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Onslow County residents react to new morning-after pill restrictions

By Alison Parker
Published On: May 01 2013 05:10:27 PM CDT
Updated On: May 01 2013 05:17:34 PM CDT
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Sabrina Verbois reacts to the Food and Drug Administration's decision Tuesday to allow girls 15 years and up to buy Plan B One Step over the counter.

"At that age, they're not emotionally ready," Verbois says of young teens engaging in sex. "They're not educated enough to make that long term decision."

Plan B One Step is the emergency contraceptive women can take up to 72 hours after unprotected sex or if some form of birth control -- condom or the pill -- fails. It used to be restricted to girls 17 and older.

New packaging with a bar code that prompts the cashier to ask for identification will be out in just a few months. However, there's still some confusion as to what pharmacists should do while they wait for the new packages to come in. An FDA official says right now, it's at the pharmacists' discretion whether or not they want to sell the current packages -- which are labeled for girls 17 and older -- to girls as young as 15.

Briana Sjeco says the decision could encourage teens to start having intercourse earlier.

"If I was 15, I'd think that I can just do it because there's a Plan B pill available to me," Sjeco said.

Quentin Jones says it's a good option for women to have.

"If that's the case, and she's not ready to take on that responsibility, then I think that's a good way out," Jones said.

Others like Joy Clark say that teens having sex is inevitable.

"I think abstinence is key, and that's what I would preach to my daughter," Clark said, "but let's be real. In today's society, abstinence doesn't work anymore."

Family discussion is something Amy Farner with the Onslow County Health Department says could come out of this.

"This is an opportune time for women to speak with their healthcare providers as well as an opportune time for parents to have an open conversation with their kids," Farner said.

Farner adds that research shows that 15-year-olds know how the pill works and that it's not for the routine use.

A new york federal judge ruled last month that Plan B One Step be made available without age or point-of-sale restrictions. An FDA official says the decision to limit sales to girls 15 and older was made independently from that ruling. An FDA statement says the Department of Justice is considering further court hearings.