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Women Over 17 Can Now Buy Plan B Over-the-Counter

On Wednesday, the FDA announced that Plan B, the morning-after pill, will be available without a prescription to women 17 and older. Plan B is essentially a high dose of birth control pills that both stops ovulation and decreases the chance a fertilized egg will attach to the uterus. When used within 72 hours after unprotected sex, it can lower the risk of pregnancy by almost 90 percent. Its opponents argue that it is simply another form of abortion and that allowing minors access to it endangers their health.

In 2006, the FDA approved the sale of Plan B without a prescription to those 18 or older, but in the intervening years a federal court ordered that Plan B be made available without a prescription for 17-year-olds too, particularly because research going back since 2005 argues that it is safe for them.

Federal judge Edward Korman, who ordered the pill available for 17-year-olds, has also asked the FDA to consider whether it should be available over the counter to women of all ages, chastising the agency for allowing "unusual involvement of the White House in the Plan B decision-making process." Ultimately, he said, "No useful purpose would be served by continuing to deprive 17-year-olds access to Plan B without a prescription." Click here to read more.


Join The Conversation
sham28 sham28 8 years
I took this once because I had sex while I was on antibiotics (which can maybe, maybe affects BC, but you can find a thousand studies proving AND disproving this). At the time it slipped my mind that I needed to be on alert because I haven't really had to be for a year (I'm religious with the pill), but the next day I just felt a little nervous and wanted to be totally confident that I was covered and paid the 50 bucks. I'm so glad I did, and the fact that it was available over-the-counter made it a total no- brainer to go get it. I only had to take it once, but I want it available to any sexually active girl who gets that "uh- oh" feeling.
miriah15 miriah15 8 years
I had sex for the first time when I was 13, volunteered all through high school at multiple associations, while still having sex, played sports at the AAA level, graduated with honors, continued to have sex, and have now graduated college with honors as well. If a girl is ready she is ready it has nothing to do with the type of person she is, and if a girl is having sex and the condom breaks, regardless of her age she should have access to both contraception and emergency contraception.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
So. Very. Sad.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"shouldn't the 18 and younger crowd be focusing on school, studying, playing sports, volunteering. Maybe if more of us encourged that" Of course they should be happy and carefree, but we dont' live in a happy and carefree world anymore. 18 year old are also legally able to go off to war and defend this country and many do and never return so if your old enough to lay down your life why not to have sex safely? I mean people weren't up in arms when the recruiting of 18 year olds to join the military went up and got more "aggressive" be up in arms about that too!
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
A 14 year old could easily get Plan B from an 18 year old person they go to school so the " a 17 year old may give it to a younger person" defense isn't really a good one. There are a lot of 17 year olds that are off at college and living on their own as young adults and should be treated as such with at least having access to Plan B. I also agree with xxstardust that the age should be different depending on each states age for consent to sex. If a teenager is legally allowed to have sex by law then we should be providing them with the same medical access as an "adult women"
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
The thing is, Anonymous, that even the girls who do all of that stuff are still the same girls having sex.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
redchick152, that sucks that it was humiliating for you! My experience was the opposite. They basically just threw the stuff at me without asking me any questions or offering to answer any of mine.
redchick152 redchick152 8 years
i was 18-19 and in college, i decided to get hammered and sleep w/ this d-bag guy one night. i didn't remember anything about it, but the next day i decided to go to Planned Parenthood and get Plan B. any of you that have been to PP know that is the ULTIMATE humilating least in my college town! i don't think Plan B was available over the counter @ the time, and damn..i wish it was! but it made me think twice about my sexual choices. i think it should only be available thru a doctor. not every young girl is responsible and making them go to a doctor is the only way to gaurd against a wave of STD's.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Yay! As someone whose sister got pregnant at 16, this is definitely a good idea and there shouldn't be an age limit.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
It should be available to all ages. There are 11 year olds having sex, and what a damn tragedy if one of those girls got pregnant. The thing is, is that it may be a catch-22. By having a backup method like Plan B, it might encourage girls to have unprotected sex, since they have something OTC that can "stop" pregnancy from happening. However, it is expensive 2 pills cost nearly the same as an entire pack of birth control. What we should really do is make more of an issue out of birth control in general, not just Plan B. I am sure there is some creative marketing we can do to make teens and their parents more open to actually being on a form of BC to make it so they know sex is a part of life that you need to take control of. And I think it's even better if we make it known that even with BC and Plan B, nothing is every 100% effective or certain.
c4rolin3 c4rolin3 8 years
i think that this is a good idea. it definitely needs to be made available to all ages. in england i know it is- however you go to the doctors, family planning or it is available over the counter. in this case you have to have a chat with a pharmasist and go through a number of routine questions and chat. this is important as it's another stage of sexual education. it provides opportunity to discuss methods of contraception, for a professional to ensure that you are taking the necessary steps and also offer you any additional advice you should need. i hope that this over the counter step will be done the same way in america rather than just being able to simply ask for it and get it like a pack of chewing gum as so many other meds are available in the us. i'd definitely like to echo some of the comments made here to say that you could have taken every action possible contraceptive wise. a condom can break, antibiotics can render the contraceptive pill ineffective and the morning after pill is still not 100% even if you take all three steps. i know because this is exactly what happened to my sister.... but i'm now the proud auntie of a gorgeous little boy. she wouldn't change it for the world- but she was 26.... the same thing could happen to a 16 year old even if she had been responsible and taken all the necessary steps to protect herself. also importantly for teens- always use a condom. pregnancy is always the main worry which can be protected against by pills, injections or patches. however std's which can be life threatening are overlooked a lot of the time because most media emphasis is upon teenage pregnancy rates.
dootsie dootsie 8 years
Plan B costs about as much as a month of birth control pills or a little more. And essentially, it does the same thing as the average "pill". I DO NOT believe that it will promote underage sex, as long as people are aware of WHAT Plan B is and how it works. People think it's magical... and it's not.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Better than pregnant at 17.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
@xxstardust - I'm glad that you pointed out that it's not a viable alternative to plain old birth control, be that condoms or the pill. It's the same argument that often used against abortion, and it's just not the case.
ECULeah ECULeah 8 years
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
Yay! The only bad thing I could say is that these girls having sex are avoiding the doctor by just being able to get these over the counter... when they should be getting paps and being put on OCPs.
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
My issue with it being available only to 18 and older was always this - the legal age for consensual sex in almost all states is MUCH younger than 18! (In NJ, for example, the age of consent starts at 13 in some cases!) If a person is old enough in the eyes of the law to say yes to sex, then they should be old enough to legally obtain any sort of safe, FDA approved contraceptive they need to make that legal, consensual sex safe, even in the case of an emergency. There's already very little, if anything, stopping a minor from getting Plan B. You can buy it over the counter at 17, and how many 14-15-16 year olds don't have friends/sisters/cousins/etc who can get it for them? As to 'using it as birth control' - firstly, Plan B is EXPENSIVE. At least in my state, it comes to over $60 a dose with tax. It also does a doozy on a lot of girls; my roommate took it a few months ago and was sick to her stomach for two days. It's not a viable option for regular contraception, and I really think most people would learn that after taking it once.
luckykarma luckykarma 8 years
I think that there shouldn't be any age limit. If you are having sex, no matter how safe you are, accidents happen. This is a back up. As long as people know that then I do not see a problem at all. As long as it is safe for their bodies at whatever age it should be available. What if someone gets raped? This should be an option for that person, if it is a safe enough alternative! If someone's 15 year old daughter has sex and is educated and the condom breaks or the pill doesn't work right and there is the possibility that they could get pregnant, they should have this option. You cannot stop "kids/teenagers" from having sex!! Its not possible. Of course you could get them a chastity belt :P Unless you were a late bloomer, every single person that reads this forum has had sex as a teenager and don't you wish this was around when you were that age? I sure do! Mistakes happen, people!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I honestly wish it were available to people younger than 17. The studies have all shown that it's not harmful to younger women, and to say that it encourages sex is really short-sighted. Teenagers, *young* teenagers, are already having sex. The availability of Plan B isn't going to encourage them to have more sex, just make the sex that they're already having less likely to lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I have to agree with everyone else, 17 is too young for sure.
1cigarrette 1cigarrette 8 years
I don't have a problem with Plan B, the only thing that scares me a bit is teenagers thinking this as a birthcontrol, like, NOT only for emergencies... although i'm almost sure you could always get this in my country without prescription and/or an ID.
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