A ruling by the Food and Drug Administration is raising some eyebrows. The FDA says they are attempting to find the middle ground on a controversial issue. The FDA will lower the age required to purchase emergency contraception known as the "morning after" pill. The move is generating strong reactions from both sides of the issue.
In order to allow easier access to emergency contraception, the FDA is lowering the age requirement, announcing that anyone 15 or older can buy the morning after pill, over the
Counter, at drug stores; no prescription, parental permission, or doctor's note needed.
The move is sparking outrage from opponents. “It shows an alarming lack of concern for the safety of young girls and the fundamental rights of parents,” says Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council.
The new rule only applies to the Plan B One Step brand of morning after pill, and requires customers to provide proof of age at the check-out counter.
That is prompting more concerns from advocates -- and doctors. “I think it's a positive step that the age was lowered to age 15, but there are still major barriers. How many 15 year olds truly have proof that they're 15?” says ABC News medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.
And the decision to lower the age limit from 17 to 15 falls short of a court order set to take effect on Monday, requiring that all brands of emergency contraception be available over the counter to all ages.
“It is frustrating because this case has been going on for over 10 years. And one of the
things the federal judge said was that the FDA had delayed and dragged its feet for years and years and years. And so unfortunately this is another delay,” says Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The FDA says the decision is not meant to address the judge's ruling. And with the clock ticking, it is still unclear how the agency will respond.