MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA.com) — A federal judge’s order Friday that the government must make the morning-after pill available over the counter for females of all ages has sparked nationwide conversation and controversy.
Judge Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District of New York’s ruling, set to take effect in 30 days, struck down an earlier policy that required girls 16 years old and under to have a prescription for emergency contraception.
In 2011, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overruled a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration to make Plan B One-Step and other versions of the pill available to all ages.
Korman ruled the age restriction was “politically motivated and scientifically unjustified.”
Nancy Northrup of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which brought a lawsuit that sought to remove all restrictions on the pill, said, “The judge said it’s not about 11-year-olds. It’s about all women. It’s important that all women get emergency contraceptives as a back-up to birth control.”
Dr. Jirair Konialian, an assistant professor of gynecology and fertility at UCLA, is alarmed by the decision.
“My concerns are a teenager will use this several times a month. These are high-dose birth control pills. There is a severe side effect of blood clots,” he said.
Tracy and Hideki Yoshitake of Monterey Park, who have three daughters they home school with Christian values in mind, said they understand unwanted pregnancies are a part of life, but they don’t want the remedy left in the hands of children.
“As a teacher, I couldn’t give my kids aspirin or Tylenol, let alone a pill like this,” said Hideki.
Tracy said, “We have certain values that we believe in and it doesn’t matter what other people are doing.”