The Obama administration has decided to drop its appeal to enforce an age restriction on the sale of Plan B One-Step contraceptive pills.
The decision means that any girl or woman, regardless of her age, will be able to buy Plan B without a prescription.
In a letter to US District Judge Edward R. Korman, the Obama administration said that it would comply with his order to have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certify Plan B One-Step for non-prescription use. If Judge Korman approves the plan, the department will drop its appeal of his April ruling.
“Once the court confirms that the government’s understanding is correct, the government intends to file with the Circuit Court notice that it is voluntarily withdrawing its appeal in this matter,” the Justice Department said in its letter.
The FDA issued a statement Monday night saying that it was planning to drop its appeal.
“To comply with the order, the FDA has asked the manufacturer of Plan B One-Step to submit a supplemental application seeking approval of the one-pill product to be made available O.T.C. without any such restrictions,” the statement said. “Once FDA receives that supplemental application, the FDA intends to approve it promptly.”
Women’s rights groups applauded the decision and said it would be a step forward for “reproductive justice” if the FDA acted quickly to make emergency contraception available over the counter.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said, “This is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity.”
Similarly, Annie Tummino, coordinator of the National Women’s Liberation and lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over unrestricted access to the morning-after pill, said that women and girls should have “the absolute right to control our bodies without having to ask a doctor or a pharmacist for permission.”
Tummino added, “It’s about time that the administration stopped opposing women having access to safe and effective birth control.”
The FDA lowered the age restriction from 17 to 15 in April after a data review demonstrated “that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works.”
Do you agree with the Obama administration’s decision to drop its appeal to enforce an age restriction on Plan B?