It's been a year since Plan B contraception (sometimes referred to as "the morning after pill") became available over the counter, much to the relief of American women. Sales of the pill are "booming," reports The Associated Press. This means that women (and couples) dealing with broken condoms, rape victims and others in desperate need of the emergency contraception have access to it, despite the best efforts of ultra-conservative groups and politicians.
But the fight is far from over. A coalition of anti-pill groups has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the Food and Drug Administration was responding to political pressure when it approved Plan B. Others might say the agency was responding to political pressure for the three years it took to finally approve the pill.
A spokesperson from one of the groups hoping to reverse the FDA's ruling says that "women are paying the price" for what she says are inaccurate claims made by Plan B supporters.
But for many, Plan B's prescription-free status came not a moment too soon. Just three months before that, a study by the Guttmacher Institute showed that while the rate of unplanned pregnancies had remained stable in the U.S. at 49 percent, women living below the federal poverty line were five times more likely than women living at double the poverty line to experience an unplanned birth. Talk about paying a price. They were also thrice as likely to have an abortion.
In her Tuesday column on birth control in the Baltimore Sun, Cristina Page, spokesperson for birthcontrolwatch.org, pointed out that Republican presidential candidates are using certain key words and phrases that intend to not only overturn Roe v. Wade, but to further limit women's access to birth control by defining life as beginning "at conception rather than at the time of implantation."
It seems that given their druthers, a woman need not be pregnant in the eyes of science to be considered pregnant in the eyes of the law. This, of course, would radically change the status of Plan B, the (needlessly) controversial form of hormone-based contraception, much like many other forms of birth control, which prevents implantation.
Under definition of when life starts held by Romney and others, Plan B would go from being a form of birth control to being classified as an abortive agent. Other forms of contraception, such as hormone-based patches, shots, IUDs and daily pills, could possibly fall down the same rabbit hole.
© 2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer