By: Emily O’Connor
On Monday, the Obama administration announced that the Department of Justice will drop their appeal of U.S. District Judge Korman’s ruling that allows unrestricted access to Plan-B One Step, the “morning-after” pill. This will allow anyone of any age to buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription. This decision raises many concerns:
- Abortion: Many pro-life advocates recognize Plan B as an abortifacient, preventing fertilized embryos from continuing to develop.
- Health: Concerns about the drug’s potential long-term effects and relationship to cancer have also been raised. In 2011, HHS Secretary Sebelius cited a lack of data on the pills effects, particularly on young girls.
- Parental Rights: This decision puts girls in danger not only because they can obtain the drug itself without parental consent. When no prescription is required, a young girl can bypass the necessity to have a conversation with any adult, whether a parent or even a doctor, about being sexually active and the possible dangers to her health and well-being.
- Exploitation: This decision also can embolden sexual exploitation, making it much easier for predators to cover up crimes against minors. Traffickers can also take advantage of easier access to contraception without prescriptions for their victims.
The administration allowed pressure from groups such as Planned Parenthood, as well as the potential of continued appeals going to the Supreme Court, to cause them to back down from their initial appeal. This is potentially dangerous precedent of allowing politics, rather than the FDA, to decide what drugs are safe. In addition, this decision allows politics, rather than parents, to decide what is best for their children.