Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 10, 2013

Plan B controversial birth control for some

TAHLEQUAH — In a perfect world, mistakes would never happen, and everyone would exercise good judgment about health and safety at all times. Bad decisions would never be made, and crime would not exist.

But humans are – well, human. While most everyone understands unprotected sex can result in unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease, the fact remains that not all people wear condoms or use birth control every time they have sex. Worse yet, rape and incest are a reality, and can also result in an unwanted pregnancy.

Since the 1960s, doctors and scientists have studied ways to use high doses of estrogen as a post-coital contraceptive. In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription drug Plan B emergency contraceptive. Since then, Plan B has moved from being available by prescription only to the FDA’s most recent decision, which allows the sale of Plan B without a prescription to anyone age 15 or over who can show proof of age, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate or passport, to a retail pharmacy clerk.

The April 30 FDA decision has fueled a debate on emergency contraception and the ability of minors to purchase it.

According to Jill Nobles-Botkin, director of perinatal and reproductive health for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Plan B – or emergency contraception – will not affect a pregnancy.

“[The pill functions in two different ways] and depends on where in the cycle it’s taken,” said Nobles-Botkin. “It can either prevent ovulation, or it can thicken the cervical mucus so the sperm can’t get through. If a person is already pregnant, it will not terminate a pregnancy, no matter where in the cycle the woman is.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health provides its clients, through county health department outlets, several different options for contraception.

“We have to, by federal regulations, provide a wide variety of contraceptive options, which includes emergency contraception,” said Jill Nobles-Botkin. “Plan B falls within that category.”

Contraceptives of all stripes are available through the state agency.

“We have nurse practitioners on site that provide prescriptions for Plan B,” said Nobles-Botkin. “We have it available to anyone of reproductive age, which is our policy, and will continue to provide it based on that. Also, as part of the requirements to receive federal funding, we educate clients on all aspects of reproductive health.”

As part of its Saturday Facebook Forum May 4, the Daily Press asked its “friends” their thoughts the FDA ruling, Plan B and its availability to minors. The question drew over 70 comments, and a lively debate ensued. Many people who commented are parents, including local resident Alan Barlow.

“I would rather my 15-year-old get pregnant than take it, especially without my permission,” said Barlow. “The morning-after pill is a cheap attempt to solidify in a teenager that there are no consequences. If I remove the consequences, she’ll never learn to grow up.”

Josh Hutchins viewed the decision as government interference.

“I think it’s interesting how we accept the government’s authority to tell us what we can put in our body,” said Hutchins. “The reason, age, and pill are kind of irrelevant. Where did the government get the authority to tell us what we can and can’t do to our bodies?”

Leslie Moyer, Shady Grove resident, believes using the morning-after pill demonstrates responsibility.

“For those of you who think a woman shouldn’t have access to the morning after pill because it prevents her from taking responsibility for her actions by simply taking a pill, I would point out that many medications fall into that category – specifically all of the medications that a person might take due to an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, or unhealthy weight,” said Moyer. “Those include all high blood pressure medications, diabetes meds, cholesterol meds, Viagra, etc. Besides, taking the morning-after pill is taking responsibility. I know one thing for sure: If men were culturally the primary caregivers in our culture, this would have been legalized over-the-counter long ago.”

Lyn Arter, retired local librarian, said thorough reproductive education is needed.

“In Oklahoma, since we have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, we need to encourage teens to take precautions,” said Arter. “They need to first learn what having intercourse is about, then how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The morning-after pill is one more way to help prevent the unwanted pregnancy but what we really need is to stop encouraging young girls’ thinking that having a baby is cool. Children should be a well-thought-out decision made by people well-prepared to care and love them, not just the product of a night of messing around.”

Local resident Richard Hoenes also believes the FDA ruling is sound.

“In Oklahoma, girls as young as 16 can have sex legally, so they should have access to Plan B,” said Hoenes. “And if the choice is unwanted pregnancy or contraception, I’ll pick contraception.”

Six local pharmacies were contacted, asking if Plan B or a generic equivalent is available. Of the six, three carry the drug: Cherokee Hills Pharmacy, Reasor’s and Walgreen’s, with varying restrictions. It is not currently available locally to anyone under age 17. Three other pharmacies – Bird’s TMC, Tahlequah Drug Co. and Walmart – do not carry the drug in any form.

Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA