TODAY

TODAY   |  May 01, 2013

FDA lowers Plan-B age restriction to 15

The emergency contraception known as Plan B has been available over the counter to women 17 and older, but the FDA has now decided to make it available to those 15 and older. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> we're following a decision by the fda on who can buy the so-called morning-after pill. dr. nancy snyderman , good morning.

>> an emergency contraception known as plan b one-step because it's one pill. until for you it's been available to women 17 and over but this moefr because of yesterday's decision by the fda the age restriction is being changed to 15 and bei ining moved to over the counter . beginning this morning it will appear at retail outlet with a label that says, not for sale under 15 years of age. the age restriction two years younger than it had been. the pill's manufacturer teva manufacturing called it a significant milestone for women. but lowering the age restriction is likely to dramatically raise the level of controversy, especially among parents and teens.

>> i think the parents should know about -- if they're going to take some kind of pill like that.

>> i would want my child to speak with me, but not all families are the same.

>> reporter: fda commissioner said in a statement the data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how plan b one-step works and how to use it properly. the groups opposed to lowering the age restriction were quick to fire back.

>> what tuesday's ruling did was remove sexually screening for those sexually active. most parents would agree that's not in the best interest of young women 's health.

>> reporter: two years ago an fda panel recommended all age restrictions on the so-called morning-after pill be removed. but health and human services katri kathleen sebelius changed that but then she was overruled making the pill available to anyone regardless of age. we should note the fda ruling aplans to plan b morning after pill not on the restrictional plan b with two doses.

>> what are the implications of a 15-year-old taking this drug? is it medically safe? also the maturity issue, is this something you're worried teenagers will use this as a regular birth control ?

>> there's no evidence that this is biologically can hurt you or cause problems down the line. now, where parents get wiggy is to think could my 15-year-old be having sex and the answer is, yes. 13, 14, 15-year-olds are having intercourse. so we have to talk about if we want to prevent abortions, should we allow birth control , condoms, and still have the conversation about the difference between love and sex and remind kids this may prevent pregnancy but does not do anything for stds, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, but to prevent pregnancy, is it safe, yes, it is.