Raising Women’s Voices

EC Now Available to 17-Year-Olds!

Posted in Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on April 23, 2009

On Wednesday the FDA lowered the age at which men and women can purchase emergency contraception, or Plan B, without a prescription. Since 2006, emergency contraception has been available to 18-year-olds over the counter at drugstores, and has had no measurable effect on the nation’s abortion or teenage pregnancy rates.planb

Last month Judge Edward R. Korman of Federal District Court in NY ruled that the FDA’s decision to allow only those 18 or older to purchase the pills was motivated by politics, not science. He gave the FDA 30 days to lower the age limit.

Contraceptive advocates have thought that wide access to Plan B would lower both abortion and teen pregnancy rates. But up to 1 in 3 girls will get pregnant under the age of 20–with 80% of these pregnancies unplanned. Much more will need to be done to counter this ‘epidemic’.

This is a step in the right direction, though, as under the Bush administration, the agency’s scientists supported access to those at least as young as 17. It is generally acknowledged that no amount of scientific evidence would have caused Bush appointees to approve this.

Another score for women’s health outweighing politics.

For the full article click here


One Response

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  1. MomTFH said, on April 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    As much as this is a minor victory, I still find the policy troubling. If this age limit is applied in the way that age limits are applied for alcohol and tobacco, anyone who looks under thirty will be asked for identification when purchasing emergency contraception. So, even if you are a 25 yr old woman, you will have to produce an ID with your name and address on it.

    I think this will definitely have a chilling effect on women who already have problems with access to reproductive care, such as women in smaller, rural communities.

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