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Barr Pharmaceuticals will resubmit its application for nonprescription sales of the morning-after pill, possibly putting an end to three years of federal hand-wringing over the sexual proclivities of 17-year-olds. Barr has compromised, agreeing to limit the over-the-counter version to women 18 and over. (Pharmacies will have to enforce the rule.) Given that there is no credible medical reason for the restriction, the FDA appears to be overtly caving to political pressure from conservatives. But at the same time, it's a pretty hollow victory for the forces of abstinence. What 16-year-old is going to incur the expense of a doctor visit when she can ask an older friend or sister (or friend's sister) to walk into a pharmacy for her? Are bands of kids going to hang out outside CVS, asking strangers to grab some contraception for them? The prescription version won't even be worth stocking.

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  1. This compromise solution might just be dumb enough for your average neocon GOPer to accept.

  2. The supporters of these laws aren’t idiots.

    These efforts aren’t about creating a reliable and enforceable system to stop the behavior.

    They’re about marking the law, the govenrment, and the broader culture as the Red Team’s turf.

    It’s the same demand for cultural hegemony that’s behind the “War on Christmas” shtick. How DARE you think I might be a Jew? This is a Christian Nation, and you’re acting as if it’s normal not the be a Christian.

    This is about showing everyone who’s boss.

  3. Barr has compromised, agreeing to limit the over-the-counter version to women 18 and over.

    Maybe I missed this somewhere, but will men be able to purchase it?

  4. Maybe I missed this somewhere, but will men be able to purchase it?

    Well sure, sweetness. You just wait on over there in my car for a bit. Now don’t you worry ’bout a thing.

    [/Sicko at playground voice]

  5. The supporters of these laws aren’t idiots…This is about showing everyone who’s boss.

    Why is that mutually exclusive?

  6. Will it be illegal for adults to buy these pills and give them to minors?

  7. OK, what I don’t understand is why the concept that it is ‘wrong’ for 17-year olds, or even 16-year olds, as a class to be having sex?

    There is a world of difference between a 13 or 14 year old and a 16 – 18 year old. For some, they are obviously not ready, for many others, they certainly are (physically and emotionally).

    And those 16-17 year olds that are most likely to need to pill (the ones that are not really emotionally and intellectually ready, or have parents that they cannot go to and tell them what is happening in their lives) are the ones that most need access to this drug.

    Or would we rather have more teenage pregancies?

  8. Couldn’t people just go to the drug store and buy a few birth control pills to use as a morning after pill?

    Oh wait, regular birth control is not available over the counter. Where are the activists on that one?

  9. So does this mean that prosecutors will no longer charge minors as adults?

    After all, if they aren’t mature enough to buy birth control pills, how can they be held accountable for their other actions?

  10. “Oh wait, regular birth control is not available over the counter. Where are the activists on that one?”
    There’s a big difference between Plan B’s one time use after an event, and the sustained altering of someone’s hormonal chemistry. People recover from the former, people die from the latter. Surely you know this?

  11. people die from the latter.

    Link to support that assertion? I know a lady who was put on birth control at puberty to control her body’s out-of-balance hormones. And isn’t birth control sometimes used to control severe acne (again, because it regulates hormones)?

  12. I cannot say that a cut-off of 18 makes any sense in this case, but I also think a 21 drinking age is wrong (it should be 18). However, is there not some risk from selling Plan B over the counter? As mentioned before, birth control is sold prescription-only, and I believe this is the case because some people can have severely adverse reactions to it. I can definately see some less-than-smart person taking Plan B every day (either as birth control or just because they have a lot of sex) and that cannot be a good thing. There also is likely some value in young people seeing a doctor to get a prescription for Plan B so that they can be told the dangers of unprotected sex, get an STD check, etc. Heck, I would not doubt some idiot teenager thinking they could get high by taking a large number of these things.

    I see the reason for this drug to require a presecription and if it is to be over-the-counter – with an 18 cut-off at least it would be adults whose actions hurt themselves.

  13. There is a world of difference between a 13 or 14 year old and a 16 – 18 year old.

    No there isn’t. Everyone from conception to 17 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds is exactly the same in all mental and physical aspects. Anyone who says otherwise is an anti-family liberal or a child molestor or probably both!

  14. Grummun,

    Use of birth control pills doubles the risk of stroke, people who smoke are even more at risk.

  15. That’s bullshit.

    For a nonsmoking woman under 35, the odds of dying from the birth control pill are 1 in 200,000.

    The odds of a similar woman dying from giving birth are 1 in 14,000. Should getting pregnant require a prescription since it’s about fifteen times as deadly as birth control?

    The odds of a pedestrian dying each year are about 1 in 50,000. I guess women will need a prescription to walk to the store since it’s four times as deadly as birth control.

    The odds of drowning in a year are about 1 in 90,000. I can’t believe I can get water without a prescription!

    About 1 in 100,000 people dies in a building fire each year. Soon the city inspector will demand a prescription before I can move into a house.

    About 1 in 30,000 people dies from painkillers like aspirin each year. Maybe we should concentrate on getting painkillers off the market since they are over six times deadlier than oral contraception?

    As soon as some right wing religious nut (not a neoconservative — geesh — they only care about getting us into wars!) proclaims that birth control is abortion, some people will suddenly starting fighting to change birth control to OTC. Until then, we can allow the state to regulate what goes into our bodies, like they now do to cold medicine with no protest.

  16. There’s still nothing in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to make deals like this legally binding. That is, if Barr decided to renege and sell to all ages, FDA couldn’t stop them. The only thing they can make them do is label it as for 18+ YOs only.

  17. Ammonium:
    What’s bullshit? The fact that your numbers only reflect the lowest risk group, yet purport to have overall significance? How about people with migraines? High blood pressure? Neurological problems?

    Or is it bullshit because your counterexamples are poorly conceived and not related to the issue of why Plan B can be OTC while the regular pill is prescription? Only a major fool would suggest a prescription for childbirth because one doesn’t purchase pregnancy from a pharmacy (plus, if I’m not mistaken, the survival of the race depends on it). The rest of your statistics don’t mean anything, even if this were a debate on the merits of having the pill be a prescription drug.

    Anyhow, my only point was that regular use of the pill is more dangerous than Plan B. This is a fact you haven’t and can’t refute. The rest of your post is just angry-person-make-noise.

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