The Obama administration suddenly last night dropped its appeal of a lawsuit forcing the government to make Plan B, the so-called “morning after pill,” available without a prescription in the nation’s pharmacies.
In principle, this should mean Plan B will soon become available in pharmacies over-the-counter.
The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff, tweeted late last night that a senior administration official told her that the President still opposes over-the-counter Plan B for young girls. But when I asked her about this, she clarified that, even though he’s opposed, he’s going to comply with the court order for the same reason they dropped the appeal – they don’t think they have a legal leg to stand on. Kliff has since posted a story on this as well.
The lawsuit came about when the administration blocked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from proceeding with making Plan B an over-the counter drug not needing a prescription in 2011. A federal judge had ordered the administration to reverse its decision, accusing them of putting politics before science. The administration had initially appealed the federal court ruling, but now has dropped its appeal. And while it would have been nicer had we not had to go this route to start with, it is good news that the administration – à la DOMA – is exercising its right not to go to court.
Not surprisingly, anti-abortion advocates are already up in arms about the decision, even though this is not an “abortion pill” – it simply interferes with conception itself:
More on what Plan B is from the Huffington Post:
The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female hormone progestin than is in regular birth control pills. Taking it within 72 hours of rape, condom failure or just forgetting regular contraception can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, but it works best within the first 24 hours. If a girl or woman already is pregnant, the pill, which prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, has no effect.
More background on Plan B from Gaius, writing last December.
And for even more background, and much more fun, here’s Stephen Colbert’s recent take on the Plan B controversy: