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March 25, 2009
Column #1,439
Plan B Is A Terrible Plan For Teens
By Mike McManus

Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration has to make the Plan B morning-after birth control available without prescription to girls as young as 17.

       My question is this: if a physician must give a prescription to anyone for birth control pills, why should Plan B, which is two birth control pills, but several times more powerful - be prescribed to ANYONE without a prescription, let alone a minor?

Even birth control pills are dangerous if they are given to women with diabetes, or who have life-threatening conditions -- blood clots, heart disease or cancer.  A medical exam is needed to ensure that none of these contraindications are present. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.95 million women of reproductive age have diabetes, 500,000 of whom do not know it.

There is also a lack of scientific studies on the long-term effects of Plan B's high dosage or repeated use by both women and adolescents. Therefore, when Plan B became available in the U.S. a prescription was reasonably required.

However, in 2006 the FDA concluded it should be available to women 18 and over without a prescription because the drug must be taken soon after intercourse to be effective. Any minor had to get the prescription.

Judge Korman threw out that modest restriction as being based on "political considerations, delays and implausible justifications," rather than scientific evidence.

Nonsense. Korman's decision appears political to me. Perhaps he dreams of being appointed as an  Federal Appeals Court judge.

"STD rates have skyrocketed in countries where Plan B has been deregulated," reports the Family Research Council.  As Plan B use doubled among British teenagers, there were sharp increases in gonorrhea and Chlamydia, which can cause infertility in women. Do we want to see more infertile women in America?

Some speculate that abortion rates might fall if females were taking Plan B to avoid getting pregnant. However, in Scotland, where Plan B has been available for 15 years, abortion rates increased between 1990 and 1999.

What's more, there is a link of Plan B to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, according to Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

It seems obvious that if women think, "I can have unprotected sex without risk, because if I get pregnant, I can take Plan B" - that more will have more sex. Presumably, however, there would be fewer out-of-wedlock births.

Not so. Last week we learned that 40 percent of all births were to unmarried women, a record high. In 2000 when Plan B became available, America had 1.3 million births out-of-wedlock. By 2007 unwed mothers had 1.7 million babies.

    When the birth control pill first became available in the 1960s, we were told that there would be fewer births to unwed women. But there were only 224,000 unwed births in 1960, just 5 percent of all births. Pope Paul VI predicted skyrocking births to unmarried women. Indeed, they've soared eight-fold to 40 percent.

There is another sad consequence for teen boys and girls who have sex. It cannot be prevented with condoms, contraceptives or Plan B. 

       New scientific research reports that "sex can literally change a person's brain, influencing the thought process and affecting future decisions," according to a new book, "Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children by Drs. Joe McIlhaney, Jr. and Freda McKissic Bush.

Any form of sexual arousal, even a 20 second hug, triggers the release of a chemical into the brain's trust circuits. "So don't let a guy hung you unless you plan to trust him," write the authors. "Touching, gazing…kissing, and sexual orgasm release oxytocin in the female brain," flipping the switch on the brain's love circuits.

"While the hormonal effect of oxytocin is ideal for marriage, it can cause problems for the unmarried woman or girl," causing "incredibly painful emotions" when the relationship ends.

Similarly, the male brain gets a shot of vasopressin, "bonding the man to his mate and attachment to his offspring." This bonding could lead to a long-term relationship that is unhealthy. "Yet the bonding keeps the couple together, even if the man is being abused by the woman," says "Hooked."

And if individuals go from sexual partner to sexual partner, "causing his or her brain to mold and gel so that it eventually begins accepting that sexual pattern as normal…The pattern of changing sex partners therefore seems to damage their ability to bond" in marriage.

Parents can't impact a judge's ruling on Plan B, but can read "Hooked," to help their kids remain chaste.
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