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Monday, August 28, 2006

Plan B's Junk Science

By Dennis Byrne

Repeatedly we are told that "science" has concluded that the over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception pills is safe for 15-year-old and younger girls because it does not increase their risky sexual behavior.

This is bunk. This assertion is based on research that says no such thing. Not even close.

Yet, the public is remorselessly fed this line, especially after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided last week to allow pharmacies to sell Plan B tablets without prescriptions to women 18 and over. The FDA sensibly declined to allow their sale without a prescription to young adolescents because the manufacturer had not provided enough evidence that they would use the drug safely and effectively without supervision.

Will the drug lead to more risky sexual behavior, such as increased unprotected intercourse and sex with multiple partners? Will it allow older men to pressure 14-year-olds into sex--protected or unprotected--because this magical pill will "take care of everything"? Common sense alone suggestions these are among the risks.

But Plan B advocates, reproductive rights ideologues, manufacturers and marketers firmly deny the existence of any such risks, because "science" tells us so, as if that shuts the door on any further discussion. But, in fact, "science" tell us nothing; the "telling" is done by people who do science.

And the "scientific claims" about the impact of Plan B on the sexual behavior of younger teens are dubious at best or, worse, outright distortions--distortions that have been picked up and endlessly repeated by the media. Without examining the "science" of the claims.

So, let's do so.

Read more at RealClearPolitics.


Dave said...

What is the final goal here?

Do we want to decrease the amount of pre-marital sex?

Or do we want to reduce the sum total of negative consequences that result in society?

Put another way - suppose we came up with a magic bullet that eliminated all negative consequences of pre-marital sex. This of course results in lots more people having casual sex.

Is this a good thing?

If your judgment is based on traditional norms you will get one sort of answer, but if your judgment is based on maximizing total good for the largest number, you will get the other sort of answer.

Stephen Schade said...

Mr. Byrne:

Studies show that pregnant teens who do not get along with their parents are more likely to run away from home or commit suicide. Is that what you really want?

Andy's Treasures said...

Right on! How long are we going to follow blindly? Have we lost the ability to logically think for ourselves? The magic in this pill, is magically taking our children's innocence and purity. Kids and adults need to realize there are consequences for actions and responsibilities to be taken.

OWN-the-NWO said...

this article was benign, your tactics of slander straw men and other disinfo are too little to late to keep the truth about 9/11 from getting out, keep trying you're hilarious. Just don't commit any liable like moseley did over at worldnetdaily

gasparutto said...

if men got pregnant, the Plan B pill would be dispensed in restrooms at truck stops.

Red & Blue State said...

Great column on Plan B. But you didn't go far enough. Even if the sample of young teens were much larger, and the results came out close to what the Planned Parenthood crowd wanted, it still wouldn't prove what they've been saying these studies prove. You have a number of factors virtually impossible to control for:

-Who participates in these studies? The cross-section of girls and women who do is by no means representative of the whole public.

-Statistical error. We always hear about the margin of error being 3% or 5% or whatever. But what we never hear is that there is only a 95% chance that the survey will fall within the margin of error. It is perfectly possible to get an outlier in which you survey an evenly-divided public and find 70 or even 80% on one side of an issue!