In an official press announcement, the FDA has approved the over-the-counter sale of Plan B. The emergency contraceptive will be available to women and girls over the age of 15, who can present legal identification verifying their age. This decision has been debated since 2011. President Obama expressed concern and Secretary of Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA, just as it was about to approve an application from its manufacturer, Teva Women's Health, to sell it over the counter.
This announcement directly contradicts a court order, one that would allow the morning-after pill to be available to all ages. The new age limit of 15 might seem arbitrary to some, but at least it's better than the standing rules.
The decision to make Plan B more accessible has been criticized, with opponents citing easier access as causing higher rates of STIs and an increase in reckless pre-marital sex. But supporters like Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called the decision "a step in the right direction for increased access to a product that is a safe and effective method of preventing unintended pregnancies."
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