Plan B’s winners & losers

I had no serious doubt that President Obama’s dithering about over-the-counter status for “emergency contraception” was a feint. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2011 argued on her boss’s behalf against letting the drug marketed as “Plan B” from being available OTC to anyone under age 17. A court ruling in April of this year ordered unrestricted sale. Yesterday, the Administration dropped all objections. This was a political decision, not a medical one. It will go into effect soon, although the precise date is not available as I write this.


  • Teva Women’s Health, a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. I’m no financial expert, but I suspect this will boost the stock price. U.S. News & World Report reported a month ago that Teva spent $5.7 million on Washington lobbying in 2011 and 2012. That was evidently a good investment.
  • Sexual predators and sex traffickers. This drug, soon to be as openly available as condoms, is available as a one-dose (“Plan B One-Step”) or two-dose regimen. Either way, it’s a small matter to force a woman or a girl in an ongoing abusive relationship to take a pill after her rape, every time. Predators need not trouble themselves with matters like age of the victim, her long-term health, or the prying eyes of a health care professional who might otherwise be moved to inquire into the circumstances requiring a twelve-year-old to obtain repeated high doses of levonorgestrel, the principal ingredient in Plan B.
  • The nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, which already has Plan B in its arsenal and now will see more demand for it. Ka-ching.


  • Women and girls in abusive relationships. 
  • Pubescent minors who have no understanding of the effect levonorgestrel can have on their bodies in the long term.
  • Public health officials who care about women’s health. Anyone looking for a study on how the OTC availability of this drug will affect women in the long term, as individuals and as a group, will run up against the same brick wall that has kept the abortion industry free from adequate oversight. How many people will take this drug? How old are the people taking it? How many times in the course of reproductive life will the average woman take this drug, in conjunction with “normal” birth control pills? I’m pretty sure that in twenty years we’ll know more about life on Mars than we’ll know about how repeated exposure to high-dose “emergency” contraception affects women’s bodies.
  • The truth. Look at Teva’s web site about the drug, if you’d like, or check out WebMD’s description:  “[Plan B] may prevent or delay ovulation [or] it may interfere with fertilization of an egg. It is also possible that this type of emergency birth control prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus by altering its lining.”
    [Emphasis added.] Actually, if that fertilized egg – a new human being, in biological if not legal terms – cannot implant in the uterus due to chemical alteration of the mother’s body, an induced abortion has taken place. That rates more than oh-by-the-way consideration.

By itself, the aid and protection this drug gives to sexual predators ought to have stopped the OTC campaign cold. Shame on every judge, bureaucrat, and “health care” provider who has let this happen. Adult women know what “caveat emptor” means. I have my doubts about the twelve-year-olds.

More on the Plan B decision: