Pill is backup plan

Staff Editorial The Technician North Carolina State University

Mistakes happen and things do not work out as planned. Such is the case with life, death and pregnancy.

There are many products on the market for the effective prevention of pregnancy. Condoms are widely used and are almost 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, if used properly. But what if a couple does not use birth control when they have sex or their birth control method fails and the female is accidentally impregnated?

Time for Plan B, or the Emergency Contraceptive Pill. Right now, it is available only by prescription, but it may soon become available over the counter in drug stores.

The FDA should approve the sale of the pill over the counter, but there should be restrictions on distribution-who to sell it to and how to package it.

The ECP has the same amount of estrogen as three regular birth control pills. It prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall and is effective up to 72 hours after fertilization; however, for best results, women should take it within 24 hours. (See your doctor.)

There are fears that if pharmacists sell the morning after pill over the counter, other forms of birth control will not be used in favor of the pill.

This is not safe, because ECPs do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Women should only use ECPs for emergencies, not as a primary birth control method.

The cost of the pill is also steep: $25 for two pills. This should be the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, to make it cheaper and easier to buy a 25-cent condom.

The pill should also have age restrictions, like tobacco, alcohol and pornography. Women who are underage should go to their doctor or Planned Parenthood to get the pill.

Also, the pill should be sold in one-dose increments and not in super-duper economy size bottles at Wal-Mart for $3.99.

Part of the requirements for FDA approval is to make sure normal, reasonable consumers can regulate their use of the drug. Limit the doses of the pill sold to one and regulation is under control.

Ultimately, the pill is for emergencies and not for normal birth control uses, because it does introduce a high dose of estrogen into the female body.

If a woman needs it over the weekend, when Student Health Services is closed, it should be available, because the next alternative a woman has is abortion.

Which begs the question: Which is more convenient, a condom, a pill or a doctor’s visit?