Pro-choice gets victory with Plan B

Erin Wethern and Erin Wethern

In my line of work, there are not many victories.

As an avid pro-choice activist, we have not had much to celebrate since Roe v. Wade was decided over 30 years ago.

In fact, since that historic ruling, we have had a series of little defeats that, over time, have ebbed away at our freedom to choose.

In Ohio especially it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a safe, reliable abortion provider. Many states in the union only have one clinic serving the entire state.

In addition to legislation that limits the availability of abortions, many people are being scared away from working in clinics. With constant bomb threats and the memory of doctors who have been shot, this important occupation is growing dangerous.

However, the other day we had an important victory, and I want to celebrate. I woke up the other day to find my inbox filled with joyful messages. Plan B is finally available over the counter to women 18 and over!

Plan B, also known as “the morning after pill” is not- I repeat NOT- to be confused with any kind of abortion pill.

Plan B does not cause a fetus to be aborted, but prevents the need for abortions. Basically, Plan B is a higher dose of oral contraceptives. It works in a similar fashion, making the womb inhospitable for conception.

It is only effective before conception has occurred. If a fetus is already forming when a women takes the morning after pill (there is typically a 72 hour window of effectiveness after unprotected sex), it will not be aborted as a result.

Making Plan B available without a prescription is an important step to reclaiming our reproductive freedoms. However, there are many factors that have already got me concerned. For instance, how easy will it be to obtain?

I fear that many pharmacists will refuse to sell it based on their own ethics. I also worry about the cost.

Currently, the pill costs between twenty and thirty dollars on average, plus any cost of the visit to the doctor. I fear that pharmacies will raise prices as another means of limiting its availability.

I can understand why a woman might feel uncomfortable taking the pill herself, especially if she is opposed to contraception use in general.

However, I think this is an incredibly personal decision that every woman should be free to make for herself.

I believe it’s wrong to actively prevent one from obtaining this medication. Look at it this way: taking the morning after pill prevents a woman from needing an abortion down the road.

Now that Plan B is so readily available, abortions overall should decrease because women will (hopefully) not have the need for them as often.

I cannot stress enough that Plan B prevents unwanted pregnancies, it does not terminate them.

I hope that this column cleared up some misconceptions surrounding Plan B. I am incredibly glad that the FDA finally approved it for over the counter use (dare I dream that oral contraception will soon follow?).

I only hope pharmacies will not find new ways of baring women from using it.

Send comments to Erin Wethern at [email protected].