Over-the-Counter Access to Plan B Turns One!
Today marks the one year anniversary of the FDA approval of Plan B (also known as emergency contraception) for over-the-counter sales to adults. In 2003, two FDA expert advisory committees voted overwhelmingly to recommend that Plan B be made available without a prescription, but political agendas kept the issue in heated debate for nearly three years. This approval was an important step in ensuring that women are able to access Plan B in time for it to be an effective option.
According to an Associated Press article in this week’s Washington Post, since the over-the-counter approval of Plan B: several states have enacted laws to improve rape survivors’ access to the medication in hospital emergency rooms; legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to ensure that women serving in the U.S. military overseas have access to the pills at their bases; and pro-choice groups have advocated with national pharmacy chains to make it readily available.
Despite its approval, some women continue to encounter pharmacies which refuse to stock the medication, and the age restriction creates medically unjustified barriers for teens. There is still much we can do to ensure that women have access to a full range of safe reproductive health care options including timely, straightforward access to emergency contraception.