The 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the age restriction on the access over the counter to generic versions of emergency contraception without prescriptions.
Although the federal government appealed the ruling, in the meantime, girls of any age can now get two-pill versions of emergency contraception over-the-counter, announced the federal court Wednesday.
"What it does mean is that generic two-pill products are going to be readily available to women without age restrictions, on any drugstore shelf," Rickelman said. "It'll be like buying Tylenol. You'll be able to go get it off the drugstore shelf, no ID, at the regular counter."
While social conservatives met the court decision with scorn, arguing that the drug's availability takes away the rights of parents of girls who could get it without their permission; advocates for girls' and women's rights are celebrating the ruling.
"It is a historic day for women's health," Nancy Northup, Center for Reproductive Rights President, wrote in a statement released after the court announcement.
"Finally, after more than a decade of politically motivated delays, women will no longer have to endure intrusive, onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions to get emergency contraception," she continued.
The order allows two-pill versions of emergency contraception to immediately be sold without restrictions, but the court refused to allow unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step until it decides the merits of the government's appeal.
The court did not specify why the two-pill versions were being allowed now, though it said the government failed to meet the requirements necessary to block the lower-court decision.
"The government is reviewing the court's order," said Allison Price, Department of Justice spokeswoman.
The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female progestin hormone than is in regular birth control pills. If a woman or girl of child bearing age takes it within 72 hours of rape, condom failure or just forgetting regular contraception can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. But it works best within the first 24 hours. If a girl or woman already is pregnant, the pill has no effect. It prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg.
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