Emergency Contraception Should Be Accessible to All!
Posted by Samantha
December 7, 2012
Another day, another trip to the pharmacy to get my prescriptions; when I enter there is a flurry of movement and excitement. Here birth control and emergency contraception or EC are just prescriptions easily obtained if necessary. But for young women all over the country, emergency contraception is a necessary medication, and many women don’t currently have access to it.
The history of hormonal pills dates back as early as the 1920’s when using estrogen hormones was experimented on animals to control their procreation. This medicine wasn’t applied to humans until the 1960’s. These initial studies led to the creation of what we now know as birth control pills, and these are available in so many varieties there is virtually something for everyone. Morning after pills were being tested as early as the 80’s, and on July 28, 1999, the FDA approved a progesterone only Plan B. Many people still refer to this as the morning after pill, but the term is frowned upon because it has proven to mislead women on when they can actually take the pill, and still have it be effective.
Fast forward to the current day and age, now laws enable for teens 17 and older to obtain Plan B over the counter. However, this triumph is still disheartening because those under 17 still require a prescription to obtain it, delaying access to a medicine that becomes less effective the later you take it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced that EC should be made more accessible for patients younger than 17. Why isn’t EC available over the counter for all?
Everyday people criticize shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom because many believe they glorify teen pregnancy, but what are we as a nation doing to prevent unintended pregnancies in teenagers? Why aren’t we allowing every woman no matter how young to access this necessary medication?
“It encourages promiscuity,” they say “more girls will have sex” they say, but drum roll please… Young women and men are having sex anyway. There I said it. The secret that isn’t such a secret is out. Moms and dads don’t have a conniption instead really think about this, why we wouldn’t provide the necessary medication these teens need if it can prevent unintended pregnancies. Why aren’t we enabling those that do have sex, and will have sex the option of protecting themselves? Why are we showing sex everywhere, but leaving our women unprotected and unable to obtain this pill that they may need to take? The answer BULLSHIT and politics (maybe one in the same).
It seems many still are intent on punishing women, young and old alike, for being sexual. This seems to stem back to the paternalistic culture that heavily clouds all things American. It’s in everything from the governmental structure, to media television, and even in the way citizens view sex. We need to establish that EC is basic fundamental healthcare, and shouldn’t be restricted if we really want all sexually active people to avoid unintended pregnancies.
I believe that if we provide accurate unbiased information and access, women will come and these women will be armed with the tools to guard themselves. I personally have a couple friends that have taken advantage of EC for many reasons, and now continue to be successful thriving members in society because it enabled them to be responsible for their own reproductive agency. If we care about our women, then we must fight for access to the tools that enable us our rights to protect ourselves and the power of making decisions over our own reproductive justice.