I had a Plan A. I was going to be a great American novelist or a rich and famous standup comedian or a songwriter admired and respected by recording artists even if Unknown To The Great Unwashed. I had a Plan B, too, of course, which is, well, my Real Life as it Actually Played Out. Most people have Plan A's and end up going with Plan B, which is reality's wakeup call for good intentions, as in: OOPS! According to the Food and Drug Aministration, the age limit on saying OOPS! must ow be lowered:
The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it would allow 17-year-olds to buy the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B without a prescription, signaling a major shift in the agency's approach to a long-simmering issue.
The decision follows a ruling last month by a federal judge who rejected a Bush administration policy that allowed non-prescription sales of the pill only to people 18 or older, requiring younger girls to consult a doctor before they could get it.
Those who need Plan B did not use contraception, so they knew at the time they could have conceived, a possibility that is dealt with much better and easier before the fact than after. They obviously do not intend a long-term commitment with the object of last night's affection. So what exactly was Plan A? Just "What the hell, and I'll deal with the consequences later"?
This is not, administration pronouncements to the contrary, a reversal of the previous administration's habit of requiring the FDA to "let politics dictate scientific policy." This isn't about science. The science is that the drug has been tested and declared safe for its intended use. Letting 17-year-olds get it without a prescription is just as much a political decision as reserving that privilege to 18-year-olds.
Things can get a little tricky in below-18 territory. In Indiana, for example, the age of consent is 16. But the age of majority, the point at which you can leave parental control with no questions asked, is 18. So a 17-year-old girl in Indiana can legally engage in the activity requiring a Plan B but might have to ask her parents' permission to go to the drugstore to get it. Funny world, huh?
But the point is that leaving the age at 18 creates no ambiguities. Whether or not you think a morning-after pill is a good idea, youd'd have to admit that is being given to adults making adult decisions. Moving the age back to 17 makes it certain a lot of young women will feel liberated and a lot of parents will feel agitated, and maybe that was the whole point.