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Concern over morning-after pill decision

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The emergency contraceptive, known as the morning-after pill, will soon be available to girls as young as 17 without a prescription, a controversial move that has some concerned.A federal judge ruled in favor of making the pill available to 17-year-olds last month, but it took the Food and Drug Administration to take the next step and accept the decision, and that is generating a lot of controversy.

The morning-after pill is essentially a mega dose of birth control medication that prevents fertilization.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant by almost 90 percent.

"I think it's the first step in several steps that need to be taken, but it's an excellent first step," said Susan Wood, a former FDA assistant commissioner.

Supporters of the ruling believe the pill will help prevent abortions, while opponents argue the government is stepping into the role of parent..

"This is a violation of parental oversight. Parents should be furious," said Wendy Wright from Concern Women for America.

The court's ruling could be just the beginning.

The judge who decided the case also ordered the FDA to evaluate clinical data to determine whether all age restrictions should be lifted on the morning-after pill.

Even with the FDA decision, it may be several months before the pill is available at pharmacies.

The pill is actually two pills that costs between $35 to $60.