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 »
Fact checking time! Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail in Colorado last night and referred to emergency contraception/the morning-after pill as “abortive pills.” This could be because he or his team genuinely doesn’t understand that emergency contraception (Plan B) and the abortion pill (RU-486) are two completely different pills. Or it could be because he’s irresponsibly trying to totally conflate the two for political gain, which I am sure would shock — shock! — you coming from an anti-abortion politician. (Is Mitt anti-abortion this week? I can never keep track!)
Let’s recap, very briefly: The morning-after pill prevents a pregnancy by stopping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — which could be fertilized by the sperm and go implant in the uterus — as well as thinning the lining of a woman’s uterus so a fertilized egg cannot implant. The RU-486 abortion pill, on the other hand, ends an existing pregnancy — as in, the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus and a fetus is growing. (I explain it all in more detail in this post.)
See? Two different things, Mitt. Keep reading »
This is not the change I voted for. Nor how I thought the year would end for women’s rights in the USA. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius recently overruled scientists at the Federal Drug Administration and blocked a move to allow for Plan B emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, to be sold over-the-counter without age restriction. Her rationale was to protect 11-year-old girls from taking something that might harm them. President Obama backed her up, asked us to use “common sense” and pulled the daddy card.
Well, I’m pulling the mommy card. Keep reading »
Typically before heading into the office, I make a pit stop to get coffee. Yesterday I had to swing into the pharmacy instead—to get Plan B.
As I walked through the drugstore doors, I recalled the news from the day before: The FDA was considering allowing the emergency “morning after” pill to sell on drugstore shelves, to anyone, without a prescription. I envisioned myself snaking through the aisles and grabbing the box, stashing it in my bag at self-checkout, and resuming my life, waiting for my next period just a little less anxiously. But, as many suspected, only hours after my trip to pick up the controversial contraceptive, I’d learn that Plan B would stay behind the counter, and my daydream scenario would remain a fantasy for many women, not just myself. Keep reading »
I knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up: the Secretary of Health and Human Services (a woman!) has overruled the FDA’s recommendation to allow the morning-after pill to be sold on drugstore shelves without a prescription. If Plan B is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it is almost 90 percent effective in preventing a pregnancy. The sooner emergency contraception is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it is. Keep reading »
Conservatives losing their marbles to start in five … four … three … two … one: the FDA has until tomorrow to decide whether the morning-after pill Plan B will be available on drugstore shelves (as opposed to behind the counter) without a prescription for anyone of any age. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, Plan B is almost 90 percent effective in preventing a pregnancy. The sooner Plan B is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it is. Keep reading »
Sigh … Hold on for a minute, need one more … Sigh. So, I was just over at xoJane.com and stumbled upon an article titled, “Get It Together, Girls! Every Goddamn Pharmacy In New York Is Out Of Plan B! Everyone!” and now I am feeling depressed. Depressed because blogger Cat Marnell wrote about her own woefully irresponsible sex life, in which she does not use condoms, won’t go on the Pill because it’ll make her “fat,” and once used Plan B three times in one month, under the banner of it being a larger trend among women. Keep reading »
I purposefully did not watch CNN’s Tea Party/Republican debate on Tuesday night because I knew I’d spend the whole time screaming at the TV. It was the right choice. (Like moi, you can read the transcript here.) Texas Governor Rick Perry wasted no time saying he made a “mistake” by requiring adolescent girls in Texas to be vaccinated against strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. And then Rep. Michele Bachmann chimed in to … well, lie on national television by smearing Plan B, which is the morning-after pill, as the “morning-after abortion pill.” You know, implying that it is the abortion pill, i.e. kills babies:
Keep reading »