Why The Morning After Pill Isn't Over The Counter For Everyone

There is no scientific reason why the morning after pill isn't available to women under 17 without a prescription. There are, however, political reasons, which is why the Center for Reproductive Rights is slamming the FDA in court over it.

In previous litigation, the Center had managed to move the over-the-counter age from 18 to 17. But the other barriers to access — demanding that women under 17 get a prescription, putting it behind the counter unlike other over-the-counter drugs, and demanding government-issued ID — remain in place, despite the fact that a judge had demanded that the FDA reconsider.

According to CRR,

"No drug besides Plan B is subject to a two-tiered prescription/over-the-counter structure based on age. And no other over-the-counter drug requires production of identification for purchase.* The testimony of FDA employees and officials makes clear that the FDA's decisions regarding emergency contraception were made on the basis of politics, rather than on considerations of the drug's safety and efficacy. This influence appears to have come from as far up as the White House."

Now that it's been a year and a half and the FDA hasn't taken any steps to address these issues, the center is going back to court to try to make the FDA obey the court order. "The FDA's disregard of the Court's clear and lawful order harms women whose access to Plan B is hindered by substantial obstacles imposed by the FDA, particularly in light of the need to take the medication within 72 hours of sexual intercourse in order for it to be effective," the motion said.

It all boils down to this: the FDA has to weigh its commitment to actual science — something the Obama administration said would guide its decisions — versus the potential right-wing hysteria. That would be the one that is terrified about the prospect of promiscuous teenage girls, popping magic pills instead of facing up to the fact that they are sluts who should make lemonade out of lemons.

Also, just listen to the bunnies.

Tell the FDA to Act on Emergency Contraception from Center for Reproductive Rights on Vimeo.

* Pseudoephedrine actually does.

The Center Takes The FDA Back To Court [CRR]

Earlier: Your Choices For The Morning After Pill