Planned Parenthood Giving Morning-After Pill Away for Free - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/06/06

Planned Parenthood Giving Morning-After Pill Away for Free

Planned Parenthood clinics across the United States, including right here in the Coastal Empire, are giving away the so-called morning-after pill.

In August the FDA approved the over-the-counter pill for anyone over 16. Today, Planned Parenthoods are celebrating the FDA's decision by handing it out for free.

People were waiting in line to get the pill at 8:30am, and they kept coming all day. But not everyone agrees with what the agency is doing.

Experts call Plan B an emergency contraceptive. And Heather Holloway, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, says it's just a form of birth control "which you can take up to five days, 120 hours after unprotected sex. And what it does is it's going to make your body stop ovulating or thicken the lining of the uterus so that an egg can't implant."

And for one day, Planned Parenthood handed the pill out free. Those who went to the clinic today only had to fill out a basic information sheet, and show their ID to prove that they're over the age of 18 to receive Plan B for free.

But it's not limited to just woman over the age of 18. Staff members say those who are 16 and 17 can also get it for free, but they'll need to talk to the nurse on hand, who will write a prescription.

"Putting Plan B over the counter has made it more accessible to women," said Holloway. "And since it is something you need to take in a very timely manner, accessibility is really important."

An important advancement, Holloway says, for women in the United States.

Some parents think Planned Parenthood is doing the right thing.

Christa Smalls has a 17-year-old daughter.

"If she thought it through and she felt like it was necessary, that she didn't want a child, and she wasn't ready for a child, and it was available and it was free and she had that option, why not take advantage of it?" said Smalls.

But not everyone agrees with Christa. For example Quovadis James has a much different opinion.

"I don't think they need to give them out," she said. "If you read the Bible, you're not supposed to commit yourself to this type of thing. And I think giving the contraceptives to the children is more or less enticing them to get involved in this type of thing."

The Catholic Diocese also has a strong opinion about the morning-after pill being made available. A spokeswoman said the Plan B pill is a form of a chemical abortion, and they don't agree with giving it away for free without a doctor's care.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

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