Pediatricians should discuss emergency contraception with their teenaged patients and even write advance prescriptions, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended earlier this week. The morning-after pill should be taken 120 hours after unprotected sex, but is more effective the sooner it is taken. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, Plan B is almost 90 percent more effective than saying “No babies no babies no babies!” three times fast. Advance prescriptions, the AAP, explained, would help prevent teen pregnancies and put MTV’s “16 & Pregnant” franchise out of business. Keep reading »
This week on “What We Missed,” we discuss bagel heads, Cindy Gallop’s “Make Love Not Porn,” Britney Spears’ inexplicable facial expressions on “The X Factor,” and Illinois pharmacists winning the right to refuse to dispense the morning-after pill. Also, we examine a mysterious brown spot on the office floor.
Earlier this week, The New York Post dropped the “exclusive” that nurses at 13 New York City public schools can dispense the morning-after pill and provide oral and injectable birth control, like Depo Provera and the Pill — “without parents’ permission.”
Keep reading »
Yesterday, delegates to the Republican National Convention met yesterday in Tampa, Florida, to finalize the party’s platform on various controversial issues, including abortion, with the youngest member of the platform committee, Jackie Curtiss, 22, having the most to say.
Staunchly anti-abortion, Curtiss objected to an amendment to the platform banning medication “that terminates human life after conception.” The amendment aims to outlaw “abortion pills,” as they are sometimes called, which could, Curtiss worried, potentially include the “morning after pill.” Curtiss emphasized that platform needed to make it clear that the Republican party is welcoming to women, and that such extreme positions could be alienating. Curtiss was also the only person in attendance who referred to Rep. Todd Akin by name, despite the ongoing media attention devoted to his ignorant comments about “forcible rape” and incidences of pregnancy. Keep reading »
The Kansas state legislature advanced a so-called “conscience” bill yesterday that will make it easier for health care providers to refuse to provide women’s health services that they personally find morally objectionable. According to the Kansas City Star, a doctor could refuse to give chemotherapy to a pregnant woman with cancer because the fetus might be harmed by the chemicals; a pharmacist could refuse to dispense the morning after pill, the abortion pill, and possibly even birth control. Anti-abortion folks in the medical profession claim they should not have to go against their conscience even if it means providing the medical services for which their customers depend on them. But women’s health supporters say it’s all part of a larger attempt to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Keep reading »
A new study conducted by the Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine and published in the journal Pediatrics has uncovered a truly disturbing trend: teens are being given false information about the legality and availability of the morning-after pill (also known as Plan B), quite possibly on purpose, by their pharmacists. What the what?!
First, the facts about the Plan B’s legality/availability: teenagers 17 and older are allowed to purchase the morning-after pill without a prescription; teens under 17 are able to acquire it but need a doctor’s prescription. However, the study found that when researchers posing as teens under the age of 17 called their pharmacy to inquire about getting Plan B, many were told that they were not legally allowed access to it or were given misinformation about how they could get it — but when researchers posing as doctors called back asking for the same information, the pharmacists suddenly had their facts straight. Keep reading »
This is a sad story that underscores how the age requirement on the morning-after pill doesn’t work: a math teacher in Austin, Texas, resigned after she was caught having helped a student acquire the morning-after pill. Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old came to her teacher, Tracy Lee Steinberg, 32, in tears and told her she was afraid that she was pregnant. Steinberg told the student she had a bright future and that she would help the 16-year-old get the morning-after pill, which is only available over-the-counter without a prescription for women ages 17 and up. Steinberg got money for the Plan B from the student and the student’s boyfriend, purchased it at a Planned Parenthood, and the student took it.
But when the student started experiencing normal side effects of Plan B like nausea, the student — surely in fear — told her mother she’d taken the morning-after pill and that Steinberg had gotten it for her. The mother called the school district and the administrators notified Steinberg she’d be put on leave. Instead, Steinberg offered to resign. Keep reading »
Taking the morning-after pill in a timely fashion has been one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to reproductive rights. Emergency contraception (which prevents ovulation so an egg cannot be fertilized, as well as thins the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg cannot be implanted) is most effective if taken within five days of unprotected sex — but the sooner the better. Even though EC, in theory, became more accessible when the FDA announced it could be sold over-the-counter to women age 17 and up, that did not play out in reality. Women who live in rural areas, as well as women who live anyplace where a pharmacist can cite a so-called conscience clause and tell her “no, not dispensing that!”, still have to do a lot of frantic scrambling at an already stressful time.
But one college in Pennsylvania has a brilliant idea on how to make EC more accessible when it is needed most: Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, put a vending machine filled with Plan B in the health center. Keep reading »