El Paso, TX — A Federal ruling is causing some controversy across the country. The decision: anyone can now buy emergency contraception without a prescription.
"Whether you believe in the pill or not, you should not allow your opinions to affect other people's choices," said a local El Pasoan.
Many react to a Federal judge's controversial decision to lift age limits on women buying Plan B, also known as the morning after pill.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration had planned to do so, but the Health and Human Services Secretary overruled the recommendation, siting health concerns for young girls. Today's ruling says the government's refusal to allow access to the pill was unreasonable. The judge ordered the FDA to lift the age restrictions within a month; a move critics oppose.
"This ruling really negatively affects the health and safety of young girls and it circumvents the rights of parents to be involved in important health decisions involving their daughters,”said Anna Higgins, with the Family Research Council.
One El Pasoan echoed the same concern for women's health.
"It's like detrimental to your health. That's something like the more you take it, the more it messes up your uteran walls and chances of getting pregnant later."
It's part of a decade long battle over who should have access to the Plan B pill, which if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex can reduce chances of pregnancy.
"I think that kids are gonna be making uninformed decisions,” said a UTEP student.
And some think putting the pills on store shelves creates a bigger problem.
"And then for guys if you're thinking you can rely on her taking Plan B, then I don't need a condom. That's how STD's are spread."
Plan B prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, but has no effect if a woman is already pregnant.
"If you want the pill and need the pill, you should be able to get it. If you don't want it, don't take it," said an El Paso resident.
The Justice Department said it will act promptly in deciding whether to appeal the decision. Critics have said the morning after pill is the equivalent of an abortion, a contention discredited by scientists and medical groups.