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"Plan B" : What it is and how it works - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

"Plan B" : What it is and how it works

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The federal government has joined the on-going debate over emergency contraceptives.

The justice department is now appealing a judge's decision made last month that said morning after contraception should be available over the counter.

The FDA responded, saying the pill would be available over the counter for women and girls aged 15 and older.

This is something that has a lot of parents, teens, professionals and pharmacists talking.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to emergency contraception.

9 On Your Side sat down with a doctor to figure out what's fact from fiction.

The pill in question is called Plan B One-Step.

"There are two primary hormones in a woman's body estrogen and progesterone, and this is a very high dose of progesterone," explained David Ryan M.D.

He says the pill does not terminate pregnancy.

"If there is a pregnancy that's been established already, it will not cause a loss of that pregnancy," he said.

So how does it work?  

"What it is doing is its inhibiting ovulation, meaning its preventing a sperm and egg from meeting," Dr. Ryan said.

The drug used to only be available to women 17 or older with a prescription, but with the rule changes, as long as you're 15 and have proper I.D. to prove it, you can get the drug over the counter.

This has sparked a huge debate but opinions aside, we asked if there are any health risk for teens taking the pill?

"From a safety standpoint it's safe pretty much across all ages," Dr. Ryan said.

He also says since it's an emergency contraceptive designed only to work up 72 hours after sex, it won't affect a woman trying to get pregnant in the future.

He says with or without a prescription, Plan "A" should be talk to your doctor.

"Don't be afraid to call your doctor, don't be afraid to make the appointment, and don't be afraid to have the conversation," said Dr. Ryan. "Sometimes issues regarding contraception or intercourse can be a little bit taboo, but that's what we're here to do."

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