Why I Think the FDA Did the Right Thing

August 24, 2006 psipsina

Plan B has been approved for over-the-counter sales.  This is a very good thing.


I don’t usually tackle controversial topics in my blog, and I also don’t usually talk about my sex life, but I’m going to break both of those rules and tell a story.

One Friday night we had a little, er, contraceptive failure which we did not notice until Saturday morning.  We spent Saturday morning searching out Plan B, and it took freaking forever.  First we had to figure out who could prescribe it.  You can order it on-line from Planned Parenthood by filling out a health questionnaire, but your average PP office is very busy on Saturday, so it took them several hours to get around to sending the prescription to the pharmacy.  Then they sent it to the wrong CVS store, so we had to either wait around while that got straightened our, or else go to the right pharmacy, either of which would’ve taken about an hour.

Total time elapsed between contraceptive failure and my taking the first of the two pills:  17 hours.  Plan B is more effective the sooner you take it.  I felt like my uterus was a ticking time bomb.  We were lucky our emergency hadn’t occurred on a Sunday morning, when Planned Parenthood is closed.  We would’ve had to spend all day figuring out which local emergency rooms are not attached to Catholic hospitals, or else wait until Monday.

Was 17 hours too late?  What if I had conceived already before I took the pill?  (If you are already pregnant, Plan B has no effect.  The common misconception that it is the same thing as the abortion pill is not true.)  We spent a couple of very nervous weeks waiting before my very welcome period arrived.

Had we been able to obtain Plan B at a pharmacy, we could have had it within an hour of noticing that we needed it.

Planned Parenthood charged us a $40 “office visit” fee for the privilege of having a nurse review my online questionnaire.  Filling the script cost an additional $35.  So in addition to the wait the drug cost more than twice as much as it should have.  It was certainly cheaper than raising a child, but there are a lot of people who would simply have trouble coughing up the extra forty bucks.

All this business about encouraging promiscuity is nonsense.  Maybe the Pill, the first oral contraceptive, the one that started the Sexual Revolution, encouraged “promiscuity,” whatever that means.  But making another safe and effective contraceptive available isn’t gonna make people screw around more or less.  It’s just going to help make sure there are fewer unwanted children, fewer abortions, and fewer public health costs from unwanted pregnancies.


Entry Filed under: current events, fda, news, plan b

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