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FDA Approves 'Plan B' Pill for 17-Year-Olds

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 1 comments

Responding to a federal judge's directive, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it will now allow 17-year-olds to get the controversial "morning-after" birth control pill without a doctor's prescription.

In 2006, the FDA said it would limit over-the-counter access to the pill, also known as Plan B, to women 18 and older. But U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman ruled last month in a New York lawsuit that the FDA had to reconsider whether to make the drug available to all women, regardless of age, without a prescription.

Plan B is an extra high dose of regular birth control that needs to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to be effective. Essentially, the drug prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. It does not interrupt an already implanted pregnancy.

Religious conservatives object to Plan B, saying it is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus, and could also encourage premarital sex.

Supporters of broader access to Plan B argue that it is safe and effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy, and could also help reduce the number of abortions. They also contend that the FDA's decision to limit access to the drug to women 18 and older was a concession to the conservative views of then-President George W. Bush and his administration.

The FDA originally approved Plan B as a prescription drug in 1999. It is manufactured by Duramed Research Inc. of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.


1 comments: to “ FDA Approves 'Plan B' Pill for 17-Year-Olds so far...

  • MikeT April 28, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    I have mixed feelings about the "abortaficient" birth control methods. There are women who need the drugs in order to keep their hormone levels normal. Without them, they'll have terrible mood swings, among other things, and we're talking about 40 year olds trying to ease into menopause here.

    I think that in some respects there may be more divine sympathy for a drug that prevents a pregnancy from ever happening than for a procedure which stops one that has started.

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