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In December of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted research and concluded that it was safe to sell the morning after pill to adolescents over the counter, as they could use it properly without the supervision of a healthcare provider. Strangely enough, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, overruled the FDA’s recommendation that very same day.
In effect, this means that men and women under the age of 17 are still unable to obtain the morning after pill without a prescription from a health center or private health care provider. This has caused a growing debate over the issue, with both sides offering up different opinions and issues. Here’s a quick look at some of the arguments people are making from each side:
Over-the-counter supporters
1. Girls should have full control over their bodies and their reproductive power. If they are old enough to have a child, they are old enough to choose not to have one.

2. The cost and inconvenience of seeing a healthcare professional and paying for a prescription will deter adolescents from obtaining the pill. The consequences of pregnancy and child-rearing are a much bigger problem to have to deal with.

3. This was a political move by the Obama administration to appeal to conservative families in swing states in order to win the upcoming election. Politics should have no influence on this decision, especially when science determined by the FDA just suggested otherwise.

Prescription supporters
1. The pill could have adverse effects if used incorrectly. We can’t allow girls as young as 10 or 11 years old to be making these decision and be able to purchase the pill along with a pack of gum at a local CVS.
2. Allowing the pill to be obtained easily will send the wrong message to young adolescents that they can engage in unprotected sex and not have to worry about any serious consequences of pregnancy.

3. More research must be done, both about the ability of young adolescents to safely and properly use the pill by themselves and also about the safety and health of the drug before we can allow such easy access to people of all ages.

This debate will surely continue to rage on during the election year. The good news is that for now, young adolescents can obtain the morning after pill at an affordable price with or without insurance at thousands of health clinics across the country from Brooklyn to L.A.

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