The medical community has largely been supportive
of the Obama administration's decision Monday to reverse course and allow over-the-counter access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step to women and girls of all ages. Plan B One-Step is a single dose of the hormone levonorgestrel, which multiple studies have proven safe for women and that has been used in birth control pills for years.
But several medical groups remain concerned about the decision, citing a lack of research of the effects of the pill on young girls.
"When you're talking about girls between the ages of 11 to 16, I'm not fully satisfied with the studies that are out there," says Michelle Cretella, vice president of the American College of Pediatricians, a socially conservative medical group. "The studies have to be truly longitudinal and truly representative of the teen population" – studies not yet available because Plan B One-Step has only been around since 2009.
Donna Harrison of the group ProLife ObGyns is also worried about a lack of long-term studies.
"It is very possible that such interference with the part of the young girls brain that controls her cycles may cause her significant fertility problems later," she says. "At the very least, this is a safety issue that should have been explored before this drug was released over the counter instead of treating our young girls as experimental guinea pigs."