Birth control access

Greater access to Plan B for 17 year-olds is a step in the right direction.

Emergency contraception or the âÄúmorning-afterâÄù pill will soon be accessible to 17-year-olds for over-the-counter purchase. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to lower the age restriction in response to a Federal District Court decision. While this decision presents a positive advance for womenâÄôs reproductive choice, it also calls attention to the issues of age, health care and access to birth control. By lifting this age restriction, parental consent will no longer be necessary for 17-year-olds to access the pill at any pharmacy, hospital or clinic. However, it is not yet proven that by lowering the age of access there will be a lesser rate of teen pregnancy or fewer abortions. Nevertheless, there is no valid reason that the morning-after pill should limited to âÄúadultsâÄù since 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds are treated the same medically. This determination of who gets access is completely arbitrary and political, but who knows where and when the bar will be lowered next. By allowing younger women to access emergency contraception, government officials are acknowledging teen pregnancy and are taking an active role to combat it. Access to Plan B will not encourage unprotected teen sex, but rather it serves to be an alternative in time of emergency. While this decision is a subtle advance for womenâÄôs health, it exemplifies a positive move for reproductive choice that addresses the needs of young women.