No, not the hard stuff. Cassie Gentry uses the campus paper to get all worked up about abuse of Plan B. Plan B is basically a high dose of birth control pills. Taken shortly after intercourse, it prevents an egg from implanting in the uterine wall being released from the ovaries, preventing pregnancy. Gentry is worried about how easy it is to get it:
A few days ago I heard of a friend who knowingly had unprotected sex. Afterward, she panicked about becoming pregnant and rushed out to get Plan B, or the morning-after pill. Thanks to a Federal Drug Administration decision made on August 24 of last year, my friend was able to walk into Watkins pharmacy and buy it over the counter. The act passed by the FDA makes it possible for women over the age of 17 to get Plan B without seeing a doctor first. On talking to this friend, I saw that she showed no remorse about the circumstances, nor did she have any objection to using Plan B as a permanent back-up plan when no protection was available.
The reason it is called “Plan B” is that it is intended to be used as a back-up plan when other forms of birth control are not available or they fail.
Cassie Gentry is pretty sure that “[w]hen used as intended, Plan B is a pregnancy block for rape or sexual assault victims.” Anyone else can just deal with a broken condom the old-fashioned way, with an invasive medical procedure, or 9 months of pregnancy followed by an agonizing birth.
I knew someone who got pregnant in college. She started the same year that I did, but I’m not sure that she ever graduated. Taking care of a child is hard work, and is not something to be undertaken lightly. And that is exactly what Ms. Gentry would have women do. Rather than make their own decision about the timing of their pregnancies, they need Cassie’s approval, and some sort of mandatory counseling.
I am not against Plan B being used once or twice to safeguard against a pregnancy with a sexual predator or the occasional drunken mistake. In those cases, the physical and emotional side effects from taking Plan B will likely be less significant than those of getting pregnant. …
Previously, you had to make an appointment with a doctor or nurse to be counseled before you were given a prescription. You would be asked about your sexual encounter and told how the pill works to prevent pregnancy. However, the FDA decided to no longer require the mandatory counseling when it gave the pill an over-the-counter status. This has led to some women, such as my friend, running out to obtain a serious pill with no idea how it works.
Since I don’t know her friend, I don’t know if she actually doesn’t know how it works. I don’t care either. I bet Ms. Gentry doesn’t know how aspirin or ibuprofen work, but she gets them over the counter. I doubt she knows how any of her cosmetics work, but they come OTC. Allergy medicine can be purchased without a prescription or mandatory counseling. Herbal supplements, some harmful if taken with the wrong prescription medicines, are available without any FDA regulation, let alone counseling about “how they work.” Requiring herbalists to actually describe how their products work would probably be a lot of fun, but that’s not the issue.
The issue is that “Some women are mature enough to use Plan B as it was intended: as an emergency contraceptive only.” And a sophomore in English is the one to make such determinations. And also to decide whether “to accommodate those who aren’t as mature, is it really such a hardship to go through a little counseling?”
Cassie’s brilliant planning doesn’t stop there, in addition to mandatory counseling for an over-the-counter product, she things that “the number of times that a woman bought Plan B could be monitored and a restriction could be set on how many times a woman could obtain it.” The goal here is to “curb the too-casual use of the pill.” She’s pretty sure that “The FDA has a responsibility to make this pill more difficult to get, so women don’t abuse a serious drug.”
The FDA has no obligation to make safe and effective drugs difficult to get. In order to be sold over-the-counter, Plan B had to be shown to be safe for general usage. To get Plan B available OTC, it had to also overcome political opposition. There is no medical or scientific basis for the hoops Cassie Gentry wants her friend to have to go through. Cassie’s motives are clear in her letter – to insert herself into her friend’s and every woman’s private life.