Would you want your teen buying a morning after pill without a doctor’s approval?
The makers of the drug, Plan B One-Step, were seeking to have the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remove the prescription-only status for girls 16 and under. The application was the subject of much debate on both sides of the issue, but ultimately the Health and Human Services Department rejected it today.
Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius said that the drug would stay as is, and there would be no further plans to make the morning-after contraceptive pill accessible to teenagers without a prescription. However, the drug will remain available over the counter to women 17 and older.
Not everyone agreed, reports the NY Daily News:
“I reviewed and thoughtfully considered the data, clinical information, and analysis provided by [The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research],” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “I agree with the Center that there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential.”
Secretary Sebelius, however, chose to err on the side of caution and pointed out potential health risks for teens under 17, “It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said.
I think the administration was right about this one. There are a host of reasons why girls, aged 16 and younger should have to consult a doctor before taking a pill like this, the primary reason being health. If the drug were available over the counter for young girls who knows how many of them might take the pills often and without caution? No one can say for certain what effects that might have on a young girl long-term.
In addition to the health aspect, there are countless psychological repercussions that may ensue and a girl who finds herself in that situation needs the support of an adult. If she doesn’t have parental support, then a medical professional would be the next best thing.
What do you think? Would you support a plan to allow young girls to purchase the morning after pill without a prescription?