WASHINGTON - The Plan B morning-after pill is moving over-the-counter, a decision announced by the Food and Drug Administration just days before a court-imposed deadline.
On Tuesday, the FDA lowered to 15 the age at which girls and women can buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription -- and said it no longer has to be kept behind pharmacy counters, leaving many concerned.
"It shows an alarming lack of concern for the safety of young girls and the fundamental rights of parents," said a family research council, Anna Higgins.
Instead, the pill can sit on drugstore shelves just like condoms, but that buyers would have to prove their age at the cash register.
"I think it's a positive step that the age was lowered to age 15, but there are still major barriers. How many 15-year-olds have proof that they're 15," said Dr. Richard Besser.
Earlier this month, a federal judge had ruled there should be no age restrictions and gave the FDA 30 days to act. The FDA said its latest decision was independent of the court case.