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Emergency contraception should not need prescription

New York Federal Judge Edward Korman ruled to lift point-of-sale restrictions and age verifications for emergency contraception such as Plan B and Preven, commonly known as morning after pills. The ruling, which has garnered debate from competing interest groups and the medical field, would allow the drug to be sold to anyone without restrictions or a prescription.

But the debate over emergency contraception has been basically the same argument that pro-choice and pro-life advocates have been fighting for years over abortion, though contraception and abortion are two distinctly different topics.

Plan B and Preven are safe and effective drugs that prevent pregnancy after intercourse if taken within 72 hours.

In 1999, the FDA approved Plan B as a prescription drug. In 2006, President George Bushs FDA would only allow the drug to be sold over the counter to those 17 and older, despite FDA proof it was safe for all ages. In 2011, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius denied the Obama FDA from allowing unrestricted sale of the drug.

But the necessity of a prescription and the necessary doctors visit that goes with it is problematic because the drug is only effective up to 72 hours its effectiveness is hindered as more time elapses.

The argument against it is that, if emergency contraception were available without a prescription, then the likelihood of younger women engaging in sexual activity would increase.

But concerns of unrestricted access to Plan B and emergency contraception are based solely on misguided and unscientific appeal to teenage sexuality and pregnancy.

Plan Bs availability was not being challenged because it poses a health risk to teenage girls. It was challenged because special interest groups have a misguided view on teens and sex.

The truth is that the likelihood of teens engaging in sexual activities is going to stay the same, regardless of what a New York Federal Judge, the DHHS or any of the special interest groups say or do. Teenage sexuality is neither based on pro-choice nor pro-life ideologies, but rather on the fact that teenagers are likely to have sex if they want to.

The real problem with abortion and contraceptives when it comes to teenagers is the fact that kids are not able to learn about both the repercussions of sex and the benefits of safe sex. The debate about the concern over teenagers use of contraceptives has as much to do with the same special interest and religious groups that push an abstinence only approach to sex education in schools and get upset when their ill-advised plans end in increases in teen pregnancy rates.

Emergency contraceptives should be available without restrictions. The FDA and the DHHS should have no say in whether the drug is available because it does not cause any unintended health risks to women of any age. Korman made the right decision in allowing the drug to be sold without restrictions, and it should stay that way.