US mulls easier access to emergency contraception

December 6, 2011

US regulators are considering whether to grant a drug company's request to make emergency contraception available over the counter to people of all ages instead of by prescription.

Currently, the morning-after pill -- which can reduce the chance of pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of -- is available by prescription only to people under 17 in the United States.

Those over 17 can ask for it at a pharmacy counter without a doctor's prescription.

Teva Pharmaceuticals asked the to change its rules to allow its product, Plan B One-Step, to be easily accessible to all ages, and industry watchers expect a decision on Wednesday.

"We believe that this defies good public health sense," said spokeswoman Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, citing STDs and sexual abuse as possible risks that may be ignored if youths can get the morning-after pill without consulting a doctor.

"Of course we are pro-life and of course that is a major issue on this, but we believe there is a real danger that Plan B can be given to girls and sexually abused and exploited minors under coercion and without their consent," she told AFP.

"The doctor can ask good questions to get to if there is a problem of . To remove that level of to me is removing a huge help to young girls."

Pro-choice advocates have long pressed for greater access to , and voiced hope that the FDA would loosen regulations.

"Hopefully, it will be right on the shelves between the condoms and the pregnancy tests," Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, an , was quoted as telling the Washington Post.

"We think it's good news for women's health and long overdue."

An FDA spokeswoman declined to give any details about the impending decision.

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3 comments

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Duude
1 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2011
its not emergency contraception. Its infanticide in a pill.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2011
If God didn't want infanticide then he wouldn't cause so many spontaneous abortions.

Why does your God kill so many "babies"?
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2011
Here's an idea: let's get the FDA out of the process of regulating religious views on sexuality, fertility, and abortion. As though there weren't already a stifling number of federal, state, and local regulations. The FDA should be doing its job of monitoring the safety of the med and then allowing people to make up their own minds about when to take it.

Of course, that's like twisted logic in a country where I can't buy Sudafed off the shelf because someone realized that meth-heads were buying it to make illegal drugs. I swear, if someone found a useful hallucinogen in toothpaste -- even if it took $100,000 per tube to extract it -- it would be off the shelves tomorrow.

@Duude: you are entitled to your opinion. However, abortion is legal in this country. As a result, the FDA has got no business setting random stipulations on the drug.

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