On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it "approved the availability of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription for women 15 and older."  In my opinion, this decision was highly necessary. This will allow women to maintain control of their futures by accessing these harmless and helpful birth control pills without having to resort to abortion.

What Is Plan B?

Plan B is an emergency birth control contraception pill that was approved by the FDA in 1999.  Plan B contains an artificial hormone called levonorgestrel, which either “stops an egg from being released from the ovary, or preventing fertilization of the egg by sperm.”  Plan B should be taken within 72 hours after sex.  However, the sooner you take it, the more effective it is.

Which Drugs Does FDA’s Decision Pertain To?

The FDA’s decision pertains to Teva Women's Health, Inc.’s application for Plan B One-Step.

Why Are Some Individuals Opposed to Approving Plan B for Young Girls Without a Prescription?

Some of the reasons given by those against approving Plan B without a prescription include the following:

  • Young girls may feel pressured into taking the pill
  • Plan B may be given to a young girl without her consent
  • Parental consent and medical professional help will no longer be necessary
  • Parental protection will no longer be necessary if these young girls can obtain the drug without a prescription

Some opponents of the morning after pill wanted the drug to require a prescription for girls under 17.  However, that requirement did not sit well with U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman.  In his order, the Judge referred to the desired requirement as, “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."

What Changes Will FDA’s New Decision Make:

  • Women who are 15 and older can buy the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription
  • The Plan B One-Step will include a label that indicates that proof of age is required to purchase it
  • The Plan B One-Step can only be sold at places where age can be verified
  • The packaging of Plan B One-Step will include a product code that prompts the cashier to ask and verify the age of the customer
  • The product will be sold in retail outlets with pharmacies

What Are Planned Parenthood’s Thoughts on This Matter?

Planned Parenthood President, Cecile Richards, supports the “expansion of access to birth control”, and further believes that the FDA “should lift all unnecessary restrictions to emergency contraception.”

Do you agree with the FDA's decision?  Should all women who are 15 and older be permitted to buy the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription?

What are your thoughts?