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Morning-After Pill Debate



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If you're a women under the age of 17, having to get a prescription from your doctor for the morning-after pill may be a thing of the past.

According to a ruling made by U.S. District Judge, Edward Korman on Friday morning, women under the age of 17 would be allowed to purchase emergency contraceptives, known as the morning-after pill, or Plan B, without their parent’s consent or having to visit their doctor. Currently the pill is only available without a prescription for women 17 and older.

The judge’s ruling has many South Dakota organizations divided.

“We don't have enough research into Plan B to know the after effects of what it does to young women," said Leslee Unruh, President of the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls.

The Alpha Center is a non-profit organization that helps pregnant women in crisis. The organization’s president, Leslee Unruh, strongly disagrees with the ruling, stating it's unsafe for young women in the long run.

“I think it's really interesting that if your child is at school and needs an aspirin you have to fill out all sorts of forms and a teacher can't just hand them an aspirin. But now, all of a sudden, a child can just go in and get these dangerous chemicals and abort their own child," said Unruh.

However, reproductive rights groups such as Planned Parenthood, feel the opposite.

On Friday, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota released a statement in response to the ruling stating, “it is long overdue and a significant step forward for women's health that will benefit women of all ages,”  and that the ruling is a “sensible policy, supported by good science.”’

NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota also issued a statement agreeing with the ruling, stating the organization, “believes it is the right of every woman to determine when and how to have a family," and that, “the outcome of this decision could provide one more safe and effective tool for all women to prevent unintended pregnancies.”

It isn’t just reproductive rights groups supporting the federal judge’s ruling, some Sioux Falls residents are too.

“Making birth control more widely available I don't think is a negative thing at all. I think it should be more available because it would reduce teen pregnancies.  As long as it's medically safe I see no problem with it," said Sioux Falls resident, David Wehling.

If the FDA approves does not fight the decision, it could go into effect in as little as 30 days.

The U.S. Justice Department said it will act promptly in deiciding whether to appeal the judge's decision.
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