A federal judge of the Eastern District of New York has ordered the FDA to make the morning after birth control pill accessible to anyone of any age. This pill will be moving from behind the counter to the same shelves that display Afrin, Theraflu and Airborne.
Until recently, girls under the age of 17 needed to obtain permission from their doctor before purchasing the drug. However, if you are over the age of 17, you do not need a prescription or parental permission. Over the next 30 days, the FDA is required to lift these age restrictions.
This emergency contraceptive is not to be confused with the abortion pill. The morning after pill prevents pregnancy while the abortion pill is only used after pregnancy has been established. Plan B is most effective if taken within 24 hours of the sexual encounter, but can work up to 120 hours after.
If taken soon enough, this pill can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. If a woman is already pregnant, the pill will have no effect since it merely prevents fertilization of an egg.
Half of the nation’s pregnancies are unintentional and wider access to a pill such as this will hopefully help to eliminate some of those numbers.
As of now, it is unclear whether or the not the U.S. government plans to appeal the judge’s decision.