Judge Rules That 14-Year-Olds Can Get the Abortion Pill, Too!

Federal District Judge Edward Korman ruled Friday to direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove the age restriction on emergency contraception within 30 days and allow the product on pharmacy shelves for all women.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had previously instructed the FDA to require a prescription for girls under the age of 17. That order from 2011 has now been overturned.

Following her ruling, Korman said, "The decisions of the Secretary with respect to Plan B One-Step and that of the FDA with respect to the Citizen Petition, which it had no choice but to deny, were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."

So, what exactly is Plan B One-Step? The company’s website states:

You should use Plan B One-Step within 72 hours (3 days) after you've had unprotected sex or birth control failure to help prevent pregnancy from happening. The sooner you take it, the better it works.

Plan B One-Step is used as a backup emergency method for birth control if, for example:

  • Your regular birth control failed (e.g., your partner's condom broke or slipped)
  • You made a mistake with your regular method (e.g., you forgot to take your birth control pill)
  • You didn't use any birth control method

Do not take Plan B One-Step:

  • If you're already pregnant, because it won't work
  • If you're allergic to levonorgestrel or any of the ingredients inPlan B One-Step
  • In place of regular birth control. Plan B One-Step® should not be used as routine birth control, as it isn't as effective
  • To protect yourself from HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS) or any other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

The website also says, “If you're sexually active, it's always a good idea to see a healthcare professional for routine checkups. Your healthcare professional will talk to you about sexually transmitted diseases, and if necessary, test you for them, discuss effective methods of routine birth control, and answer any other questions you may have.”

CNN reports:

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights also disagreed with the ruling, citing what he sees as a "contempt shown for parental rights."

"A 12-year-old girl in a New York City school cannot be given an aspirin by her teacher, even if she has a fever. The same girl cannot buy a large soda during lunchtime because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decreed that it is not good for her. But she can be given a pill, unbeknownst to her parents, that could arguably abort her baby," he said in a statement.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) offered her own statement:

“[Friday’s] ruling highlights the importance of Food and Drug Administration regulations being based on science, not politics. As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to benefit a woman’s personal, economic and social health and stability. Increasing access to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy is an essential part of basic health care.”

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