I am in the midst of trying to decipher some information for an important post that I am working on. However, I can’t ignore the change in law regarding the Plan B “morning after” pill. This has become personal.
Our family has a genetic blood disorder called Factor V Leiden. It is a blood clotting disorder. Women who have Factor V should NEVER take birth control pills. I know this from personal experience.
My daughter was 18 when she had a massive stroke that almost ended her life because no one in our family had any idea what Factor V was. The doctors do not tell you about it when you go to them to get birth control pills. In all fairness, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), only 5.4% of Caucasians test positive for Factor V. It is that rare. However, it can be detected through a simple blood test. Most families do not find out that they have it unless something like this occurs, or someone suffers clots after a surgical procedure. It is passed directly from parent to child.
What does this have to do with allowing girls under 17 to obtain Plan B over the counter without parental consent? A lot. Although many medical professionals feel that the Estrogen in ordinary birth control pills will cause clotting in Factor V patients, “As of yet no studies confirm definitively that progestin-only contraception is safe for women with factor V Leiden, however many point to that conclusion. In addition it is generally presumed safe for you to take Plan B…a progestin-only emergency contraceptive” (Columbia.edu).
So, a twelve-year-old can go into a pharmacy and purchase Plan B without her parents’ consent or a prescription from a doctor. What if this girl has Factor V and does not know it? What if the belief by some researchers that the benefits attained from taking Plan B outweigh the possibility of any damaging side effects is wrong? They have admitted that no studies confirm that progestin-only contraception is safe for Factor V patients. What about possible allergic reactions to some of the components of the drug? How would a pre-teen or teen know if she is allergic to something in the pill? Who would be there to supervise her after she takes the pill? Another teen? If she did have a severe reaction while her parents were with her, and she had not told them she took Plan B, how would they know what to tell the doctors?
Children are not mini-adults. They cannot legally be left at home alone until a certain age for a reason. They cannot drive, they cannot vote, they cannot drink alcohol nor can they purchase cigarettes. Anyone who has sexual contact with a child has committed Statutory Rape at the very least. Personally, I would consider it child sexual abuse. So, we are not only handing over a potentially harmful drug to a child, but we are giving her abuser an “out”.
Thankfully, my daughter came through virtually unharmed. She is no longer on Coumadin and follows a daily aspirin regimen, as do I. She is a beautiful, intelligent, funny young woman of twenty-six.
I want other parents of little girls to have the chance to be as proud of their daughters’ accomplishments, to watch them grow and flourish, as I have had. I don’t see how allowing Plan B to be sold to children could help that become a reality…