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The Morning-After Pill May Soon Be Available To Women Of All Ages, Without An RX

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(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CBS Charlotte (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSCharlotte.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSCharlotte.com/Health

(CBS Charlotte) — Next month, there may be a new addition to store shelves — the morning-after pill.

Currently, only women 17 years of age and older can purchase emergency contraceptives without a prescription at the pharmacy counter — and an ID is required. Women younger than 17 years of age must have a prescription from their doctor.

Last Friday, a federal judge in New York ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the morning-after pill available over-the-counter, without a prescription —  to women of all ages.

If the ruling by Judge Edward Korman stands, you can expect to see emergency contraceptives on store shelves in three to four weeks. The FDA has the opportunity to appeal the new ruling, however, the FDA recommended emergency contraception should be sold over-the-counter in 2011 — so more than likely, the ruling will stand.

The morning-after pill is generally thought to be safe and prevents pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sex.

While not everyone will agree with over-the-counter emergency contraceptives, from a safety perspective, girls younger than 17 can walk into any store and purchase a bottle of Aspirin or Tylenol without a prescription. When taken in large quantities, both can be fatal. The morning-after pill, on the other hand, is safer than many other over-the-counter medications — and will not cause adverse health effects.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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