By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A New York judge has ordered the FDA to make the controversial “Plan B” pill, more commonly known as the “morning after” birth control pill, available to women of all ages without a prescription.

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The federal court has ordered that the “morning after” pill be made available over the counter within 30 days.

Currently, girls age 16 and under need a prescription, and girls 17 and up need to show ID.

The FDA ruled years ago that the medication is safe and for years has recommended its unrestricted availability, but the US Department of Health and Human Services overturned that in 2011.

Carol Tracey, executive director of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia, is delighted with the court’s latest ruling.

“This is a long overdue decision,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “This decision has been fraught with politics for more than 12 years.  The scientific evidence is that it is safe and should be available.”

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And Tracey says she hopes the new ruling sticks.

“(Having to get) a prescription for emergency contraception when there has been unprotected sex renders it a virtually useless remedy,” she says.

But pro-life groups are outraged.  John Stanton, a member of the board of directors of the Pro Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania, says use of the morning-after pill is the same as abortion.

“The morning-after  pill is a dangerous concoction,” he said today.  “And to have youngsters able to go in and get it without their parents’ permission is an outrageous strike against the family.”

The government did not immediately indicate whether it will appeal the court ruling.

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