Oct. 16, 2009
A recent article published in the journal Contraception, discusses the failed "effectiveness" of the drug Plan B (a form of emergency contraception or "EC") on a population level. The author of the articles concedes:
Our expectations for EC's effectiveness were biased upwards by an early estimate that expanding access to emergency contraception could dramatically reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and subsequent abortion. This estimate made a compelling story and is likely a key reason why donors and other were willing to support efforts to expand access to EC.
The falsely inflated predictions noted above were --- in order to dramatically decrease the incidence of unintended pregnancy and subsequent abortion --- touted as valid estimates during the lead up to and the drug's change to over the counter status to women 18 years and older in 2006. The admission of failures at a population level following expanded access is poignant. Additionally, it is clear that Planned Parenthood has been a primary profiteer through the increased marketing and sales process.
The article goes on to deflect from valid flags raised by the continued self-administration of Plan B and ignores salient women's health issues surrounding drug usage including: the lack of medical oversight by a licensed clinician during usage to screen for contraindications; the lack of medical studies to determine safety for repeated and long-term usage; and, the failure to inform women of the potential abortifacient action of the drug --- a violation of informed consent.
Additionally, the non-medical provider oversight during drug usage ignores a 2008 study release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that young women most at-risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections and disease are not being referred for testing and treatment. The self-administration of Plan B knocks out a critical link in the care and referral chain for many women at-risk for disease. Such a link is vital for both secondary prevention or screening efforts and thus, the protection of women's reproductive health.
Expanded access of Plan B to both women and adolescent girls are not in the best interest of either adolescent or women's health promotion and disease prevention.