When Karina at Netscape.com linked to yesterday's post about Plan B, she lumped me in with those whose "buzz on this ruling is overwhelmingly positive". While I do not believe that Plan B is abortifacient, and therefore needn't be fought by pro-lifers as such, that does not mean that I think over-the-counter access to it is a good idea.
First of all, it's only going to worsen the already pervasive and pandemic contraceptive mentality in this country. However, that alone would be unsufficient grounds for banning Plan B or restricting access to it. If our opposition to Plan B is really based on its contribution to the culture of licentiousness, we'd be lobbying for condoms, the Pill, and various other prevalent forms of contraception, which I think we'd find difficult to justify or achieve in our pluralistic society. If we wish to counter the contraceptive mentality, we need to do so through leading by example. "They will know we are Christians by our love." That love should be so abundant and effusive that those outside of and weaker members within the Body of Christ should marvel at it and weep at its absense in their lives. Furthermore, that love should be so superabundant that in order to be fully expressed and nurtured it must become flesh and be born as our beloved children.
Getting back to the matter at hand, I would certainly not classify my reaction to wide availability to Plan B as "overwhelmingly positive". Nor would I characterize my sympathizers' reactions as such. I do not rejoice in the popular pursuit of sexual pleasure and gratification as ends unto themselves, divorced from their proper place in sacramental marriage. However, my primary discomfort with OTC availability of Plan B has more do with medicine and Hippocratic concerns than sexual morality.
"[M]ake a habit of two things – to help, or at least to do no harm." I'm not certain it won't do harm, especially if its administration cannot be monitored by health professionals. The birth control pill, aka the Pill, of which Plan B is a very large dose, requires a prescription. Providing Plan B over-the-counter seems an odd decision in that light. Also, offering it OTC to those over 18 while requiring prescriptions for minors seems unpracticable. If it's really important to restrict minors' access to the drug, there should be more concern that adults will purchase it OTC and give it to minors. Most serious, though, is how little is known about the long-term effects of taking Plan B once, let alone multiple doses. I worry that Plan B will become a frequent and commonplace fail-safe for when primary means of contraception fail or are not used – either carelessly or deliberately – rather than a rarely used emergency remedy. We just don't know what repeated use would do to a woman's health, and that worries me. I pray that Plan B doesn't kill people like RU-486 has.
In sum, while I do not believe Plan B is a form of chemical abortion that should be fought by the Culture of Life, I am certainly not overjoyed by the prospect of it being available without prescription.