Thursday, August 24, 2006

Can I See Some I.D.?

Alas, the FDA has approved over-the-counter sales of emergency contraceptive Plan B!! Woo-hoo!! While this is a HUGE victory for many women, those 17 years old and younger will still require a prescription for this perfectly safe medication (for ALL age groups).

Not surprisingly, the anti-choice folk have their panties in a bunch over this. And it's not just that women will be able to purchase the medication. It's also that men over age 18 can also access Plan B.

Opponent Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said Plan B's wider availability could give women a false sense of security, since it isn't as effective as regular birth control. Wright also worries that adult men who have sex with minor girls could force the pills upon them. From the CWA press release:

"Any adult male who is having sex with a minor could walk into a pharmacy, buy the drug, and coax the girl into taking the pill.... The FDA's irresponsible action today takes those rights out of a parent's hands and gives them to ill-intentioned perpetrators."

So, let me get this right, Wendy: you, as a concerned woman of America, are fearful that Plan B's over-the-counter availability will enable male sex offenders to help their young female victims prevent a pregnancy by offering them Plan B? Or, by forcing the pills down their throat? Or, by crushing them up and hiding them in applesauce? I guess it's important not to focus on men actually committing the crime in the first place. Because...?

Non-prescription sales will hopefully begin by the end of this year. Plan B will be available behind the counter only at pharmacies to help ensure that photo identifications are being checked. Maybe, as an additional feature, pharmacies could also announce to the entire store over their PA system that the woman in aisle 3 has had unprotected sex and is now purchasing Plan B. I mean, women, you have your Plan B - you want privacy too?! Blasphemy.

For more information on Plan B and today's action, please see the FDA page.

Julie in Philly

2 Comments:

Anonymous Keanus said...

Julie, your comment about the pharmacy making an announcement over the PA system is similar to my reaction when the FDA hinted OTC sales might be possible. What I envisioned was a flashing red light at the pharmacy pick-up counter, making the purchase known to one and all. It harks back to Puritans when errant women (but not men) were made to wear a red A.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous the bidge said...

To Keanus: I don't know for certain if The Scarlet Letter (in this case women wearing them in Puritan New England) actually happened in real life. Hawthorne's book, while excellent, is clearly fictional, but whether it was derived from a historical account is something I haven't seen any of evidence for (I looked, but if there's a link you can point me to, I'd greatly appreciate it). Not that I'm saying it didn't happen, that it was merely allegory; I simply don't recall it as being fact. Nor am I saying anything at all about how women of that day were treated (or how all people were treated, for that matter). For reference, please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Letter

Take note of the last sentence in the second paragraph.

On topic: Showing your ID at a pharmacy is common. I went to fill a prescription for a simple cream to clear up a ringworm infection (I'm highly allergic to molds and certain fungi--especially ringworm--so I needed the "hard" stuff) and I was forced to show my ID to prove who I was. I don't think most women will be terribly affronted by showing their ID as an age check. It's not like the pharmacy is taking down their personal details. How is it any different from buying cigarettes or alcohol? In some places (notably some less-than-fine establishments in Utah), attempting to buy smokes or booze can be somewhat traumatic for the purchaser.

And before I comment on Wendy's remarks, let's look at this sensibly: If a woman (or even a man) were somehow horrified to show her ID while buying Plan B, would it not be worth two to five minutes of humiliation to spare her a minimum of 9 months and possibly a lifetime of humiliation? (Surely, the vast majority of women would love their children, but other family members may come to resent the child for any number of reasons -- that was my point about the lifetime of humiliation.) I think most women--and for the certain all of the women I personally know--would easily deal.

I don't doubt it would be any less embarassing for many men. Apologies if I'm a bit crass, but no man wants to admit to premature ejaculation. Eh? Okay, it's happened a few times. I'm not proud of it. More to the point, some men, myself included, would be embarassed simply for being irresponsible, nothwithstanding prophylatic breakage, which occurs from time to time.

There are no privacy issues here. It's a simple age check. No one is tracking who bought what over-the-counter--they had better not! See item 7 on the FDA Q&A site. The link is too long to post in this comment. Sorry. Follow it through from the blog entry.

Prescriptions for minors, however, are another matter entirely. I should expect that many minors will go to a trusted, discreet adult if it's necessary. If I were a teenaged girl, that's what I'd do. If I had that opportunity, I mean.

On Wendy of CWA: What do you expect from this group? They think the entire world is evil except for them. Check out their about page. Apparently, in my opinion, God failed to forsee Plan B (or similar), because I've never seen one mention of it (these) in the Bible, and thus CWA should ask God if He could be so kind as to have a saint or prophet write it down for them. Still, God did say go forth and multiply (or something), so maybe that's the loophole. Hard to say.

But hey! Woohoo for Plan B! A further choice for both women and men in world where choice is rapidly being taken away from us.

12:36 PM  

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