Plan B is smart medicine for society

Letting medical decisions be guided by political or religious agendas is dangerous.

As a medical student at the University, I wanted to echo Abby Bar-Lev’s sentiments about the injustices surrounding the availability of Plan B. Plan B has been widely lauded as one of the safest drugs on the market, and yet, because of largely political and religious agendas, it has been withheld from the women of America for far too long.

In times where the unintended pregnancy rate in the United States is near 50 percent and approximately 3 million pregnancies per year are unplanned, Plan B offers women the option to choose when they will become mothers. The Guttmacher Institute (www.guttmacher.org) estimates that one in three women younger than 45 will have an abortion in her lifetime, even though over nine in 10 women who are at risk of an unintended pregnancy (as defined by those who are sexually active, able to become pregnant and neither pregnant nor trying to become pregnant) are using a contraceptive method. This makes it extremely evident that no method is foolproof, and that is exactly why there is such a need to make Plan B easily available to all women.

Currently, women younger than 18 – one of the most vulnerable segments of the population – who might not have health insurance, or the ability to obtain contraceptives, are being denied their right to have equal access to medication. Putting Plan B on the shelves, allowing all women access without needing a photo ID, and access without having to discuss their personal lives with the pharmacist, is simply smart and responsible medicine. It is allowing women to have control over their own reproductive futures.

Although people have the right to have their own opinions about their personal use of Plan B, those opinions should determine what they do with their own bodies, not what other women are allowed to do. People who choose to be sexually active will do so with or without this safety net, but it certainly will save many women from finding themselves with an unintended pregnancy.

Letting medical decisions be guided by political or religious agendas is a dangerous policy and ultimately means that women are receiving substandard medical care. In short, limiting access is simply bad medicine.

Kristin Ritter is a
University medical student.
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