ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Head of the Antigua Plan Parenthood Association, Lyndale Weaver-Greenaway, said under no circumstances would she support the move to allow minors to obtain any form of emergency contraceptives.
Weaver-Greenaway said such services should be given in the presence of a consenting adult.
According to the executive director, her department only issues the emergency conception or “morning-after pill” to a minor who would have already had a child.
“I think that a parent should be informed before a child is given any form of birth control. If a parent knows for a fact their child is sexually active, they can give consent for them to use contraceptive. If a child walks off the street and say they are under 16, we would not give them birth control like that,” Greenaway said.
She was reacting to news that the Obama administration will allow minors to obtain one form of the morning-after pill, dropping its appeal of a judge’s order requiring it to be sold over the counter.
Since 2006, the morning-after pill was available in the US on a divided basis; teenagers needed a prescription and older women did not.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued a letter to the Justice Department agreeing to make the single-pill version of the drug available “without age or point-of-sale restrictions.
This means that minors will be able to purchase the drug without hassle.
Greenaway, a nurse by profession, said the drug is available in single and double dosage.
She explained the double dosage tablet called Postinor is utilized by the Planned Parenthood Association.
“One of the tablets should be used immediately after an incident and the other 12 hours after. They have to be taken within 72 hours after intercourse,” she said.
Postinor produces changes in the body which makes it unsuitable for implantation of fertilised egg.
The single tablet approved by US authorities for minors in known as “One Step.”
It contains a non-hormonal drug that blocks the effects of the key hormones necessary for conception.
The department head said the drug is readily available at most pharmacies on the island and whether or not minors are accessing it is unknown to her.
However, OBSERVER media understands that minors are buying both drugs at the discretion of the pharmacists.
Meanwhile, one pharmacist has welcomed the move to allow minors to access the drug freely.
The individual, who did not wish to be named, said, “Minors like adults do fall in similar problems, and should be able to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.”