BY NADINE ANTOINE
SC STAFF WRITER
The Food and Drug Administration has now decided to make the emergency contraceptive, Plan B One-Step, available to those 15-years-old and older.
The contraceptive is currently available over the counter to women 17-years-old and above.
Previously, women have had to ask a pharmacist for the morning after pill, and those under the age of 17-years-old could only get the pill with a prescription.
Now the contraceptive will be available in the family planning and women’s health sections in the aisles of stores instead of being kept behind the counter. Women will still have to show identification to buy the product.
A study done from 2006 to 2008 found that 1 out of 10 women capable of reproduction had used some form of emergency contraception.
The FDA’s move will now allow purchase of the contraceptive without delay or denial, and now women will be able to purchase it regardless if the pharmacy is open or not.
Plan B significantly reduces the chances of pregnancy and works best if taken within three days after unprotected sex. If one waits too long to take the pill however, a fertilized egg could reach the uterus and become implanted, making the drug ineffective.
The pill does not terminate an existing pregnancy and does not harm a developing fetus.
President Barack Obama said that he is content with the new federal regulations but said more study was needed to see whether it was safe to allow access to the pill for girls younger than 17-years-old.
“I’m very comfortable with the decisions they’ve made right now based on solid scientific evidence for girls 15 and older,” Obama said.
Throughout this process numerous questions have arisen, such as, will it make girls become more sexually active at a younger age, will it empower sexual predators, and can a girl as young as 15 can purchase Plan B without permission from a parent?
Teva Women’s Health, which makes Plan B, said it would begin over-the-counter sales within a few months.
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