- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
- Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant
- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
Birth control pill available to girls hits store shelves
Social conservatives alarmed
Question of the Day
A morning-after birth control pill that set off a bruising court battle and forged an unusual alliance between President Obama and social conservatives has hit store shelves and increasingly will become available without any restrictions.
Teva Pharmaceuticals worked this month to repackage its “Plan B One-Step” pill so it could be sold to all ages without a prescription, the result of a federal court order in April that bluntly criticized the Obama administration for thwarting attempts to make the emergency contraceptive available to girls younger than 17 without a prescription.
“We believe we’ll see more widespread availability in the coming weeks and continue to work with our retail customers to help with the transition,” she said.
Labeling plans submitted to the FDA feature the words, “New! Now Available Over the Counter” in the upper-left corner of the package.
Pro-choice advocates said they’ve seen the product in metropolitan areas such as Washington and New York City, and Teva has said it plans to make the repackaged product widely available by August. In the meantime, the Center for Reproductive Rights is culling photos of the product on shelves and posting them on Facebook.
The Justice Department initially appealed the ruling that mandated the pill’s broad accessibility, and Mr. Obama reiterated long-standing concerns about the drug’s effect on young teen girls.
Social conservatives also cried foul, saying contraceptive decisions should be made between teens and their parents and that unfettered access to emergency contraception was a bad idea.
But after an adverse ruling in the appellate courts, the Justice Department decided to drop its appeal and make the drug as easy to purchase as aspirin.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved Teva’s request to sell Plan B One-Step without restrictions.
The Family Research Council, a conservative nonprofit that’s tracking the issue, said it remains worried.
“We are concerned that over-the-counter availability will further isolate a girl from parents and medical professionals who care most about her and can offer the wisest solutions and advice,” FRC spokeswoman Jessica Prol said. “Easy access to Plan B also leaves girls more vulnerable to exploitation. The Obama administration’s decision to allow Plan B to be sold over-the-counter — no questions asked — is the wrong move.”
Advocates for broader access to contraception, meanwhile, say more needs to be done to make the morning-after pill affordable.
The American Society for Emergency Contraception this month said its survey of 400 pharmacies found that Plan B One-Step costs, on average, nearly $48, or slightly more than the average generic price of $42.
“Even the lowest retail prices for [emergency contraception] are beyond the reach of many women,” the society said. “In order for EC to be truly accessible to all who need it, the generic products must be made available without restrictions on the shelf along with the branded products, and all prices must be lowered to a more affordable level.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Rep. Mike Rogers: Lock Israel-Palestine negotiators in a room
- Medicare trust fund to last 4 years longer: Obama administration
- Fla. voters' support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- KEENE: Thinking outside nanny-state box with Paul Ryan
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq