(WASHINGTON) — Plan B One-Step, a pill used to prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse, can now be sold in drug stores without a prescription to females 15 and older.
Furthermore, Plan B will be available in sections of stores where family planning or women’s health products are displayed so that customers can readily purchase it in the event a pharmacy counter is not open.
The Food and Drug Administration announced its decision Tuesday to expand the availability of the drug, which is currently sold without a doctor’s authorization to girls and women 17 and older.
Advocates of Plan B have said it should be accessible to women of all ages while opponents argue it allows young girls to be promiscuous.
There is still a possibility that the Justice Department might contest the FDA’s decision since Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius had previously overruled the agency’s earlier recommendation that there should be no age restriction on Plan B.
This time, however, an HHS official said that Sebelius appears comfortable with the FDA’s new rules, which include drug stores requiring proof of age before Plan B, which is listed as an emergency contraception, is sold.
Meanwhile, pharmacies are under no requirement to stock the pill, for whatever reason they might have, including religious objections.
As much as Planned Parenthood favored no age restrictions, it praised the FDA’s decision. However, Anna Higgins, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, maintained the drug is unsafe and will give teens the impression that they can have sex without repercussions.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Julie Wootton, Times-News
Jacqueline Howard, CNN