This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

A New Plan for Plan B

Reproductive rights are under constant attack in the United States, but the latest round actually features a federal judge ruling that the Obama Administration was out of line when it decided that the Plan B Emergency Contraception should remain hard to get for girls under the age of 17. NBC News carried the story today:
A federal judge on Friday reversed a contentious Food and Drug Administration ruling and ordered the agency to make the so-called "morning-after pill" available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age, including those younger than 17.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn, New York, comes in a lawsuit brought by reproductive-rights groups that had sought to remove age and other restrictions on emergency contraception.
Currently, only women aged 17 and or older can obtain emergency contraception without a prescription. For those women, the medication is available only at health clinics or pharmacies and they're required to show identification to obtain it.
I think most people would agree that it would be better all around for society if girls under 17 were not engaging in sexual intercourse, particularly unprotected intercourse. But, of course, it does happen and may put a young person in the position of facing an unwanted pregnancy that could be avoided with Plan B. Significantly, emergency contraception does not produce an abortion.
Emergency contraception uses high doses of the same hormones used in birth control to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. It can prevent or delay ovulation, prevent fertilization or, in some cases, prevent implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus. It does not cause miscarriages or abortions and would have no effect if a woman were already pregnant, medical experts say.

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