Susan B. Anthony List
Ms. Marjorie Dannenfelser
1707 L. Street NW Suite 550
Washington DC, 20036
Dear Ms. Marjorie Dannenfelser:
My name is T. W. I am a parent of two teenagers and I find myself, as well as my teens, somewhat uncomfortable when our conversations lead to the topic of sex. This topic is often eye opening for all parents, reminding them that their kids are not kids anymore, but young adults ready to make their own choices and decisions. I believe your opposition to the over the counter sale of Plan B and age restriction lift, would be detrimental to the decision making process of young adults. For this reason, I would like you to reconsider your position, and help our young adults make educated choices about their reproductive health and the possibility of becoming parents.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that is safe and effective for women of any reproductive age, and intended to reduce the possibility of pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. It is most effective if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. Plan B will not end pregnancy when a woman is already pregnant, and there is no medical evidence that the pill could harm the fetus. The most common side effects in the clinical trial for women receiving Plan B include heavier menstrual bleeding, nausea, lower abdominal pain, fatigue, and headache. Emergency contraceptives are essentially high dose of hormones used to prevent/delay ovulation, prevent fertilization or prevent implantation of fertilized egg (“FDA Approves Plan B…”).
In order to inform our kids and prepare them for the adulthood, we implemented sexual education in public schools throughout the country. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a survey among high school students and more than 47% of students confirmed that they were sexually active. Only 23% of students used oral contraceptives and 60% used condoms. This survey also shows that an alarming number of teens are having unprotected sex and getting pregnant; “More than 365,000 teens, ages 15-19 years gave birth in 2010, and almost 67,000 (18.3 %) of those were repeat births. A repeat birth is a second (or more) pregnancy resulting in a live birth before the age of 20”(“Nearly 20 Percent of Teen…”). For that reason, as adults and policy makers we need to ensure that emergency contraception is available and accessible to young adults. Even if they initially choose to have sexual intercourse, young adults should have the choices of preventing pregnancy. Although pregnancies have dropped to their lowest level since the beginning of the data collection, possibly due to easier access to contraceptives, the United States still has more teen births/pregnancies than any other industrialized world country. The research that was published in Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality points out how much higher our numbers are in comparison with other industrialized countries: “from 1996 to 2006, the teen birth rate declined by 36.9% in Canada, 25% in the U.S.A, and 4.75% in England/Wales, and increased 19.1% in Sweden. With respect to teen birth rates, in 2006, Sweden (6.0%), and Canada (13.7%) had rates substantially lower than England/Wales (35.0%) and the U.S.A. (41.9%)” (“Trends in Teen…”). Knowing that our teens are sexually active, with or without our approval, we need to make sure that, besides contraception, there are other alternatives available for them to resort to if needed.
I understand that your group is strongly advocating for reducing and ultimately ending abortion; therefore, increasing access to morning after pill will not only help young adults but also benefit your cause. The research that Guttmacher Institute conducted shows that, “in 2008, the teen pregnancy rate was 67.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, which means that about 7% of U.S. teens became pregnant that year. This rate represents a 42% decline from the