Central Oregonians react to 'Plan B' pill ruling

Girls under 17 will be able to get emergency contraception without prescription

POSTED: 7:35 PM PDT April 5, 2013    UPDATED: 1:21 PM PDT April 6, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

A controversial pill just got a little more controversial.

A landmark federal ruling says emergency contraceptives, sometimes called the "Plan B Pill," must be available to women, regardless of age.

Currently, girls under the age of 17 cannot get the drug without a doctor's prescription.

"The morals in this country are eroding and we don't have consequences for our actions,"  Tumalo resident Mike Wiens said Friday.

"If they're already having sex, it's better to be safe than sorry," said a woman in downtown Bend.

Planned Parenthood officials say it's good news for helping teens stay safe from unwanted pregnancies.

"Lifting this age restriction on over-the counter emergency contraception is long overdue, and a significant step forward for women," Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Liz Delapoer said in a phone interview.

"I have friends who are sexually active, so it's a big deal to have access to the morning after pill," said a high school sophomore, in Bend on vacation.

The ruling said birth control must also be available on store shelves. Right now, women can only get it at a pharmacy.

Delapoer said it will mean a higher success of avoiding pregnancy, as it's crucial to take the pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

"It's critical that women have access to emergency contraception quickly, and they don't have to wait for a prescription, or wait for their pharmacy to be open," she said.

Delapoer says emergency contraceptives will not terminate a pregnancy, but some think the pills meddle with biology that should be left alone.

"I believe that life begins at conception, so a 'morning after' pill would actually be an abortion pill," Wiens said. "And secondly, I believe that parents should be in control of their kids when they are in their household."

Others say it's a good move that could mean fewer teen pregnancies.

"I know that teen pregnancy is kind of a problem, and I think this will definitely take down the numbers of that," said Summit High student Grant Parton.

The judge has ruled that emergency contraceptives must be made available to all women within a month.

A Deschutes County Health Department official called it a good more to provide more access to birth control for teens. She said giving teens more options is one of the main reasons teen pregnancies are at record lows nationwide, as well as in the county.