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Plan B Availability

MCT 2006-McClatchy by Tony Pugh

As a teenager, I firmly believe that the emergency contraception “Plan B” pill should remain available to girls age 15 and over.

Currently, the pill is sold without a prescription to women and girls ages 15 and older. Last Monday, a federal appeals court temporarily granted the Obama Administration’s request for a stay of an order by Judge Edward R. Korman of Federal District Court that the pill be available to women of all ages, over the counter. The Justice Department appealed that order and the appeals court is waiting to hear both sides of the argument before implementing anything.

The idea that “Plan B” could be available to girls of all ages has caused an endless debate. Some feel that making the pill more available encourages teens to engage in sexual activity, and that the minimum age should be raised. Other groups, including some that believe that the government shouldn’t restrict women’s ability to terminate a pregnancy at all, think that the pill should be available for all ages. The debate is contentious.

I feel that the pill should remain available over the counter to girls 15 and over. Although we don’t want to encourage teens to have sex, the reality is that many already are. A study done by CNN shows that over 42% of teenage girls age 15-19 have had sex or are currently sexually active. In addition, teen birth rates have decreased almost 50% since 1991 as contraceptives have become more available and the percentage of teens having sex has stayed steady. In other words, the increased availability of contraceptives throughout the United States has not caused a noticeable increase in the number of teens engaging in sexually activity.

This drug is meant as a back-up emergency method if birth control or a condom fails. It is not to be used as a regular contraceptive. Teens that stayed away from sexual activity in the past due to lack of an access to birth control or contraceptives will most likely not suddenly become sexually active based on Plan B’s availability because the drug cannot be used regularly. Using it more than twice a month can be harmful to a girl’s health. In addition, some risks come with taking it. Plan B is almost 40 times the dosage of Levonorgestrel, the drug in most forms of birth control. The side effects that come with Plan B are very similar to the side effects of starting birth control except they are slightly exacerbated. These include, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fatigue. Plan B is also not fully guaranteed to prevent pregnancy.

The bottom line is that almost 50% of teen girls ages 15-19 are having sex. In the past, just those 18 and over were able to access Plan B. Making contraceptives such as Plan B less available will not cause teens to refrain from engaging in sexual activity. Reducing pregnancies among younger teens, who are even less prepared than 18 year olds to face motherhood, give up a child for adoption or choose abortion, is vital. The government cannot stop what is already happening. It can only do everything in its power to make sure these decisions made at a young age do not have detrimental effects on a girl’s future.






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About the Contributor
Eliza Yass
Eliza Yass, Web Opinions Editor

Eliza Yass ’14 is not your average cheerleader. On the field, she gets spectators pumped up at football games. But off the field, her engaging opinion pieces give them the scoop on controversial issues.

Yass discovered her passion for writing opinion pieces last year in the Advanced Journalism class. Ever since then, she has been speaking her mind, loud and proud, on everything from Apple software to fake ID’s.

“I’m a really opinionated person,” Yass admitted with a laugh, adding that she doesn’t get much heat for her articles other than the occasional online comments.

The articles she is most proud of are the ones that cover hot-button issues, such as Plan B contraceptives for teens and last year’s incident with the racy posters at the Pink football game.

And while most Staples students fret about typical high school drama, Yass worries about more substantial social issues, such as serving the needy and defending the disadvantaged.

“Opinions cause social change,” said Yass, and it is clear she really cares about making a difference, not only by writing about hot topics but also by advocating for change.

In her spare time, Yass volunteers with STAR, a Norwalk-based organization that serves individuals with developmental disabilities. She hopes to continue spreading justice in the future by promoting social change through law or journalism.

There is no doubt that Yass will bring lots of pep, pompoms, and perspective to her last year on the Inklings staff.

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