The US Food and Drug Administration today, finally, approved the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B for over-the-counter sales in pharmacies and clinics to adults, as the New York Times reports.
So let us rejoice!
Now, the unfinished business . . .
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As the Guttmacher Institute points out, excluding minors from over-the-counter access is a bad idea. The median age of first intercourse for American women is 17.5 years: in other words, more than half of American women are sexually active before their eighteenth birthdays. So why, exactly, refuse them access to a safe method of back-up contraception?
Furthermore, an appalling share of American women are raped or coerced into sexual intercourse before their eighteenth birthdays. Many of their victimizers are members of their extended families, intimate partners, or other acquaintances. And many young women are too ashamed to tell anyone. Why, exactly, shouldn’t a young rape victim—too mortified to get other help—at least have the right to walk into a pharmacy and walk out with Plan B, no questions asked?