This pro-life advocate agrees with President Obama’s strongly pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on one issue: Plan B should not be freely available to young girls under 17 years of age.
But sadly, many in the pro-choice movement have placed scoring political points above both common sense and scientific facts. They are willing to use girls as guinea pigs for yet another cultural experiment that will wreak havoc on an entire generation’s health and safety.
Planned Parenthood of America Federation representative Eric Blakenbaker praised Judge Edward Korman’s decision to make Plan B, more commonly called the “morning-after” pill, readily accessible to girls of all ages by saying, “Lifting the age restrictions on over-the-counter emergency contraception [Plan B] is a significant and long-overdue step forward for women’s health that will benefit women of all ages.” For a group of so-called “women’s rights” advocates, you would think that Planned Parenthood representatives would do their research before making such outlandish statements.
Plan B backers are ignoring the evidence found in data compiled in the United States and around the world that clearly shows the dangers of unfettered access to this abortifacient.
One misconception about the morning-after pill is that it will reduce teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In reality, more access only exacerbates these problems. Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow and Director of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute (BLI), points out that, “In the United States, the majority of out-of-wedlock pregnancies are driven today by the twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings, not teens.” A study was conducted at a small school in Lothian, Scotland, where condoms were handed out and students were told where they could easily find the morning-after pill to uncover if in fact teen pregnancies would decrease from easy access. Not surprisingly, pregnancies among these 13- to 15-year-old students did not decrease, but rose by 10 percent in one year.
Meanwhile, STDs among teens are already a huge problem in the United States. Nearly half of the 19 million new STD cases reported each year are found among people aged 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We cannot expect to prevent the spread of STDs when we hand over a drug that removes the consequences of a bad decision, but fails to protect against 49 other sexually transmitted dangers.
Another area of concern is that we do not know the prolonged effects of long-term use and potential overdose of the morning-after pill. Plan B is the commercial name for Levonorgestrel, a highly potent drug with potentially dangerous affects including, infections, blood clotting, and liver damage. Additionally, the maximum safe dose for Levonorgestrel has not even been determined by a scientific study. What is the sense in taking a doctor’s input out of the equation? I could not even start a new Yoga class without being told to first consult a physician, and yet we are going to dispense Plan B pills like they are Pez?
Even Secretary Sebelius agrees. She rejected the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request to make the morning-after pill easily accessible to young girls. She correctly stated, “It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age. … I don’t believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age.”
Judge Korman’s decision is a sex abuser’s dream and a victim’s nightmare. Essentially, he creates a brand new avenue for pimps, sex traffickers, and sex predators hoping to hide the evidence of their exploitation. We are removing doctors’ examinations, one of the vital tools used to detect sexual abuse. Now, a young girl afraid she might be pregnant at the hands of her abuser will not have the opportunity to see a doctor who could offer help and protection. Instead, her abuser will feed her Plan B like it is candy. In Thailand, where the morning-after pill has been freely available since 1988, men are the largest purchasers. What is wrong with this picture? It is no secret why Thailand is considered the world’s hot spot for sex trafficking of minors.
What is at the heart of the matter is simple child endangerment. No matter how pro-choice advocates spin this ruling as a matter of “liberation,” if it is not overturned, we will sacrifice the health and safety of vulnerable little girls. There is nothing “pro-woman” about that.
Chelsen Vicari is the Online Communications Strategist for Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.