FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Sale of Morning-After Pill Decision excludes women under 18
Interview with Ted Miller, communications director for NARAL ProChoice America, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
On Aug. 24, the Food and Drug Administration approved the over-the-counter sale of the morning-after pill, known as Plan B, to women over 18. This decision was the culmination of a five-year battle to increase access to the drug, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. The sooner it's taken, the more effective it is.
The government's decision means that women under 18 will not be able to purchase Plan B without a prescription, despite the recommendation of two FDA advisory panels that it is safe for all ages.
The fight began in February 2001 when more than 60 medical and consumer groups filed a "citizen's petition" with the FDA to make emergency contraception available over the counter, asserting that the morning-after pill was safe enough to be sold without a doctor's supervision. Religious right and anti-abortion activists have opposed Plan B, calling it an abortefacient, but scientific opinion generally holds that it prevents conception and is thus a method of birth control, not abortion.
Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Ted Miller, communications director for NARAL Pro Choice America, about his group's three-year effort to win FDA approval for over-the-counter access to Plan B. He discusses what the compromise decision means for women's health, and how anti-choice groups are likely to react.
For more information on the fight for access to Plan B, call NARAL at (202) 973-3000 or visit the group's website at www.prochoiceamerica.org
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