Boost in Plan B sales

Also, teen condom use is on the rise, while pregnancy rate drops.

Published July 13, 2007 6:45PM (EDT)

Today, the Washington Post announces that sales of Plan B have doubled since the emergency contraceptive was approved for over-the-counter use. Of course, for women's health advocates, this just demonstrates the great need for over-the-counter access. But, conservatives are in a finger-shaking tizzy over the news: "This is very concerning," said Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council. "We think this is putting women's health at risk." The Post adds that conservative advocacy groups believe "that easier availability could encourage sexual activity and make it easier for men to have sex with underage girls."

To avoid getting derailed by that last head-scratcher, let's segue into a piece of reality-based sexual health news: Condom use among teens is rising, reports the National Center for Health Statistics. Sixty-three percent of high school students reported using a condom the last time they had sex; in 1991, only 46 percent reported using protection, reports the Post. And, despite the best efforts of notoriously ineffective abstinence-only programs, sexual activity among high schoolers remained "relatively stable"; in 2005, 47 percent reported having sex, compared to 54 percent in 1991. To top it off, teen birthrates are trending downward.

This is all great news! Unfortunately, it's also likely to be harnessed by repro-rights conservatives to argue that extending over-the-counter Plan B access to teens will derail this progress.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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