FDA's Decision on Plan B is a Victory for Women's Advocacy Groups - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/25/06 - East Texas

FDA's Decision on Plan B is a Victory for Women's Advocacy Groups

by Ramonica R. Jones

Thursday's decision by the Food and Drug Administration gives women easier access to emergency contraception. Soon, they'll be able to buy the Morning After Pill over the counter without a prescription if they can prove they are at least 18 years old.

College student, Jamie Washington, said, "A lot of people are intimidated to go to their doctor to ask for their prescription, and so this makes it more readily available to prevent unwanted pregnancies."

Anti-abortion groups and other Plan B opponents believe the ruling will increase pre-marital sex and risky behavior among teens.

Michelle Green of Planned Parenthood said, "There are studies that show that access to Emergency Contraception does not increase sexual activity, nor does it encourage people to become sexually active."

Green believes most of the people against the Morning After Pill do not understand it. Emergency Contraception is not the same as the abortion pill.

A woman can take Plan B up to three days after unprotected sex or birth control failure to prevent pregnancy. The abortion pill interrupts an established pregnancy.

"It is emergency contraception," Green said. "It is used as a backup method of birth control - maybe you missed a pill, maybe you had unprotected sexual intercourse. This is your chance to prevent an unintended pregnancy."

Currently, four pharmacies in Lufkin and six in Nacogdoches already have Emergency Contraception in stock. Like any other form of contraception, Plan B is not fool proof and can fail. The Morning After Pill reduces the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex by 89 percent.

The Morning After Pill does not protect against HIV, AIDS or any other Sexually Transmitted Disease or infection.

Not everyone is in favor of easier access to Emergency Contraception. Here's what some East Texans had to say.

"I don't think it should be [available over the counter] because it prevents the process of nature taking place."

"I think it would be available to too many young children; too many people that aren't qualified to make a decision about it."

"I think you should still go to a doctor [to get a prescription] so people in high school don't start using it as a recreational drug."

"I think it's a good idea, because everybody has their own opinion on it and it's just making it available for anybody to buy."

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