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Judge lifts age restriction on morning after pill

Published On: Apr 05 2013 05:23:14 PM EDT

Judge ok's morning after pill for all ages

A federal judge has removed restrictions on the controversial morning after pill.

It will soon be available to women of any age over-the-counter

It's a move the FDA first recommended in 2011 but it was overruled by the Obama administration.


The morning after pill is a large dose of estrogen taken after unprotected sex to prevent the fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg.

Until now, women who wanted to get the pill over the counter had to be at least 17-years-old.  Anyone younger was required to have a prescription from a doctor.

But Federal Judge Edward R Korman has changed that, ruling the Obama administration's restrictions on access to the pill was "arbitrary.. capricious and unreasonable."

Planned Parenthood officials are calling the decision a victory for women's health care.

They say greater access could reduce the estimated 750,000 unplanned teen pregnancies each year.

"I am very hopeful that increased access will reduce not only the number of unintended pregnancies among teenagers but absolutely the number of abortions among teenagers," said Planned Parenthood East Penn and Bucks County CEO Kim Custer.

Custer says the ruling is an opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about their sexuality, the responsibilities and consequences that go with it.

Local parents are split on the ruling.

"They don't know the long term effects of these morning after pills and it's not for a court to decide what my children can ingest into their bodies," said Beth Farmer.

"I think access for women is really important and I think for me growing up in an age when it wasn't available to people and how many women died  because of that I still think it is really important," said Lisa DeVuono.

"It's just giving more younger women, basically feeling like it's alright to have unprotected sex and think it's okay," said Gustavo Rivera.

The judge ruled the FDA must lift all age restrictions for the morning after pill and its generic brands within 30 days.

The pro-life organization CareNet is urging the Obama administration to appeal the ruling.

It says it put political expediency ahead of the health of teens and access to the morning after pill has not been shown to reduce unintended pregnancy rates.