Soon No Prescription Needed For Plan B

Posted at: 06/11/2013 11:20 PM
Updated at: 06/11/2013 11:25 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- In a dramatic change of policy, President Obama’s administration decided on Tuesday not to continue challenging a judge's order that would allow women of any age to buy emergency contraception without a prescription.

Some are calling it a victory for women's rights, while others say it could put the health of young girls in serious jeopardy.

Following Tuesday’s decision to end appeal process, a specific version of the morning after pill, called Plan B One-Step, could soon be available over-the-counter, without the need for a prescription.

It would only be available in a single dose, and while it's being called a success for women's rights advocates, some proponents say it needs to be taken a step further to allow cheaper two-dose versions to be sold as well.

“The government is continuing to unjustifiably deny access to equally safe but more affordable brands, generic brands,” said Bebe Anderson with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Others say making the pill more widely available is missing the point.

“It’s another wrong answer to the problem,” said Cheri Neitzell, assistant director of Rachel's Hope in Austin.

Rachel’s Hope offers support and counseling for new and expecting mothers, and Neitzell said the lack of regulations could put young girls at risk.

“This, to me, is betrayal of children who are not developed mentally enough to make a good judgment call,” Neitzell said.

Although the courts have said there is no medical reason why the pill should be limited to older women, Neitzell said young girls still need to be educated on the potential side effects of using such medication.

“They're being put in a position to do something to their body without anybody being aware of it,” Neitzell said. “There are side effects, there are possible risks, and they're being undefended."

While it looks unlikely that the judge's ruling will be overturned, social conservatives say they'll continue to push for change.

“It just doesn't stack up that two wrongs make a right,” Neitzell said. “It doesn't work in the long run."

Plan B will not be on store shelves immediately.

The FDA still needs to approve a re-labeling of the drug, something officials have already promised to do as quickly as possible.