"Modest" restrictions on reproductive freedom don't ever work the way their centrist supporters intend. They always end up hurting women least capable of shouldering the burden. Two new studies underscore this point. First, Amanda Marcotte points out research in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that the Plan B restrictions supported by the Obama administration—against the advice of its medical professionals—will have effects more far-reaching than keeping the emergency contraceptive out of the hands of 11- and 12-year-olds. The JAMA study shows that this decision not only requires 15- and 16-year-old young women to get a prescription to obtain Plan B; it makes it harder for adult women to obtain Plan B as well.
In theory, putting Plan B behind the counter allows access, but also incentivizes consultation with a pharmacist about proper use. But in practice, not making Plan B available over the counter because of regulations put in place without understanding the realities of Plan B usage means that some women (especially in less affluent neighborhoods) will be denied access. The same problems exist with parental-involvement laws. In both cases, some gatekeepers lack the necessary information to allow access even if they have the best intentions, and where the reproductive rights of women are concerned, many don't always have the best intentions.
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