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Emergency Contraception

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OPINION
November 28, 2012
Re "New policy urged on Plan B for teens," Nov. 26 As a physician and former high school teacher, I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation of giving teens advance prescriptions for emergency contraception. I've had too many adolescent patients with unplanned pregnancies who were unaware that emergency contraception might have been an option. I've seen what an unintended pregnancy can do to a young person's health and future. We doctors owe our patients a chance to take emergency contraception, an extremely safe medication that can change their lives.
ARTICLES BY DATE
SCIENCE
June 12, 2013 | By Monte Morin
It was hailed as a significant step forward in women's reproductive rights, but this week's decision by the Obama administration to allow non-prescription, over-the-counter sales of the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step may do little to dispel widespread bafflement over the issue, say medical and legal experts. "There's going to be confusion for a while," said Kathleen Besinque, an emergency contraceptive expert and associate professor of pharmacology at USC. Due to a series of separate actions by petitioners and the government, as well as legal appeals, the matter has been very difficult to follow.
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NATIONAL
September 24, 2012 | By Michael Muskal
With the new school year comes a new furor in New York City over a program that makes emergency contraceptives , or so-called morning-after pills, available to girls as young as 14. The pilot program, which has been operating since January 2011, is part of the Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare program, or CATCH. It began with five schools in 2011, expanded to 14 and is now available at 13 schools, according to city officials. “In New York City over 7,000 young women become pregnant by age 17 - 90% of which are unplanned.
NATIONAL
June 10, 2013 | By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration dropped its long-standing opposition to over-the-counter sales of a controversial morning-after pill Monday and decided to permit consumers of any age to buy Plan B One-Step without a prescription. In papers filed in federal court in New York, government attorneys announced that the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services would remove age and point of sale restrictions on the emergency contraceptive, pending approval by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman.
SCIENCE
May 11, 2013 | By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
In yet another scathing critique of government health officials, a federal judge refused Friday to stay his order making emergency contraceptives available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. Calling government efforts to restrict the sale of drugs such as Plan B "frivolous and taken for the purpose of delay," U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman of New York wrote that the medications would be available to all unless the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled otherwise by noon Eastern time on Monday.
TRAVEL
September 26, 1999 | KATHLEEN DOHENY
During travel medicine consultations with her patients, Dr. Terri Rock brings up the question ever so delicately. There's no easy way, she has learned, to ask people planning a trip whether they've thought about their need to take along emergency contraception. But Rock, a Santa Monica family practice physician with expertise in travel medicine, mentions it if they don't, because she has seen too many travelers come home worried about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
HEALTH
February 5, 2001 | JUDY FOREMAN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The time has come to do the obvious about the whole abortion mess: Provide emergency contraception over-the-counter. Right now. In every state. In every pharmacy. For every woman who needs it. And at a reasonable price. One way you can tell the time has come for this total no-brainer is that the American Medical Assn., not exactly known for its out-on-a-limb stances, endorsed the idea in December.
SCIENCE
November 26, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Doctors should give underage teenagers prescriptions for emergency contraceptives like Plan B before they start having sex instead of waiting until a young patient's "plan A" goes awry, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new policy statement. It says doctors should also counsel teens on the various options for emergency birth control as part of an overall strategy to reduce teen pregnancy. The academy is issuing the new position paper, published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics, as physicians and other health experts struggle to reduce the nation's high birthrate among adolescents.
HEALTH
April 6, 2009 | Jill U. Adams
Two weeks ago, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow 17-year-olds to buy the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B without a prescription and to consider allowing such purchases by younger girls as well. Previously, the agency had set 18 as the cutoff age, meaning younger girls had to consult a doctor to get the pill. The FDA is reviewing the court's decision, spokeswoman Rita Chappelle says.
SCIENCE
April 5, 2013 | By Monte Morin and Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times
President Obama once fretted about the prospect that girls as young as 10 or 11 could walk into a drugstore and buy emergency contraception pills as easily as "bubble gum or batteries. " With his blessing, the Department of Health and Human Services set aside the advice of medical experts and blocked efforts to allow girls younger than 17 to get the so-called morning-after pill without a prescription. That age limit is poised to disappear now that a federal judge has cleared the way Friday for girls - and boys - of any age to purchase the medication without having to notify their parents or a doctor.
SCIENCE
May 11, 2013 | By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
In yet another scathing critique of government health officials, a federal judge refused Friday to stay his order making emergency contraceptives available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. Calling government efforts to restrict the sale of drugs such as Plan B "frivolous and taken for the purpose of delay," U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman of New York wrote that the medications would be available to all unless the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled otherwise by noon Eastern time on Monday.
OPINION
May 5, 2013
Re "Birth control ruling appealed," May 2 It is fitting that the online version of this article on the Obama administration's appeal of an order to remove the age limit on Plan B emergency contraception appears on The Times' Science Now blog. As a pediatrician who has done extensive research on emergency contraception and young women, we need science now. Science must be the basis for these decisions, not politics. Medical opinion is solidly united that this medication is safe for women of all ages, and research shows women know when and how to take it. There is simply no scientific reason to fight Plan B going over-the-counter for all women, and the new age limit will create restrictions for all women in need of Plan B. This is politics trumping science again, and it's bad medicine.
NEWS
May 2, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
MEXICO CITY -- President Obama says he's “very comfortable” with a Food and Drug Administration ruling that maintains age restrictions on females who can buy the so-called morning after pill without a prescription. The rule announced this week prohibits girls younger than 15 from buying the drug, known as Plan B, over the counter. The decision was made by the FDA and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Obama said, pushing back against women's groups that have suggested the White House has interjected its political concern about a touchy subject into the rule process.
SCIENCE
April 30, 2013 | By Monte Morin
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it has approved the sale of the emergency contraceptive pill, Plan B One-Step, without a prescription for females ages 15 and older. The action comes roughly three weeks after a federal magistrate harshly criticized government regulators for their handling of the drug's approval process, calling their actions "politically motivated and scientifically unjustified. " FDA officials said Tuesday that their decision was based on a pending, amended application submitted by the drug's manufacturer, Teva Womens' Health Inc. It was not, they said, intended to address a recent court order that the FDA make the drug available, over-the-counter, to all customers without age restrictions.
SCIENCE
April 6, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Science trumped politics, but politics may still present problems for teens trying to purchase emergency contraception. “A lot of stuff is going to happen over the next 30 days,” said Dr. Cora Breuner, a pediatric medicine specialist at the University of Washington. Breuner was reacting to a judge's decision Friday to overturn age restrictions on access to emergency contraception. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman called those restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration “politically motivated and scientifically unjustified.” He ruled that levonorgestrel-based contraceptives such as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice should be available over the counter to all customers within 30 days.
SCIENCE
April 5, 2013 | By Monte Morin and Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times
President Obama once fretted about the prospect that girls as young as 10 or 11 could walk into a drugstore and buy emergency contraception pills as easily as "bubble gum or batteries. " With his blessing, the Department of Health and Human Services set aside the advice of medical experts and blocked efforts to allow girls younger than 17 to get the so-called morning-after pill without a prescription. That age limit is poised to disappear now that a federal judge has cleared the way Friday for girls - and boys - of any age to purchase the medication without having to notify their parents or a doctor.
HEALTH
September 14, 1998 | KATHLEEN DOHENY, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The first emergency contraceptive kit approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use after unprotected sex or birth-control failure will be shipped to distributors beginning this week and should be widely available by the end of the month. Called the Preven Emergency Contraceptive Kit, it requires a prescription and includes higher-than-normal doses of regular birth control pills, a pregnancy test and detailed instructions.
HEALTH
February 5, 2001 | JUDY FOREMAN
Even without emergency contraception pills becoming available over the counter, there are several things you can do to prevent pregnancy if you act quickly. First, be prepared. Ask your doctor for a prescription for Plan B, Preven or regular birth control pills to be used as emergency contraception. Fill the prescription and keep it handy, at home or in your purse. Emergency contraception works best in the first 12 hours after sex, but it is effective up to 72 hours later.
NEWS
April 5, 2013 | By Monte Morin
A federal court judge has ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift controversial restrictions on the so-called morning-after pill, saying females of all ages should have unimpeded access to emergency birth control. In a ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman directed the FDA to make levonorgestrel-based contraceptives available over the counter, and without a prescription. The ruling overturns a 2011 decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requiring that girls under age 17 obtain a prescription for the Plan B One-Step contraceptive or its equivalents In his strongly worded ruling, Korman called Sebelius' decision “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent.” No serious health risks have been associated with the drug's use among adults and children, Korman wrote, and even the FDA acknowledged that the drug's “safety and efficacy in the pediatric population have been established.” The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which argued that restrictions placed on the drug imposed unreasonable delays for women of all ages.
OPINION
November 28, 2012
Re "Court weighs timing on gay marriage," Nov. 25 Government at all levels should get out of the business of defining marriage. The only involvement of the state in marriages or civil unions involves contract enforcement; this has nothing to do with the sanctity of marriage. There is no reason why this should be any different for same-sex couples. The laws, where necessary, should be changed accordingly, and marriage licenses should use some neutral term. When the license is issued, the contract should be in force without requiring further action by a church or civil authority.
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