The issue of emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill, has been a topic of debate for the Obama administration for quite some time. On June 5, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the federal government to lift all age and sales restrictions for the two-pill versions of the morning-after pill.
Just last month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that Plan B One-Step be made available without a prescription for girls and women ages 15 and up.
According to Fox News Latino, advocates for womens rights have embraced the ruling, but social conservatives and others opposed are arguing that this order is taking away the parents' rights to have a say in whether or not they want their daughter using emergency contraception.
Director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity Anna Higgins referred to the court's ruling as "confounding." "Our reaction in general is a concern for the safety of young girls and the rights of parents," she said. Center for Reproductive RIghts President Nancy Northup had a different point of view on the matter. She described the ruling as a "historic day for womens health."
In a statement, Northup said, "Finally, after more than a decade of politically motivated delays, women will no longer have to endure intrusive, onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions to get emergency contraception."
Although the court is allowing unrestricted sales of the two-pill versions of the morning-after pill, it refused to lift restrictions on the Plan B One-Step contraceptive. Reasons as to why only the two-pill versions restriction has been lifted were not specified.
The government now has two weeks to make a decision on whether or not to appeal the Second Circuit's stay ruling. But even without an appeal, it remains unclear as to how soon drugstores and pharmacies will begin to make these pills available without restriction.