Federal judge makes Morning-After Pill available to women of all ages without prescription

In the next 30 days, the Morning-After Pill is expected to be available to women of all ages without a prescription.

Today a New York federal judge has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must make emergency contraceptives available to women of all ages within 30 days.

Currently, emergency contraceptive is available to women 17 and older at pharmacies who choose to carry the drug.

The new ruling eliminates the age limit.

Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn made the ruling Friday.
He says his order must be carried out within a month, and he criticized the FDA for failing to engage in rulemaking to adopt an age-restricted marketing regime. He says the plaintiffs should not be forced to endure and the agency's misconduct should not be rewarded for its "delay and obstruction."
He says the case isn't about the potential misuse of the so-called morning-after pill by 11-year-olds. He says the contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter. He says the number of 11-year-olds likely to use the drugs was minuscule.

Kristin Putnam of Broken Arrow, a billings ovulation method instructor, teaches women how to manage their fertility natural, and says she is concerned about the federal ruling to allow women of any age to get the morning after pill over the counter.

"We are given the job to protect our youth, we need to do that and if we are just saying 'Oh do whatever you want, go get this medication,' it could be a really big risk factor for them health-wise," Putman said.

Putman is concerned the teens could abuse the medication and hurt themselves.

"(Maybe she) doesn't want her parents to know or doesn't want other people to know that she's taking contraceptives so she doesn't get a prescription from her doctor and then goes gets this, perhaps on a routine basis, she doesn't understand the kind of medication she's putting into her body."

But others, like Kate Neary-Pounds with Planned Parenthood, say this will be a good thing – to help prevent unwanted pregnancies

"We know that over half of all pregnancies are unintended and we work very hard at Planned
Parenthood to council young women to postpone sex and wait... but we know that's not always the case."

Neary-Pounds says the ruling in particular will help young women, who may not be sure who to turn to.

"This would eliminate a lot of barriers that a young person would have had to go through, scheduling appointments a doctor, the expense, waiting to be seen."

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