The Food and Drug Administration announced its approval for the over-the-counter sale of the Plan B pill Thursday, an emergency contraceptive that is currently only available by prescription.While Plan B reduces the odds of pregnancy by 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, it does so through administering two high doses of levonorgestrel – a synthetic hormone that works to prevent fertilization and implantation of an egg, according to the Food and Drug Administration Web site.
Though this method may sound like an easy fix to unplanned activities from the night before, the high levels of hormones administered in pills such as Plan B have not been proven to be safe for one’s body, especially in younger women, who, according to the FDA Web site, were not fairly represented in the sample that tested the pill.
Because of this factor, women under 18 will still need a prescription to obtain the pill. But what about college-aged women who are right on the cusp of this age group that might be harmed from this pill?
We might be safe, but we also might not be. And why not err on the side of caution and reserve the decision to administer Plan B to professionals who are better prepared to judge if it is a safe option.
Some argue that if the pill is not available over-the-counter it will be difficult to obtain in enough time to make it effective. However, not allowing it to be purchased at your local Walgreens is not the same as banning it all together- – it could still be obtained through planned parenthood centers or from physicians.
If a woman is truly concerned about the risk of pregnancy, she should see a doctor about getting on a regular birth control pill that will provide the same protection as the Plan B pill but will start preventing pregnancy before sexual intercourse instead of after.
It’s called an emergency contraceptive method for a reason. And, just like dialing 911, it is supposed to be reserved for absolute emergencies. Taking Plan B should be reserved for the same dire situations instead of being readily available at drug stores.
-News editor Kathleen Thurber for the editorial board