Our network

Judge Rules Plan B Morning-After Pill Must Be Available To All, Over-the-Counter | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Judge Rules Plan B Morning-After Pill Must Be Available To All, Over-the-Counter

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Would you want your 11-year-old daughter, if you had one, to have timely access to medication that could change the course of her life? 

Before you answer, what if it was the emergency contraception of Plan B pill?

A federal judge paved the way today to make that drug available to all women, regardless of age, over the counter, without a prescription. 

But, this isn't a story about just the Plan B pill, it's a story about politics as well.

It's the latest in a decade-plus fight which many say is purely political. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration recommended the pill be available, easily, and to all, without any age restrictions. But President Obama's Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, blocked it. President Obama backed her. Today, the judge offered scathing words for Sebelius, and gave the F.D.A. 30 days to offer up the drug. 

It is currently available over-the-counter only to people over the age of 17. 

Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council think making it easily available to women as young as 11 will be a problem, "Yes, this is likely going to be used as a first line contraceptive which is dangerous." 

But Jodi Jacobson of RHRealitycheck.org, who backs reproductive and sexual health and justice says, "None of the science supports that contention. The reality is that people are freaking out and focusing on the 11 to 13 year old group when rates of sexual activity in that group are fairly low. For those who need to have access, it's a time sensitive method. You can't wait to call the doctor on a weekend and get a prescription, because by then it's too late."

Higgins says the new ruling takes parents and doctors completely out of the equation, "We have parents for a reason for guidance, for direction and I think parents really want to be informed. What this does is prevent young girls from going and seeking medical advice because they can get this over the counter, they're going to avoid going to the doctor and getting screened for STDs which we know spike when over the counter contraception is available to teens."

Higgins and Jacobson also disagree on whether repeated use of the morning-after pill could have adverse side effects, but the judge said no evidence of that exists.


Capitol Hill Deals

Capitol Hill Businesses