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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Anna Higgins, J.D., director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, expressed serious concerns regarding a federal judge's order today that the "morning-after" pill be available to girls of all ages without a prescription.
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn, New York ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the potent drug available.
Higgins made the following statement regarding the judge's order:
"This ruling places the health of young girls at risk. Making Plan B available for girls under the age of 17 without a prescription flies in the face of medical information and sound judgment. I am very troubled that the court has not fully taken into account the concerns expressed by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and many public health advocates that there is not enough data on the health effects of Plan B on young girls.
"According to the new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control, there were 19,700,000 new STIs reported in 2008 - the last year for which numbers are available. Based on the CDC's estimates, that brings the total number of STIs in the U.S. to just over 110 million. Most of the new cases crop up in young men and women aged 15-25. Making Plan B available over-the-counter for any age will put many of these young girls at further risk because it circumvents necessary medical screening for sexually active girls.
"There is a real danger that Plan B may be given to young girls, under coercion or without their consent. The involvement of parents and medical professionals act as a safeguard for these young girls. However, today's ruling removes these commonsense protections," concluded Higgins.