Morning-After Pill Now Available On Drugstore Shelves, For Everyone

by Tess Duncan

On Monday the Obama administration announced that the morning-after pill will now be sold to girls of all ages, without requiring a prescription. We were already rejoicing just a month ago over the increased access to young ladies, but now no one is excluded. This means that Plan B can be purchased over-the-counter by ladies younger than 17. This is reversal of the federal government’s previous decision in late 2011 to restrict minors from obtaining the pill so easily. The Department of Justice reported this change to U.S. District Judge Edward Korman, who had ruled in favor of providing access to minors in April. If he accepts their plan for compliance, the department will drop their previous appeal of his ruling.

As you may already know, the morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive that contains levonorgestrel, which highly decreases chances of pregnancy after unprotected sex. So if you’re a victim of rape or your dude’s condom breaks, you’re up to 89 percent less likely to become pregnant. The passage of this ruling means a lot for women’s reproductive rights. But it’s about fucking time! As Annie Tummino, the coordinator of the National Women’s Liberation and lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over unrestricted access to the morning-after pill, says, “It’s about time that the administration stopped opposing women having access to safe and effective birth control.” Yet some women aren’t helping in the process. The FDA came close to getting rid of age restrictions back in 2011, but failed when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius denied their conclusion that the contraceptive was safe. Le sigh.

But science has finally conquered, proving that this is a necessary component of women’s health care. There’s still a debate, however, over the two-pill version of Plan B. When ruling, Judge Korman had observed the illogical favoritism the government showed for the more expensive, one-pill version of the contraceptive, indicating a disproportionate burden on African Americans and the poor. (If you’re under 17, you need a prescription for the generic, two-pill Plan B, and if you’re of age, you must show the pharmacy your government-issued ID.) Korman referred to studies that showed “that blacks with low incomes are less likely than other people to have government-issued IDs.” The two-pill version is still currently unavailable for girls 16 and younger without a prescription.

Source: NBC News

Photo via ABC News

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