Thursday, August 24, 2006

Plan B Over the Counter But Still Limited

The FDA finally approved OTC-status of Emergency Contraception, also known as Plan B and the archaic "morning-after pill." As we all know, the sluts only come out at night. Unfortunately, over-the-counter Emergency Contraception is only available to women 18 and over, even though the greater medical community accepts that this drug can be taken by any female of reproductive age. Girls 17 and under will need a doctor's note to take advantage of Plan B.

Although this seems like a victory, it is a very minor one. With doctors still denying patients prescriptions for Emergency Contraception and other prescription birth control methods and pharmacists refusing to fill the prescriptions, there are still huge barriers that need to be broken for complete and fair access to reproductive services. Several acts have been introduced to increase access to and coverage of birth control, prevent unintended pregnancies, protect abortion rights, and support healthy families. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recently sent me a list of all of the legislation he supports regarding reproductive rights.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Responsibility, and Opportunity Act: "This bill would increase funding for comprehensive and medically-accurate sex education programs and develop classroom and after-school initiatives to help young people build positive life skills."

Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraception Coverage Act: This act "would prohibit health plans from restricting" prescription birth control.

Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act: This "would guarantee a patient's prescription is filled without delay or harassment. This bill strikes a careful balance by allowing a pharmacist to refuse to dispense contraception, but requires the pharmacy to ensure that there is someone present who will fill the prescription."

Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emeregencies Act: This act would "require hosptials that receive federal funds to provide information on and access to emergency contraception for victims of rape."

Freedom of Choice Act: "This bill would forbid government interference in a woman's right to make dceisions about family planning and her reproductive health."

MOTHERS Act: This act would "ensure that new moms and their families are educated about postpartum depression and that mothers are screened for symptoms and receive necessary services.

Contact your Congresspeople and tell them that you support these acts and reproductive freedom. Science before politics!

1 comment:

Drew said...

I think the victory here isn't just the increased access to contraception but the fact that the government has finally made a decision on the issue, and it's a step in the right direction.