Stand Up for Access To Emergency Contraception

On May 1, the Obama administration's Justice Department appealed a court ruling directing the Food and Drug Administration to listen to the recommendations of its own scientists and make emergency contraception—otherwise known as Plan B or the morning after pill—available over-the-counter for all women and girls with no age restrictions.

The appeal comes a day after the FDA announced that they would allow girls ages 15 and older over-the-counter access to the drug if they could show identification proving their age. While a step in the right direction, that age limit imposes an unnecessary barrier on girls under fifteen and makes access difficult or impossible for already marginalized populations, such as the young and undocumented. Delays in optaining emergency contraception can have serious consequences: the drug works best the earlier it is taken and it must be taken within five days of unprotected sex in order to be effective at all. 

The science on emergency contraception is clear. It is safer than many painkillers and cough medicine already sold over the counter and there is ample evidence that young women are capable of taking it safely. While President Obama has spoken eloquently about the right to reproductive healthcare, his administration refuses to lift this clearly political impediment on the health and bodily autonomy of women and girls.

Sign our open letter to President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius imploring them to abide by the federal court ruling and to make emergency contraception available over the counter to women and girls of all ages with no restrictions.

A pharmacy in Toronto

Contraceptives at a pharmacy in Toronto (Flickr/Cory Doctorow) 

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