FDA: You Can Buy Plan B Over-the-Counter, But You Must Be 15 or OlderS

You can now buy Plan B One-Step over the counter if you're age 15 or older — which would be more of a cause for celebration if a federal judge hadn't ordered the FDA to make the pill available to women and girls of all ages last month. What happened?

“Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement yesterday. “The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease.”

The move is still momentous, since teens younger than 17 used to require a prescription, and some women's health advocates say it may just be a precursor to an appeal, according to the Washington Post; soon(ish), women of all ages really would have access to the pill (and conservatives would argue that the devil now had access to our sacred uteri) if the administration responds as such. The ruling seems like a compromise — only 13% of teens have had sex by age 15 and most young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, so now the majority of adolescents that really need Plan B One-Step (the ruling doesn't pertain to other forms of emergency contraception) can get it quickly while right-wingers don't get to cry as hard about manic sex-having tweens.

(Because having a baby at age 13 is so much better than taking emergency contraception at age 13.)

Plan B One-Step will now come with labels that say proof of age is required for purchase, and it won't be sold where age can't be verified; the packaging will include a product code that prompts the cashier to verify the age of the customer. Which means teens around the country that don't have driver's licenses (did you at age 15?) are now brainstorming creative ways to ask their parents for another form of identification. Moooom, it's for a field trip!

[Washington Post]

(Image via AP)