Plan B One-Step is a form of emergency contraceptive that helps to prevent pregnancy for up to three days after unprotected intercourse, but works best the sooner you take it.
It is not the abortion pill, nor is it intended to be used as a form of regular birth control.
It won’t work if you are already pregnant, and it does not affect an existing pregnancy.
After extensively researching peer-reviewed medical journals, along with having the support of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came to a decision to make Plan B available over the counter for all women without a prescription.
To the disbelief of many, Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, overruled the FDA’s recommendation.
Why then many are asking, was the decision reversed?
Did we let politics interfere with a woman’s right to manage her reproductive health?
Why do we still continue to drag our feet and seemingly obsess over if we are sending a message that will oversexualize our youth? Statistically, the Centers for Disease Control <http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/> (CDC) reports that approximately half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and 1,100 teen girls still give birth every day.
There is no denying these statistics.
We as a society continue to fail our youth with our repeated resistance to properly fund sexual education programs that not only teach about abstinence, but also on sexuality, sexually transmitted infections, birth control and other preventative measures.
Maybe if we invested in these types of program, teens would be better equipped to manage birth control and not have to use Plan B in the first place.
So again we have to ask why would Secretary Sebelius overrule the FDA’s recommendation?
In her statement she referred to there being not enough data to support Plan B one-step available over the counter to girls 16 and younger without first talking to a health care professional.
She also made sure to point out that ten percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age – I guess she is afraid that there will be a line of 11 year-old girls at your local pharmacy buying Plan B.
Unfortunately those that need the emergency contraceptive the most, are often the ones who have limited access to it in the first place, and yet here we are placing yet another barrier.
What about those that are uninsured, or are dealing with issues of immigration status.
Are we now punishing them all because they should not have had sex in the first place and leaving them to deal with greater consequences like facing abortion or being a single parent.
Helen Troncoso is the reigning Ms. New York Belleza Latina 2011, women’s health advocate and writer. She received her doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and serves as 1st Vice President of the New York chapter of Tamika & Friends, Inc., a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness on cervical cancer and its link to the human papillomavirus (HPV). You can email her at email@example.com, find her on Facebook: Ms New York Belleza Latina 2011 or tweet her @MsNYBL2011