Morning-after pills could be available over the counter as early as May.

Morning-after pills could be available over the counter as early as May.

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift age restrictions on emergency contraception. This would eliminate the need for buyers 16 and younger to have prescriptions.

If the ruling is not appealed, it will take effect after 30 days, and sales of Plan B One-Step and its generic brands could begin.

Karen Ediger, reproductive health program coordinator with the McPherson County Health Department, said she expects the change would increase use for women 20 and older.

“For the younger girls, I don’t see them using it as much as your college-age students or even your 20- and 30-year-olds because they’re going to be more aware of it,” she said.

Older women have higher chances for medical complications due to smoking, high blood pressure or other risks.

“With any medications, there can be side effects and people who shouldn’t take it,” Ediger said. “It comes down to consumer being aware and reading the label.”

Ediger said she did not expect the pill’s availability to increase sexual activity in women.

The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female progestin hormone than is in regular birth control pills. Taking it within 72 hours of rape, condom failure or forgetting regular contraception can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, according to the Associated Press.

John Holecek, an attendee of the McPherson-based pro-life prayer group in McPherson, said the pill promotes irresponsible sex.

“American society seems to be bent on promoting irresponsible sex in any way they can,” he said. “We have developed such an abortion mentality. It’s just headed down that slippery slope.”

Holecek is concerned with the drug’s availability to young women and the dangers that poses.

“It’s outrageous that a 13-year-old girl can get a powerful drug from the shelf because she said, ‘Gosh, I could be pregnant,’” he said. “It’s a nightmare scenario.”

Holecek said the medication can kill what will develop into a child, as well as be available for older men such as step-fathers to buy and give to females they have raped.

“It just creates all sorts of truly immoral behavior,” he said.

One McPherson woman thinks the emergency contraceptives are a good option. Although she did not wish to be named, the woman said she has been in a situation where she could have used one.

“As a woman, you think, ‘Oh my gosh, what are you doing now?’” she said. “That’s going to be a really nice thing.”

She also said she knows someone who got pregnant at a young age.

“If she just had sex and she’s 14, I wouldn't want her to be pregnant,” she said, adding the over-the-counter option saves time and money. “At the same point, it’s not good they don’t tell anyone about it, but for them in that moment it decides between pregnant or not pregnant, and I'd rather go with not pregnant.”

Spokespersons for McPherson's Walmart and Dillons did not return calls before presstime regarding their plans for future sale of the emergency contraceptives. A spokesperson from Walgreens said the business will review the judge’s ruling and await further guidance from the Food and Drug

Administration before making changes to its current policy.

Contact Jenae Pauls at and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel.