Parents don't have to know, new rules for "Plan B"

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Soon 17-year-olds will have the freedom to buy the "Plan B pill" without a prescription or their parents even knowing. The FDA consented to a federal judge's order Wednesday. Under the Bush Administration, only those 18 and older could get the so-called "morning after pill". It's a pill some conservatives see as a form of abortion.

Advocates like Planned Parenthood are applauding the ruling.

"We're pleased that the FDA has decided to put women's health ahead of politics," said Kelly Hart, director of Planned Parenthood of North Texas.

Others, like pharmacist Jeff Abeldt, worry it's a slippery slope.

"By having it so readily available, I think that it encourages what they're calling out there recreational sex and I don't that that's a good direction our country should go in," said Abeldt.

Plan B contains a higher hormone dose than a single birth control pill. Women can take it within three days of unprotected sex.

"What it does is it keeps the lining of the uterus so thin that nothing can effectively implant there," said Dr. Jai Ellis an OBGYN.

East Texas New's Med Team Dr. Jai points out it cannot terminate an existing pregnancy.

"It's not that you're really stopping them from conceiving because you aren't," said Dr. Jai. "Of course, you get into the debate of whether can we consider this a very early termination? And, opinions will vary depending on where you think life begins."

Planned Parenthood said this is the first step to fighting unwanted teen pregnancies.

"When it has to do with sex everybody gets a little crazy and kids don't always want to come to their parents," said Hart. "I think most parents understand that and know that at the end of the day want their kids to behave responsibly."

"It allows them immediate access without a lot of invasive technique and without a lot of risk to them," said Dr. Jai. "So of all the things available, it is probably the least toxic if we have to face the issue of teen pregnancy."

But, as a mother herself, Dr. Jai worries teens may think this gives them a "free pass" so to speak.

"Keep in mind this was something that came out of protecting women against sexual assault," said Dr. Jai. "This was originally not something designed for us just to be cavalier about the act of intimacy."

Dr. Jai said it is not recommended to take the pill more than twice in a menstrual cycle. Side effects can include nausea, abdominal pain, changes in a woman's period or breast tenderness.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.