In the USA the FDA has ruled that only women that are 15 years and older are allowed to purchase Plan B emergency contraceptive (also known as the morning after pill). This restriction is unnecessary. There should be no restrictions on Plan B. Not only will restrictions cause women younger than 15 to be unable to access the pill it also causes women who are older than 15 to have trouble accessing it. Government issued ID is needed to access the pill and very few women under the age of 18 have this. Birth certificates are often held in a safe place by parents, passports are difficult to get and often held by parents as well, and not all women will have a drivers licence.
Having restrictions will not stop younger people from having sex it will only cause them to have unsafe sex. The FDA has actually proved that it is safe for all women of reproductive age to use the pill, this means that the only reason for the restrictions is political and religious. It makes conservatives feel safer and like they have control over young women, when they place restrictions. They think they are protecting young women from having sex but they are not.
By having age restrictions you are saying that women under 15 years old are not ready to use this medication and therefore not ready to have sex, but by the time they need this medication it will no longer matter if they are ready or not. They need to be able to use Plan B and have access to it or the young women who are seen as unable to handle having sex and unable to handle taking a pill will have to be able to handle having a child.
Whether a young women is ready to have sex or use Plan B contraceptive is not up to the government or any religious groups opinion. If they should or should not be having sex does not matter, young people will have sex whether they are allowed to or not. What needs to be focused on is not the morality but the accessibility. Young people will have sex -they always have, always will- what needs to change is not an age restriction but more accessibility to contraception.
We live in a culture where being a teenage mother is taboo in every way. If it is so wrong to be a teenage mother than why isn’t birth control accessible to everyone? If we want to help teenagers be responsible, safe and have control over their bodies we need to have accessible birth control of all kinds including the Plan B pill.
For my previous article on Plan B in the USA go here: Morning After Pill in the USA
For more information try this article: The Nation: Hey FDA