The Food and Drug Administration has still not ruled one way or the other on making the emergency contraceptive Plan B available over the counter. I missed a fascinating opinion piece in the Washington Post two Sundays ago by a 42 year-old Virginia attorney who wanted to use Plan B to prevent a pregnancy but couldn't get it. As the anonymous attorney Dana L. explains:
The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn't want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.
I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.
The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy—but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we're both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren't planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception. I wanted to make sure that our momentary lapse didn't result in a pregnancy.
The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given. Neither did my internist. The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day. The weekend—and the end of the 72-hour window—was approaching.
But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options—short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book—I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best. After all, I'm 42. Isn't it likely my eggs are overripe, anyway? I thought so, especially since my best friend from college has been experiencing agonizing infertility problems at this age.
Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.
Whole article here.
Dana L. eventually sought out an abortion that most likely would have been unnecessary had she been able to drive down to her local pharmacy and pick up a packet of Plan B on display right next to the condoms. However, the Bush Administration's FDA has been holding up the approval of Plan B for over-the-counter purchase on specious moral grounds masquerading as safety concerns.
Last September, President Bush nominated his friend and fellow Texan Andrew von Eschenbach as the new head of the FDA. Enough is enough. The Senate should under no circumstances confirm von Eschenbach's appointment until Plan B is approved for over-the-counter sale.