Friday, May 16, 2008

Morning After Pill now REALLY freely available

I caught an article by Bill Taylor from the Toronto Star today about Plan B being freely available now, not just as an over the counter drug which it has been for at least a year. Much like a box of vitamins or Tylenol, it will be available on the shelf without having to ask the pharmacist for it.

While I have always straddled the fence on the issue between being pro-life and pro-choice, I think the move by the regulating authorities to allow morning after contraceptives to be THIS freely available is a terrible decision with many repercussions in society. Funnily enough, I was very happy when I heard last year that Plan B would be available as an OTC without prescription. How does this ruling change things? Here's just a taste of my rant on the subject:

We should always be aware of what any type of medicine does to our bodies, whether it is prescribed and explained by a doctor, over the counter with the advice of a pharmacist or off the shelf with directions from a label. I always figured that the reason that certain drugs are more regulated is because of the level of danger it poses to the individual taking it. However most of us take medicine off the shelf without thinking and that is just a fact. They are merely to eliminate symptoms of minor afflictions to avoid annoyances that get in the way of everyday life.

While as a society we wouldn't want too many unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, is this what life has become? This is absolutely disrespectful to life itself! While I believe a woman has the right to choose how and when to bring a child into the world, the unborn child or unformed potential for life that possibly resides in her body at that moment should warrant SOME respect and thought. It is not a symptom to be rid of at mere whim. If unplanned sexual encounters occur, the consequence of that should be pondered. Choices must be made with serious deliberation and any couple, no matter what age should have to do that.

In the cases of rape or young couples, a medical professional or pharmacist should at least consult them on the possible physical and psychological side effects of such an action no matter how non-evasive the drug proclaims itself to be. A truly pro-choice solution should mean that the person making the choice has been given all relevant information affecting their decision. Without that knowledge, we know that people in general would prefer to be ignorant (and just do it) but the choice becomes an irresponsible choice. Whether that is irresponsible is just personal opinion but since the outcome of such a decision affects society on a broader level because of possible child benefits & social welfare issues, we need to acknowledge the fact that when certain options are made so freely available, it definitely increases the chance of some behaviors.

While the internet is a wonderful source of information, it cannot replace a live person who can be relied upon as a source of support & information. Other resources should also be made available instead of just relying on drugs to get rid of the "problem". Having Plan B so freely available makes sex education & information directed towards young people a complete waste of time. It completely undoes the benefits of such education as a deterrent for unsafe sex.

I don't know how intense the pressure is as a young adult to be sexually active. For myself, the pressure was mostly from my own biological needs. I was worried about diseases but at that age, you mostly just want to have sex. However I can just imagine the pressure women will have across the entire age spectrum to have sex without protection because now their sexual partner can simply walk into a pharmacy and purchase Plan B for them. "Here honey, don't worry. I'll go get you some Plan B!" They don't even have to go through the embarrassing action of asking a pharmacist for it. Not that I think many of the partners did before but now they can. Where does the power lie now?

In fact, for the really unethical, they can just go buy Plan B and drug somebody with it while they manipulate their target to have unprotected, maybe unplanned, or even unwilling sex. If date rape was reported accurately, surely there will be a shift in the stats. How's that for pro-choice, huh?

I don't even know what else to say about this. I am incredibly upset by this decision!

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