Thursday, April 23, 2009

Morning After Pill, Plan B, FDA. Age restrictions

Before I get into today's post I want to be clear that my opinions here do not represent the opinions of Cottonwood nor Cottonwood policies but are simply my own opinions.

Recently US District Judge Edward Korman ordered the FDA to lift age restrictions limiting the over the counter sales of "Plan B" to women 18 years of age and older. "Plan B" is often referred to as the morning after pill and can be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to reduce chances of unwanted pregnancies. Under this order the morning after pill can be available to 17 year olds over the counter as soon as the manufacturer submits a request to the FDA. "Plan B" has been controversial and politics continues to play a big role in the debate.

What people do not understand is that there are two issues here. One is the issue of the morning after pill as a mechanism of abortion and the other issue is that of parental vs. adolescent rights when it comes to the issue of health care matters regarding sexual behavior. By not separating these issues the debate has remained too polarized for reasonable discussion. Those who are pro life have not wanted the availability of an abortion method and those who are pro abortion do not want there to be any restrictions on a woman's rights. The thing that people don't realize though is that the morning after pill is not a method of abortion.. It is high dose hormones that prevent ovulation and decreases the likelihood of fertilization. This is the same mechanism of action as the the common birth control pill. With both of these methods there is the possibility that there will be a fertilized ovum which is prevented from implantation in the uterine wall but this is a low possibility with either one. It is totally inconsistent to be OK with the routine birth control pill and not OK with "Plan B". The Catholic Church is at least consistent on this issue.

By recognizing that the morning after pill works by the same mechanism of action as the birth control pill the debate can shift from one of abortion to the important social issue here of parental vs adolescent rights regarding sexual health care matters. To view the morning after pill as a mechanism of abortion is scientifically wrong and in my opinion simply polarizes and clouds the debate.

Thought for the day

The views expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Cottonwood but are simply my own thoughts.

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