(HealthDay News) – Physicians from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), together with other health organizations, are urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reconsider the age limit for access to Plan B One-Step emergency contraception.

Noting that medical organizations aim to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy and number of abortions in the United States, and that emergency contraception is safe for all women, physicians from ACOG, along with the American Medical Association and nine other health organizations, have written to request that the HHS reconsider their decision regarding an age limit for over-the-counter access to Plan B One-Step.

According to the letter, extensive scientific research supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to lift the age restriction for emergency contraception so that all women can have access in cases of unprotected sex, sexual assault, or contraceptive failure. Medical authorities agree that Plan B One-Step is safe for anyone at risk of unintended pregnancy, and that requiring a prescription serves as an unnecessary barrier to access, especially given the time-sensitive nature of emergency contraception. Plan B is safe for teenagers and no evidence exists to indicate that access to Plan B encourages risky sexual behavior among adolescents.

“The science shows conclusively that Plan B is safe for all women and should be available over-the-counter to all women,” the authors write. “Accordingly, we urge you to remove the age restriction for over-the counter access for Plan B One-Step.”