Plan B: Obama allows morning-after pill for under-17s
The Obama administration will stop trying to limit sales of emergency contraception pills, making the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription.
The US justice department said in a letter on Monday that it planned to comply with a court’s ruling to allow unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step and that it would withdraw its appeal on the matter.
The move is the latest in a lengthy legal fight over the morning-after pill, which was until recently only available without a prescription to women 17 and older who presented proof of age at a pharmacist’s counter.
Obama Plan B Decision: Feds To Comply With NY Judge’s Ruling
Last week, an appeals court dealt the government a setback by saying it would immediately permit unrestricted sales of the two-pill version of the emergency contraception until the appeal was decided. That order was met with praise from advocates for girls’ and women’s rights and with scorn from social conservatives and other opponents, who argue the drug’s availability takes away the rights of parents of girls who could get it without their permission.
Advocates for girls’ and women’s rights said Monday the federal government’s decision to comply with the judge’s ruling could be a move forward for “reproductive justice” if the FDA acts quickly and puts emergency contraception over the counter without restriction.
Obama administration reverses course on Plan B pill
Plan B One-Step, like the related two-pill Plan B, uses the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation and impeding the mobility of sperm. Neither Plan B nor Plan B One-Step causes an abortion, nor does either harm a fetus.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit suggested Monday that the government’s decision was unlikely to end the legal battle anytime soon.
“Now that the appeals court has forced the federal government’s hand, the FDA is finally taking a significant step forward by making Plan B One-Step available over the counter for women of all ages,” Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “But the Obama administration continues to unjustifiably deny the same wide availability for generic, more affordable brands of emergency contraception.”