Emergency Contraception OTC
Planned Parenthood Hails Expansion of Plan B Access, but Cites Concerns About Teen Pregnancy
New York — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today hailed the decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve over-the-counter status for Plan B emergency contraception (EC) for women 18 and older. However, PPFA, the nation's leading sexual health care advocate and provider, expressed dismay at the scientifically baseless restrictions that deny teenagers over-the-counter access to the safe, effective method of backup birth control.
PPFA President Cecile Richards issued the following statement in response to the decision:
"Today's announcement is an important victory and long overdue. Women need timely access to backup birth control — last year alone, Planned Parenthood provided more than one million women with emergency contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy. We hope the FDA decision will go a long way toward improving the health of adult women.
"While we are glad to know the FDA finally ended its foot-dragging on this issue, Planned Parenthood is troubled by the scientifically baseless restriction imposed on teenagers. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the western world — anything that makes it harder for teenagers to avoid unintended pregnancy is bad medicine and bad public policy."
Research shows that over-the-counter access to emergency contraception does not increase or encourage sexual activity among teens, and better access to proven prevention methods like accurate sex education and emergency birth control are the best ways to reduce the alarming rate of teen pregnancy in this country. Planned Parenthood will continue to do all it can to educate women of all ages about EC and help them access emergency contraception.
EC lowers the risk of pregnancy when started within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. Experts estimate that wide access to EC could prevent up to 1.7 million unintended pregnancies — and 800,000 abortions — a year. The sooner EC is administered after unprotected intercourse, the better it works, making timely access critically important. Studies show that women do not use EC as a regular method of birth control.