Letter: Make Plan B easily available

A package containing a Plan B One-Step tablet,

A package containing a Plan B One-Step tablet, also known as the "morning-after pill." (Credit: AP)

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There is no reason that Plan B being sold over the counter should be seen as "controversial and fraught with political ramifications" ["Plan B age isn't arbitrary," Editorial, May 2]. Emergency contraception is a safe and effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex. Studies have shown that emergency contraception is safe for use by women of all ages.

Emergency contraception, including Plan B One-Step, is just what it says it is: birth control for use in emergencies. Research shows that teens are as likely as adults to understand this.

The truth is that 99 percent of American women who have ever been sexually active have used birth control at some point. The only reason anyone would believe it is controversial for a teenager to access emergency contraception is if they believe teens decide to have sex based on the availability of birth control. Research has shown this is simply not the case: Rates of unprotected sex do not increase when teens have easier access to emergency birth control.

While we applaud the Food and Drug Administration's decision to lower the age restriction for Plan B One-Step, we look forward to a day when any woman who needs emergency contraception can walk into a store and pick it up -- right next to the Tylenol, and without having to present a government-issued proof of age.

Sarah Miller, Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is the vice president of public affairs and education for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.

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