Plan B Prevents Abortions

I don't understand why the administration can't make the case to the Republicans, who the Obama Team evidently fears will attack them for broadening the availability of contraception, that Plan B and other forms of contraception will prevent pregnancies and, therefore, abortions.

The tactic is straightforward: Why do the Republicans want more teen pregnancies and more teen abortions? Fact:

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.

But I suppose it's more expedient to sweep this under the carpet for a year or so until after the election when Secretary Sebelius will lift her block on the FDA's decision.

  • Username1016

    The whole thing is stupid. I’m 13 and I need Plan B? Let’s see, I could ask my older cousin, my best friend’s sister, my 17-year-old boyfriend, my understanding grandma, the neighbor girl who used to babysit me — there are plenty of people over the threshold age who would be happy to buy a dose and hand it to me. (For the record, I’m not 13 — this is a hypothetical scenario.) This law isn’t actually going to stop anyone from doing what they would have done anyway; it’s just a nuisance law like the 48-hour waiting period and the mandatory “counseling” at the abortion clinic. Hah.

    • mrbrink

      I don’t believe the proper role of government is to assume these sorts of powers. Like turning off the rights with the clapper. That sort of power switch has its problems. So I wouldn’t call it stupid, especially if Michelle Bachmann is ever head of HHS.

  • EsiS

    Do you know why women have to go to the gynecologist every year to renew their birth control prescription? So doctors can make sure you get a Pap smear. Not because there’s something magical about birth control that makes it impossible to take without a dr watching, hence it being OTC in other countries.

    Sure, Pap smears aren’t bad, and frankly I think more medications should have a drs supervision. But the point is, very few medical decisions are based on the medicine. This issue is no different from many others, it’s just a convenient thing to point and yell at. If girls of all ages could get birth control OTC, there would be no need for Plan B. But I don’t see anyone demanding the Obama administration make that happen.

  • JMAshby

    I think it’s a mistake to assume the decision was made based on fear of Republican rhetoric.

  • muselet

    Why do the Republicans want more teen pregnancies and more teen abortions?

    You ask this as if they don’t.

    All snark aside, social conservatives really do want more women to get pregnant because sex (in their paltry understanding of it, anyway) is properly for one purpose and one purpose only: reproduction. Married people should not have sex unless they’re trying to breed, and unmarried people and teenagers should be punished for having sex with the possibility of pregnancy (and, social conservatives fervently hope, the social ostracism that properly comes with pregnancy out of wedlock). It’s a neat, tidy, crabbed, anhedonic view of human existence. It’s why they cling to “abstinence-only” classes. It’s why they want not just Roe v. Wade overturned, they also want Griswold v. Connecticut overturned. It’s why they push so hard for “moral objection” laws. It’s why they try their level best to conflate Plan B with mifepristone by calling them both “the abortion pill.”

    The facts don’t matter to folks like this. They know what they know and they’re not interested in no damn’ un-American socialistical left liberal pinko commie degenerate scientists’ opinions. They don’t believe there would be more abortions if contraception were outlawed because people would either have sex for the “right” reason or not have sex at all. They believe the AAP must be wrong because it reached the “wrong” conclusion about emergency contraception.

    Social conservatives and the politicians who pander to them are cruel and willfully ignorant.


  • Bob, how many times have the FDA guaranteed that some food or drug is safe then a few years later… oops! President Obama has always supported women’s rights to choose when it comes to their reproductive health. However, this is not about women, it’s about underage GIRLS using a drug that can potentially cause harm to their reproductive health in the long run if not used properly. Obama isn’t even saying that they can’t use it at all, they must have a prescription and be under supervision when using it. This isn’t about politics, it’s common sense.

    Even other countries have set the same kind of age limits to the Plan B drug. Women advocacy groups in this country cannot be so zealous in the fight to protect women’s rights that they lose common sense.

    Think about it, how would you feel if your 9 (yes they are having sex that young), 10 or 11 year old going behind your
 back and buying a drug that they don’t understand how to use?

    Kids just have to come clean to their parents. If they dont want to do that, then there are condoms or abstinence. They can get those over the counter.

  • MrDHalen

    Can this drug effect an existing (wanted) pregnancy?

    • muselet

      Apparently not, or at least there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it affecting an existing pregnancy.


  • sherifffruitfly

    Not sure why it’s so gosh-darned obvious that we want 12 year olds to have the ability to get hormone pills on demand.

    Can’t get Claritin without a scrip. Can’t get the pill without a scrip. Not sure why it’s such a ZOMGBETRAYAL to require a scrip for this.

  • It is not that big a deal.

    Crisis centers & emerg. rooms can prescribe them for rape/incest victims who are underage, parents can purchase them, an older brother, sister or friend can purchase them.

    I think we can wait until after the election in 2012.

    • muselet

      A wise parent of a teen (girl or boy) should probably make a point of having Plan B in the house, just in case.


  • D_C_Wilson

    Republicans don’t actually care about reducing the number of abortions. All they care about is using it as a wedge issue. There is no case to be made to them and the administration knows it. The only thing that could possibly prevent them from running ads screaming about how “Obama wants your twelve-year-old to have sex!” would be to take the issue off that table. That’s why they took the action they did.

    It’s politics, pure and simple.

  • I don’t understand the whole liberal outrage on this. it’s not like anyone who needs it can’t get it.

    I personally don’t like the idea that the argument is anyone should be able to get it OTC regardless of age.

    • muselet

      it’s not like anyone who needs it can’t get it.

      Perhaps, but it’s less a question of getting it than it is a question of getting it in a timely fashion.

      Plan B is only effective for a limited time after unprotected intercourse, a maximum of 125 hours but it’s most effective taken as soon as possible. Having to find someone who’ll write a script—good luck with that in wide swaths of the country—then find a pharmacist who’ll fill that script—ditto—wastes valuable time.

      In an ideal world, I might agree with you.


      • If I’m to understand this, it’s already available OTC, for women 17 and older.

        Again, the argument seems to be girls as young as 10 being able to get it OTC, which is what I disagree with.

        • You’re right. It’s so much better that they can buy numerous over the counter medicines and overdose, instead of having to care for a child they may not want and are not able to raise. Great mental clusterfuck.
          It’s a political maneuver and nothing else.

          • Which part of “Plan B is already available over the counter for women 17 or older” are you not getting?

            Once again, isn’t the argument from outraged liberal is that it should be available OTC to anyone, even girls as young as 10.

            But please name me one drug store where an 11 year old child can walk in, pick up tylenol, go to the counter and pay, and no questions are asked.

          • I didn’t specifically mention Tylenol, but lets look at others that can be bought by any 12 year old girl.
            Midol. Available OTC with no age restriction. Eat half a bottle and let me know how you feel.
            Pamprin. Anyone with internet access can get this one. Again, let me know how it feels when you’re serious about death.
            Tylenol is available online. They can be purchased with debit cards. You going to outlaw debit cards for anyone 16 and under?
            Oh, something else. “It’s not like anyone who needs it can’t get it.” Your words. So it’s ok to put a government restriction on something anyone can get if they need it?
            You’re confusing yourself.

          • You still didn’t answer my question:

            “But please name me one drug store where an 11 year old child can walk in, pick up tylenol, go to the counter and pay, and no questions are asked. ”
            I’ve called drug stores in New York, California, Florida, just to name a few. And they all tell me the same thing. No child 13 and under can buy medicine like Tylenol without supervision.

            And it seems to me you’ve lost the point since you brought up online purchasing. By your logic, we should allow porn to be OTC since you can easily get it over the internet.

            But I do have one more question for you. How would an 11 year old girl learn that such a drug like Plan B exist?

        • muselet

          You’re right, Plan B is OTC for ages 17+ and remains prescription-only for ages 16 and younger. The proposal was to make it OTC for “all females of child-bearing potential,” a phrase that generally means from the median age of menarche, currently 12 in the US.

          I’m not picking on you, but I am genuinely curious: why do you disagree with the proposal to take Plan B off prescription for younger girls? It’s effective, the science supports taking it off prescription and levonorgestrel isn’t a dangerous substance: you can’t make illegal drugs out of it, for example (the excuse for keeping pseudoephedrine behind the counter), and while the side effects of a colossal dose of the stuff are very unpleasant, they’re not life-threatening (unlike those of aspirin or acetaminophen).


    • I love the sites ability (or is it yours) to shut off replies.
      “How would an 11 year old girl learn that such a drug like Plan B exist?”
      I guess you agree that 11 year old girls are ignorant about everything.
      Great way to raise your kids.