THURSDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- The Obama administration announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge's order to eliminate any age restrictions on who can buy morning-after birth control pills without a prescription.
The move follows a Tuesday decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lower the age at which females can buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill -- girls age 15 years of age and older will now have access, compared to the prior limit of 17.
With Wednesday's appeal, the federal government has indicated that it only wants to ease access to emergency contraception by a certain degree, the Associated Press reported.
"Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in an agency news release.
"The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease," she said.
The emergency contraceptive is made by Teva Women's Health Inc.
To prevent girls under the age of 15 from buying Plan B, the FDA said the product would bear a label stating that proof of age be required, and a special product code would prompt such an inquiry from the cashier. "In addition, Teva has arranged to have a security tag placed on all product cartons to prevent theft," the FDA noted.
On April 5, Judge Edward Korman, from the Eastern District of New York, gave the FDA 30 days to remove age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step. Until then, girls 16 and younger needed a doctor's prescription to get the pill, which typically works if taken within 72 hours after interc
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