FDA: Morning-After Pill To Move Over-The-Counter - FOX 35 News Orlando

FDA: Morning-After Pill To Move Over-The-Counter

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) The government is moving the morning-after pill over the counter but only those 15 and older can buy it — an attempt to find middle ground just days before a court-imposed deadline to lift all age restrictions on the emergency contraceptive.

Today, Plan B One-Step is sold behind pharmacy counters, and buyers must prove they're 17 or older to buy it without a prescription. Tuesday's decision by the Food and Drug Administration lowers the age limit and will allow the pill to sit on drugstore shelves next to spermicides or other women's health products and condoms — but anyone who wants to buy it must prove their age at the cash register.

Some contraceptive advocates called the move promising.

"This decision is a step in the right direction for increased access to a product that is a safe and effective method of preventing unintended pregnancies," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "It's also a decision that moves us closer to these critical availability decisions being based on science, not politics."

But earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York blasted the Obama administration for imposing the age-17 limit, saying it had let election-year politics trump science and was making it hard for women of any age to obtain the emergency contraception in time. He ordered an end to the age restrictions by Monday.

The women's group that sued over the age limits said Tuesday's action is not enough, and it will continue the court fight.

Lowering the age limit "may reduce delays for some young women but it does nothing to address the significant barriers that far too many women of all ages will still find if they arrive at the drugstore without identification," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The FDA said the Plan B One-Step will be packaged with a product code that prompts the cashier to verify a customer's age. Anyone who can't provide such proof as a driver's license, birth certificate or passport wouldn't be allowed to complete the purchase.

"These are daunting and sometimes insurmountable hoops women are forced to jump through in time-sensitive circumstances, and we will continue our battle in court to remove these arbitrary restrictions on emergency contraception for all women," Northup said.

Half the nation's pregnancies every year are unintended, and doctors' groups say more access to morning-after pills could cut those numbers. The pills contain higher doses of regular contraceptives, and if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent.

The FDA had been poised to lift all age limits and let Plan B sell over-the-counter in late 2011, when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in an unprecedented move, overruled her own scientists. Sebelius said some girls as young as 11 are physically capable of bearing children, but shouldn't be able to buy the pregnancy-preventing pill on their own.

President Barack Obama supported Sebelius' move and a spokesman said earlier this month that the president's position hadn't changed.

The FDA said Tuesday's decision was independent of the court case. Instead, after the Obama administration's 2011 action, Plan B maker Teva Women's Health had filed a new application with the age-15 compromise.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:28:55 GMT
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
  • Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:40:38 GMT
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
  • Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:23 GMT
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices