Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Feds To Allow Teens To Buy Morning-After Pills Over The Counter

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The U.S. Department Of Justice revealed in a letter Monday that it will comply with a Brooklyn judge's decision to lift age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of the controversial morning-after pill.

DOJ officials say if U.S. District Judge Edward Korman approves their plan for compliance, they will drop their appeal of his April ruling.

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing in 2011 to allow over-the-counter sales of the "Plan B" contraceptive, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled that plan.

The judge said that move was politically motivated and scientifically unjustified.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Annie Tummino of National Women's Liberation, told NY1 on Monday night that she did not think her legal struggle will end any time soon.

"We still have to see what the judge says and make sure the judge says that what the Obama administration and the FDA submit is in fact complying with his orders, that is another step that needs to happen," Tummino said. "And once that happens, if he says yes, we believe that soon after that, according to them, they will finally approve this."

Tummino said she thought the morning-after pill could become available in not only pharmacies, but also in bodegas, gas stations as groceries.

"I think the notion of doing it supports the fact that young people are having sex and because they're having sex they should have the choice as well as to whether or not they protect themselves," said one New Yorker.

"I think there should be an age restriction especially for younger kids, you know, 14 to 18," said another New Yorker.

"No, no. There has to be an age limit. There is an age limit for drinking, for voting. There has to be an age limit. A 12-year-old...the body may be there the mind is just not there," noted a third New Yorker.

By Monday night, there was no timeline as to when the morning-after pill would be made widely available.

Opponents say making the drug available to girls under 18 would undermine their parents' rights.

Bruce Schreiber, a supervising pharmacist at CO Bigelow in the West Village, said he also wants customers to know what they are buying when they get the pill.

"Like anything, it's a drug, and drugs should be counseled, especially something like this. So I'm a little uneasy separating the two issues. I'm a little uneasy about it being in the front where somebody could just grab it, quickly pay for it and get out the door without knowing the effects of it," Schreiber said.

Opponents of abortion say making the drug available to girls under 18 undermines their parents' rights.

The morning-after pill is already available without a prescription in more than 60 countries including the U.K , France, Denmark and Ghana.

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