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Plan B One-Step, a popular birth-control pill, will now be easier to buy for women and girls of all ages. The FDA has just approved the use of Plan B as a non-prescription product.
The FDA approval comes about a week after the Justice Department decided to stop trying to prevent the pill's FDA certification, meaning that women would need a prescription to purchase the pill. Judge Edward Korman’s ruling to allow the FDA to certify the pill for purchase without a prescription overturned a decision made in December 2011 by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who moved to prevent Plan B from being sold over the counter to women under the age of 17.
Over-the-counter availability of Plan B was approved for women ages 17 and older back in July 2009, and since then, there has been a push from medical and women's groups to make the emergency contraceptive available for gals of all ages. In February 2011, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the company that produces Plan B, petitioned the FDA to grant the pill full over-the-counter status.
The Plan B morning-after pill is emergency contraception that can prevent pregnancy within five days of unprotected sexual activity. There has been major controversy about whether Plan B is safe for younger teens, although the FDA has stated the risks of misuse and abuse are small for anyone who takes it.
Safe sex is essential for good health; it can prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. It’s best to make wise decisions about sex, like using proper protection and trusting that bed buddy. But do remember— there is always another option in case something goes wrong!
This article originally posted December 2011. Updated June 2013.