Sunday, May 05, 2013

The rush to Plan B

I'm totally on board with the point that any "moral" argument about Plan B is bogus. Those preaching about teenagers being unable to understand how to take the drug safely are really just vagina police who are all about denying any form of birth control to teens and oftentimes even to adults. Likewise, I'm sympathetic to the argument that putting up barriers to access to any form of birth control are mainly about controlling women's choices. Nonetheless, I have this nagging concern about Plan B that I can't shake with dispassionate logic. My problem is I can't bring myself to completely trust the science.

I was about eight years old when I first saw photos of thalidomide babies in the sort of tabloids sold in checkout lines. That was supposed to be a safe drug. In fact it's still on the market for many conditions where it's useful. But it turned out to be unsafe for pregnant women and tens of thousands of deformed babies and their parents suffered greatly from that mistaken trust in the science.

Granted we're stricter now about testing pharmaceuticals before they get to market, but the system can certainly be gamed. And even if the studies aren't deliberately skewed for profit, often the adverse effects of drugs don't become apparent until they've become so widely available that enough people are harmed. There's at least ten current class actions suits against drugs that were approved by the science right now.

Not saying access to Plan B shouldn't be eased exactly. Just worrying out loud. The old saw, "be careful what you wish for" keeps playing in my mind like a persistent earworm.

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