The Food and Drug Administration just cleared Plan B for women ages 15 and up. Not only did the age limit get lowered, Plan B and its generic equivalents will be on the shelves with all the other over the counter medications. The caveat, you need ID.
While I applaud the lowering the age limit and putting it on the shelves, there really should be no age limit at all. Here’s why:
1) No one asks for ID when you buy a condom. Plan B is just another form of contraception. There is a multitude of scientific data proving Plan B is not an abortifacient and the idea that levonorgestrel could cause abortion isn’t even biologically plausible.
2) Requiring ID is another barrier. No everyone has their ID with them at all times, not even 46 year-old gynecologists. Also, not every 15-year-old has a driver’s license and even if they do, they might not have it on them.
3) There are no medical contraindications, so why have an age limit at all? You don’t need to be 15 to buy Tylenol or Aspirin, both of which are deadly when taken incorrectly. There are actually all kinds of toxins one can buy at the age of 10.
4) You don’t need ID to deliver a baby.
5) Privacy. It’s hard enough to muster up the courage to buy condoms etc, why should the person ringing up your purchase get to know your name? What if they tell someone? Paying with cash and remaining anonymous should always be an option.
And for the bonus round….What about parental notification? There’s no tracking device on condoms, so again, why should parents know about Plan B? One hopes that parents talk about sex and pregnancy prevention with their kids, but it doesn’t always happen (if it did happen, we wouldn’t have so many unplanned pregnancies in this country).
And for those who think this will leads to scores of young women buying Plan B? Well, I hope so because it’s better to be 15 and taking Plan B than 15 and pregnant. Given the fact that the generic starts at around $25 it’s hard to see how putting Plan B on the shelves is going to help too many 15 year olds, however, putting it at eye level may make someone more likely to buy it and that’s a step in the right direction.