Realities of Teen Sex: Over-the-Counter Options

Plan B, or the morning-after pill, helps prevent the risk of pregnancy if taken within 72 hours post-sex. It used to be available by prescription only, and in 2006, non-prescription use was approved if you were 18 or older. But just this spring, the Food and Drug Administration, under orders from a federal court, changed the law so that anyone 17+ can get Plan B without a prescription. This is good news. It puts girls’ health -- and their choices -- ahead of politics and governmental judgment. And as of last week, there's also a generic version of Plan B available by prescription to everyone under 17.

To clarify, that means you can get Plan B over-the-counter if you're 17 or older, and you can get the generic version (by prescription) if you're under 17. Got it? Good.

Plan B doesn’t help with STDs, and it doesn’t terminate a pregnancy -- it just makes one less likely to occur. Of course, protection is ideally arranged before sex in the form of a well-designed condom. But, you know, things break, and it’s nice to have options.

Good for you, FDA.