Great news! Yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will comply with a federal judge’s order to make emergency contraception available over the counter, for all women, with no age restrictions. This is a major victory for women’s health—and for expanding access to birth control!
For years opponents of women’s health have tried to conflate emergency contraception with abortion, a deliberate mischaracterization in an attempt to restrict access. But that’s simply not true. Here’s how it actually works:
By postponing ovulation before a pregnancy can occur, emergency contraception (commonly referred to as the “morning-after pill”) is a safe and effective method of birth control when things don’t work out as planned. In fact, studies show teens are just as likely to use emergency contraception effectively as adults.
Now, with this decision, women of all ages will soon be able to pick up emergency contraception off the shelves as soon as they need it—and considering it’s more effective the sooner it’s taken, this decision will go a long way to helping more women prevent unintended pregnancy. No more delays at the pharmacy counter!
In order to get EC on the shelves and accessible for everyone, companies who manufacture must apply for new labeling AND the FDA must approve their applications. While it will likely be a few months before it moves to store shelves (and not all types will move right away) we’re encouraging both the FDA and manufacturers to continue moving forward with this process as quickly as possible so that women of all ages can get the access they need.
This decision by the Obama administration is a critical step for women’s health—one that’s sure to make a difference for women of all ages.