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Birth control for all, says federal judge

by AirTalk

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Should Plan B be available over the counter to women of all ages? Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Since 2011, only women over 17-years-old can get Plan B One-Step—what’s commonly known as the morning-after pill—without a prescription. That’s quickly about to change, after today’s ruling from a federal judge in New York ordering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the pill available to any woman over-the-counter, regardless of age. It’s taken more than a decade for the morning-after pill to be available to all women.

In 1999, the FDA approved the drug as a prescription emergency contraception. Seven years later, the FDA revised its decision to allow the drug to be sold without a prescription to women 18 or older. A decision made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2011 limited over-the-counter sales of the drugs to women 17 or older, despite FDA’s push to make the drug available over-the-counter to all women. 

Judge Edward Korman this morning called Sebelius’ decision at the time, "politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent." Is today’s federal court ruling the right one? Should teens have access to the pill?


Donna J. Harrison, M.D.  Executive Director and Director of Research and Public Policy at the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Dr. Malcolm Potts, Bixby Professor at UC Berkeley, obstetrician and reproductive scientist who has studied oral contraceptives since the 1960s

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