FDA Allows Some Minors to Purchase Emergency Contraception



On April 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that 17-year-olds can now purchase the emergency contraception Plan B, according to a story from the Associated Press.

This decision turns over restrictions made by the Bush administration to limit access to Plan B for women under the age of 18.

In 2006, the FDA made Plan B available without prescription as an over-the-counter drug for women age 18 and over. Prior to this, women had see a doctor and get a prescription in order to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. The decision from the FDA to grant over-the-counter status to Plan B came following a 2005 lawsuit filed by the Center For Reproductive Rights.

“Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that can prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault. If taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex, Plan B reduces the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent,” according to the Plan B Web site.

This decision is another landmark move in the direction of granting women total reproductive freedoms. This is not an issue of morality, it is an issue of granting a woman the right to family planning and the ability to chose when she will become pregnant. In New York state, 17 is the legal age to consent to sexual intercourse. Therefore, if a 17-year-old woman may legally consent to sex, she should legally be allowed access to contraception without parental permission.


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