Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In a blog entry at ColorLines, Akiba Solomon laments a decision by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to squash the FDA's decision to allow girls under 17 to buy emergency contraception without a prescription. She cites four ways in which the decision may harm young women of color.

1. Black and brown women are more likely to get pregnant by mistake

I’m so not a fan of white-women-as-control-group, but in this context, it’s important to note that while 36 out of 1,000 white girls and women ages 15 to 44 have an unintended pregnancy, that rate is 86 for Latinas and freaking 91 for black girls and women. (I’ve searched for recent, reliable stats for Native American and API sisters to no avail.) If anybody needs better access to EC, it’s us. 

2. It’s unfair to undocumented girls and women

Because of the age restrictions, pharmacists store EC behind the counter. Even if you are eligible for it without a prescription, Sebelius’s decision ensures that you’ll get carded. Not so good. As Advocates for Youth’s Aimee Thorne-Thomsen points out, “Women of color and immigrants face significant barriers securing identification documents.” There’s also a question of what constitutes proper ID: “How many teenagers have any form of identification, never mind an ID that shows proof of age?” she asks. “And who is to say that pharmacists will accept a school ID anyway? This is just another obstacle in women being able to take care of themselves.”

Read Akiba Solomon's entire post at ColorLines.