HOLYOKE, Mass. (wggb) — It’s a little pill stirring big controversy. A federal judge in Brooklyn has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning after pill available over the counter.
It’s been a debate since the morning after pill hit the market. But there are real concerns about teenage girls who may want to avoid an awkward conversation with their parents, abusing the drug.
“Instead of going to the doctor to get birth control pills, it might be easier for them to get the pill in case that they had sex,” explains pediatrician Dr. Cristina Culcea of Western Massachusetts Pediatrics.
Opponents of the prescription requirement say that prescriptions could potentially delay access to the drug which is most effective within 24-72 hours after unprotected sex. And while studies by the FDA found that the morning after pill is safe, Dr. Culcea is still concerned.
“My concern is the safety in very young adolescents under, I would say, 14 years of age. I’m not very sure that the studies were done on this particular group age.”
The ruling could be backed by the FDA based on a previous recommendation to make the pill available without a prescription regardless of the patients age. A recommendation that was overruled by the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary in 2011.
The FDA could appeal and be granted a stay on the ruling, but so far they have declined to comment citing the controversy as an ongoing legal matter.
If the FDA does not take action a woman or girl of any age will be able to buy the morning after pill right off the shelf in 30 days.