Guest Post by Stephanie Simpson Lazenby
At least it’s easy to get tampons and astroglide – for now.
Earlier this week, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services took a remarkable step to override the commissioner of the FDA’s decision to make the Plan B emergency contraception pill available over the counter. What makes this decision unusual is that FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the FDA found the drug to be “safe and effective in adolescent females,” and that younger women could properly use the drug without the “intervention of a doctor.”
Quite simply, the FDA wanted to make Plan B easily available, right next to the tampons, an easy reach within the three days that it remains effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy.
As the law now stands, women 17 and over must ask a pharmacist for the Plan B pill and girls younger than 17 must obtain a prescription to get the Plan B pill. From now on a scared 15-year-old girl has to go to the doctor or you have to grovel to the pharmacist to pretty please pass the Plan B. Great – we haven’t come a long way baby. Woman and girls are still being punished for having sex.
If these decisions weren’t upsetting enough, President Obama – who didn’t stop Ms. Sebelius from blocking the FDA’s decision (shame on you Ms. Sebelius) – made this comment about the events:
“I will say this as the father of two daughters. I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the counter medicine. I’m sure most parents would probably feel the same way.”
I have news for you President Obama. As a mother of two daughters myself, I don’t feel the same way as you do.
Here’s the deal – teenagers have sex. Grown women have sex – and most of the time we do it with birth control. But condoms have a nasty habit of failing. Boys promise to pull out and they don’t. And since it is women who are on the hook for these failures, why in the world does this country keep on making it difficult for women to take care of their own bodies? I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but I have a feeling that it has something to do with oppression and fear.
Let me tell you, President Obama – your daughters, just like mine, are going to have sex one day. As responsible parents we will talk to them about their bodies, birth control and taking their time and saying ‘no’. But one day, our daughters are going to do it. At some point in their sexual life, they will have an accident – we all have. I certainly hope that if they do find themselves in this scary situation – with only a tiny window of time to rectify the matter- our daughters can take their best friend to the nearest CVS and deal with it themselves. That seems like common sense to me.
Stephanie Simpson Lazenby is a writer and mother of two daughters. She lives in Portsmouth, NH, and you can read her blog and column, Moms in the City, at Planet Lazenby She hopes her girls keep it in their pants for as long as possible.