To add a coda to a story we've been following for quite a while, the Obama administration restrictions on the availability for the best-known emergency contraceptive pill are no more.
After years of political delays, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved over-the-counter sale of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception to women and girls without age or point-of-sale restrictions.In a statement announcing the change, the FDA said it was complying with an order from U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman, who had previously slammed the Obama administration's obstructionism over access to emergency contraception as "politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent."
"It's about time," said Chris Iseli. "It's taken too long to bring emergency contraception out from behind the pharmacy counter."
Going forward, the restrictions have been eliminated -- those seeking to purchase the emergency contraception can do so regardless of age, with no ID or prescription, right off the drugstore shelf.
So, the story's over? Well, it's almost over. NPR, which ran a terrific timeline detailing how this process has unfolded over the years, noted that yesterday's FDA announcement applies to Plan B One-Step emergency contraception, but not a generic version, which for now will require prescriptions for young women 16 and younger.
Still, the broader availability of the emergency contraception is a very positive development and an important boost for public health and the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.