17 because of a botched back-alley abortion? She couldn't legally get an abortion under an Indiana law that required parental consent for minors to have abortions, & she was afraid to tell her parents she was pregnant. Her parents later said they would have given consent, but what about girls whose parents are abusive or might throw them out if they found out their daughter was pregnant?

May. 02 2013 10:45 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

Ve are ze state and ve know vhat is best!

May. 02 2013 10:43 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To foodaggro

In many ancient societies, marriage was permitted whenever the young girl was capable of getting pregnant, as low as age 9. So the idea that many girls could menstruate at a very young age is nothing new. Now was marriage with girls as young as age 9.

May. 02 2013 10:43 AM
David from Fairfield CT

Lets face it folks. many of the people who oppose this do not believe people should be having/enjoying sex except for procreation!

May. 02 2013 10:43 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I am fully in favor of women being able to control their own bodies. That said, we are talking about minor children - children who can't vote, smoke, drink, some too young to drive - and we are permitting them to take serious medication without adult supervision.

While the product should be available to women of all ages, minor children should be required to have adult supervision when they take this pill. If just one of the young women who wants to take this medication has an allergic or adverse reaction that results in death or permanent injury, the lawsuits will start flying and then the whole decision will be turned upside down.

Why don't we, for once, learn from previous experience and legislate this in such a way that the minor child purchasing and using this product is supervised and that the supervising adult has co-signed a release along with the user agreeing that they understand that there may be adverse effects from using this (and ANY) medication and that they have fully read and comprehend all the instructions and contraindications?

May. 02 2013 10:42 AM
steve from upper west side

Of course children should be allowed access to this safe drug. If a parent needs to worry that their kid would get pregnant and take this pill without telling them, then they are not parents who have a relationship with that child that would make it easy for the child to tell them in the first place.

As for the Obama administration -- SHAME SHAME SHAME. They are once again trying to placate and score cheap points with conservatives by doing something that voters are not involved with. After all, these 14 and 15 year old girls who have sex or are raped and are scared of saying anything and scared of being pregnant and freaked out... don't vote.

May. 02 2013 10:42 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

That caller got her period at 8 YEARS OLD?? That's insane.

May. 02 2013 10:40 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

15 to 17 year old boys can buy condoms OTC with no fuss, why can't the same age women have the same access to Plan B? Plan B does not induce abortion, it prevents implantation, same as the Pill, same as an IUD.

May. 02 2013 10:38 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I believe that non-surgical means of contraception should be legal; surgical abortion should not. If it requires surgery to stop a pregnancy, it should be illegal.

May. 02 2013 10:38 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

So let me get this straight: we're OK with 15 and 17 year old boys being able to get their hands on guns and shoot up schools, but yet we feel 15 to 17 year old girls are incapable of making a decision if they have unprotected sex or their birth control fails?

May. 02 2013 10:33 AM
Brock from Manhattan

Is this a showdown between parental autonomy and feminists?

May. 02 2013 10:31 AM

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