Steven Aden

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overrode the Food and Drug Administration and limited the over-the-counter availability of Plan B, the abortifacient sometimes called the “morning after” pill, to girls 17 and older who can prove their age. In short, this means Plan B pills, which are essentially a double dose of birth control pills and are already as accessible as aspirin for girls who just started driving months ago, will continue to be available for girls who are still but kids in society’s eyes.

And although supporters of life are saddened by the availability of such a pill for any female, whether she’s 17, 33, or 42, this announcement does contain some things to be thankful for.

For example, one thing to be thankful for is the reasoning Sebelius used in limiting the over-the-counter availability of the drug to girls under 17. She did so by stating that “it is commonly understood that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age, which I believe are relevant to making this determination as to non-prescription availability of this product for all ages.”

This differentiation between the cognitive differences between younger and older girls is precisely the type of admission that could come in handy when dealing with Planned Parenthood. For PP is an organization that preys on the young and immature by handing out contraceptives like candy, knowing that many of these girls, because of their tender age and immaturity, will fail to follow instructions, or fail to understand that contraceptives don’t provide a magical shield of protection (chemical contraceptives are only about 97 percent effective), and then they will show up in their abortion clinics with “a problem” that Planned Parenthood is ready and willing to “fix” for a much higher fee.

Juxtaposing their practice with Sebelius’ admission should put Planned Parenthood executives and directors between a rock and hard place, to say the least.

As for the things about which we ought to be righteously indignant, making the Plan B drug available for girls of any age without a prescription will inevitably encourage and empower sexual predators, who now know their victims are only a pill away from removing the consequences of their criminal conduct.

It bears repeating that Plan B is a double dose of a drug that is ordinarily available only by a doctor’s prescription – that is, the common birth control pill. Abortion advocates like the Center for Reproductive Rights have done their worst to get Plan B available to all girls of whatever age, regardless of the obvious consequences to their emotional and physical health (as a result of enabling sexual activity before they are physically and emotionally mature enough to handle it in a committed relationship).

The reasons birth control is only available by a doctor’s order are many, and include the need to screen for sexually transmitted infection, to monitor adverse reactions, and to counsel young girls against high-risk sexual behavior.

A young girl who knows she has three days after intercourse to get Plan B at the CVS on the way home from school, without having to go through her family doctor or Planned Parenthood, is very likely to avail herself of the opportunity. And that goes double for the adult male who may be abusing her. The consequences for her health could be permanent and devastating.

But what does her health matter to Planned Parenthood in the long run? After all, this has never been about “women’s health.” Rather, it’s always been about abortion.


Steven Aden

Steven H. Aden is senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org).