The emergency contraception ping-pong game seems to have ended in a resounding win for women’s health. Following a recent court order, the Obama Administration has announced that it will fully comply with allowing emergency contraception over the counter without age restrictions.
For years, ACOG and other women’s health partners have been advocating for over the counter access to emergency contraception without age restrictions. We know all too well that time is of the essence for females facing the possibility of an unintended pregnancy. And unrestricted access to contraceptives is key to reducing abortions.
We agreed with the Food and Drug Administration when it ruled for over the counter access and we opposed Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to include an age limit to OTC access. ACOG has been working with the advocacy community to overturn Sebelius’ decision.
We had good news recently when a panel of the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court ruled that the two pill variant, including Next Choice and other levonorgestral tablets, must be made immediately available over the counter without age restrictions. We had better news soon after when the White House announced that it would give up its insistence on age restrictions and allow the FDA to move forward in the direction that science has pointed to all along.
This decision to increase access to over the counter contraception is a powerful one because in spite of our efforts to be there all the time for our patients, decisions impacting long term health will happen WITHOUT our presence. It is so important to make contraception easily available, to remove barriers.