Appeals Court Rules Emergency Contraception Should Become Available Over The Counter

June 7, 2013 | 3:33 pm
Michael Halpern
Former Contributor

I’m at a conference this week but wanted to pass along some pretty big news on the Plan B emergency contraception saga, which keeps getting more and more strange. This week, an appellate court ruled that the generic version of the drug should be made available over the counter to anyone who wishes to purchase it. While the curtain has not yet fallen on this epic tale, the latest twist is a welcome development.

In March, many celebrated when a judge ruled in very strong language that the Obama administration had politicized the science of emergency contraception in denying over the counter sales. He ordered the FDA to follow the best available scientific information and make Plan B available over the counter.

The Obama administration then astounded scientists and public health experts by appealing the judge’s decision. The judge rebuked the administration again but stayed his decision pending appeal.

On Wednesday, the appeals court partially lifted the stay, telling the FDA to make two-dose generic emergency contraception available over the counter while it considers the administration’s appeal regarding the one-dose brand name version.

This should be celebrated by both those who care about scientific integrity in government and those who want to reduce unintended pregnancies in the United States.