The Food and Drug Administration will approve Plan B for 17-year olds without prescriptions.
Currently, Plan B is readily available to women at least 18 years old. When it was first introduced back in 1999, a prescription was required, but that changed in 2005.
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that has proven effective in pregnancy prevention when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Despite the fact that it is casually referred to as "the morning after pill," the medication actually consists of two pills which contain large doses of the hormone levonorgestrel.
According to The Washington Post, The FDA has taken this step in accordance with a judge’s ruling in March stating that the decision to limit availability to minors was politically motivated.
Women’s health and family planning advocates have welcomed this move because they challenged the FDA’s original decision to restrict access to the controversial contraceptive.
"It’s a good indication that the agency will move expeditiously to ensure its policy on Plan B is based solely on science," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups that challenged the FDA’s age limitations in court. "It’s time the FDA restores confidence in its ability to safeguard the public health and put medical science first."
However, not everyone was so pleased about the move, and opponents doubt the safety of Plan B.
"This decision is driven by politics, not what is good for patients or minors," said Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America. "Parents should be furious at the FDA’s complete disregard of parental rights and the safety of minors."
It’s still not clear if the FDA will review whether Plan B should be available to minors under the age of 17.
– Sonya Eskridge