Mixed reaction to expanded 'morning after pill' access

Posted at: 05/01/2013 5:48 PM
Updated at: 05/01/2013 6:00 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - "It has to be taken 72 hours after unprotected sex," said Zarina Jalal, a pharmacist at her family-run Lincoln Pharmacy in Albany.

Right now the product, also known as Plan B, is kept behind the counter. Females ages 17 and older have to present proof of age to buy it. But under a new Food and Drug Administration ruling, that eligible age is lowered to 15.

"It's just something you've got to do if your kids are sexually actively then you have to take steps to prevent unplanned pregnancies," Jalal said.

The challenge, she added, will be validating the age of 15-year-olds who may not carry an I.D. 

The FDA will also allow the emergency contraception to be sold right off pharmacy shelves, next to women's hygiene products and condoms.

"As a physician I personally believe the more choices any patient has the better he or she is able to make a decision," said Dr. Diane Tenenbaum, a pediatrician at St. Peter's.

"Not good, at all not good at all," said Ana Perez, an Albany mother of five, reacting to the FDA ruling.

Perez got pregnant with her first child at age of 16, said she wasn't mature enough to handle decisions to end a potential pregnancy.

"I think your parents should know before anybody. You shouldn't go out there and get a pill at 15. You don't know what the pill does, you don't know the after affects. You're only 15," Perez said.

The maker of Plan B, said it will start selling the product over the counter with the new age restrictions in a few months.