The morning after pill, or Plan B pill, which helps to prevent pregnancy if taken shortly after having having sexual intercourse, has been granted new FDA approval to be offered to teenagers as young as 15.
Prior to the new FDA ruling, consumers had to prove they were at least 17-years-old or older to buy the emergency contraception. The revised requirement was issued on Tuesday and gives leniency to one specific brand of the morning after pill, the manufacturers of Plan B One-Step.
The Plan B pill is currently sold behind many national pharmacy counters and considered to be about 75% effective.
Women’s rights groups and contraception advocacy organizations are still fighting to lessen the pill’s restrictions even further, asking the FDA to allow the pill to be offered over the counter, next to pregnancy tests and condoms on store shelves and do away completely with any age restrictions.
Opposition groups argue that children should not have access to the pill, questioning why a child would need permission to take asprin at school, but not need permission to take Plan B.
The FDA agreed with the women’s rights groups however and sought to remove age restricts but Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over-rode the decision in late 2011, saying that kids as young as 11, shouldn’t be able to buy the pills without a parent’s knowledge.
Women’s rights groups accused Sebelius of pandering to voters and not taking actions in the best interest of reproductive rights.