Friday, April 5, 2013
A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York ruled the drug must be made available without a prescription to girls younger than 17 years old.
Emergency contraceptive pills are currently available without a prescription to women 17 and older. The drugs are kept behind pharmacy counters.
The ruling means the medication will be on store shelves within 30 days and women of all ages will be allowed to buy it.
Jennifer Coburn, director of communications of San Diego's Planned Parenthood affiliate, said emergency contraception is not an abortion pill. Rather, it prevents pregnancies when taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.
"Our feeling is that emergency contraception is a lot like having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. You never want to use it, but if you need it, you're sure glad it's there," Coburn said.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. every year are unintended.