FDA Changes Requirements to Purchase Emergency Contraceptives

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.---The Food and Drug Administration approved selling the morning-after birth control pill to teens 15 or older without a prescription.

Plan B One-Step would be available over the counter, next to the feminine products. Teens would have to present an I.D. at the cash register to purchase it.

Currently, teens must be 17-years-old or older to purchase the contraceptive without a prescription. The pill is also kept locked behind the pharmacy counter.

Marie Moyer who is the mom of a 15-year-old said she worries about the change.

"For condoms, things like that, sure, not at all, but for any kind of medication there should be a prescription on it. Unless it's Tylenol or Ibuprofen," said Moyer.

However, she said she does not worry her son will get it because she keeps close attention to what he does.

"If the parents have an honest relationship with their children, then if shouldn't be an issue anyway," said Moyer.

Harrisonburg Doctor OB/GYN Cathy Slusher said the change could bring positives and negatives.

She said it could help increase the access to the contraceptive, even after pharmacy hours. However, that factor could also keep teens uninformed.

"Anybody who access the medication without discussing this with a pharmacist or with a physician is always at risk of not knowing what the medication is and what the side effects are," said Slusher.

According to Slusher, she worries it could also increase the use of the pill.

"The other concern i have with plan b being available in general is the repetive use of it for regular birth control. That's not the intent of the drug and it shouldn't be used in that fashion," said Slusher.

However, she said she does not believe this would influence a teenager's decision of having sex.

"A 15-year-old that is sexually active is not gonna make her decision based on the availability of emergency contraception," said Slusher.

Moyer said it would be naive to think teens are not having sex at 15.

"They're definitely are having sex at that age. It just depends whether their parents know about it or not," said Moyer.

Slusher said the FDA approval does not justify having sex at 15. However, it addresses a trend occurring in our society. That is the reason she thinks it's vital for parents and teacher to have a conversation about the subject with teenagers.

President Barack Obama would have until May 5 to appeal the FDA's decision.

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