Should minors be allowed to buy morning-after pill?

Your 17-year-old daughter or son will soon be able to buy the morning-after pill over the counter. That’s because a federal judge has given the FDA 30 days to begin allowing minors to buy the emergency birth control drug called Plan B, without a prescription.

The FDA, which had restricted over-the-counter sale of the drug to women 18 and older, must now begin allowing 17-year-olds to buy it. And the judge asked the FDA to reconsider its ban on sales to minors as young as 11.

The judge said under the Bush administration, FDA restrictions on the drug involved “political considerations rather than being grounded in science.

Opponents are concerned that making the drug easily available to younger women could open the door for them to over use it as a primary method of birth control, with potential medical risks.

The judge said there was no evidence that Plan B would be safer for 18-year-olds than 17-year-olds. For younger women, he said it was better for the FDA to make a medical decision than a federal judge. Read the story.

What do you think about the judge’s ruling? Should people under 18 be allowed to buy the morning-after pill over the counter?

71 comments Add your comment

Kathy Bruce

March 25th, 2009
5:41 pm

Absolutely! If they can be treated like adults in criminal matters, why shouldn’t they be able to correct a mistake with a product that they could buy in less than a year’s time?

Nona

March 25th, 2009
5:45 pm

Kudos to this judge! It’s a great decision! Teens who purchase this product are making a much more responsible decision than having a baby before they’re financially and emotionally responsible enough to raise it. Ideally, they wouldn’t be having sex, but attempts to regulate sexual behavior has never been effective. Teens need access to this drug as well as to abortion without parental consent. This is a great decision.

Carolyn J.

March 25th, 2009
5:52 pm

May be good – May be bad, 17 year olds are very irresponsible and might try to use it as a form of birth control since they are obviously to laze to pop a birth control and/or use contraceptives. I don’t think it is designed to be used as birth control – might be harmful long term.

Carolyn J.

March 25th, 2009
5:53 pm

Before anyone says anything YES, I misspelled laze – I stand corrected. Should be “lazy”.

EJ

March 25th, 2009
5:57 pm

Bad decision. Why not just take parents further out of the equation. Parents need to be more involved and not less involved. These same teens could use the pill, all they had to do was ask their parents to get it for them. Keeping parents involved is a key to raising kids who will be productive, responsible adults.

Delta

March 25th, 2009
5:57 pm

Of course not. How would a 17 year old be wise enough to make a decision like that?

Carolyn J.

March 25th, 2009
5:59 pm

Regarding Nona’s message I don’t think Teens should ever be allowed to have abortions without parental consent. I know some older young people who use abortion as a form of birth control and have had numerous abortions because they wouldn’t use birth control. Think of the damage that could possibly be done to your body later in life not to mention what if some medical emergency occurs during the abortion and the parents are not even aware of what is going on. That’s too big of a decision for a Teen to handle.

Vic

March 25th, 2009
6:01 pm

Absolutely they should allow the morning after pill to be bought. By no stretch of the imagination does that “promote” sex. They are going to have sex regardless of what options are available. In the heat of the moment I highly doubt they think “Wait, I don’t have to worry, I can get the morning after pill!”

Mike

March 25th, 2009
6:01 pm

This is one issue in which I cannot understand the Republican viewpoint on. As a Republican/conservative I want to prevent abortions and this pill does just that. A 17, even 16 year old child will abort a baby if it is allowed to develop. The pill stops that issue from taking place. We have to agree, at some point where or when to call a cell a baby, I don’t believe we can do that within 24 hours of actually having sex !

TC

March 25th, 2009
6:02 pm

I do not think that it’s a good idea, because what if the child is allergic to something in the pill? It will be the “PARENTS” responsibility to take care of that childs medical bills if someting happens. I feel that if the government is passing this law, then when something happens they need to take care of the child if something goes wrong.

sedimenjerry

March 25th, 2009
6:07 pm

Sure, go ahead. Lets just hope that some people don’t abuse this.

Lucas

March 25th, 2009
6:10 pm

A 17-year old who was unfortunate – or misinformed – enough to require emergency contraception should be given access to it as immediately as possible. Particularly considering that they wouldn’t necessarily have time to get their parents involved.

donna outlaw

March 25th, 2009
6:14 pm

donna outlaw

March 25th, 2009
6:18 pm

I want to add another comment – a 17 year old is an adult in the eyes of the law as far as being arrested is concerned and as far as taking the parents further out of the equation? Most teens that have sex do not tell their parents and too many teens, while considered adults in some areas, are not responsible enough to remember to take the pill everyday and other birth control options, like Morena which my 20 year old daughter uses, are very expensive.

Janis

March 25th, 2009
6:25 pm

Heather

March 25th, 2009
6:28 pm

how can a girl be too young and immature to know well enough about themselves and their futures to decide whether or not to take the morning after pill, and at the same time be mature enough to be a parent 9 months later?

Brooke

March 25th, 2009
6:34 pm

As a young adult I have a very important newsflash:

A) Not necessary most, but a LARGE percentage of YOUR children will have had sex by the time they are 18

B) Even smart kids (like me who graduated with a 3.8 from college) have sex before they are 18; to this day the parents still think they are angels

C)If you are smart enough to know that it is not an intelligent decision to have a child while you are still growing up, more power to you. Parents aren’t consulted before the act of sex, they shouldn’t be forced into a situation afterwords. Has anybody considered the fact that sometimes the parents are CRAZY and bringing them in the situation would just make things a thousand times worse?

MEB

March 25th, 2009
6:34 pm

Yes…this is a far better option than abortion and there are too many unwanted pregnancies already.

bob

March 25th, 2009
6:46 pm

Good idea as long as the product can not advertise towards minors. I would prefer to see this product have the same advertising restrictions as cigarettes.

null

March 25th, 2009
6:56 pm

Anybody who still thinks abstinence programs work need to retire to the beachfront property in Nebraska. If it helps curtail the number of illegitimate parents, I say go for it. Hell, I’d rather my tax money go towards the morning-after pill and abortions than Viagra, which is asinine that Medicare pays for.

herbK

March 25th, 2009
7:01 pm

Oh, absolutely! Mustn’t have the little trollops birthing crotch fruit. We have enough trike motors as it is.

Kiddo

March 25th, 2009
7:12 pm

I think parents should be more involved with their kids lives. Kids may not be responsible enough to take the pill every night or even have the money to pay for it but it only takes common sense to use a condom. I don’t think the morning after pill should be used as birth control like abortions have become. Ok, so we let 17 year olds get it, what next 11 year olds. As a parent would you want your 11 year old to get pregnant and you never know about it? Plus this pill I am sure is not meant to be used all the time and there may be severe side effcts if abused but kids are not going to think about things like that. If a teen has sex with no protection once and the consequences don’t exist then they are going to continue to do it and that puts the risk of AIDS and other STD higher. 17 is OK, but I don’t think they should let it go any further then that. I was having sex at 17 and was mature enough to use a condom.

K.

March 25th, 2009
7:25 pm

I support this decision. If a 17 year old can make a decision to have sex, and then decide that she does not want to become pregnant, I think she is doing the most responsible thing she can do at that time – Not complete the pregnancy. Of course, she should have taken measures to prevent the pregnancy in the first place but that’s another subject. If a 17 year old doesn’t want a baby, why make her have it????

Nono

March 25th, 2009
7:47 pm

Imagine…. you’ve had sex “in the heat of the moment” and weren’t on the pill…. or, your partner wore a condom that broke/failed… or you were raped… or you forgot to take your birth control pill that morning (or maybe you took it, but haven’t taken it regularly enough to be effective). Sound familiar to anyone?

These scenarios aren’t limited to teens, they happen to plenty of adults too–so why should the morning after pill to only be available to adults but exclude teens? You can’t legislate responsible behavior into law, but what you CAN do is give both teens and adults a responsible OPTION if they do make a mistake so that they can correct it. Plus if teens are as irresponsible as the media make them out to be, then shouldn’t they have MORE options than adults available to deal with their mistakes because they ARE immature, and consequently shouldn’t adults be the ones to haver fewer options (because if the argument is that adults are more responsible, then we should be able to have a much easier time avoiding these situations, right???)

J

March 25th, 2009
8:22 pm

Yes absolutely! I would rather 17 year olds be able to end the pregnancy rather than become dependent on the medicaid/WIC system for the first five years of the unwanted child’s life.

EJ

March 25th, 2009
8:27 pm

When I was in college I knew several girls that used an abortion as a form of birth control. One girl has three done in the two years I knew here. Would the morning after pill been better than an abortion? Yes. But she didn’t even bother with birth control because she knew she could go to the clinic and get it taken care of. Why should we make it easier for teens to be irresponsible? We should make them own up to their mistakes and learn from them– not make it easier for them to cover up mistakes.

B

March 25th, 2009
8:42 pm

How many that agree with it are against the death penalty?

Lulu

March 25th, 2009
8:45 pm

Allowed? How ’bout requiring it?

Deepdiver

March 25th, 2009
8:52 pm

EJ, your response is not very well thought out or intelligent. Why not just ban abortions? That seems to be what you are saying. Only problem is women and girls will turn to back alley abortions and coat hangers. Great, not only will the fetus (not yet a baby) die, but the mother might as well. Great job. You just want to control all women.

RN

March 25th, 2009
9:02 pm

So a recurring theme here is ‘what if it is misused, abused, or the user not smart enough use it right or to make a good decision on when to use something like this’. How about we get on the boat and finally decide that COMPREHENSIVE sex education is missing here in GA. How about a curriculum that includes abstinence, sex, birth control, relationships, pregnancy, STD’s and prevention (including condoms and other barriers), values and on and on… available to all teens in GA school, but maybe as an elective so that those who are just dead against it can opt out. I would love to see what happens to teen pregnancy rates 5 years after something like that was offered and delivered the right way. A labor and delivery RN can only dream…

RN

March 25th, 2009
9:02 pm

Enter your comments here

EJ

March 25th, 2009
9:18 pm

Deepdiver, I am not saying to ban abortions. I am saying that if someone who is old enough to be in college can’t be responsible enough to use proper birth control, how can we assume that teens will be responsible enough to only use the morning after pill only as a last resort?
Teens will see this as a free pass. They may not use another other form of birth control and rely on this instead.

M

March 25th, 2009
9:20 pm

It hasn’t been said much (yet), but I just want to point out that the morning-after pill is NOT equivalent to abortion. Thank you.

Jo

March 25th, 2009
9:26 pm

Well, here is yet again another clear indicator of the failing morals in this country. Perhaps these “Young” adults should be taught some morals and or ethics and more useful; some self control. Maybe they should be taught to take responsibility for their choices. Teach them it’s “Not all about them” and that some things are not ok.

Phil

March 25th, 2009
10:07 pm

EJ That may be the most idiotic statement ever. Taking responsibility for ones own reproductive descisions is taking responsibility

OPRAH C

March 25th, 2009
10:18 pm

If we could do away with abstinence only education across this state…then this might be less of an issue. Teaching kids that condoms are not being effective could be the reason they aren’t using them and are instead seeking the morning after pill. Why can’t we teach our children about their bodies at an early age? Why can’t we provide the necessary health services to keep them from certain poverty or….even to lift them out of poverty? This isn’t rocket science. I educated my children early on about their bodies and reproductive health. Unfortunately, many parents are not equipped to do the same. This is the issue. Whether a parent is in jail, believes sex ed goes against Jesus’teachings or sticks his head in the sand…the outcome is the same—kids are not getting the necessary tools to make good decisions, prevent pregnany and disease. Knowledge is power. There is a total lack of regard for health promotion and prevention in this state…THIS KIND OF THINKING MUST CHANGE IN ORDER FOR GEORGIA TO MOVE FORWARD AND ON TO OTHER ISSUES NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE OF THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

M

March 25th, 2009
10:41 pm

EJ, responsible teens using proper birth control can have the same problems that responsible adults have. Condoms break. They can slip off. You can forget the pill. Let teens have the chance to correct a situation if a mistake is made, whether it’s their fault or not.

Michael

March 25th, 2009
11:50 pm

Those saying that the morning after pill is not abortion need to examine the science a bit. It contains a lot of the same drugs that the birth control pill contains and, depending on your definition of abortion, both may actually cause abortions via interruption of the implantation process.

Those saying that buying the morning after pill is the responsible thing to do hear this. Unfortunately, society, largely influenced by secular-progressive liberals, has taught kids that they are not responsible for their actions. They can always blame somebody else for what happens to them. But you’re really telling me that they had no idea of the possible consequences of their actions? No amount of sex ed is ever going to stop kids from doing dumb things. The responsible thing to do would be to carry it to term. Take responsibility for your actions. If you have no means at all of taking care of the child, then put it up for adoption (everybody liked Juno, right?).
To those that would reflexively retort: Well then what are you views on the death penalty, huh? Even though there are obvious differences between a convicted killer and an unborn infant that render this argument useless, I would answer that I am not really for the death penalty. Believe me, I could really care less when it’s used. I just believe that there are punishments worse than death for monsters like Brian Nichols. If it was up to me, it would be solitary confinement to life. But what do you care, I’m just a crazy conservative.

deborahinAthens

March 26th, 2009
6:52 am

Michael, you need to examine the science. If a woman takes the pill the morning after, the egg hasn’t had a chance to implant, so, since it is an undifferentiated cell, it is not, cannot possibly, be a human by even the most ignorant religious conservative. Most people in the world don’t think you are a human until you’re born. So, don’t use your narrow-minded philosophy to dictate what any woman should or should not do with her body. No one has that right. And I have to say, your comments sort of smack of “let’s punish the slut for sinning by having her carry a baby nine months and then have to make the wrenching decision to keep the child or not”. When you are ready to adopt an illegitimate child, you can have an opinion, until then, keep your philosophy to yourself, and stop messing with the scientific facts. The morning after pill cannot possibly cause an abortion, because if the egg has implanted, it won’t work. ‘Nuff said. Now if you are one of the religious nut jobs that don’t believe in contraception, that is a whole other discussion. And again, it is not one that you are allowed to have an opinion on until you are able to get pregnant yourself.

Children, please!

March 26th, 2009
7:58 am

Who is going to be responsible if the CHILD (yes, child) has an adverse or allergic reaction to this pill? The parents should know what the child has taken in order to tell EMS/doctors what was going on. It could save precious minutes/hours in saving the child’s life instead of them trying to figure out what the child took with tests, etc., which we all know can take HOURS in a hospital.

Grammaw

March 26th, 2009
8:00 am

Instead of giving them a “easy out” (I guess killing a baby is an easy out) which will PROMOTE sex in teens, give them birth control and educate them…PARENTS.

Mara

March 26th, 2009
8:07 am

the age of consent in Georgia is 16. If, by law, you are of legal age to have consensual sex…shouldn’t you ALSO be old enough to get emergency contraception?

Deepdiver

March 26th, 2009
8:40 am

Children, please!,

Kids can already be treated with other drugs without the parent being around if a kid is found unconcious and they don’t know who the parents are. Your arguement is moronic. Plus there are plenty of irresponsible parents out there, not to mention kids are having sex no matter what their parents want to believe. Why make a second mistake by having a baby that probably can not be taken care of. That sounds like a stupid lesson that society will be paying instead of the kid who initially made the mistake of having sex without a condom or birth control.

Timma

March 26th, 2009
10:26 am

I’d lay it on all the girls I sleep with night stand on the way out. I’m a love machine. skeet…skeet…skeet

Timma

March 26th, 2009
10:30 am

If a girl tells me she’s pregnant I punch her in the stomach until she’s not.

ObamaMama

March 26th, 2009
10:30 am

Yes of course they should, we treat them like adults for criminal matters, why not this?? I would make sure they require the minor to read the materials on HOW to use the pill and sign that they read it and understand HOW TO USE IT before giving it to them. Those names of who received the pill should not be released to anyone but a the pharmaceutical company, business establishment selling, and government officials. NOT PARENTS!

Nan

March 26th, 2009
10:32 am

Yes. As other commentators have noted, if they’re considered adults when it comes to crime, they’re adults when it comes to sex.

Unfortunately, the ones smart enough to get the pills probably aren’t the ones out there doing the nasty and ending up possibly pregnant.

Straight to the point

March 26th, 2009
10:32 am

Emphatically yes. When underage sex stops, i’ll stop agreeing……as long as there is underage sex, then better to let them not get unnecessarily pregnant.

Jasmine

March 26th, 2009
10:34 am

Plan B should be available for 17 year old teens. How many people do you know who was comfortable about talking about sex with their parent at that age. At seventeren years of age, you would have wanted this pill. Mistakes happen. Condoms are 99.90%. However, there is a 17% chance that they make break! How about that statistic? Condoms are only effective when they do not break.

Bob

March 26th, 2009
10:38 am

These pills cost like $40 a piece. I don’t think they’re going to be ‘overused’ they’re prohibitively expensive. The government should be giving these away for free to keep unwanted kids and abortions at bay.