Locals react to birth control pill decision - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Locals react to birth control pill decision

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New Orleans, La. -

Girls as young as 15 years old may now buy the morning-after birth control pill without a prescription, after a decision by the Food and Drug Administration. Some see this as a boon for public health; others consider the move a strike against morality.

The emergency contraceptive, marketed under one brand as Plan B One-Step, is designed to prevent pregnancy when taken after unprotected sex.

Dr. Janifer Tropez-Martin, an OB/GYN, says the pill will not stop a pregnancy already in progress. "Its intent is to prevent ovulation, implantation or to create what we consider a hostile environment, to not allow implantation or development of a pregnancy at all," she said.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes the drug.

Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond said, "The very fact that we are encouraging or allowing care-free sex among our teenagers would seem to me that it is a serious ethical and moral issue."

Today's attention is on how teenage patients handle the responsibility of using such a drug. Topaz-Martin said, "The fact that they would even know about it would be, I think, definitely a championship for medicine in itself, given the fact that the majority of adult women, women over the age of 18, are not familiar with Plan B and how it's used."

Aymond said, "I think we as adults bear a tremendous responsibility for encouraging their irresponsible and immoral behavior. We have to take responsibility for that."

The pharmacy at Castellon's on Oak Street carries the pill and will follow the new regulations. Owner and pharmacist-in-charge Scott Beninato said, "I'm not so sure that's a good thing, I don't know if its a bad thing.  It's something... we don't try to get involved in that."

Castellon's will keep the pills behind the pharmacy counter, but the new regulation will allow them to be in store aisles alongside other contraceptives. Anyone over the age of 15 -- with a photo ID -- will be able to buy the pill in most drugstores without parental or doctor supervision. Drug stores are required to keep a record of those purchasing Plan B.

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