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May 1, 2013 9:46 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Morning after pill to be available without prescription to ages 15 and older

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday, its approval to allow Plan B One-Step to be available to women 15 and older, over-the-counter, without a prescription.

"The emergency contraception works by preventing women from ovulating so that the egg is not released, or at least delaying ovulation so the egg is not released and thus conception does not occur," said San Luis Obispo obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Aaron Kromhout. "Most of my patients I encourage to use preventative methods so that it doesn't become an issue, but sometimes those methods fail or they don't use them."

That's when Dr. Kromhout prescribes emergency contraception, but since the FDA's announcement on Tuesday, patients 15 and older will no longer need a prescription to get Plan B One-Step. They can visit their local retailer with an onsite pharmacy and pick the pill up, with proof of age.

Dr. Kromhout says he understands that some people may believe having emergency contraception over-the-counter may increase teenage promiscuity or the spread of STDs, but "there's actually great studies that have been done that show that it doesn't increase the risk of sexual intercourse. It doesn't decrease the age at which sexual intercourse occurs and that teens at least 15 and older, the studies have shown, the teens are capable of making these decisions."

The FDA says it reviewed data that demonstrated women 15-years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

The current average retail price of the pill is around $50.

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