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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

As a college student, I welcome almost any chance to celebrate. Just a few days ago I celebrated the four-month anniversary of the end of spring classes. My apologies if I forgot to invite you, but don't worry. We had so much fun, we're going to do it again next month. I'll Facebook you.

I've always been a big fan of anniversaries. We all know your 22nd birthday is just the first anniversary of turning 21.

But when I saw in Tuesday's Alligator that Plan B was celebrating its first year of over-the-counter sales, I thought, why wasn't I invited?

On Aug. 24, the drug "celebrated its one-year anniversary." How big of a deal is this anyway? Maybe we should have a national holiday commemorating this glorious day. Pharmaceutical companies could declare holidays for the releases of all their favorite drugs. They certainly have the lobbying power to do it.

And then I realized this was probably more serious than I thought.

About a year and a half ago, someone I knew, who went to school in the rusty buckle of the Bible Belt, feared that her boyfriend's contraception had malfunctioned. It being a weekend, they rushed to the emergency room and asked for Plan B.

The doctors and nurses said, "We really don't know if you need it."

"Isn't that the point?" she replied.

A few hours later, after many tears and confused looks, they gave her the medication - not to mention the bill.

Today, she feels that Plan B being available over the counter saves people grief and anxiety. However, she is worried the drug's new availability might lead people to abuse it.

She says the principle of the matter, the victory for privacy rights, should be celebrated, but not the use of the drug itself.

And I agree.

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Samantha Evans, a sexual-health educator with GatorWell, said the option to obtain Plan B over the counter hasn't led to sexual irresponsibility. Rather, it empowers men and women to realistically make the best decisions for themselves.

Sexual responsibility doesn't end with pregnancy, she said.

About 2.7 million unplanned pregnancies occur each year, of which 54 percent result in abortion, according to Plan B's Web site.

The need for this drug is here. And because it's most effective when taken as soon as possible, quick and quiet availability just makes sense.

On Aug. 24, we did not celebrate carefree, lustful sex, nor did we all have bacchanalian orgies to commemorate the morning-after pill coming to a Walgreens near you.

Instead, we remembered that it's simply not the government's place to keep Plan B from the people who need it most.

Vincent Massaro is a senior majoring in journalism.

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