Dr. Manny:

   I am extremely disappointed with the decision of the Food and Drug Administration to sell the Plan B One Step morning-after pill over-the-counter to children as young as 15 years old.
And the FDA's explanation was this was a compromise to a previous decision by the agency to lift all age limits on the sale of the high-dose contraception, which will be sold in not only pharmacies, but in retail outlets with on-site pharmacies even when the pharmacy itself is closed. The contraception will reside on shelves in family planning aisles, and the 'compromise' is that anyone who buys it must show proof of age.
I will stay true to my beliefs that there is a danger to providing these types of medications over-the-counter, especially to young children.
I still believe there are risks associated with these medications, especially potential over-abuse, specifically in young patients. Side effects to Plan B can include, but are not limited to: migraines, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood clots.
However, this decision is just another example of how our health care system is broken - and no one is really watching what's going on in America today.
Not long ago, President Obama supported Health and Human Services  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in her decision not to sell Plan B to young women.
It seems like everything else in this administration changes when there are hard decisions to make. And, as always, these politicians keep looking for a range of options.
I wish President Obama would tell the American public tomorrow why this is a decision that he supports.

updated info on emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is currently sold and marketed in the United States under the following names.
Plan B and Plan B One-Step

With Plan B One-Step™, you have up to 72 hours (3 days) to prevent a pregnancy. However, recent research indicates that it can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. The pill is more effective the sooner it is taken, so take Plan B One-Step as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.
The older (2 pill) Plan B packs are being phased out. You are more likely to encounter Plan B One-Step. You do not need a prescription if you are 17 years old or over. 16 and younger, currently, need a prescription. Plan B is sold to women and men.
  • Click here for Plan B $10 coupon
  • Plan B Pharmacy card – A card you can print out and hand to the pharmacist if you want to maintain your privacy when buying Plan B.
  • You can also purchase Plan B One-Step online.

ella is an emergency contraceptive approved for use up to 5 days after unprotected sex or birth control failure
ella contains different hormones than Plan B. You need a prescription to get it, regardless of your age.
Get an online prescription here or call 855-2ELLARX (855-235-5279).
Next Choice

Next Choice is a generic version of the original 2-tablet Plan B. It is s labeled for use within 72 hours of unprotected sex though recent research indicates that it is effective for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.  Next Choice is available without a prescription for women 17 or older.
Next Choice offers a pharmacy card that can be printed for your privacy.
All of the above choices for emergency contraception are not abortion pills. They will not terminate an existing pregnancy. These pills do not protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Emergency contraception should not be used as your regular method of birth control. You may experience side effects that are associated with oral contraceptive pills. If your period is more than a week late, you may be pregnant. If you have severe abdominal pain, you may have an ectopic pregnancy, and you should get immediate medical help.
To find EC in your area, please see our list of pharmacies in Westchester County, NY.

the history of birth control

Check out Newsweek magazine’s slideshow on the history of birth control. It has pictures and descriptions of birth control devices from long ago.
We are also happy to see that the slideshow lists Plan B as one of the modern advances in birth control. (and that Newsweek correctly lists it as contraction, not abortion).

medical study shows pharmacy students have bias against ec

A study published on Sept 20, 2009 titled Exploring Emergency Contraception Knowledge Among Florida Pharmacy School Students A Preliminary Assessment by Richman and Daley has found that while schools report that they are teaching about EC, students are reporting that their knowledge of EC comes from outside of the classroom. Furthermore, they have preconceived biases about people who use EC and they are hesitant to dispense it.

plan b increases competition for mates!

Most women would agree that oral contraceptives are one of the greatest inventions of all time — especially for women. Having access to a reliable form of birth-control freed women to work, have children when they were ready. Abortion and birth control also allowed women to marry when they wanted to — not because they had to due to an accidental pregnancy.
According to “The Bulletin: Philadelphia’s Family Newspaper” this is what is wrong with our current society. They write:
The pill’s big effect was on the relationship of men and women. Whereas men and women had always had premarital sex, before the advent of oral contraception there was an understanding that if the woman got pregnant the man would marry her. There was a study of birth and marriage records from the turn of the 20th century that showed that 30 percent to 50 percent of all first children were conceived before the wedding.
The pill, which became widely available in 1965, is called a “technology shock” that altered the relationship equation in several ways.
One is that if pregnancy is now the choice of the woman, then marriage and child support are now the choice of the man. Another is that the presence of women who will have premarital intercourse without an expectation of marriage — something the pill allows — puts women who wanted to wait until marriage to have sex at a disadvantage in the competition for mates.
The idea in this day and age of women “competing” for mates is absurd. And the notion that sexually active women are ruining for the virgins is sexist and out-dated.
The truth is, young people are having sex. Lets help them avoid accidental pregnancy by educating them about their options, increasing contraceptive usage and giving them access to Plan B when all else fails.
Post your comments on this post below, and on the Bulletin’s site here.

who suffers the consequences of teen pregnancy?

Bristol Palin and Jaime Lynn Spears might be the new faces of teen pregnancy these days, but this week’s New York Magazine’s excellent article on teen mothers brings us back to reality.  In real life, teen mothers are most likely to be women who live in poverty.
The article tells the story of a teenager in the Bronx who got pregnant when 14 years old. The father was a 15 year old. The young woman lives in a 2 bedroom apartment with her extended family and struggles to raise her child and attend school. She knows that she will not be able to expect help from the father of the baby and her future in uncertain.
Its hard to picture this girl in your head when you hear the right try to describe this young woman as a slut or a victim. She was irresponsible by having unprotected sex, but that goes hand in hand with being a 14 year old.  Is it fair to say that she should bear the blame for getting pregnant? And is it fair that she must carry the burden of raising this child alone for the rest of her life?
Anti-contraception extremists hate Plan B because it gives women a chance to avoid the consequences of having sex. And this is exactly why we should support Plan B and make it easy to get.

is plan b a boon for sexual predators?

Today,  I read a very interesting reason for being against Plan B. Some opponents claim that Plan B is bad for women because it removes any consequences for rapist and pedophiles from having sex!
From “The Other McCain” blog: “What next? Over-the-counter roofies?”
Plan B—the drug that allows guys to breathe a sigh of relief the morning after using some chick for selfish pleasure—will now beavailable to 17-year-olds without a prescription.
Who cares that she’s not even old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes legally? Get her drunk on wine coolers, get what you want, then the next morning, take her to CVS to get Plan B and make sure there’s no chance the slut will show up in a few months talking child support payments and DNA tests.
So guys, if you screw a 17-year-old and “forget” to use a condom, remember: Nothing says “thanks a lot, you cheap whore” like the gift of Plan B!
Kelly Darrah, from Eastern University has a great take on this new, crazy, rationale to oppose contraception for women.
I came across many uneducated and unfounded claims about what will happen now that the pill is available to 17-year-olds. One comment by “Leticha” read, “This truly gives the rapists, pediphiles etc, the ‘green light’ to victimize their prey and as an afterthought, toss out the pill to make sure the inevitable doesn’t happen.”
First of all, “Leticia,” learn to spell “pedophile.” Second, you know, I’m sure rapists are so excited about this Plan B fiasco.
A little known fact about rapists is that they are actually expert planners. Before they set out on their raping escapades, there is one essential factor with which they all comply: they must have their rape kits ready! What, you ask, do these rape kits include? Well, one important thing is gloves-one can never be too careful in leaving behind fingerprints. Second, condoms are a must, as they prevent a different kind of “fingerprint” from being left behind. And last, but certainly the most important, a rapist never forgets to pack some extra Plan B pills-the last thing he needs is more offspring he’ll never think or care about.
Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I highly doubt that rapists are concerned with whether their victims become pregnant. Plan B is not going to increase rape by being available to one more age group. But the person who wrote the above quote obviously doesn’t realize how ridiculous a notion that is.
For those of you who have a problem with Plan B being available to minors, I urge you to do all you can to support family planning programs, because education about safe sex is the most effective method in decreasing unintended pregnancies and thus, the need for emergency contraception.
Thanks Kelly for the great analysis. Read more here.
Here are some further thoughts on the scenarios listed above. Rape is a horrible, traumatizing event. Women who are raped want Plan B and its horrifying that we have to fight so hard to make Plan B available in all hospital emergency rooms. Don’t you think a woman who has been raped would appreciate not having to worry if she conceives the child of a rapist?
And if an older man is taking advantage of a 17 year old, he already can buy Plan B without a perscription. The new law that allows 17 year olds to get plan b without a perscription does not apply to him.

missouri house oks amendment to let pharmacies refuse to sell plan b

The Missouri House has approved an amendment 115-43 to keep pharmacies from being required to distribute emergency contraception.
The amendment states that a pharmacy can’t be sued for not carrying medication and that the state cannot revoke a license if a pharmacy does not carry certain medication. It specifically mentions Plan B.
Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, argued that businesses owners should have the right to choose what products they carry.
“I have trouble understanding why anybody who is an American, who is not in favor of Communism, would want us to dictate what we’re going to say people can and cannot stock,” Davis said.
Communism?? Please! Missouri has many rural areas where there may be just one pharmacy for miles. If your pharmacy won’t carry Plan B, then you have no hope of getting the drug quickly.
Plan B has nothing to do with being American or being Communist.

is 17 too young for plan b?

Its interesting to note that when telling my friends about the fact that 17 year-olds can now get plan-b (emergency contraception) without a perscription several of them initially recoiled. It was an immediate reaction to the following thought process:
- plan b
- sex
- unprotected sex
- my daughter
- NO!
We understand. Here at oops! plan b, we have daughters too.
We understand that you don’t want your daughters to have sex until they are older (or for some people, married). But what if they are?
And yes, we understand that as a parent, you would want your daughter to talk with you before taking a drug like plan b. But are you willing to have her wait a couple of days to screw up the courage to tell you that she had unprotected sex, or that she was having sex and a condom broke? Plan b gets less effective the longer you wait. Are you willing to risk a pregnancy?
Those of us who support plan b as an over the counter drug are not encouraging teens to have sex. What we are trying to do is prevent pregnancy and thus, prevent teen pregnancy and abortion.
So how can a parent regain control of the situation? Lets assume that you already have talked to your kids about sex and birth control. You might want to add plan b into the discussion. Explain to them that plan b is a backup method. Its a high dose of hormones and might make you feel nauseous. And it doesn’t protect against STDs or HIV. And let them know that they can come to you if they need plan b.

17-year-olds in the usa can now buy plan b without prescription

Today’s the Day! In compliance with the decision issued by Judge Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on March 23rd, the FDA will allow seventeen-year-olds to buy “morning-after” contraception known as Plan B without a doctor’s prescription–in other words, over-the-counter (otc). Men as well as women who are 17 or older can purchase Plan B.
That’s a big deal and the official end to this  protracted battle with the former  administration that placed its anti-birth control agenda  over the sound medical advice of its own FDA advisory boards! 
Special thanks to:
1. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray who forced the FDA to act on Plan B in 2006;
2. Former assistant FDA Commissioner Susan Wood for taking a public stand;
3. The Center for Reproductive Rights for challenging the FDA in court;  and
4. Aliza Lederer-Plaskett for having the courage and fortitude to be the sole 17-year-old plaintiff in this lawsuit that has resulted in such a powerful victory.
 To start the ball rolling, Duramed, the manufacturer of Plan B, will now submit an application to the FDA to sell Plan B to 17-year-olds without a prescription.
In addition, it has been reported that the FDA is not appealing any part of the court’s ruling–meaning that the FDA is required to go back and reconsider the Citizen’s Petition  to make Plan B available otc to all women regardless of ageand without additonal restrictions. 
“We are pleased that the F.D.A. is taking the necessary steps to comply with the court’s order,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose 2005 lawsuit against the agency led to last month’s judicial decision. “It’s time the F.D.A. restores confidence in its ability to safeguard the public health and put medical science first.”

illinois judge puts enforcement of illinois’ pharmacy law on hold

A central Illinois judge, Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz, has placed a temporary restraining order on the enforcement of a state law that requires  pharmacists to dispense medications that may go counter to their religious beliefs. The state law has attempted to resolve the issue: should women’s health care be compromised because of a pharmacist’s personal beliefs?
The temporary order was written to apply to the two pharmacists who sued claiming the state law violates their religious freedom. Although it specifies these two pharmacists, it is expected to be applied to all in Illinois.  The restraining order will be in effect until the judge hears arguments from the two pharmacists.
The pharmacists refuse to dispense emergency contraception (EC) because they oppose abortion. This religious objection is often applied to dispensing all birth control, including condoms. States have attempted to resolve this dilemma by requiring another pharmacist to be on the premises who does not share the religious objections, or for another pharmacy to be in close proximity so that the client’s health care needs can be met.
A pharmacist’s refusal to dispense birth control can be an untenable decision for women. What if the pharmacy is the only one for miles around?  What if it is the only one that takes the woman’s insurance?
EC, which is 89% effective if taken within three days of unprotected sex but can be taken up to five days after sex, prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation.  It in no way affects a pregnancy or a fetus.  (If the woman is pregnant, she’ll still be pregnant after using EC!)
Because EC is so time sensitive, a pharmacist’s decision not to dispense it can have devastating effects.  Any delays in taking Plan B will lessen its effectiveness.  Not dispensing birth control is the trump card in depriving women of independence.