Obama comfortable with FDA decision to let 15-year-olds buy morning-after pill

MEXICO CITY Fri May 3, 2013 10:11pm IST

A Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive box is seen in New York, April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive box is seen in New York, April 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday he is comfortable with a U.S. government agency's decision to allow over-the-counter purchases of a morning-after pill for anyone 15 and older.

Some critics have complained girls that young should not be allowed to purchase the pills without a doctor's approval. But Obama told a news conference in Mexico City that the decision was based on "solid scientific evidence."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday appealed a court order directing the agency to make morning-after emergency contraception pills available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age.

Lawyers with the Justice Department filed the appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, according to court documents.

The appeal is the latest foray in the years-long legal battle over the pill known as "Plan B," a drug that has also sparked political and religious clashes. If taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, it is designed to prevent pregnancy.

The government is seeking to overturn U.S. District Judge Edward Korman's ruling from April 5 that required the FDA to make the emergency contraception available over-the-counter to women of all ages within 30 days.

Obama said it was not his decision to make, that it was up to the FDA and his Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to decide.

"The rule that's been put forward by the FDA, Secretary Sebelius has reviewed, she's comfortable with. I'm comfortable with it," he said.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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