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Morning-After Pill For All Ages Approved In US

A United States federal judge ruled Friday that the US government has to make the morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages. Sixteen ...

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|Apr 6|magazine6 min read

 

A United States federal judge ruled Friday that the US government has to make the morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages. Sixteen years of age and younger currently require a prescription to gain access to the pill.

The ruling of this politically controversial subject comes after a fight that spans a decade over who should have access to the pill. The judge ordered that, within a month, the Food and Drug Administration must make the morning-after pill accessible to girls of all ages.

This ruling reverses a decision made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2011 that barred over-the-counter sales of the controversial pill to girls under the age of 17.

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood hailed the ruling as "a significant and long-overdue step forward for women's health that will benefit women of all ages."

In 2012, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggested in order to lower the high unintended pregnancy rate in the US that oral contraceptives be sold over the counter without a prescription. The morning-after pill can work up to 72 hours after intercourse and should not be confused with abortion pills as it does not work after implantation.

Scientists, including those at the FDA, have pushed for unrestricted access to the morning-after pill for years, along with significant medical groups, like the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They argue that the limitations effectively keep adolescents and young teenagers from being able to use a safe drug in a timely way to prevent pregnancy, which carries greater safety risks than the morning-after pill.

Dr Cora Collette Breuner, Pediatrician and Professor of adolescent medicine said the American Academy of Pediatrics considers the ruling as a triumph of science over politics. "Finally, my children and their children will have access to a product they did not have before," she said.

Additional Information on the Ruling: