Monday, August 28, 2006

When Over the Counter Isn't

So, last week, the Food and Drug Administration finally released it's hostage -- the three year old pending application for Plan B, also known as emergency contraception. Headlines blared "Plan B now available as OTC medication."

Now, OTC stands for Over the Counter. But, in a clarification released today, it turns out that the medication will only be available BEHIND the counter. And people will need to show their identification to prove that they are over 18. And perhaps be subjected to a lecture by a pharmacist or store clerk who doesn't believe in emergency contraception. Somehow, all those requirements don't sound over the counter to me.

My 21 year old daughter supports the decision to require 16 year olds to get a prescription. She believes that a 16 year old who has had unprotected sex needs to be talking to a doctor or nurse practioner about getting on an ongoing method of birth control -- or even the decision to have sex at all. In theory, I support that position, but I've just worked with too many teen women to want to put up barriers to pregnancy prevention. I'd rather see the FDA require that every woman who gets Plan B is also handed the number of a local family planning clinic.

The irony of course is that our 16 year old sons can walk into almost any drug store in America and purchase a condom...from the shelf, not behind the counter, without an ID, or the possibility of a lecture. That's a good thing if it means he is protecting himself against STDs and pregnancy -- why would we want our daughters to have less?

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Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of buying some for my 16 year old college student. She is 5 hours away from home, and while the college campus clinic may write her a prescription, what if they don't ... we're in Texas, afterall ...

Of course, I'm the weird liberal mom who bought some condoms for her to pack in her off to college stuff. She said I was being ridiculous ... but, well, what can I say?

Christine Robinson said...

Our daughters can purchase all the condoms they want, just like our sons can, hardly any embarassment at all. Spermicide, too. Hopefully, they are doing that, and more.