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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Plan B Available to Teens One Way or the Other

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As previously mentioned in a post, the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B, also known as the morning after pill because you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy, is beginning to be available at pharmacies. However, in all its wisdom, the FDA restricted over-the-counter sale of Plan B to women over the age of 18, leaving teens needing a visit to a doctor and a prescription.

The New York Times recently ran a story by Sarah Feightner about an online network of men and women willing to purchase Plan B for teens who need it, no questions asked. Emergency Contraception for Minors is a group of birth control advocates on the social networking Web site Facebook. Since it was created in September, it has more than 160 members in 25 states who have all agreed to buy Plan B for women under 18. Another Facebook group, the Emergency Contraceptive Network has more than 100 members, and those who want to be anonymous can sign up as "Jane" at another Web site, emergencykindness.net which received more than 200 applications from people wanting to help during its first week.

Members of these networks are mostly young women motivated by personal experience as well as political beliefs. There are other barriers to teens using Plan B - it can cost $25 to $40 for a single dose of two pills - and pharmacies do not have to stock the drug. I am unclear what penalties will be imposed for undermining the FDA age restriction, which was enacted against the recommendation of an FDA advisory panel.

Photo credit: Barr Pharmaceuticals

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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