December 13, 2011

The Post got it right when it called the Obama administration’s decision on backup contraception the “Wrong call on Plan B” [editorial, Dec. 10]. It highlighted almost all the reasons why the age restrictions should have been lifted, but a missing important point needs to be raised. Over-the-
counter purchase of the contraceptive is limited to women 17 and older who can show proper identification to a pharmacist. Keeping this requirement in place is problematic for many young women, a sizable percentage of whom do not have proper identification.

Recent research shows that approximately 18 percent of young people ages 18 to 24 lack a government-issued ID. That percentage is higher among African American and Latino youth.

By leaving the restrictions on Plan B, President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have turned their backs on women, especially young women.

Debra Hauser, Alexandria

The writer is executive vice president of Advocates for Youth.

Matt Davies’s Dec. 10 Drawing Board cartoon presented two panels — one depicting an over-the-counter Plan B pill, the other a crying infant — and asked: “Which of these responsibilities is a fifteen year old too young to be handed?” I think Mr. Davies forgot the third panel: the one depicting a 15-year-old with the intelligence, character and personal responsibility to simply say “no” to sex.

Patrick McGinn, California, Md.

I agree with Laura Retzler [letters, Dec. 12] that an underage girl who finds herself in need of emergency contraception may have been the victim of rape. This is why I am staggered as to why anyone would think it laudable to hinder the access of a child who has just been raped to a safe, effective drug that would at least spare her from pregnancy.

Rape is traumatizing enough without a girl’s having to get a parent who may not be sympathetic (or may even be the perpetrator) to take her to a doctor who may be judgmental, to get that doctor to write a prescription that may not be written in time (the drug won’t work after 72 hours), and to get to a pharmacist who may refuse to fill the prescription on religious grounds.

Is a young girl better able to handle a pregnancy that may be the result of rape than the pill that prevents it?

Kripa Patwardhan, Herndon