SHOULD THE MORNING-AFTER PILL BE EASY TO GET?

Since the Quiet Revolution,  Quebec has prided itself on being a progressive province. Quebec jurors refused to convict Dr. Henry Morgentaler of a crime when abortion was still in the Criminal Code. Quebec was one of the first provinces to accept gay marriage.

Yet Quebec remains the one province in the country to require a prescription (from a pharmacist) for Plan B, an emergency contraceptive. Despite medical evidence that puts Plan B roughly on the same level of dangerousness as Aspirin , Quebec’s more than 7,200 pharmacists remain unwilling to give women the right to decide on their own to use this drug.

Used within less than 72 hours of unprotected sex the drug lowers the chance of pregnancy to less than 11 per cent. If taken within 24 hours of sex, chances drop to less than five per cent.

Plan B (the morning-after pill) works by preventing ovulation, fertilization and implantation. It will not provoke the abortion of an implanted egg.

When the morning-after pill is available only from behind the pharmacy counter, pharmacists can make women answer questions about their sexual history.

In the United States, research shows that over-the counter access to Plan B could prevent as many as 1.5 million unplanned pregnancies and up to 700,000 abortions. (Where does Pro-life stand on this issue?)

In the last three years, nearly 640,000 pills have been dispensed in Canada. The president of the Quebec Catholic Parents’ Association says the drug will isolate teenagers from their parents. “The pill leaves the child alone to deal with the problem,” The Canadian Conferencee of Catholic Bishops is expected to address the issue later this year.

Do you see any reason why Plan B – the morning-after pill – should not be readily available over the counter to women in Quebec?

22 Comments »

  1. 1
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    As a Pro Lifer and a Pro Choicer, I would say yes, if the father agrees.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Other than the THEORETICAL control it might give, parents I suppose, on teenage sex, I can’t see any logical reason to be different in this case. AIDS prevention would be no excuse since the damage would have already been done as for any other stds.

  3. 3
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “In the United States, research shows that over-the counter access to Plan B could prevent as many as 1.5 million unplanned pregnancies and up to 700,000 abortions. (Where does Pro-life stand on this issue?)”

    As crazy as it sounds – the pro-life people I know object to ALL forms of birth control! This makes no sense of course since a lack of birth control will mean more unwanted pregnancies – which will lead to more abortions.

    Somehow they manage to ignore this reality though and appose birth control anyway.

    “Do you see any reason why Plan B – the morning-after pill – should not be readily available over the counter to women in Quebec?”

    No reason at all…

  4. 4
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “As a Pro Lifer and a Pro Choicer”

    That’s a nice trick! How do you manage that?!

    “I would say yes, if the father agrees.”

    What father?? This pill is taken BEFORE fertilization – there is no fetus yet! The man shouldn’t have a say in what the woman chooses to do with her body…

  5. 5
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    “The man shouldnt have a say in what a woman chooses to do with her body” Its not only her body being discussed. She was potentially impregnated by a male, ie., father and child and mother.

    Pro Lifers fail when they only defend the child. Pro Choicers fail when they only defend the mother. I am a Pro Lifer and a Pro Choicer by defending the father, mother and child and their right to choose.

    I think there are some Pro Lifers that have chosen to abort. And some Pro Choicers that have chosen not to abort. As a concept I am against abortion.

  6. 6
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Its not only her body being discussed. She was potentially impregnated by a male, ie., father and child and mother.”

    There is no pregnancy – yet! That’s the point – this pill works BEFORE the fertilization takes place. At that point the man shouldn’t have a say in it – it’s her body and her body only.

    “I think there are some Pro Lifers that have chosen to abort.”

    They didn’t abort WHILE they were pro-life… They might have changed their minds after or before, but no pro-lifer would choose abortion. They are against THE CHOICE entirely!

    “some Pro Choicers that have chosen not to abort.”

    Of course! Pro-choice means they support the right to choose, they don’t tell you WHAT to choose they just support the right to choose one way or the other.
    I am pro-choice as is my wife… and we have 2 lovely kids.

    I am still considered pro-choice even though I dislike abortion. I wouldn’t wish an abortion on ANYBODY because it’s a terribly tramatic and horrible experience – but I support the right of ALL women to make the choice for themselves.

  7. 7
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Joe, you are like me Pro Life and Pro Choice, you managed the same trick. Although with a” stated exception” by me.

    If my wife were to take the morning after pill, I think she would discuss it with me first.

  8. 8
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Joe, you are like me Pro Life and Pro Choice, you managed the same trick.”

    I thought as much… but strictly speaking – we’re both pro-choice.

    Being pro-choice doesn’t mean favoring aborion, it means supporting the CHOICE to have an abortion or have the baby. I would never say that I’m pro-life because that means that means you do NOT support the choice of abortion.

    “If my wife were to take the morning after pill, I think she would discuss it with me first.”

    That’s great – I didn’t mean to imply that she shouldn’t. But when a woman chooses abortion I think the man ~deserves~ a say (not THE word, just a say), but with this pill he does not. That doesn’t mean that many women wouldn’t consult their man though….

  9. 9
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    “The man deserves a say.” Right. “I had a one-night stand of irresponsible, unprotected sex with you because I seriously wanted you to be the mother of my child, whom I would never see, and never support in any way, BUT, I have the right to deny you any choice in whether the child should be conceived and/or come to term.”
    You had your say at “Oh, baby!”, jerk. You wouldn’t wear the glove. You got her drunk, you shagged her, and you couldn’t even remember her name to save your life, and you want a SAY? Tell me, were you born an idiot, or have you been practising all this time?
    I would like to think that the vast majority of men are caring, responsible and sensitive people, who understand the sensibilities of others, especially those of women. I would also like to think of world peace, an end to hunger and politicians with brains larger than poppy seeds, but somehow the world conspires to disillusion me with some great enthusiasm.
    If the morning after pill works, with little side-effect, then, yes, it should be as easy to obtain as any OTC medication. Hmmm…didn’t I just say that…sort of? CTZen.

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    There is no “pro-life”, only pro-choice or anti-choice.

    If someone claims the label of “pro-life,” he would necessarily be pro- all life, including the woman, whose right it is to live her life as she sees fit, including being fetus-free. If he denies her the right to be fetus-free by insisting that she cannot abort or prevent a fetus from growing within her own body, then he is not being pro- her life, so he is not “pro-life.” He is anti-choice.

    If a man wants a say, he should be “saying” ahead of time. Once he has lost control of the sperm, it’s not his anymore.

    “…the drug will isolate teenagers from their parents. ‘The pill leaves the child alone to deal with the problem.'”

    And I’ll be damned if I can figure out why that’s such a bad idea.

    It’s the job of teenagers to isolate themselves from their parents by making their own decisions on an increasingly frequent level. They do not live under the same circumstances their parents did, so they need to seek their own decisions about things their parents never had to deal with. They have to live their own lives. They need to stop seeking permission for everything.

    And parents really need to back off and let the kids do what they need to do.

  11. 11
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    “Parents really need to back off and let the kids do what they need to do.” I agree, so long as it does not mean “butt out”. Giving guidance and dictating behaviour are two different concepts and should not be confused. In order to choose you have to know what the choices are. That is where parents come in in a functional and respectful relationship with their teenagers. The line is thin and the slope very slippery but the risk is well worth taking.

  12. 12
    Chimera Says:

    Paul, too many people want to insist on running their kids’ lives forever, so they deliberately withhold guidance in the early years, thereby limiting choices. The real forming of children’s life options comes before puberty. After puberty, all motions by the teenager should be away from parental influence.

    And if “butt out” is what some parents need to hear in order to let it happen, then so be it.

  13. 13
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Chimera, you have probably read Glazers Summerhill but not his Liberty, not Licence, also some Spock but not Fitzhugh Dodson. In early Beatnick time a research done at Bellevue, I believe, established that the main beef the adolescents had against their parents was their seemingly benign neglect they called respecting their freedom. Over my carreer I have heard that time and again. Kids, whatever their age need to know they have a fall back position in their parents ear in a non dictatorial and non judgemental way. It is called trust and is not to be confused with dependancy.

  14. 14
    jim Says:

    It seems to me that they could go to Ontario, New York,Vermont New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick or the Native Peoples who sell cigarettes or buy them from their dealer.

  15. 15
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Of course I meant Glasser, not Glazer.

  16. 16
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    As a parent who has survived teenage time with my son I am very interested in this subject. I think to start with, to teach young men respect towards women at an early age helps them to form relationships even when the hormons kick in. I find it horribel to let a young woman deal alone with a potentioell pregnancy. I also find it useless to have a pharmacist ask indiscreet questions about a young ladies sex life before giving out the pill. I hope that there is some privacy there.
    Since it is a kind of an emergency situation since the woman knows there was unprotected sex and either she has something to do about it or just wait and be scared to find out if she is pregnant the thinking is not always at its clearest.
    It is difficult to raise a child alone as a teenager, what about school etc.So parental support is important. I have seen families organise themselves so a teenager can raise a child and still have a life.
    We all make mistakes and we do not have the excuse of teenage hormones.
    Would the young people these days even know abput that particular pill? I am just learning about it.

  17. 17
    Chimera Says:

    Paul, if you’re talking about books, I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never heard of any of them.

    I base my observations and opinions on reality and necessity. At the age of eighteen (or nineteen, or twenty-one, or whatever), a person suddenly becomes an adult, with adult responsibilities and adult freedoms. How is he going to know how to comport his new adult life if he hasn’t been practising those freedoms and responsibilities up to now? He must, essentially, begin to force his way out of his parents’ influence beginning at puberty, when his sexuality begins to ripen.

    The teenage years are the transition time between childhood — when children are under the complete control of their parents — and adulthood — when children are under no control at all. Smart parents will help their children get through to adulthood in two ways — by preparing them as much as possible before puberty, and by standing by with the net in case their newly-fledged wire-walker slips on his first few tries. But they need to be really careful about not getting the net too close to him before he needs it. He must learn to walk that wire on his own, without help. Otherwise, he’s no good as an adult.

  18. 18
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Chimera, Your last paragraph is exactly what I have been trying to get across since the beginning.
    About the books, the only one I found really useful is Dodson’s where he starts by saying that “the best education method is the one that one feels comfortable with”.

  19. 19
    dez Says:

    But, getting back to the point…

    Making Plan B an OTC (over the counter) drug instead of prescription is a good idea, IMHO.

    If your wife is buying the drug behind your back so she can conceal from you her dislike for having children, then your relationship has problems that bringing a child into the mess would only make worse. Don’t blame the drug for your relationship issues.

    If your teenager is having unprotected sex, hearing about it from your pharmacist is probably not the best way to find out. Would you rather she have an abortion? Or, better yet, would you rather she bring home a baby and dump it on your lap? “Here, Mummy and Daddy, is your new grandchild. You raise it. Please do a better job than you did with me.”

    Yes, it would be best if she used condoms. You should buy her some, just to be sure. (I know. You think she shouldn’t be having sex at all. I’m going to laugh at you now.)

    Pharmacists should be dispensing drugs, not morality.

    And when are people going to get it through their heads that there are too many of us already on this planet? If there is something we can do to cut down on the population glut (short of outright killing each other) then we should be doing it.

  20. 20
    littlepatti Says:

    Just sit on a bench in a shopping centre one day and watch what goes on. Kids flirting and getting pretty explicit in public and kids pushing baby carriages.
    I see that many girls have very low self esteem.
    It all leads to underage/ irresponsible sexual activity. Some teens are very poorly advised- using a baggie instead of a condom, and if they think a baggie will work, I guess the pill is out of the question.
    Kids need to be better informed and better protected from their own bad choices, however it’s done.
    Maybe a pill in their popscicle everyday would work. 🙂
    Heidi, thanks for being a parent bringing up a boy to be respectful. I agree with your concerns.

  21. 21
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    One day, an old lady walked into a pharamist’s store. “i vant some birth control pills.” The pharmacist was aghast. “Surely, bubbe, you don’t need birth control pills. You’re too old to have a child now.” The old lady says, “Don’t kvetch with me, young man, I need some birth control pills.” So, the pharmacist hands over the pills.
    A week later, he sees her on the street. “How are the pills working out?” She cries, “I sleep like a baby now!” The pharmacist is confused. “Madame, those are birth control pills, not sleeping pills.” She explains: “Every morning, I have breakfast with my grand-daughter. When she’s not looking, I slip a pill into her orange juice. I sleep like a baby now!”
    Face it, friends: It’s 2008, NOT 1955. Kids are gonna have sex, whether you approve or not. It’s how you were born, it’s how they were born, and it’s how the next generation will be born. You, with your nickers in a knot, yes, you may leave the room and be offended elsewhere. As for the rest of you, grow up, and take it seriously. Make sure your kids are ready when the hormones kick in…and they will…or don’t you remember ever being young? CTZen

  22. 22
    jim Says:

    Will the person buying the pills tell the pharmacist the truth or tell the pharmacist what he wants to hear. Will the Government admit that the real reason behind the ruling is for the pharmacists to vote for the politicians and then charge more for the product becaused because it’s sold by script.


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