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A controversial issue has now been settled.
The Obama administration announced Monday that the morning after pill will now be available to all young women without a prescription, no matter their age. There’s been a long debate on the topic of age limits for the pill, and the Obama administration was fighting to enforce the age restriction and had even appealed a federal judge’s decision to make it available for young women of all ages.
The Planned Parenthood Health Center in Youngstown is just one place where people will be able to pick up the morning after pill. They can also go to their local pharmacy for emergency contraception without a prescription.
Planned Parenthood officials said they’re glad the age restriction has been lifted.
“When a woman feels that she might become pregnant after her contraception has failed or if she had unprotected sex, she needs fast access to emergency contraception. Lifting these restrictions allows that contraception to be stocked on store shelves and makes it more accessible to everyone,” said Celeste Ribbins, director of media, marketing and communications for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is concerned about the possible health effects for young girls and that there’s been no proof that wider access to these non-prescription drugs reduce abortion rates or pregnancies, but can contribute to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases.
“We can’t imagine a positive public health issue that would allow underage people to get such medication without some care from a doctor,” said Brian Corbin, executive director of health affairs for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.
Planned Parenthood says the FDA recommended doing away with the age restrictions after a thorough study in 2011.
“There have been multiple scientific studies that have shown that teens are just as likely as adults to use emergency contraception correctly and research has shown that teens understand that emergency contraception is not intended for ongoing regular use,” Ribbins said.
Experts claim the pill does not end a pregnancy and it must be taken within five days of unprotected sex.
The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female hormone progestin than is in regular birth control pills. Taking it within 72 hours of rape, condom failure or just forgetting regular contraception can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, but it works best within the first 24 hours. If a girl or woman already is pregnant, the pill, which prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, has no effect.