“Plan B” Restriction Eases

“Plan B” Restriction Eases

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Jaime Faulkner, Editor In Chief, 2012-2013

The ‘morning-after’ pill, commonly known as Plan B, One Step, or Next Choice, will possibly be available to all women of reproductive age without a prescription. US District Judge Edward Korman passed the ruling in favor of a lawsuit being pressed by Center for Reproductive Rights regarding a 2011 age restriction on “Plan B” access. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to require girls under 17 to have a prescription to access any kind of emergency contraceptive, a form of birth control taken in the 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Controversy has emerged around the ruling; dissenters argue that freer access to birth control of any kind will increase underage sex and encourage promiscuity in teenage girls,  while supporters called the passage of the ruling a triumph of science over politics. “This landmark court decision has struck a huge blow to the deep-seated discrimination that has for too long denied women access to a full range of safe and effective birth control methods,” said Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Korman said the decision to limit access to emergency contraception was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” standing behind the idea that the standard for medication access should only be limited by scientific reasoning rather than political agendas. If passed, the ruling will go into effect in the next 30 days, but the Justice Department is looking into legal repercussions of interference. Either way, the decision and ruling itself are crucial pieces in the current debate about sex, medication, and government control over female bodies.