President Barack Obama said that he was “comfortable” with new federal regulations making emergency contraception available to women and girls over the age of 15, but said more study was needed to see whether it was safe to allow access to the "morning after" pill for girls younger than that.
Following news on Wednesday that the Justice Department would appeal a federal judge’s ruling requiring pharmacies to make emergency contraceptives available without a prescription to women of all ages, the president deferred to his Justice Department’s decision to appeal the law.
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.
“The rule that’s been put forward by the FDA, Secretary Sebelius has reviewed. She’s comfortable with it; I’m comfortable with it,” he said.
On Wednesday, the FDA agreed to lower the age limit to 15 for sales of "Plan B One-Step," and to make the emergency contraceptive available in the general aisles of stores instead of behind the pharmacy counter.
“My suspicion is that the FDA may now be called upon to make further decisions about whether there’s sufficient scientific evidence for girls younger than 15,” Obama explained at a press conference during a trip to Mexico. “That’s the FDA’s decision to make. That’s Secretary Sebelius’s decision to review.”
But the president strongly backed the current rule, too.
“I’m very comfortable with the decisions they've made right now, based on solid scientific evidence, for girls 15 and older,” he said.
This story was originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:27 PM EDT