Best news all day: “The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls.”
The administration is withdrawing its appeal of a ruling that requires emergency contraception pills to be made available without prescription, regardless of age. This is good news for access to the one-pill form of emergency contraception.
In not-so-good news, the administration may still interfere with over-the-counter access to the two-dose form of the drug.
Although the previous ruling required that the two-pill form be made available even before the intended appeal was heard, the Justice Department’s letter indicates that it may still try to require additional data specific to safety of the often more affordable, generic two-dose form in younger adolescents before approving the change.
As SCOTUSblog explains, “the FDA is interpreting Judge Korman’s April order as giving it permission to choose between Plan B One-Step and the two-pill version so that just one of them would be open without restrictions to women of all ages.”
The Center for Reproductive rights, which has been heavily involved in the court cases around this issue, responded:
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. But the Obama Administration continues to unjustifiably deny the same wide availability for generic, more affordable brands of emergency contraception.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has worked for more than a decade to call attention to this important issue. While more work is still needed to make emergency contraception fully accessible to women and girls when they most need it, this recent news puts us much closer to that goal.