A federal judge has ordered the removal of morning-after pill prescription requirements for women of all ages. The emergency contraception option was previously only available to girls over the age of 16 without a prescription.
Judge Edward R Korman of the Federal District Court has ordered the F.D.A. to make the morning-after pill available to all women, over-the-counter, without a prescription. He has given the F.D.A. 30 days to comply with the order.
As reported by The New York Times, a petition was filed over eight years ago to lift the previous restriction. Judge Korman has accused the F.D.A. of “intolerable delays in processing the petition.” He ordered the F.D.A. to discontinue any “further delay and obstruction.”
Medical professionals have supported making emergency contraception available to all women, regardless of age, for years. Numerous medical agencies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have concluded that the drug is safe enough to distribute without a prescription. This includes girls sixteen and under.
Specifically, the judge removed the prescription and age restrictions for the morning-after pill labeled as Plan B One-Step. Plan B is the most widely available and popular emergency contraceptive option available.
As discussed by PlannedParenthood.org, emergency contraception is meant to be used as a “safe and effective” way to prevent pregnancy following unprotected sex. The morning-after pill must be taken within five days of unprotected intercourse.
The drug works by preventing the joining of the sperm and egg. It prevents eggs from releasing, inhibiting conception. Medical professionals stress that the pill does not function as a drug induced abortion, as it prevents conception.
The morning-after pill has been found to be effective between 85 and 89 percent of the time. Serious complications are rare, but women may experience unpleasant side-effects when using emergency contraception.
Women may experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, or an unusual menstrual cycle. Doctors warn that emergency contraceptives should not be used in place of birth control.
Within the next 30 days, the emergency contraception should be available to all women as Judge Korman has removed the morning-after pill prescription requirement, for women of all ages.