FDA Makes “Plan B” Pill Available to 17-Year-Olds

April 23, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday that it will now allow 17-year-old’s to purchase the so called, “morning-after” birth control pill without a doctor’s prescription, complying with a federal ruling issued last month. This announcement marks a distinct change in policy from the Bush administration, which limited access to woman over the age of 18, forcing younger women to obtain a doctor’s prescription.

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman, issued an order to the FDA on March 30, 2009, saying the agency must allow the Plan B drug makers to make the birth control drug available to 17-year old women. The FDA is not appealing the judge’s ruling, and issued a letter to the Plan B manufacturer detailing the new policy.

The FDA also says the change in access is consistent with the scientific findings from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, recommending over the counter access to women under the age of 18. The drug must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to be effective. Many women under the age of 18 needing the drug, were forced to “beat the clock,” scrambling to find a doctor in time to issue the prescription.

Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy, as some right to life conservatives have claimed. The drug, high doses of standard birth control pills, actually prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. Critics call it an “abortion pill,” because it may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

Supporters of the Plan B drug say it’s safe for teens to take and is highly effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies, especially in cases of rape. This simple birth control cocktail also supports social policy by reducing the abortion rate.

The conservative Bush administration pushed for limiting access of the Plan B drug when it was first approved in 2006.

This new FDA policy will now ease concerns of young women who engaged in unprotected sex, providing them with a reliable option to prevent pregnancy. The Plan B drug is not a treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.



One Response to “FDA Makes “Plan B” Pill Available to 17-Year-Olds”

  1. Christie on April 24th, 2009 1:10 pm

    This is a huge step in women’s rights and recognizing that if a woman thinks that she needs to take plan B she should have access to it regardless of her age. I’m not alone in thinking this. http://www.newsy.com/videos/plan_b_the_new_plan_a/ This opens up the freedom of choice. I don’t think it will be abused.

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