Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Plan B: what's right for the Right and wrong for everyone else

Despite the fact there's been no scientific/clinical evidence to support the religious right's assertions that Plan B (Barr's emergency contraception product) poses a health/safety risk to women who use the drug and/or that permitting the drug to be sold over-the-counter (or even behind-the-counter, as suggested by Barr, requiring ID like tobacco and alcohol) increases risky sexual behavior, Right-wing Conservative Christian groups continue to grasp at straws in the effort to claim the drug is unsafe. The latest straw-man is a concern that approval of Plan B as an OTC product will cause in increase in sexually transmitted diseases [emphasis added]
Some opponents say use of the pills leads to higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and promiscuous behavior, which can carry its own dangers. A Swedish study published in 2002 reported that STIs were on the rise among adolescents who had OTC access to emergency contraception and other forms of contraception. [WaPo]
The anti-choice analysis is that since STIs are increasing in Sweden despite the fact these adolescents had access to a variety of contraceptive options available without prescription, that the positive correlation of availability and increased STIs is in some way caused by increased risk taking due to the OTC availability of EC. Anyone who's taken a beginners statistics class can tell you that such a causal relationship can not be determined by this postive correlation (they will also probably proceed to tell you how by using this to make a determination of causation would lead to the destruction of churches because they increase crime rates). The Swedish study was not designed and powered to test the hypothesis that availabilty of OTC emergency contraception is a mitigating factor in the rate of STIs (not that this bit of information matters to the anti-choice movement).

The data from a controlled randomized study of 2,117 females aged 15-24 showed not only that there was not an increase in the rate of risky sexual behavior, but that there also was not a statistically significant difference in the rate of STIs between the control group and the treatment groups.

Plan B is safe and effective, the same can not be said for the abstinence-only education opponents of Plan B prefer.

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1 comment:

Diabetes Drug Development said...

Great post......