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Morning-After Pill to be Sold Over the Counter, Anyone Over 15 Can Buy it

Update Date: Apr 30, 2013 08:18 PM EDT
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it approved a proposal to make the morning-after pill available over the counter for women 15 years and older.

The pill will now be available on drugstore shelves just like condoms, but that buyers would have to prove their age at the cash register. This move comes just weeks after a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, ordered the FDA to make the morning-after birth control pill available to women of any age, without a prescription.

Earlier this month, a federal judge had ruled there should be no age restrictions and gave the FDA 30 days to act. The FDA said its latest decision was independent of the court case.

"The FDA's approval of Teva's current application for Plan B One-Step is independent of that litigation and this decision is not intended to address the judge's ruling," the FDA said in a statement.

"This decision is a step in the right direction for increased access to a product that is a safe and effective method of preventing unintended pregnancies," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, according to the Associated Press. "It's also a decision that moves us closer to these critical availability decisions being based on science, not politics."

"Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. in the statement.  "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."

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