What you should know about emergency contraception - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

What you should know about emergency contraception

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A federal judge made a controversial ruling on Friday on the so-called morning-after birth control pill.

That judge has ordered that the Federal Food and Drug Administration make drugs like the Plan B pill, available over-the-counter to people of all ages.

This overturns a 2011 decision to require girls younger than 17 to have a prescription.

While some health care advocates say this will help prevent unwanted pregnancies, others say it raises some serious health issues.

The new rules are set to take effect within 30 days, although the FDA could still appeal.

So, what should a woman or young girl know prior to taking the drug, and what should parents know now that their daughters will have access to something that once required a doctor's approval?

David Davis is the pharmacy manager of Good's Medicine Chest Pharmacy and said, "The law before, if you were 17 or older, you could come into a pharmacy, you could purchase the morning-after or Plan B pill without a prescription. As long as you showed proof of identification, proof of age, then you were allowed to legally purchase that."

If you were 16 or younger, you needed a doctor's prescription, but soon that may not be the case.

As a healthcare professional, this pharmacist says younger women might receive a little extra attention at the counter when they ask for emergency contraception.

"If we see a young lady, of teenage years, I would think it would be a great idea to go out and at least council them on the side effects and so forth, not that everyone doesn't deserve counseling, but I would think in that situation, it would be especially warranted," Davis said.

Doctor Richard Tutt is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist. He says the morning-after pill contains hormones that are in birth control. 

"It's a hormone, basically it's half of a birth control, contains a progesterone. All hormones have side effects. They would include things such as bleeding, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, nausea, and maybe some cramping," said Dr. Tutt.

The benefits of taking the pill are written on the front of the package.

"If there was a potential for pregnancy, it would prevent that," Dr. Tutt said.

Also referred to as Plan B, doctors say that is just what it should be, not your primary form of contraception.

The Family Research Council argues, there's not enough data on the health effects of Plan B on young girls.

However, health experts argue that the same hormones that are in Plan B are also in birth control, so they know of the long term effects these drugs would have.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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