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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Prescription required for ‘morning-after’ pill for minorscomment (0)

December 22, 2011


WASHINGTON — The head of the federal health department has rebuffed a plan by a subsidiary to permit the sale on store shelves of a “morning-after” pill that can cause abortions.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, rejected Dec. 7 a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration that would have enabled even young teenagers and preteens to buy a drug with abortion-producing potential as easily as hair spray and cough drops.

Her action means the “morning-after” pill known as Plan B One-Step will continue to require a prescription for girls less than 17 years of age. Women 17 and older still will not need a prescription, but they also will continue to need to request the drug from pharmacists, who stock it behind their counters.

The same restrictions apply to Plan B, which is a drug requiring a two-step process.

Both versions of Plan B are referred to as “emergency contraception,” a term used interchangeably with the “morning-after” pill. While both work to restrict ovulation in a woman or prevent fertilization, it is their back-up mechanism that draws particular opposition from pro-lifers. Acting after fertilization, the drug can block implantation of a tiny embryo in the uterine wall, thereby causing an abortion, pro-life advocates point out.

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