There are many reasons a woman may become pregnant and a child is unwanted. It could be due to unprotected sex, failed contraception, being raped, being assaulted, and simply failing to be informed. There has been a pill made available to women as young as 15 years old who may find themselves in these situations. The morning after pill known as Plan-B, is a very controversial subject. There are many positives, negatives and ethical dilemmas that have to do with using the pill.
Although this form of emergency contraception has been on the market for many years and has been useful in avoiding unwanted pregnancies, the distribution of this pill over the counter to girls of age15 is simply unjust. One may ask themselves, “What happens if a couple’s contraception fails or they refuse to use contraception all together and a pregnancy is eminent?” In this case there is one last option to prevent pregnancy and that is called Plan B, commonly referred to as the “Morning-After Pill”.
“How does the pill work?” one may also ask and it is actually eerily similar to that of standard birth control.
In a website titled “The Truth about the Morning-After Pill” the details of how the pill actually works is discussed. “ The emergency contraceptive/morning-after pill has three modes of action (as does the regular birth control pill); that is, it can work in one of three ways: 1) The normal menstrual cycle is altered, delaying ovulation 2) Ovulation is inhibited, meaning the egg will not be released from the ovary 3) It can irritate the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so as to inhibit implantation” .
Plan B acts just as the birth control pill does (which is a form of oral contraception that is ingested prior to and during sexual activity), except in the one pill that is consumed in an “emergency” after sex, is a much higher dosage. There are some striking similarities between the two which would provide the girls taking Plan B with confidence; it would seem identical to being on birth control without having cycles of pills. Although birth control and Plan B are very similar in how they work, Plan B is not the same as birth control and should not be used as a substitute as birth control is prescribed directly from a doctor.
On April 30, 2013, the FDA approved that Plan B, one brand of emergency contraception, be sold over the counter in the family planning aisle of drug stores for anyone 15 or older. Anyone 15 or older can purchase this brand of the morning-after pill at their local drug store with proof of age. This
will go into effect soon, so check your local drugstore or check back with us for updates on this decision . Basically, if a fifteen year old girl were to get pregnant she is now capable of purchasing Plan B without parental/doctoral consent. From a mother’s perspective, with the recent approval of the FDA, one’s daughter can experiment with sex and prevent the pregnancy without the parent’s knowledge.
If the parent had knowledge of the daughter’s sexual experiences, he or she could provide that daughter with precautionary measures to avoid the pregnancy all together. Not only is it horrific to think about a daughter experimenting as much as she wants with sex at a young age while taking a “Morning-After Pill” whenever a concern is presented; but then on top of it all envisioning the possibilities of that pill affecting her body’s health is daunting. Although Plan B may seem like the perfect ultimatum to unprotected sex, many studies show that it can have drastic results in the long-term.
The Family Research Council states, “There is a clear lack of scientific studies on the long-term-effects of Plan B with respect to high dosage and repeated use in both women and adolescents” . In addition the authors state, “increased risk of ectopic pregnancy exists with Plan B usage… common physical side-effects a woman experiences following Plan B usage often mimic ectopic pregnancy symptoms, including cramping and severe pain. Consequently, there is valid concern for Plan B usage to actually mask ectopic pregnancy, an acute, life-threatening condition” . Clearly, Plan B is not the “utopia” of pregnancy aversion because it can have negative side effects on the woman, especially with repeated use of the pill. The health of these young girls needs to be taken into consideration and there certainly must be long-term effects to this last-minute pregnancy prevention. When a young woman becomes of reproductive age and is seeking birth control, there are specific requirements that need to be fulfilled before she can obtain such pills.
The most significant requirement is making an appointment with a licensed clinician (i.e. their gynecologist) who will examine the young woman to see if she is able to consume birth control. Based on the condition of the woman’s health, the doctor will determine if she can be prescribed birth control or not. According to the Family Research Council, “Birth control pills are contraindicated for women with diabetes, liver problems, heart disease, breast cancer, deep vein thrombosis, and for women who smoke and are over 35.
A medical exam is necessary to ensure that none of these contraindications exists. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1.85 million women of reproductive age (18-44) have diabetes; approximately 500,000 do not know that they have the disease” . Essentially, if a woman has any of these health conditions she is prohibited from consuming birth control and the doctor is forced to deny her the prescription. With that in mind, the Morning-After pill contains a dosage that is greater to that of birth control which would then increase the risk of women with these conditions harming themselves further.
In addition, you are permitted to purchase Plan B without a medical screening thus these women who purchase the emergency contraceptive are blind to what effect the pill could have on their bodies. When two people engage in unprotected sexual activity, they absolutely take on a high-risk of a pregnancy occurring. Not only should pregnancy be a huge concern when not protecting oneself during sex, but the possibility of contracting an STD/STI should be equally concerning to the couple. With Plan B becoming more readily available to young girls, the need for contraception is decreasing. From the young girl’s perspective, she feels that she does not necessarily need to have protected sex if she can just buy Plan B the next morning and guarantee that she will not become pregnant.
However, when a more educated individual ponders this claim he or she takes into account the possibility of contracting an STD or STI. Just because you can prevent pregnancy without having protected sex, does not mean that this emergency contraception can prevent ponders this claim he or she takes into account the possibility of contracting an STD or STI. Just because you can prevent pregnancy without having protected sex, does not mean that this emergency contraception can prevent you from contracting STDs and or STIs; in fact it does not protect you from those whatsoever. Dr. Peter Saunders of “LifeNews.com” states, “While county-level access to emergency contraception was unrelated to trends in STIs and abortions before access changed, access afterwards caused a statistically significant increase in STI rates (specifically gonorrhea rates), both overall and for females, and statistically significant decreases in abortion rates for some ages” .
Now that the Morning-After pill is more readily accessible to women the rate of STIs has increased. When observing those statistics it seems that the Plan B pill is doing more harm than good. Furthermore, in order to prevent things like this from occurring the knowledge of these young women needs to be increased meaning the parents need to educate their children at an age before they are sexually active. Of course with every argument that is made there is always an opposition that will have their own opinion. Plan B certainly has its advantages and such advantages are discussed on “Livestrong.com”.
“One of the greatest advantages of the Plan B pill is that it prevents an unintended pregnancy after unprotected intercourse has already occurred…the morning after pill is 89 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, and it can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. The emergency contraceptive pill can be used in addition to other birth control methods that may have failed” . Sure, Plan B prevents pregnancy and that is a great advantage when taking the pill and the fact that it can be consumed up to five days after unprotected sex. However as stated by this author, the pill is 89 percent effective; 89 percent is not 100 percent meaning that in the end there is a chance that the emergency contraception fails also. Additionally, Plan B can be taken (and is usually taken) when other forms of contraception fail. For example if a women forgets to take one of her birth control pills she may go and purchase Plan B.
Therefore, she is on her cycle of birth control and on top of that ingesting a Plan B pill which is an even higher dosage of the birth control pill. All of these chemicals inside the female body cannot be good for her and surely cannot be good for future pregnancies she may wish to engage in. With sexual activity beginning at such young ages nowadays, the usage of contraception is much more crucial however it seems the knowledge of its necessity is decreasing. Many young men and women are having unprotected sex and if the concern comes about that a pregnancy may occur than the option of Plan B is readily available and these young kids are actively taking advantage of it (a little too often).
There are many negative side effects that come along with Plan B and the more that it is used the amount of chemicals entering the female body increases. Plan B should not be used as a form of birth control because that is what “birth control” is for.
Having it for sale over the counter, now for girls of age 15, is outrageous and should be revised by the FDA. Even though the sexual activity will not decrease, the availability of Plan B should not be as easy. Parental consent should be mandatory until kids are of an adult age (18) thus providing the child with some supervision while being sexually active. In conclusion, whether the pill is readily available or not, parents should be more open to educating their children about such sexual topics by preparing them for future encounters that they will face thus bettering their health in the long-run.
How Does it Work? (2012). Retrieved from The Truth About the Morning-After Pill: http://www.morningafterpill.org/how-does-it-work.html
This source titled “How Does it Work” which was a web page within the website Morningafterpill.org was very useful. Throughout the article the author discussed the many different aspects of Plan B and how it actually prevents a woman from getting pregnant. This source was ideal in writing a successful paper on this topic because I was able to provide the audience with a detailed description of how the pill works. Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception). (2013, May). Retrieved from Planneparenthood.org: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/emergency-contraception-morning-after-pill-4363.asp
Planned Parenthood was a very useful web site in completing my research for this paper. It discussed a crucial current event in the news in which the FDA approved the over the counter purchasing of Plan B to girls 15 and over. The discussion of that event was a significant aspect of my paper because it helped form my argument of how Plan B is a very negative form of contraception and how the distribution of the pill to such young girls is just not right. Gaul, M., & Gacek, C. (2006, August 2). Retrieved from Family Research Council: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=if06h01
The Family Research Council was a great source of information and as an ample source for my research. It is a huge database that provides such great statistics about many different topics. Within my topic for this paper it helped because the web page discussed many different aspects of Plan B and showed the negative components of it. Ultimately, it provided me with worthy information and detailed statistics to help prove my point that Plan B is
doing more harm than good for young women. Irene, S. (2009, November 12). Plan B Pill Advantages. Retrieved from Livestrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/article/32243-plan-b-pill-advantages/
I used Livestrong.com because it is a very well-known organization and I trusted the information that it would provide. I was in search of an opposition’s view of my topic because with that included in my paper it helps me complete the entire topic in full. Having an opposition’s view helps give the reader another perspective and in turn gives you as the writer the chance to continue to prove your argument to be correct. This site provided me with advantages to Plan B and the many positives that the pill actually does have. Saunders, D. (2012, December 14). Study: Free Emergency Contraception Increases STD Rates. Retrieved from LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/12/14/study-free-emergency-contraception-increases-std-rates/
Dr. Saunders, the author of this article on LifeNews.com, provided me with a lot of good information and statistics as to how the use of Plan B actually is increasing the contraction of STIs. I used this information when I discussed the many negative aspects of Plan B especially how it is increasing the presence of STDs and STIs. This article was a great find for me and really helped make my paper much better by including more detailed information and statistics about Plan B.