I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
FDA to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds – N.M. Planned Parenthood urges all-ages access
The federal Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it would allow 17-year-olds to buy emergency contraception pills (called Plan B) over the counter.
That move comes after a federal judge ruled in March that FDA’s previous decision to limit access to men and women 18 and older, made during the Bush Administration, was politically motivated and scientifically flawed.
The judge also ordered FDA to reexamine the other restrictions on Plan B that were imposed during the Bush years. It is possible that one result of that reexamination would be to allow access for emergency contraception to all ages, something Johnny Wilson of Planned Parenthood of New Mexico would wholeheartedly support.
Emergency contraception consists of two pills (similar to birth control pills) that are very effective at preventing pregnancy — if taken within three days of unprotected sex.
Some conservative groups warned that the decision would only encourage teenage promiscuity, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
“There’s no reason not to make it available to all ages,” Wilson says. “People who use emergency contraception are people who had unprotected sex and do not want to be pregnant. Whether we agree with that decision [to have sex] or not, it’s already been made.”
While some couples seek emergency contraception when a condom breaks, others look to Plan B when they didn’t actually have a plan A in place. That often happens because teens lack information about and access to contraception.
“If we don’t do a good enough job ahead of time to help people to make better decisions [about having sex and using contraception], then societally — we should look at that. But we shouldn’t punish anyone who doesn’t want to be pregnant, and is hoping to prevent that from happening,” Wilson says.
Allowing 17-year-olds to buy Plan B over the counter is a good thing, Wilson says, it just doesn’t go far enough.
“If one of the 10 people who couldn’t get it yesterday can get it today, that’s good, but it’s not good for the nine remaining who can’t. And truth be told, I think that there are folks making these decisions who feel like it’s politically expeditious to [increase access] slowly, but it just prolongs everyone’s pain.”