Editorial: Keep Plan B for emergencies, not for routine use

With this troubling economy looming over us, it seems nothing is safe from the choking grasp of a worldwide marketplace in tailspin.

Even sex can’t escape the pattern.

More and more people are finding the rising cost in birth control distressing, putting a strain on people’s sex lives, maybe even halting them.

For students at Eastern, this isn’t much of a problem. Health Service routinely offers condoms at extremely low prices, encouraging safe sexual practices without burning a hole in students’ pockets.

But what about other people?

Students take this readily available birth control for granted without considering how rising prices affect those who haven’t been blessed with the gift of good birth control at low prices like some kind of contraceptive Wal-Mart.

The rising price in birth control methods has some people considering an alternative strategy: Plan B.

Meant to be taken rarely in the event of improper or irregular birth control use, or in the case of unprotected sex, Plan B contains a high dosage of the hormone progestin, reducing the chance of pregnancy by about 89 percent, according to Not-2-Late.com, a Web site by the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. According to the Web site, about 23 percent of women experience side effects including nausea, headaches or vomiting.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for over-the-counter use, provided the consumer is over the age of 18.

And so it seems, rather than suffer the ballooning price of condoms and birth control pills, people would rather turn to a medicine that is intended only for occasional use.

In Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News, Amy Malmen, the pharmacy director at Health Service, warned of the effects of routine use of the drug.

“Some women will experience nausea, fatigue, headache and changes in their menstrual cycle,” Malmen said. “You are just opening up yourself to a greater risk.”

It seems obvious that a drug with such harsh side effects should be intended strictly for occasional, rare use, but still people rely on it. It’s important to practice safe sex, but one should do so within the scope of what is healthy.

Of course, the easiest method of preventing pregnancy is abstinence, but if sex is really that important to the individual’s life, the safest alternative is to shell out the extra dollars.

Whatever the case, don’t rely on a drug intended strictly in case of emergencies.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].