Local Reaction to Federal Decision about Emergency Contraception

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email
A local doctor gave her thoughts on the potential dangers of allowing any girl at any age to have access to the morning after pill. White House leaders just agreed to remove age restrictions.

Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. / AP

HARRISONBURG -- A local doctor gave her thoughts on the potential dangers of allowing any girl at any age to have access to the morning after pill. White House leaders just agreed to remove age restrictions.

Despite the dangers of the pill, it could also be a big step forward for women. It's important to understand that this pill is an emergency contraceptive, and it's only to be used in emergencies.

Deirdre Myers lives in Harrisonburg she felt the decision is a big step for women's rights.

"Not just as a woman, but as a person because I think that access to contraception that is safe and legal is a human right not just a woman's right," said Myers.

Dr. Catherine Slusher, of Harrisonburg OB-GYN, worries younger girls may not be responsible enough to use it properly.O

"It's much more that just what does that pill do chemically to your body. This is a bigger social perspective that needs to be addressed," said Dr. Slusher.

Dr. Slusher said younger girls may not be mature enough to use emergency contraceptives properly. Her issue with the decision is that young women may not be in contact with a health care provider who can make them aware of the risks.

"It's not a healthy option for regular birth control. It's meant as it's stated, for emergency contraception, not routine contraception," said Dr. Slusher.

Dr. Slusher said the pill is a burst of hormones that make a woman's body reject pregnancy. It won't hurt the woman who takes it, no matter how old she is, unless it is used too frequently.

Myers thinks despite the risks, women and girls deserve the freedom to choose.

"I think especially for girls that might be living in a household where they're parents aren't going to take them to get an abortion or forbid it. It would be really helpful for them to have access to this so they can make the decision whether their body is pregnant or not," said Myers.

Dr. Slusher says if a woman is already pregnant, one dose of Plan-B will not affect the pregnancy or baby. The pill must be taken in a timely manner to have any effect.

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